Q: You’ve just launched a new fantasy series, “Breaking the Wall.” What are the ups and downs of starting fresh?
A: Ups. The fun of playing around with new ideas, new characters, and of possibly having a chance to interest a few new readers. In Thirteen Orphans, the first of the “Breaking the Wall” books, I met some people I’m really enjoying spending time with.
Downs. There are readers who mark a writer as doing one thing only. (Hey, I’ve been guilty of that, too, with authors I like). They may not try a new project. To many I’m the woman who writes wolves, and they may not be interested in anything else. That’s scary for someone like me who has a whole lot of varied interests.
Q: When did you first feel like a “real” writer? And when did you first feel you were being treated like a “real” writer?
A: I still don’t.
But I don’t feel in bad company. Roger Zelazny told me he kept wondering when he’d feel like a “real writer.”
Q: What led you to writing fantasy?
A: Speculative fiction in general is the way my brain works. I enjoy having a larger, more twisted universe to deal with than the “real” one.
I have only a hobby-level knowledge of science. However, I have a very considerable amount of knowledge of myth and folklore — and I have the tools to learn more when I feel I don’t know enough. Therefore, I tend to write more fantasy, but I jump at any chance to write SF. I recently wrote a novella for David Weber’s “Honorverse,” partly because I love Weber, but partly because I was a chance to do spaceships and all with someone skilled to back up my tech.
However, I have written straight mystery and historical as well, although these have tended to be short stories.
Q: Who are some of your favorite authors to read?
A: Gosh. I have a list on my website, because this is always a hard one for me to answer. Tim Powers. Charles DeLint. Patricia McKillip. Terry Pratchett. Tamora Pierce. Roger Zelazny.
Outside of SF/F… I love classic mysteries: Agatha Christie. Dorothy Sayer. Josephine Tey. John Maddox Roberts.
There are also authors who have one book I adore. Fred Saberhagen’s Mask of the Sun is a good example of this.
There are non-fiction authors I also gravitate towards. For example, I’ll read anything Christopher Hibbert (the historian) has done because of his way of approaching his subject matter.
Q: Do you have a favorite book, one you have read many times?
A: Not a favorite, but, yes, there are ones I re-read. I’m currently re-reading Patricia McKillip’s Riddlemaster of Hed series. I’ll re-read Terry Pratchett when I’m down, not because he’s funny, but because he is wise.
Q: What’s been the biggest change in your writing life in the last year?
A: Well, I’m between contracts for the first time in a while, but I’ve been assured that won’t last. Still, it’s unsettling. On the other hand, not having a contract to immediately address has given me a chance to write some things that have been “hanging fire,” and that’s been very nice.
Q: Where would you like your career to be in five years?
A: Beyond the obvious? Like still able to make a living?
I really don’t know. I try to focus on the book I am writing, not on the future because there are too many variables in the future beyond my control. I mean, two years ago, I had new series coming out, a comic in the works, and movie nibbles.
Now I have a new series coming out, and fighting to survive in a dying economy. The comic deal has evaporated. And no current movie nibbles.
But I do have the three books I’ve written since to anticipate, and the pleasure of writing them to remember. That’s worth a lot.
Q: What’s next after the “Breaking the Wall” series?
A: I don’t know. I’ve written a YA on-spec called Assembling the Lion that I’m really excited about.
Q: What writing-related events do you most look forward to?
A: Getting up and having a story buzzing in my brain, and being excited to get it down on paper… That’s the best of all. Next is when I have a new project, and I hand it to Jim (my husband) and for the next week or so we discuss it while he reads it. That first sharing of my story is very exciting.
Thank you, Jane, for spending a bit of time with us. For more about Jane and her writing, visit janelindskold.com.