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Character Interview: Sellemar from J.J. Sherwood’s high fantasy Kings or Pawns



KingsorPawnscoverSMmWe’re thrilled to have here today Sellemar from J.J. Sherwood’s new high fantasy, Kings or Pawns.  Sellemar has been unfortunately vague as to his age and origin, but I suppose we shall have to carry on without such details.

It is a pleasure to have him with us today at Beyond the Books!

Thank you so for this interview, Sellemar.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

I am portrayed exactly how I wish to be portrayed—seen exactly how and when I wish to be seen. Frankly, a male of my skill simply could not have been more present without turning the rest of the events into a throng of children whacking at one another with sticks. Take General Jikun Taemrin, for instance—respected, touted as a military genius by the council, paraded as a hero—yet by comparison to my triumphs, he is no more than a desperate child whose strings are pulled by the council and whose victories are only granted by the careful planning of the enemy. Sel’ari knows he was doomed from the start.

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

Oh, she did a fine job. I simply would have refused an appearance had she not complied with my wishes. …However, I will state that J.J. did make a horrendous mistake by failing to acquire all information before one of my heroics and that this particular incident may have given the country its final push over the cliff. And now I find myself in a terribly dangerous predicament—thanks to J.J.’s complete lack of experience. This is why I typically demand to do the legwork myself. You give the inexperienced a slight benefit of the doubt and you find yourself with a blade to the throat.

What do you believe is your strongest trait? 

Intelligence. Piety. Wisdom. Insight. Experience. If I am being entirely honest, I simply cannot limit it to one.

Worst trait? 

Well, I suppose at times having too much talent can get me into trouble. I often end up in terribly dangerous situations because of my abilities… and it does not help things when I don’t have magic to bail me out. But it was certainly Sel’ari’s way of balancing my place in the world. …There have been some suggestions by other (jealous) individuals that my worst trait is arrogance—but if honesty is akin to arrogance than only then am I the most guilty of all. 

KingsorPawnscoverSMmIf you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)? 

Well, this is certainly a difficult question to be asked. There is no human in your world that could possibly match my talents in any way. I suppose special effects might lend a hand, but there is only so much your world can do. So, I suppose I would have to say we can only attempt looks and past CGI assistance: Orlando Bloom. Of course, this would forever make Legolas appear subpar, but all others after me in your world would suffer the same by default. 

Do you have a love interest in the book? 

I don’t have the time for such nonsense. And that is all there is to say on the matter. 

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out? 

I am never nervous. I am experienced. And my experience started warning me the moment I stepped off into the Port of Targados and saw the human influences on the once glorious capital of Elvorium. I had heard from the True Blood King, Sairel, that Sevrigel had become riddled with the disease of corruption; and yet, it was still a shock to see the elven council’s corruption first hand. No land can endure when its foundation is lacking. 

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why? 

That is a difficult question as I would not wish to be the females by default, the young who suffer naivety, the old who suffer the pains of age, or any of those who have strayed from Sel’ari’s path. And that leaves me to say that I would really not want to be anyone. As I feel I am forced to answer this question, I would say the one character I would really not want to be is the enemy warlord’s captain, Vale. I met him but once—briefly—and I find his crude, arrogant, cocky, and frankly repulsive personality both offensive and revolting. There is nothing in Emal’drathar you could offer me to spend even a single second in his boots. 

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away? 

It is always darkest before the dawn: If you defy Sel’ari long enough, surely retribution shall find you. 

What words of wisdom would you give your author if she decided to write another book with you in it? 

Oh, I know I’m in the second novel. I’ve already spent the time in her drafts, flitting about the pages. And I say this with a forced politeness: I am not pleased—not pleased at all at where I now find myself… Or where I know I am headed. 

Thank you for this interview, Sellemar.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

Until my time on Aersadore has expired, I shall always come when Sel’ari calls.


Title: Kings or Pawns (Steps of Power, The Kings: Book I)

Genre: Fantasy

Author: J.J. Sherwood


Publisher: Silver Helm

Purchase at Amazon

About the Book:

Kings or Pawns is the first novel in the Steps of Power series. It takes place after two very significant events in the world—the continental division between the human and elven races after the betrayal and death of Aersadore’s hero, Eraydon, and the recent Royal Schism that has left the elven nation’s politics even more corrupted than was prior. The new elven king, Hairem, is determined to overcome the council’s corruption and restore the elven lands, but he has far more to contend with than just the politics within the capital: an assassin has begun killing those loyal to him, a rebelling warlord threatens the city from without, and an unknown beast devastates the king’s forces at every turn. There are multiple points of view—the youthful and naïve king Hairem; the mute and spunky servant girl, Alvena; the mysterious and arrogant foreigner, Sellemar; and the cynical, dry-humored General Jikun.


About the Author:

JJ. Sherwood was born in Tucson, Arizona on New Year’s Eve—and has always had a flair for the dramatics. JJ began writing in kindergarten and her first work was completed by the age of 5: a riveting tale of a duck attempting to climb into an apartment during the pouring rain.

Unfortunately this book is not in print, but it served as the first spark that spurred on a lifetime of creativity. JJ continued writing throughout her school years and escaped the horrors of short-story writing in college, ready and eager to write meaty, character-driven novels. With over 250 well-rounded characters developed from her nearly 20 years of roleplaying, JJ dove straight into the rich history of Aersadore, ready to let her puppeteers pull her creative strings.

JJ lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with her spouse, parrot, bearded dragon, and four cats who look far too similar.






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