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A Journey into ‘The Creator’s Temple’ with A. J. Parks

A. J. Parks is the author of The Creator’s Temple, an inspiring action and adventure story A.J. imagined more than 20 years ago, and finally published this year!

About the Story

The Creator’s Temple is about a 16 year old boy named Marty Evans, who is trying to live a normal life and enjoy his summer vacation. But when monsters attack him and his family at night, he discovers a sword hidden in his family shed.

This sword is tied to a dark family past, and it is up to Marty to get rid of it. So with the help of friends, Fred, Kalyn, Harper and Zane, they travel across the world of Korninga to reach the fabled Creator’s Temple, and avoid several dangerous creatures along the way!

Tell us your story. What inspired you to become an author? 

To be honest, I was reading Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince and was so engrossed in the story, that when I finished, I began to form this story of my own in my head. I was 16 at the time, and formed this main character to literally represent me. But instead of the nerdy teenager I was, this kid was brave and able to overcome challenges I could only dream of. I am also a huge fan of Greek Mythology, specifically creatures like griffons and cyclops.

I was taking a creative writing class in high school, and my English teacher at the time sort of told me to go for it. So I just sat down at my computer and started to write. With no real plan. I spent months writing, and perhaps a year total. I finished with 12 chapters of what resembled a book. I had printed off each chapter as I went and mailed them to my cousin who was a few states away and he was engrossed in it, always excited to read the next chapter. That alone kept me wanting to write more.

I was only a highschooler student, and finishing a book shortly after graduation was exhilarating. But I had no idea what to do next.

Tell us more about the process of writing this book.

After finishing my first draft back in high school, I never thought anything of it. And it sat there for nearly a decade. I never imagined I would pick it up again. Until I get a call from my mom who came across my original typed story. I read through it… and it was bad. This sort of sparked an inspiration in me again, and I decided to map out the entire word and the characters and everything.

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I drew a map of Koringa, I made cities, and named lakes and rivers. I created Family trees for each of my characters and even made their back stories. This helped flesh these two-dimensional characters out so much more. I decided to start over and write again. After a year, I was done with the new draft and passed it to a friend to read and get his opinion. He was not generous… and for the better.

I went back, and wrote another draft, removing and adding as needed until I finally came up with the story that I loved. To make everything flow better, I created a timeline of how long each trip would take. I calculated out the average a person could walk in a day, and estimated how far each town was based on my maps I drew. These maps, which I would later digitally draw, ended up in my final book as well.

After I finished writing it again, it sat some more while I tried to figure out how to move forward. But in 2020, I was diagnosed with Stage 2 Cancer, and everything was placed on hold. After 9 weeks of intense Chemotherapy, I returned for my checkup. I was in remission, but not out of the woods. Several Months later, I was cleared and told that my remission seemed stable and good. I took this as a sign to finally fulfill my dream. I was going to publish my book by the end of the year. And in January 2022, I did just that.

How does it feel to have finally published this book?

I never imagined when I started this little story almost 20 years ago that I would be holding it in my hand. Something that you are so deeply connected to is pretty powerful, and the fact that I can share that with the world makes it even more important to me.

I don’t think I ever expect to become the next best-selling author or have movie deal or anything (it would be pretty cool). But knowing the people who have read my story, and speaking to them about it, I can honestly say it means more then any dollar amount. I spoke with a teenager who read it, and she loved the ending, despite how it turned out. She said she felt sad, but that it was her favorite part.

Knowing that an emotion like that occurred from something I wrote, I can not put down into words the feeling that it gives me.

Do you have a writing routine?

I don’t have a specific routine exactly. I try to write a bit each day, even if its only a sentence. My goal is 1000 words a day. I do work 40 hours a week, so it can get hard to find time and motivation after a long day. But I try.

How do you develop your plot and characters? 

My plot remained the same from the beginning. It was one of the few things that transcribed from original draft so many years ago. While the elements changed, the overall plot did not.

