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  • Writer's pictureElaine Marie Carnegie

The Quest for Truth

by J. D. Edwards

Please welcome J. D. Edwards to the Writers Journey Blog this week!

Since childhood, JD utilized his vivid imagination by creating worlds in his sandbox and adding backstories to his action figures. He could have played with friends, but he didn’t have any… not after age 7, at least.

His father was a minister and moved the family around the country every year or two. After saying goodbye to his best friend and blood brother, a Cherokee named Chris, JD made the conscious choice to stop making friends. He withdrew into his own imagination, where he couldn’t be hurt anymore. He continued developing his ability to create believable characters with complicated backstories through his adolescence. Books were his new friends, and he absorbed them until the covers fell off.

In 1995, JD wrote his first short story for a creative writing class called The Quest for Truth. In 2016, this morphed into A Matter of Time, and in 2021, it became The Phantom Seer. In 1997, JD broke free of his introverted shell to find making friends difficult. Having not interacted with people for fifteen years, he found social situations awkward. In November 2000, he married a woman from his hometown, but their first son, Jonathan Ian Edwards, died the following year. In 2003, he and his wife had another boy, and JD decided it was time for his masterpiece: The Faerie Chronicles. He wanted a write a YA Fantasy series his son could someday enjoy.

He completed the first book, Brander, in 2006 and paid over $2500 to have it professionally edited by two highly recommended editors. Six years and 107 rejections later, JD was on the verge of giving up with a Vanity Publisher offered him a contract for his book. He jumped the opportunity without researching the company first. The company, Publish America, later became America Star Books and went bankrupt in 2017. JD had just completed two more books, Pangari and Swansa, so he shopped around for a new publisher. Unfortunately, Publish America had such a bad reputation in the publishing community, it marked his book as tainted goods.

Undaunted, JD conversed with agents and publishers to find out what they looked for in a book and what caused them to reject new authors. He took their suggestions and created a new editing template to remove adverbs, dialogue tags, passive voice, data dumps, and filler words from his narration. After a complete re-write of Brander, he rebranded the book into The Scions of Faerie, publishing it in 2018. He re-wrote Pangari and Swansa, using the same editing methods, and published them as The Soul-Stones of Faerie (2019) and The Half-Blood of Faerie (2020). He completed The Faerie Chronicles series in 2021 with the 4th book in the series, The Priestess of Faerie.

He pitched his new books in #SFFPit and #PitMad, garnering significant interest. Still, no publisher or agent wanted to take a chance on the rest of the series. The publishers feared a lawsuit over copyright infringement because the first book was published under a different name through Publish America. He provided proof of the return of his book rights, but the publishers and agents were adamant. They wouldn’t touch the series without access to all four books and didn’t trust the copyright return to the first book. With no other options, JD self-published the books with and turned to a new project.

Learning from his mistakes, JD wrote a Historical Fiction, Indomitable, about the life of Eliza Harris. As many people know, Eliza Harris was a fictional character in Uncle Tom’s Cabin. JD discovered first-hand information about Eliza’s true story and adventure because his family helped her escape to Canada. This book is being reviewed by sensitivity readers to ensure JD is sensitive to the Black Community in his depiction of Eliza’s enslavement and escape. While the book was being reviewed, he took on a side project to help edit a romance novel for a member of the Writing Community. When not editing, he rereads the book series of his favorite author, Terry Brooks.

Looking forward, JD has plans for another historical fiction called Dauntless. This story is based on the life of his immigrant ancestor, who was kidnapped from Scotland in 1740 and sold to George Washington’s minister to work a Virginia plantation in Fairfax.

JD also plans to write a prequel fantasy series: The Origins of Faerie. Like The Faerie Chronicles, this series will include four books: The Genesis of Faerie, The Demons of Faerie, The Druid of Faerie, and The Defender of Faerie. He is currently trying to find representation for The Phantom Seer but may expand the novella into a full-length Sci-Fi novel.

Since 2012, JD has won over a dozen writing competitions with the Ohio Genealogical Society and now serves as a judge to allow new talent a chance to win the writing competitions. He also transcribes journals from the 1850s for the Ohio Genealogical Society. His horror flash fiction story, Killing Time, won the Share Your Scare writing competition in 2019. Killing Time was based on a nightmare JD experienced in 1993, which haunted him for years.

This year, he plans to enter the competition with another horror flash fiction story, tentatively titled: What Lies Within. Although a horror story, the narrative will focus on Preston Manor from The Priestess of Faerie and will take place a few months after the events in that book. JD’s message to both new and struggling authors is:

“Never give up. Rejection is a part of the process."

"Use the rejection letters to learn what you’re doing wrong, correct your mistakes, and move forward. Everyone receives rejection letters, but it’s how we handle the rejection that defines us as writers. Beware of Vanity Publishers and all those seeking money from you to publish. Self-Publishing isn’t a bad choice, but if you choose to self-publish, do it because you want to and not because you’re forced to or tired of rejections. Jumping the gun can ruin your reputation.”

For More:

Scions of Faerie

Soul Stones of Faerie

Half-Blood of Faerie

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Jim Bates
Jim Bates
Aug 19, 2021

Man, what an amazing story, J. D. Thank you so much for sharing it. You are truly an inspiration. Here's wishing all the best for continued success. You certainly deserve it :)


Aug 16, 2021

Yes, I echo the "Wow"! What a struggle in the beginnings. And some hard lessons. But, finally coming out on top and prevailing in so many ways. Kudos, and all the best! 😊


Aug 16, 2021

Wow! What a difficult climb to find success and what strength to stick with it until JD's dream was realized. Great interview!


Priscilla Bettis
Priscilla Bettis
Aug 15, 2021

JD's tenacity is inspirational.

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