Miscellaneous

Author Interview: Don Bourque

Willow Awakened, Ascended, Avenged

Author Don Bourque
Illustrator Brayden Soto
Published in 2021
Publisher is Friesen Press
Available in eBook, paperback (print length 222 pages), Hardcover
Dark Fantasy for Youth Adults | Folk Tales & Myths Sagas & Epics for Young Adults

Love, loss, betrayal, sacrifice, war, politics and triumph in a fantasy setting. This novel offers excellent and surprising twists keep the reader engaged. To read my full review on Goodreads click: here. Don Bourque is an Indie Author from Canada. To learn more about the author continue reading.

Author Questions for Don:

About the author:

1. What was your favourite childhood book?

As sad as this sounds, I wasn’t much of a reader as a child. I think it has to do with having oral reading a part of my nightly school homework.

2. What do you do when you’re not writing?

For the moment, I enjoy pipe band drumming, while also involved with community groups like the Army Cadet League of Canada, the Royal Canadian Legion, and others.

3. Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Both. In writing, frustration turns to satisfaction when a thought gets transcribed to the page correctly.

4. What do you think makes a good story?

A good story needs characters who come to life in the reader’s mind, enough action and suspense to maintain interest, and a moral or lesson to be learned.

5. Do you celebrate when you finish writing a book? How?

There’s no celebration at the end of the manuscript, but seeing the final result, in “print ready” form, I relax with a few friends and drinks.

About the author’s writing habits:

1. When did you first realize that you wanted to write a book?

I’ve long wondered if I had what it takes, and as I prepared to retire, I was asked what I was passionate about. I guess that’s what gave me the kick, as my first draft of Willow was written in my last year of employment.

2. What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I place lots of time considering titles before drafting text. Ironically, the chapters in Willow AAA have no titles.

3. What’s your favourite writing snack and/or drink?

Black coffee.

4. What do you need in your writing space to stay focused?

Relative quiet. If drafting by hand, an eraser to go with the pencil. Otherwise my MacBook.

5. Are you a plotter or a pantser?

A bit of both. I create an outline using PowerPoint, with one slide per chapter and bullet points. Once I start writing, I often go “off-script” and follow where the story unfolds.

In relation to Willow Awakened, Ascended, Avenged:

1. How did you come up with the title?

At first, I was simply going to call it “Willow” and was told by my publisher that with the movie of the same name in the 1980s, there might be some confusion. They suggested a couple of alternatives. One was to name it Her Friends Called Her Willow, which is the closing sentence of each opening paragraph in the trilogy of novellas. I dismissed that summarily. We then discussed a title/subtitle combination which I agreed to. So the trilogy of novellas, “Willow Awakened”, “Willow Ascended” and “Willow Avenged” became the single volume of Willow Awakened, Ascended, Avenged.

2. What inspired your idea for this book?

I helped raise two stepdaughters to become strong women. Also, I worked with some young women in the mental health group home setting and admired their resilience. I even nicknamed one “Willow” for the way she could bend without breaking. I know this is where my main character got her own nickname of Willow.

3. How long did it take to write?

Because I was still working full time, I spent nine months writing the first draft.

4. What was your hardest chapter to write? What was the most fun chapter to write?

The hardest would have to be Chapter 4 in “Awakened” as there were so many characters to develop in her early captivity. The most fun was closer to the end, when (spoiler alert) the Forest Elves saved the day.

5. How do you select the names of your characters?

For the most part, it’s very haphazard. One of the most confusing conventions I used was for the firstborn of royal blood, giving Willow and her cousin similar names.

6. How did publishing your first book change your writing process?

In drafting the first book, I sent chapters to testers as I went, and often stalled while waiting for feedback. It was also confusing to them, trying to understand context in little compartments. Now, I draft the whole manuscript and send it for testing.

The big questions:

1. What advise would you give someone writing their first book?

It is very easy to draft a story and publish it by posting through online publishers I won’t name. Don’t do that. To have a book you can look at in 20 years with pride, there are some investments worth making. Three of those investments are editing, editing and editing. Shop around, of course, but have an experienced editor do a developmental edit, a copy edit and a proofread. The difference between a good book and a great book is editing. Next, whether a hobby or a new career, you are not just a scribe of thoughts; you are now an authorpreneur and marketing, sales, etc., will be part of your overall success.

2. Will there be a sequel to Willow Awaken, Ascended, Avenged?

While the conclusion of the last chapter effectively makes this trilogy standalone, the epilogue certainly leads one to think there’s more to come. The epilogue is right, of course, though not a direct sequel. The spin-off/sequel moves ahead in the timeline, but the point of view crosses the river into the Forest Elf Nation. The intent is that this second book will be followed by a third, final book where the point of view changes yet again.


Don’s book is available at most book retailers. But for ease of reference click the button below to check it out on Amazon.ca.

3 thoughts on “Author Interview: Don Bourque

  1. Good Stuff Shari.
    Don, I hope your book is well received and well read.
    BTW – I may try out your use of PPT for outlining
    I want to outline but have not come across a technique that I both like and can work with.
    Thanks Shari for making this interview happen and availale.

    Liked by 1 person

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