#SciFi Women Interview – Tonya R. Moore

Welcome to my guest for November 2016: Tonya R. Moore. I met Tonya either through WordPress or Twitter in the writing and Science Fiction circles in which we both participate.

Tonya R. Moore is a Public Safety Professional. By night, she’s a student pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Communication. In the stolen moments in between, she’s a science fiction, horror, and urban fantasy writer. Tonya hails from Bradenton, Florida. A fan of anime, manga, and all things spec-fic, she grew up on the island of Jamaica. She has been living in the United States of America since 1998. Her latest publication was Ephemera, a short story, in The Nettle Tree anthology. You can connect with her on her website, her lifestyle blog and Twitter.

Tonya R. Moore.
Tonya R. Moore.

NG: How were you first introduced to Science Fiction?

MOORE: My mother is a fan of science fiction, so I suppose that’s where it all may have started. Through her, I had access to works of fiction and television shows that probably otherwise would have escaped my notice.

I read voraciously as a child. Any genre that I could get my hands on was fair game. My favorite, though, were always the science fiction stories. I especially loved stories about interstellar travel and stories that took place on distant worlds, anything to do with humanity out there among the stars, surviving and thriving.

When it came to television, I naturally gravitated towards science fiction. I remember loving a cartoon called Silver Hawk and watching episodes of Star Trek, The Next Generation at the age of nine or ten. I can never forget that sense of awe I used to get listening to Patrick Stewart say the words “Space, the final frontier…” and “to boldly go where no one has gone before!”

NG: How did you start writing in this genre?

MOORE: I have this whole awesome backstory of how a few careless words from a childhood friend got me entranced with the idea of writing my own stories when I was twelve years old or so. At first, I was never quite sure about what I wanted to write. I started out writing slice of life and mystery stories and poetry. I even gave up on writing during my turbulent teen years. As I grew out of my teens, I rediscovered the desire to write. At some point during that time, I read Ray Bradbury’s “The Foghorn” and became entranced by the beauty of that piece of writing. I realized, that’s the kind or story I wanted to write, the kind of story that filled readers with wonder and made them question everything they thought they knew.

To this day, I think that my writing is fueled by this desire.

NG: Which Science Fiction authors have been most inspiring to you?

MOORE: I doubt that I have the wherewithal to be an excellent author such as Ray Bradbury but it’s something to which I aspire. Other writers that I found to be quite inspiring early on include Anne McCaffrey, Larry Niven, and Isaac Asimov. Lately, I’ve also become quite fond of the works of Neil Gaiman and Nnedi Okorafor.

NG: What are your favorite Science Fiction books, movies and TV series?

MOORE: I have to say my favorites change depending on the day but the following are currently high up on my list:

The Foghorn and A Sound of Thunder by Ray Bradbury, short stories but they really are quite memorable. I’m currently reading Nnedi Okorafor’s “The Lagoon” and it is fast becoming one of my favorites.

Two of my all-time favorite science fiction movies are The Fifth Element and Enki Bilal’s Immortal Ad Vitem.

As for television shows, Farscape, Doctor Who, and The Expanse currently top the list.

NG: What do you think of Science Fiction’s versatility and its ties to other genres such as Horror and Urban Fantasy?

MOORE: Science fiction plays very well with other genres.

When I watched Event Horizon for the very first time, I was struck by how science fiction could be made so much more interesting by introducing the element of horror. Thinking back to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein or even the Epic of Gilgamesh, I can see that science fiction’s versatility has been apparent since before it was even recognized as a genre.

If I remember correctly, in the Epic of Gilgamesh, the gods who created Enkidu bring him to this place from which he is able to look down upon the Earth. The idea of a character from ancient mythology looking down upon the earth from what we can easily imagine as a spaceship gives me goosebumps.

Even so, it was when I read Ann McCaffery’s “Acorna” series that I first started to think of science fiction as a truly versatile genre. The story of a unicorn girl is a concept straight out of fantasy but what Ann McCaffery did with both “Acorna” and the “Dragon Riders of Pern” series was plop these fantastical characters and beasts into a science fiction setting, thereby creating some of the most wonderful stories I have ever read.

NG: What are some recurring themes and patterns in your Science Fiction stories?

MOORE: One recurrent theme in my stories that I only recently noticed is transformation. I don’t just mean character growth over the course of a story. I mean transformation that is drastic and life altering. Rebirth, regeneration, and shapeshifting are some of the elements that come into play.

Death is another theme that crops up in my stories quite often.

A quote by Shunryu Suzuki comes to mind: we die and we do not die.

Somehow, I think it often applies to my work. I write about death but something always comes afterward. It’s as if I refuse to let death be the end of the story.

NG: How did you start the Spec-Fic Trifecta Podcast?

MOORE: I’ve always had the intention of starting a podcast but never quite got around to starting one. Some time ago, I was a guest on the Kugali Podcast and it was quite a positive experience. Once again, I found my interest in starting a podcast piqued, so I began to do some research and started planning the Spec-Fic Trifecta.

