June Chevalier is the author of Vile Artistry, his debut novel. He is a student of English Literature who loves to write, read, play music, and play video games. He has been a drummer for both a pop-punk band in high school and a rock/post-grunge band in college, and has written several songs during his time playing and touring with the bands. He also loves to 3D model the characters from his stories. But what he loves most of all is bringing the world of his imagination into his readers’ minds in a vivid picture.
You can reach him online on his Instagram account (@junechevalier)
CONNECT WITH JUNE
Welcome to SPFM, June! Since we already have your bio, describe yourself in three words.
Passionate, quiet, easy-going
Summarize your book, Vile Artistry, using one gif.
If you could recommend three self-published books, which would you choose and why?
Winds of Strife by U.G. Gutman
Voice of War by Zack Argyle
Wildcat by J.P. Harker
First of all because they are all amazing authors, second of all because the quality of their writing is mind-bogglingly great.
What is your favorite part, and your least favorite part of self-publishing?
Being able to have total freedom over my content, cover, and the layout of the book is definitely a huge plus for me. The marketing part is also great since I got to meet new people in the process, and the community is a great place. Least favorite part might be the difficulty in getting my book in the radar, and since I’ve only published my debut, it is very difficult to convince people to read my work. But I could still rule it out as a flaw in my part due to my lack of marketing skills.
How do you approach worldbuilding?
I see worldbuilding as an art form. But as many other art forms, like paintings, music, etc., worldbuilding could feel soulless, especially without the characters that populate the world. So my mindset in writing a story is to treat worldbuilding as another character; that way, I could avoid mistaking worldbuilding for a priority over the other characters.
My interest in anthropology also helps me build a fantasy world. It helps me realize that the relations between social groups are not linear, but dialectical, where one group influences the second group, and the second group reacts back upon the first group to create a perpetual cycle of power dynamic. This social and political climate would in turn shape the characters and influence their decisions. This is what I mean by “worldbuilding is another character in the story.”
When did you start writing?
At age 10, when trying to submit a story for my school magazine.
What’s your process for creating fully fleshed-out characters?
I always base my characters on either a real person or at least a personality that I’ve stumbled upon somewhere, like movies or video games. The next step is to create some kind of character twist by either modifying, adding traits from other people, or reversing the personality of the source of inspiration. Once I’ve got to know that far into the character, I try to reverse engineer them to reach their history. And their history is important in determining their goals in life, motivation, or even quirks in their speech, for example. These qualities would in turn determine their choices when they are being put in a situation at some point in the story.
I could almost feel myself sitting down with these characters when I write about a scene where they have to make decisions. I let them choose their own choice, and that is why my outline keeps changing as I’m writing a story, because my plot comes secondhand when my characters say otherwise. I still have an end goal in mind, but the way these characters get there should be left for them to decide.
What are common traps for aspiring writers?
I can only speak about it from my experience, but the way different things give me different inspirations have been a problem for me since I would stop writing one story and move onto the next just because I feel inspired to write something else. The way I manage to overcome that problem is by taking this new inspiration and try to integrate it with the story that I’m currently writing. That way, I would not discard a project just because I don’t feel like doing it anymore, and it would even help strengthen the story that I’m writing since there are ideas coming from various sources.
I feel like collecting firewood when writing. Sometimes I would stumble upon a really nice stick that would burn easily, but when I’m burning it, I would find another stick that would burn even brighter. And in the past I have abandoned my first fire to create another fire from this new stick, until I found a way to put the second stick into my first fire so that it would burn even brighter together.
Do you use any special writing software?
To keep my worldbuilding in one organized place, I use Notion app. There’s endless possibility to customize the template depending on my need for a specific topic like the religions of the world, or the list of kings of a certain kingdom, etc. It’s also stored in cloud, so it can sync with my other devices if I want to write on the go.
If Vile Artistry were made into a movie, which actor would play your MC?
A younger version of Mila Kunis would perfect as Lilya.
Describe a tavern that would be found in your literary world!
The Frothing Head is a famous tavern at a crossroad between so many things. It stands right where merchants both from the west and east would turn while on their way to the port city of New Estrunia. It is where pilgrims would rest while on their journey to visit the High Templar’s seat. And since the route north of the Sveldren Range has very few and far between settlements, the southern route is more preferrable for travelers from both the eastern kingdoms and the western kingdoms if they want to travel to the other part of the continent. And the Frothing Head sits in the middle.
So it is a lavish place, but quite a dirty one since so many people come and go every single day. It is managed by so many workers: from human to dwarves to elves, a meeting point for both criminals and important people, the immoral and the pious. It is also where so many actors and actresses and singers and bards gain popularity, thanks to the daily performance held within its whitewashed walls. It has also seen bloody conflicts, assassinations, and the brewing of a large conspiracy. So please come by should you wish to hear tales from the road, or, of course, should you wish to tell your own.
About Vile Artistry (The Nightling Grimoire #1)
Lilya, a girl with the ability to transform into shadow is banished from her tribe and finds herself a new home under the foster care of a lord. Her recklessness soon causes her to make a mistake which results in her tribe’s safety being compromised. Her lord father is then tasked with locating her tribe under the pressure of the Inquisition. Lilya is thus torn between two choices, redeeming herself by saving her tribe from destruction or saving her stepfather who has taken her and loved her as his own; for if he refuses to take up the task, he would be accused of protecting outlaws and is thus liable to death by hanging.