My characters, however, are loosely based on people I know. Marty’s father, Eric, is modeled after my own father, as well as his mother. Fred was based of a few people I grew up with, my best friend and my cousin. Harper was originally based on a girl I had a crush on in high school. She was originally nothing more then eye candy before I rewrote her character to be the fighter she soon became. Zane was very much based on my friend, Brad. He was originally the same age as Marty before I aged him down.

I also add several Easter eggs from my own life into the book as well. A hotel is called the J.P.P Hotel, which are the initials of my wife. I also make subtle nods to my original drafts, adding small references to a phoenix that was omitted from my story who was Marty’s pet.

What was the most challenging thing about writing this book?

Finding time and motivation to write. I give myself deadlines that I try to make, and sometimes I get them. But I distract so easily that It can be a bit challenging.

How much research did you need to do?

Quite more then I originally intended. I researched things like Greek monsters and used them to create a few of my own creatures as well. I already loved Greek mythology, so this research was actually very enjoyable.

I also researched cross country hiking. It was pointed out that my characters were always carrying the wrong bags and equipment to walk such a long way. I am not an outdoors person, so I had to look up some things about hiking. I also watched several videos and instructions on sword fighting. From broadswords to katana, I wanted to have an idea of how Marty could wield this blade with little to no experience.

Which part of the book is your favorite?

My favorite part is the Falcam Mountains. It introduces one of my favorite creatures I came up with for the book called Falcam, these big, bipedal fire breathing bird monsters. Every iteration of it was so much fun to write. It was originally only Marty who fights them, but I made it so it utilized the abilities of everyone. It’s an action scene that I simply love every time I look at it, and the reason I named a chapter after it.

Tell us more about the publishing process behind the book.

I tried to do traditional publishing at first. It did not go well. I reached out to agent after agent to try and get some sort of interest. I was able to spark a few, but thy never panned out. After about 200 or so submissions, I grew a bit irritated and decide to do it myself.

I found out abut Amazon’s KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) program from a Facebook group I was on. The process was super easy too. I have a background in Graphic design, so I decided to create a layout and make everything sort of designed inside. I added all the chapter fonts and the lines and page numbers and all that. It was fun.

I also decided to do my own book cover design. It went though several iterations before I landed on the final one. I wanted it to be bright and different to stand out, and it certainly does.

What are some tools you used to write this book from start to end?

For a while, I used an iPad with a Bluetooth keyboard that I used to type in bed, or on the road or whatever. Eventually, I migrated over to my laptop, which was much easier to type with.

I use Dropbox to store all my work while I’m working on it as I can access from anywhere and use the Word Web App to simply start typing. Its a handy way to jump right into everything.

What authors inspired you into becoming an author yourself, if any?

As I said, Harry Potter was a massive inspiration for me. It is the entire reason I decided to write in the first place. I’ve also been greatly inspired by Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One and Ready Player Two. Both are amazing stories and I love the references.

Probably the biggest inspiration for me is Videogames, however. I am a massive fan of The Legend of Zelda, and you can see several similarities between Link and Marty. I am also a fan of Pokémon, and even made my own versions of Pokémon that made it in the book (Falcam specifically that I modeled after a Blaziken).

What advice would you give to someone just starting out?

Keep going. It is hard to feel inspired. Do it for the love, and ignore the haters. I don’t expect wealth and fame from my books, but knowing that people out there love and enjoy the story I am telling, that makes everything worth it.

What are your future plans and where can our readers find you?

I’m currently working on a sequel to this book titled “The Blade of Destruction“. It takes place 2 years after this, and Follows Marty who is on a solo journey, and dealing with sever mental health issues after the events of the previous story.

I’m also working on a novel titled “Heroed”. It is a super-hero story about a highschooler and his friends who gain super powers, and discover a shady organization who is behind some several disappearances that have been occurring lately.

I’m planning on trying the whole Agent thing again with Heroed. But It might also end up on Amazon as well.

To connect with A. J., make sure to follow his Facebook page for all updates, and check out his official author’s website!

Happy reading! ❤️

Marcie

Friday 2nd of December 2022

Loved this interview! Understanding and getting to know the author really helps me enjoy the book more!

Ethan

Saturday 3rd of December 2022

That's awesome I'm super excited to hear that! Thank you Marie! ❤️