Barbra Dillon, Fanboy Comics Managing Editor: You recently launched the fantasy series, The Lizard Queen, which consists of nine novels. Given the amount of time and dedication required to create such a large and diverse world, what inspired you to take on this endeavor?
H.L. Cherryholmes: I enjoy fantasy and adventure and am always game for discovering new worlds, but I felt there was a point of view that was fairly unrepresented. There are plenty of sagas anchored by men of all ages, whereas females almost always skew young. I began to imagine what would happen if a grown woman—a 40-year-old woman, in fact—was the one who was lifted from her own world and dropped into another. And, I really was excited about creating a mythical world with mature nations, religions, and social structures to focus on how perception drives action. The whole series is seen through the protagonist, Amy's, eyes.
BD: For our readers who may be unfamiliar with the series, how would you describe its premise?
HLC: The Lizard Queen series is a portal fantasy. Amy, a recently divorced CEO, goes for a morning jog and crosses paths with an orange lizard. On a whim, she chases it into a field and suddenly finds herself under a starless sky confronted by oddly marked and strangely colored people who claim she's there to rescue the world from evil’s grasp. The world is shrinking and she’s needed for it to expand once again. The trouble is no one seems to understand how she’s supposed to go about that. Also, not everyone wants it to happen, so there's a price on her head. Along with the young companions who found her, Licha and Jandro, Amy joins the swaggering Colonel Dack Sangcertigre—a member of the Trotéjo, the secret society sworn to protect her—to his home nation in search of a plan to fulfill the Promise of a New Morphósis.
BD: How would you describe your creative journey throughout the project, and what has your reaction been to reader response?
HLC: I’ve written the entire nine-book series, which took about eight years, and I have thoroughly enjoyed going on this ride! Creating a new world that is plausible in a fantastical way, of course, was exciting and a bit daunting. I had to come up with something that worked within the parameters of the world that Amy was dropped into. Having it told from her POV was my way of introducing the reader to the oddities of, as well as the unusual similarities between, that world and our own and making sense of it. From the start I knew where I wanted it to end, but the journey getting there took many unexpected, and surprising, turns which made it all the more fun to write. I have been so pleased by the readers' response with the first four novels. The Lizard Queen is meant to be read as a whole series and each book ends on a cliffhanger, so it is fun to see people anxious for each subsequent release.
BD: You had previously written the books, A Slight Touch and Come Back for Me. Do you feel that fans of these books would easily find a home in the Lizard Queen series?
HLC: Before I began writing novels I was a playwright, and through that, I learned the power of perception. If you can do so convincingly, you can get your audience to accept the premise no matter what it is. The other two books I’ve written, A Slight Touch and Come Back for Me, are set in our world and time and are more character-driven but have elements of magical realism within them, which isn’t that far from the type of fantasy that is The Lizard Queen. So, yes, I believe readers who enjoyed my first two books would definitely enjoy the series and vice versa.
BD: Do you have a release date set for all of the books, and how will they be released?
HLC: Books One through Four are available now. Books Five and Six will come out this August. Book Seven will come out in November, and the final two books, Eight and Nine, will come out March of 2016.
BD: Are there any other projects on which you are working that you are able to share with our readers?
HLC: Until I get all nine books out, I can’t imagine any other projects!
BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell our readers who want to learn more about The Lizard Queen and your other work?
HLC: To learn more about The Lizard Queen series, visit my website, www.thelizardqueen.com.