Today, I have author Evelyn Benvie in the interview chair. We’re discussing her latest release I Am Not Your Chosen One, book one in the Not Your Chosen series, a m/m fantasy romance. Don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway.
1. Hi, Evelyn. First off, readers have an idea of the writer you, but what about the everyday you? Can you share about your personal life?
Evelyn: I live in a small town in New England and work at my local library. When I’m not there I spend an inordinate amount of my time reading fanfiction and doomscrolling Twitter. I’m trying to spend more time reading actual books but so far it’s … not going great.
2. I’ve been perusing your website and see you are drawn to queer-positive spec-fiction. Can you share why you chose this genre to write about?
Evelyn: As someone who is queer myself (asexual/aromantic/demigender), I am literally incapable of writing something that isn’t queer-positive. Spec-fiction is just a personal preference of mine: I have always been drawn to fantasy especially, both for reading and writing. I love the escapism of it, the ability to fully remove myself from my own reality while reading fantasy.
3. Your latest novel is I Am Not Your Chosen One. Can you tell me what inspired you to write this book?
Evelyn: Spite. Okay so not really, but I was annoyed at some kind of portrayal of the Chosen One trope I saw somewhere (and I literally don’t even remember where) and I was like, wouldn’t it be so much funnier if …
And then a year later I had written a book.
4. When first developing I Am Not Your Chosen One, did the plot come first or the characters?
Evelyn: The plot, with the caveat that the plot has changed drastically since I first started developing it. I Am Not Your Chosen One was originally going to be a standalone book with a much heavier focus on necromancy. Don’t ask. The characters started to develop to fit the needs of the plot and were originally just called their role names. There was Main Character, Angel, Warrior, and Healer.
Needless to say, those have changed too.
5. What kind of research did I Am Not Your Chosen One involve?
Evelyn: Mostly just memes and looking up how to spell words that even autocorrect couldn’t help me with.
6. Let’s talk about the main character Kell Hồ Sinh Porter. What do you love most about him and what makes you want to shake him?
Evelyn: I love his sense of humor, which is really just my sense of humor. But I love that I get to write a character that is funny and jaded and not really into the whole Chosen One thing.
That said, it can sometimes backfire because he really is not a hero, which means having to write around his reluctance to do heroic things. So a scene that could have been conquered by your typical Chosen One needs a much more creative work-around, which often means more plotting and writing and re-plotting for me.
7. Without giving away any spoilers, what was your favourite scene to write and why?
Evelyn: The mushroom scene. Even before I knew for certain what my book was going to be about I knew that scene was going to be in it.
8. If a reader asked you why they should read I Am Not Your Chosen One, what would you tell them?
Evelyn: I would tell them “It’s funny,” while not making eye contact with them. Awkward silence would follow as they wait for me to say more. I wouldn’t. Instead, I would slowly sidle away from them and hope no one else talks to me that day.
Just kidding. But it is funny and has great queer rep and a low-key adventure that focuses more on character relations than fighting or heroics. It’s a great book for people who love everything about D&D except the battles.
9. What can we expect from you in the future? Care to share about your current WIP?
Evelyn: I Am Not Your Chosen One is the first book in the Not Your Chosen series. Book two is already finished and in the process of being editing, and I’m currently working on book three. I’m afraid I can’t share much about it yet though!
10. What do you enjoy most about writing?
Evelyn: Dialogue! I love writing dialogue and character interaction most of all. I also like planning out new ideas (more than I like having to write them).
11. What do you enjoy least about writing?
Evelyn: Editing. And the weird middle ground between ideas. Like when I know where one scene starts and then where the next scene starts, but I don’t know what it is that happens to connect them.
12. I enjoy doing random questions, so humour me:
- What’s your favourite movie?
The Cat Returns
- What book is currently in your e-reader?
The Witch King by H. E. Edgmon
- Who’s your favourite musical group?
- What song puts a smile on your face?
“Numb Little Bug” by Em Beihold is my current obsession
13. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Evelyn: Fun fact! The first book’s antagonist has two minions who are named after the two Everquest avatars I had in middle school. My avatars where Mystel and Asheatia—keep an eye out for them in I Am Not Your Chosen One.
Title: I Am Not Your Chosen One
Series: Not Your Chosen, book #1
Author: Evelyn Benvie
Genres: High Fantasy Humor, M/M Romance, Demisexual romance
Tropes: Refusal of the Call, Slow Burn Romance
Themes: Found family, self-acceptance, finding home
Publisher: Mischief Corner Books
Release Date: June 14, 2022
Heat Rating: 1 flame
Length: 102 000 words
Magic in Allune is dying. The stars and the goddess call out for a Chosen Hero to save it. Unfortunately, all they get is Kell.
