The Raven Moonstone: An Interview with Author VJ Garske!
When VJ Garske wrote The Raven Moonstone, she brought to life her passion for promoting the value of reading to young minds. With a talent for storytelling and her grandson in mind, she set out to create her debut novel, which follows Noah as he battles with loss, an eccentric librarian, and some magical mishaps. A sweeping narrative, strong character development, and beautiful scenery all blend together to make The Raven Moonstone a perfect YA read.
To learn more about the story behind the story, read A Good Book To End The Day’s interview with the author below.
What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
I learned at a young age that words have power. Some of my best childhood memories were of escaping into a book. I loved reading. Often, I felt that the characters were my friends. Losing myself in books helped me through a lonely childhood. Books have always been a part of my life, and I'm still an avid reader.
Tell us about The Raven Moonstone.
Noah accidentally changes the librarian into a goat and scrambles to fix his mistake. But there's a problem: he doesn't know he's a wizard. After losing his parents in a freak accident, Noah struggles with his emotions. He copes by believing life is easier if he doesn't think about certain things.
Questions about his parents' death bubble to the surface, and he vows to discover the truth. Was it nefarious magic or corporate greed? Everyone in town has a secret, but the biggest mystery is the one his parents took to their grave.
Noah's on a mission to find the Raven Moonstone and reverse the spell before it's too late.
It's a fast-paced, coming-of-age fantasy adventure where nothing is what it seems in the quirky town of Sweetwater. It's a fun, fantastical misadventure with spills, thrills, and unlikely heroes
I wanted to share positive words of wisdom with my grandson. I thought he'd be more interested if the story had wizards and monsters. But ultimately, it's about the undeniable power of forgiveness.
What inspired the idea for your book?
I started my grand adventure traveling the back roads of America in our Transit van named Vanimal. During this time, my husband and I visited 38 states. And all the while, a crazy idea to write a novel kept nagging at me. I have always been a storyteller, and writing a book was on my bucket list. But I never got around to putting anything on paper. Then one morning, I saw a goat jump out of an SUV. My curiosity won, so I walked over and introduced myself to the young man with dreadlocks and a goat. We shared a cup of coffee and had a great conversation about books. The ephemeral camaraderie of travelers sparked my imagination, and that's when I thought I would weave my travels into a story. I didn't expect to be able to complete the project so quickly, but when I started to write, the characters flew off the page. It was a surreal experience.
What were the challenges in bringing this book to life?
There were several challenges. Ferocious editing was one, then when I finished my book, my son challenged me to self-publish. He had the audacity to tell me a pdf wasn't a book and that I had to publish it before he'd read it. Not one to back down from a challenge, I taught myself how to use Kindle Direct Publishing. It was a fantastic day when my son finished my book, and he said it was amazing and asked have I started the second one?
All kidding aside, the biggest challenge was the vulnerability of sharing my work with others. I stepped out of my comfort zone to promote my book on social media, and when the reviews came back positive, I cried. I know that sounds like a cliché, but it's the truth. I had never expected to feel so vulnerable, and I don't know if I would have done it, knowing how exposed I felt sharing my story.
Do you have any other projects in the works at this time?
Yes, I am working on the second book in my series. Noah has much to learn and finds himself in big trouble once again. The book is called The Dragon Moonstone, and I plan to release book two in August.
What does literary success look like to you?
I'm proud of my book. The Raven Moonstone is a positive, imaginative story. I don't expect to compete with the big publishers; I simply want to prove I can do it again. After all, I still have more grandchildren. If I can leave a smile on a reader's face, my book is a success, and if they pass the word on to others to read, I'll be happy.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
If you want to write, then write. But don't wait fifty years to give it a go. Believe in your story, and keep your reader in mind. Enjoy the experience. If you love what you are doing, the reader will feel it.
How can readers keep in touch with you?
The Raven Moonstone has its own Facebook page.
Thanks so much for being part of the A Good Book To End The Day family! Is there anything else you'd like to add?
I'm thankful and humbled by the support and success of my book. I want to thank those that read my book and left a positive review.