IR– What does it mean to you to be called an author?
EB– It means that I did it. I wrote a book. I’m not a particularly philosophical person; I don’t really get into the meaning or existentialism of what authorship is. I just know that I, me, this person behind the keyboard here wrote a book that you, the reader of this sentence can now possess. Or not. That part isn’t really important to being an author. It’s the fact that I managed to actually finish writing and editing a book, one hundred thousand words of made up nonsense compiled into a plausible story—that is what it means to be called an author.
I would still like for you to possess it, though.
IR– Can you tell us a bit about the story and its main characters?
EB– Kell Hồ Sinh Porter is twenty-six years old, living at home, and desperate to leave 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 doesn’t agree with this decision. He also doesn’t agree with the way Allune is handling its prophecies, its chosen ones, or its concept of destiny. What he does agree with is the idea of a grand adventure, the kind he’s only read about before.
Ignoring almost everything people try to tell him about his role, he sets off to explore his new world and gather an adventuring party of his own. He finds Ansel, a shy celesian who claims he can’t do magic, and Fre’ja, an orlk warrior who wants to be a hero far more than Kell does. Together, they will … not exactly save the world, but certainly not make it any worse.
IR– What was the most surprising thing you learned in writing this book?
EB– That I could really plot out and write not just a 100k book but a series as well. Not Your Chosen is the biggest project I have undertaken yet and I’m still amazed that I have not one but two fully written books in a series already!
Tell us about a favorite character from the book.
EB– All of them? I don’t know if I could pick! But a favorite character just for the first book … I’ll have to go with Lord Insidious, the more or less main antagonist of the book. He just tries so hard to do his job and the heroes refuse to cooperate with him. Poor guy.
IR– Do you have any “side stories” about any of the characters?
EB– Yes! Each book in this series will have one to two “bonus” stories from one of the secondary character’s point of view. I Am Not Your Chosen One has the side story of Fre’ja, the orlk warrior who wants to be a hero but isn’t quite sure how to go about doing it.
IR– Where did you come up with the names in the story?
EB– Naming is something I tend to do intuitively, especially with the more fantasy names. I will come up with a “sound” for the language or culture they’re from (for instance, orlks use a lot of apostrophes in names while celesian names tend to end with –el or -en). The names will then flow from that initial “sound.”
The only names in I Am Not Your Chosen One that have real structure or rules to them are the elven names, which will always begin with the same set of letters depending on which subset of elves they are. For instance, there is a Mosswood elf whose name in Anophylloya—“Ano” from anophyte, a word for moss.
IR– How do you avoid or defeat writer’s block?
EB– Oh, I don’t. I usually just try to outwait it. It’s not the best coping method and will continue to get worse as I publish more books and start having scary things like deadlines to worry about. But I try not to think about that.
What advice would you give to a writer working on their first book?
Just keep going. It’s probably the same advice everyone else gives but it is genuinely the only advice worth listening to. You don’t need a degree or writing seminars or special books, you just need to keep writing. It’s the only thing that will fill up that blank page. Everything else you can fix later.
IR– What are you working on in the near future?
EB– I am currently working on the third book in this Not Your Chosen series. After that, I have a number of ideas. One of them is actually for yet another humorous portal fantasy novel so I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not!
IR– Who is your audience?
EB– There’s the honest answer and the ideal answer. The honest answer is myself. I have found I write my best when I write what I want to read. The ideal answer is anyone who likes queer comic fantasy, or portal fantasy novels, or even isekai.
IR– What do you look for in a story as a reader?
EB– A certain level of queerness and a plot that’s not too intense or scary. I like lighter and fluffier books, especially fantasy and humor. Romance is nice but I usually want a plot other than just will-they-won’t-they. I really love manga and graphic novels too!
IR– Aside from writing or reading, what are your hobbies or interests?
EB– I love video games, especially ones that let you be gay and fight things. Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Rune Factory 5, and Hades are my current favorites. As for hobbies, I have so many I dabble in and then get distracted from and forget about: sewing, crochet, embroidery, resin crafting, coloring, tarot reading and the art of KonMarie are some that I keep coming back to. I’ve also just started playing D&D this year.
IR– Name three fun facts about you or your work.
EB– *Lord Insidious had his nickname first and his real name second, *his minions are named after my middle school Everquest avatars,
*and the entire elven naming system is based on a pun.
Book Title: I Am Not Your Chosen One
Author: Evelyn Benvie
Publisher: Mischief Corner Books
Cover Artist: Natasha Snow
Release Date: June 14, 2022
Genres: High Fantasy Humor, M/M Romance, Demisexual romance
Tropes: Refusal of the Call, Slow Burn Romance
Themes: Found family, self-acceptance, finding home
Heat Rating: 1 flame
Length: 102 000 words
It is the first book in a new series and does not end on a cliffhanger.
Buy Links Amazon US | Amazon UK
B&N | Kobo | Apple
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.
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.
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.”
About the Author
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.