Blurb: IKell Hồ Sinh Porter is twenty-six years old and desperate to leave his unhappy life and his dead-end town. One night his wish is granted by a mysterious voice—though not in any way he would’ve imagined—and he finds himself in the semi-magical land of Allune where everyone thinks he’s the “Chosen One.” Kell politely disagrees, and absconds from his duties. On the search for an adventure that doesn’t come with world-saving responsibility attached, he’s joined by companions. Every adventurer needs them, but his turn out to be Ansel, a sheltered fallen angel, and Fre, a half-orlk who wants to be a hero.
Destiny, bad luck, and the gods conspire against him. The Dawn Goddess wants him to take up his Chosen One mantle, which Kell is sure means becoming cannon fodder in an ancient divine war. The Lich King’s demonic minions carry out sporadic attacks in an attempt to kill him and prove he is not the Chosen One. Temperamental elves, talking stars that aren’t all that helpful, image-conscious demons, maddening pieces of prophecy that everyone thinks Kell should already know, and his growing feelings for Ansel all mix in a frustrating stew as Kell tries to juggle his feelings, his duties, and all the things trying to kill him. No one asked him if he wanted to be anyone’s Chosen One, and he can’t begin to understand why he was chosen. Kell needs to figure out who to trust and how to forge his own path before it’s too late for Allune and for him.
Note: It is the first book in a new series and does not end on a cliffhanger.
Kell woke up slowly. Awareness filtered back to him in pieces. Rough wood under his palms. The warmth of the sun on his skin. The low, tumbling murmur of gathered people. Something weighing hot and heavy against his ribcage. The scent of fresh baking and old sweat mixing on his tongue. He wrinkled his nose and blinked his eyes open.
He was lying on a platform near the middle of town, judging by the smell and the noise. That wasn’t necessarily troubling in and of itself. But the sky …
It was blue, yes, and the sun was midmorning high and bright enough to make his eyes water. But there were stars speckling the sky all above him, little pink pinpricks of light dusting what should have been a solid-blue backdrop. Kell stared at them hard for a long moment, then closed his eyes again.
Weren’t dreams supposed to end when you woke up? What was this, a dream within a dream?
Whatever it was, he didn’t feel up to dealing with it right now.
Apparently the world wasn’t going to give him a choice. Someone nudged at his leg, gently at first but with increasing insistence.
Someone, Kell thought, with perhaps an edge of bubbling hysteria, or something. He giggled a little, biting his lip to keep the sound in. God, what is with me?
Maybe he had heat stroke. It was unusually warm out now for only being March.
What had happened last night? Fuck it. He didn’t remember getting drunk enough to pass out in the middle of the street. He didn’t remember planning on drinking at all.
A throat cleared above him, polite but impatient. Oh, well. Time for him to get up anyway before he got cited for public drunkenness or whatever. Kell made an effort to lift his head, but it was hard, and he was tired, and staying here a little longer couldn’t hurt, right?
Was public drunkenness even a real crime?
“Oh for the love of Skuache …” someone muttered, and then Kell found himself being gripped firmly on either side and hauled upwards. He let out a yelp of surprise, flailing around as strong arms did their best to hold him steady. The world spun as he opened his eyes, and it took a moment to get his feet under him. He staggered a bit, keeping his eyes trained on his feet for balance until he felt he wouldn’t fall over at any moment. Not that his rescuers had any intention of letting him go any time soon, with the way they held onto his arms just this side of too tight.
Shouldn’t have wished for the cops last night if this is where it gets me.
“Really, goddess,” the person continued to mutter. They sounded close. And important in a kind of college professor way. The kind used to lecturing and looking down on failing students. Kell dubbed him Professor Throat Clearer and entertained a brief image of a stuffy man in tweed giving lectures on how to properly interrupt conversation with discreet noises. It sounded like a fun class. Kell would have taken it.
“I have faith in your efforts, I truly do,” Professor Throat Clearer continued, speaking low and to himself. “But I swear, these Chosen get worse every time.”
Evelyn Benvie is the wooly jumper in a family of black sheep. Both a cynic and a romantic at heart, she writes diverse poetry and queer-positive spec-fiction with strong characters, quirky romances, and (almost always) happy endings.
Sometimes she’ll try to be funny, to varying results.
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