Thank you, Jean, that you're interested in my little interview. I know it's basically just you and me emailing each other questions and answers, nevertheless it really does mean a lot to me 😊 Well, let's start with some rather traditional questions: How are you today? And since we all love books, what's the last book you read?
I am doing great! Thanks so much for this opportunity to reach out to your blog fans, Julia! Things are moving along with the Kingsmen Chronicles this month. I’m about 80K words into the third novel Goldenmark, which should be on-time to release in March of 2018. So that makes me smile. ;-) And I’m currently reading The Stormlight Archive series by Brandon Sanderson – I just started the Way of Kings and I can’t put it down! Mr. Sanderson’s writing is phenomenal and I thoroughly enjoy it – not to mention get great ideas from it!
The Kingsmen Chronicles aren't just an epic fantasy book series, they're more like a whole world with it's own rules and magic systems, strong women and powerful men, bloody battles and the struggles between unfortunate lovers. You've been compared to famous authors like Patrick Rothfuss, Robin Hobb and George R. R. Martin and I, too, think that your books deserve so much more attention! But which of the KC books was more difficult to write, "Blackmark" or "Bloodmark", the second one?
Great question! Hmm… I think that Bloodmark (KC #2) was actually harder to write. I have such a big world with so much detail and backstory (the entire series will be nine books eventually, planned in three sets of trilogies) that it was a matter of really reining that novel in and not making it too confusing. I did a lot of planning of the world and back-history between books 1 and 2, and so the writing of Bloodmark really flowed - it was mostly just the editing that was a supreme challenge, and the editing phase took me about four months to get it tight for publication!
Let's talk about the writing process itself. Many authors have special rituals and habits while working on their stories: some have a strict "writing timetable", others maybe need music to help them immersing themselves into the atmosphere of their books. How about you, do you also have any kind of ritual?I think the biggest thing for me is making time for “immersion weeks”. I have ups and downs in my inspiration, and I’ve learned to flow with it. There are some weeks where I get a character’s story-line nailed down in my mind, and the creative juices are really good, and those weeks it’s not uncommon for me to hammer out 30K words! But when my inspiration slows down, I use that time to do deep-edits as the novel progresses – weeding out scenes and tightening interactions that don’t really contribute, as well as more world brainstorming. I also find that being outside helps my concentration for writing – putting my feet in the grass and listening to the trees move in the wind, it makes my mind go all kinds of places!
It's so amazing that even the least important minor sidekick in your books has a fully developed character and unique appearance (here I must admit that I often imagine actors for book characters, that's why my version of Queen Elyasin den'Ildrian looks like Margaery Tyrell from Game of Thrones!) Can you tell us something about from where you take inspiration and how you develop your characters?I love it. I imagine actors for my characters, too! But really, I take my character inspiration from observing people in real life. What are their quirks, habits, speech patterns, how do those things run in a family or a social group. I studied homeopathy as part of my training to be a primary care doctor in my early life, and when I get stuck with a character that is too one-dimensional, I go to my Materia Medica and look up a remedy picture I think the character matches and go withthat. Homeopaths have studied people “types” so thoroughly in the last decade, and it’s a gold mine for creating characters! (If you’re a writer and you’re interested, check out Roger Morrison’s “Desktop Guide: To Keynotes and Confirmatory Symptoms” and you’ll see what I mean.)
In your opinion, which four books / book series are must-reads for ever fan of fantasy literature?So many great options! But here goes:
1. Lord of the Rings (JRR Tolkien) – Fundamental, and a must-read for the epic genre.
2. Kushiel’s Trilogy (Jacqueline Carey) – Politics galore, twisting and turning plots, villains that are deliciously grey, and passionate writing. Still one of my favorites!
3. The Wheel of Time series (Robert Jordan) – It gets slow in the middle, but Jordan put together such an enormous and complicated world that it is full immersion, with characters that are real people.
4. The Chronicles of Prydain (Lloyd Alexander) – Though written for a younger audience, these are surprisingly moving and deep - Taran goes through a maturation process that is dark and accurate to real life.
The last question: As an author, you certainly know that it's the little, apparently unimportant details that shape a person. Please share with us five random facts about yourself!1. I love cream and butter more than just about any other foods. When I was a little kid, my parents had to hide the butter on top of the cabinet to keep me from getting my fingers in it and eating it all. I would literally bite the butter stick and chew. Talk about character quirks!
2. I go for a three-mile walk almost every day, and my husband and I often use that time to brainstorm my books.
3. I was raised on a family farm – chickens, horses, cows, an orchard, the works! It fundamentally shaped the way I see the world, and I write about that immersion in nature because I feel modern people don’t always get that perspective.
4. I believe in synchronicity. One of the hardest moments of my life was a week into a grueling backpacking trip on the Pacific Crest Trail in California. I realized my body was breaking down and I had to stop hiking, but had no idea how to get back to my car at the trailhead. So I got really vulnerable and clear internally, and then I asked the universe for help. That very hour I met the right people who gave me a ride and let me crash at their house and recover for a few days. Sometimes admitting our 100% honest truth, hard as it is, opens the path to the best things.
5. I don’t watch dark media. Not the news, not dark dramas on Netflix. I have enough of that dark side swirling around inside me that I need to balance it with things that are educational and uplifting. I even stopped watching the Game of Thrones series because it was just too wretched, even though I love George RR Martin’s world. I write dark stuff, but I believe in hope, so that’s the media I consume and the ultimate destination of my characters.
Ich finde Jean's Antworten einfach nur wunderschön, sie ist eine sehr inspirierende Autorin und ich kann es ehrlich gesagt jetzt schon kaum erwarten in Zukunft noch mehr Bücher von ihr zu lesen! Wie schon im Titel versprochen, haben sie und ich noch ein kleines Giveaway für den ersten Band "The Kingsmen Chronicles #1: Blackmark" ausgemacht.
Und wie? Klickt einfach auf diesen Link (https://dl.bookfunnel.com/jnra6jy9r3) zur Seite BookFunnel, wo die eBooks im Moment kostenlos zum Herunterladen vorhanden sind. Oder ganz einfach auch auf Amazon, wo ihr all ihre Bücher und Hörbücher findet. Wie steht es mit euch? Ich hoffe, euch hat mein erstes Autoreninterview ebenso gefallen und sagt auf jeden Fall Bescheid, wenn ihr jetzt neugierig auf Jean's Bücher geworden seid 😄