Fumi "Stephanie" Hancock is a walking example of how an ordinary person from a shackled life of broken promises and shattered dreams can live a fulfilled destiny. After twenty years of dropping her pen, she picks it right back up again by releasing The Grimmlyn Series: The Adventures of Jewell Cardwell, Hydra's Nest. She ascribes her writing to her life experiences, which were many times challenging. According to her, the protagonists and antagonists in her novels often come from the darkest moments of her life--a tribute to the fact that something good can come out of mysterious and difficult circumstances, if we choose to turn our challenges around. Age is merely a number where success is concerned.
She also pulls some of her characters from her travels around the world--in particular, exotic Africa--uniquely weaving her tales. Fumi loves to write for young adults, particularly urban fantasy, and paranormal nonfiction with a touch of romance. She aspires to one day write a mystery/detective novel for the adult audience. But for now, she is content with her young adult audience.
With her background in nursing, she gently nurses her unusual characters to life for her readers to enjoy.
She lives in Tennessee with her husband, Dr. David Hancock, and her two grown sons, Bola and Demola Thompson. She cherishes her two stepdaughters, who reside in Michigan.
Thank you for this interview, Fumi, can you tell us a little about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?
This question always cracks me up whenever I’m being asked. Let me share a story my parents shared with me over 14 years ago. I must have been around 2 years old when this incident happened. Mother always told me that at two while most kids were getting into various things, I had one … it was to write on any paper available at my disposal. My mum told me that it didn’t matter what type of paper it was, I would scribble things on it. At first, it was cute but when I started writing on important documents, they soon did not find it funny. At one point, for almost two weeks, my parents would put me in a room with old newspapers, gave me a marker and told me to go at it until I was tired. They felt that would help me to calm down a little where writing was concerned. They were wrong! If you asked my parents, they would tell when at the age of 2 was when I started writing something! As for me, I can recall back as far as 6 or 7 years old when I started writing poetry.
Can you tell us briefly what your book is about?
Lying gracefully between the Vaal River in the north and the Orange River in the south, the rolling grassland and fields of crops rising to a lovely sandstone mountain, is Milner Court, Bloemfontein, a suburb nestled in the middle of Free State, South Africa.
The Adventures of Jewel Cardwell: Hydra’s Nest magically transports its readers from the rolling hills of Bloemfontein to the beautiful farmlands of Bela-bela South Africa. It is a fantasy-based coming of age story of a rebellious 17 year old teenager who (through no fault of her own) is thrust into an environment ridden with unfamiliar and unsavory demonic activities when admitted into a prep school in South Africa.
As Jewel Cardwell is relentlessly being trailed by an unapologetic family curse, she races against time to find answers before the curse wipes out all of her loved ones.
In the midst of this demonic war, she becomes entangled in a love triangle between a young rugged-looking Darwin Morton who she grew up with on Milner Court and the very wealthy and popular high school soccer team leader with the silver spoon in his mouth, Eric Broder.
Who is your intended audience? Have you been able to crossover into other audiences as well?
My intended audience is young adults mostly around 16 – 35 years of age. Thus far, I have had men and women over 35 years reading the book and loving it. I am totally humbled by their generosity.
Why did you choose your particular genre?
I chose Young Adult Fantasy because of my genuine love for everything young adults. As a mother of two “young men,” I believe they are close to my characters. In addition, my recurring visits to Africa to care for my African children have been a great incentive for me to write something they would read, understand, enjoy and possibly see themselves in. I dedicate the Adventures of Jewel Cardwell to my African kids.
Do you ever experience self-doubts with your work?
Sometimes as authors, we are hard on ourselves. When putting the plot together, self doubts do creep in. However, by the time I am done, I would have had enough of revamping my line s that all I do is lay the book down and not worry about it anymore.
Where do you write? Do you have a favorite place?
I write mostly in my bedroom. I wake up at 2 am and too lazy to go down the hallway to my office… so I write in bed. It’s my favorite place to write.
What kind of research did you have to do during the writing process?
Wow! a loaded question. Arhh… yes! My trips to Africa truly inspired me to dig further into using it as the setting for my book. Other popular fantasy books like the twilight and Amanda Hocking’s Tryll series have used the US; Harry Potter used certain parts of Europe. I wanted to bring something even more spectacular and unique.
Though many of my characters are not true bred Africans, The Adventures of Jewel Cardwell: Hydra’s Nest truly explored the dynamics in their lifestyles. It also exposes the way they mingle or co-exist with each other.
In addition, I had to do a lot of research on South Africa as well as other parts of Africa. I pulled from my pool of experiences while born and raised in West Africa. All of these provided the framework for my FANTASY novel.
Who is your publisher and how did you get accepted by them? Did you pitch your book yourself or go through an agent?
I have published with Books on Demand Publisher- iUniverse. They are great as you have access to traditional publishing houses editors. They will work with you to ensure that you put out a great book. I loved the whole process.
How are you promoting your book thus far?
Facebook! Facebook! Facebook! I have also announced several parts of the book on my twitter. I have hosted some FREE BOOK Giveaways: eBooks and autographed Print Books. This has brought people to my facebook site as well as my website.
In this digital age, we have so many tools, in particular in the area of marketing. It is one thing to write, it is another to ensure that your readers are able to locate your book. Social Media is a big one: Facebook (www.facebook.com/fumihancockgrimmlyn) has worked really well for me. The twitter (www.twitter.com/fumihancock) is also another tool I use to connect with my readers. You tube (http://www.youtube.com/user/TheFromscratchtv) has helped to announce my trailer to the world and Pinterest (http://pinterest.com/fumihancock/) has enabled me to connect with those who pin my book to their walls too. Ofcourse the tool I am investigating now is the virtual publicity tour which I am currently on with Pump Up Your Books. It promises some giveaways etc. (www.worldoffumihancock.com).
If you could give one book promotion tip to new authors, what would that be?
One tool I am investigating now is the virtual publicity tour which I am currently on with Pump Up Your Books. It promises some giveaways etc. (www.worldoffumihancock.com)~ a great tool.
What’s next for you?
Absolutely! I am hoping to get the 1st edition, the author’s edition out by March-April 2013. The Sorcerer’s Purgatory will be the second in the Grimmlyn Series. Here, one of the characters, Kaya Darkling the Sorcerer’s daughter in The Adventures of Jewel Cardwell will be a main contender. Behind-the-scenes and Cover Reveal are already published at: http://www.worldoffumihancock.com/#the_sequel/crpz
I think the behind-the-scene and the cover reveal will titillate my readers and prepare them for a great saga. This adventures promises to kick the fun and magical encounters up more notches! Thank heavens; this will not take me another two years to finish!
Thank you for this interview, Fumi. Can you tell us where we can find you on the web?
MY WISH LIST FOR READERS: