Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Interview with author Janni Simner

Today I'd love to welcome author Janni Lee Simner to Books Obsession for an interview! She has written the young-adult book "Bones of Faerie" and the soon-to-be-released novel "Thief Eyes".

Can you start off by telling us a little bit about your book “Bones of Faerie”?

Bones of Faerie is a post-apocalyptic faerie tale. It's set almost 20 years after the War between the human and faerie realms destroyed most of the world. Nothing has been seen or heard from Faerie since then, but the world is filled with the deadly magic the War left behind: trees that seek out human blood, glowing stones that burn with cold fire, forests whose shadows can swallow a person whole. The few surviving humans search for magic and cast it out wherever they find it, because they know magic destroyed the world. The story's main character, Liza, pretty much accepts this--until her father sets her infant sister out on a hillside to die for showing signs of magic.

What inspired you to write the novel?

Bones of Faerie
very much began with its opening scene, in which Liza talks about her sister. ( http://www.simner.com/bonesoffaerie/excerpt.html) I'm not entirely sure where that scene came from, but it haunted me for years. It also terrified me, because I had no idea what happened next! It took more than a decade--during which I wrote other things and slowly became a better and better writer--for me to finish the story.

What are the best perks of being an author?

Wait, there were supposed to be perks? (Looks around, wondering where to sign up.) :-)

Actually, it sounds a little cliche, but the best thing about being a published writer is knowing that other people are reading the stories I've written. Writing is a way of being heard, and a way of reaching out and touching lives that aren't our own, in ways the writer never fully gets to see.

Also, there's something heartening about--after living alone with the world of a story for so long--getting to share that world and that story with others.

What’s your solution to prevent writer’s block? Or what do you do when you have it?

I think calling it "writer's block" gives it more power than it deserves. I think of it as "writer's burnout," which makes it less overwhelming--everyone, in every job, feels a burned out at times.

When I'm feeling burned out, I try to step away from the book, do something else, go for a walk or meet a friend or read a book or just get out a little, if I can. Not only does this make me feel a little more balanced--and remind me that my story is not, in fact, my entire world--but often along the way I figure out what was making me feel blocked in the first place, what the thing was that I wasn't even aware of that was keeping the story from moving forward.

Have any favorite must-read books or authors?

Since high school I've been deeply fond of Madeleine L'Engle's books, and remain a fan of Meg Murray, Calvin O'Keefe, Adam Eddington, and Joshua Archer. I also adore Robin McKinley's The Blue Sword, which I first read around the same time.

More recently I've really enjoyed Kristin Cashore's Graceling and Fire, Bruce Coville's Dark Whispers (book 3 of the Unicorn Chronicles--I cannot wait for the final book), and Megan Whelan Turner's Attolia books. And I think Elizabeth Knox's Dreamhunter duet is some of the most inventive fantasy I've read in years.

Do you have any writing rituals or a certain writing process?

My writing process is extremely messy, and I try to give it permission to be! I accept that my first draft may be entirely the wrong story, and that I'll move closer and closer to the right story in the many drafts after that. I don't worry too much about the small details in my early drafts--I wait until the story feels right, and then I focus in on polishing the language and imagery.

If you could be any paranormal creature, what would it be and why?

A shapeshifter of some sort, but I keep changing my mind about what kind. I think something that could fly--so today I'll say a raven shifter. But that's subject to change on a moment's notice!

What projects are you currently working on that you’d like to share?

I'm excited about my next YA fantasy, Thief Eyes, which is due out this April. The main character, Haley, goes to Iceland looking for her mother--who disappeared there a year before--and gets caught up in a spell cast by her thousand-year-old ancestor. I love the Icelandic sagas (as a fantasy reader, I find them familiar and not-familiar at once), and ever since my first visit I've loved Iceland (with its geology and its history both so close to the surface). Thief Eyes draws on both these fascinations.

I'm also currently working on a sequel to Bones of Faerie, which will likely be out sometime in 2011.

Thanks so much for spending the time to answer my questions, Janni!

Thanks for having me here, Ashley!

1 comment:

  1. That books sounds interesting. My friend is reading it now, and I think I'll ask her to let me borrow it. Thanks for the interview!


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