Spec-Fic Trifecta is something I came up with, on the spot, for a podcast targeting fans and creators of the science fiction, fantasy, and horror genres. The podcast will officially begin airing in January and each episode will be less than 15 minutes long.

NG: What is Science Fiction’s responsibility in diverse and inclusive representation?

MOORE: Science Fiction’s versatility and amenability provides us with a robust platform for diverse and inclusive representation. As creators, it is our prerogative to not only push the boundaries of our imaginations but also to see to it that the science fiction universe is populated by characters and elements from all walks of life. It is the responsibility of publishers to find the gems among these works and give them the recognition they deserve. It is the responsibility of creators to be persistent when it comes to producing and submitting the work that we believe in and we must not cower in the face of rejection and criticism. Readers have a certain responsibility too, to select and respond to works that move and inspire them. I say that with the hope that the works that readers advocate feature diverse and inclusive representation. We each have our part to play and frankly, I’m a bit tired of reading articles by people point the accusing finger at someone else instead of stepping up and doing what they can to improve the situation.

NG: Do you think Science Fiction is a genre welcoming to women creators and female characters?

MOORE: Science fiction is a universe. As inhabitants of this universe, women creators and female characters each have the inalienable right to be here. No culture, no naysayer, no critic can take that away. Now, fandoms and publishers may pigeon-hole and reject but science fiction, as a genre, accommodates all.

NG: What advice would you have for an aspiring Science Fiction writer?

MOORE: Write what you want to write, not what happens to be selling right now. Write fast or write slowly and edit well. Only then, worry about whether what you’ve written will sell. Now, if the current fad is what speaks to you, so be it. Write away.

All you must do is nurture your love of writing and it will nurture you.

NG: Thank you for being here today, Tonya! I am sure my readers will be happy to check your website and publications out.

Designed by Christin Gattuso.
Designed by Christin Gattuso.

Guest Blog Posts + New Author Interview

I reached a very busy point in my semester between classwork and my teaching assistant work, but here is a recap of what I have been up to in the blogging world:

Don’t forget that Dream Crusher is available for pre-order on Kindle (release date is November 10) and paperback (already shipping since Createspace doesn’t make pre-orders possible). The paperback edition includes a bonus short story set in the same universe. Happy reading!

Background by Ivory Mix.
Background by Ivory Mix.

#SciFi Women Interview – Alison Berrios

October guest is Alison Berrios, whose work I discovered via the online Star Wars community (I would say Twitter specifically if memory serves well!). I am happy Alison accepted the invitation and I will let her introduce herself!

Alison Berrios.
Alison Berrios.

My name is Alison Berrios I am married, and mom to Padawan Caleb(who is the best person in the Galaxy) I am the owner of Cosplay For Jedi. I sell hats that I handmake that are inspired by aliens of Star Wars, Including Twi’lek, Togruta, and Ewoks! I also moderate Star Wars panels at local conventions. [Website. Instagram. Twitter. Facebook. Etsy.]

Cosplay for Jedi.
Cosplay for Jedi.
NG: How were you first introduced to Science Fiction?
BERRIOS: The Battle for Endor was the first time (that I can remember) ever watching anything sci-fi related. I LOVED it. It was the only movie I wanted to watch. E.T. came next and I adored it but gosh did it make me cry. It still does.

NG: What is Science Fiction’s responsibility in diverse and inclusive representation?
BERRIOS: Science fiction it is for everyone who wants to be a part of it. No one should be left out as a fan or as characters in film. It is a welcoming community and I think there is a big responsibility to not make people feel excluded or like they don’t belong. If you see someone saying derogatory things about a character because of their race or ethnicity, you can’t stand by silently. This should be a community for everyone and the more the film industry starts to represent that, the better it will be.

NG: What are you top 3 favorites for Science Fiction books, TV shows and movies?
BERRIOS: Ok well for movies Star Wars is number ONE, always and forever. My second favorite movie is Stardust which is more of a fantasy genre, but outside of Star Wars, I really am a fantasy fangirl.  Fifth Element comes to mind as well, the movie was just so entertaining to me!
Tv shows- Star Wars the Clone Wars took my breath away. My family and I rewatch episodes weekly. Star Wars Rebels comes in second, go Hera! I love that it is bringing together so many characters from the Star Wars universe. True Blood takes my number 3 spot. I was totally obsessed with the books and the show!
The books question, I honestly have to say that this is more fantasy Genre, but I gobbled the Harry Potter books up. I even have a tattoo!Please don’t make me pick my top 3 I just can’t do it! I have a feeling once I get a chance to read the Ahsoka book, that will definitely be up there in my favorites!

NG: Which Science Fiction characters have had the greatest influence on you?
BERRIOS: Hera Syndulla for her compassion and strength. She is truly a role model for how compassion doesn’t equal weakness. She is selfless and strong. Leia is another strong woman who proves that gender stereotypes mean nothing .

NG: How did you start cosplaying?
BERRIOS: Episodes II & III, I dressed up like Padme for the Midnight premieres. I just wanted to feel completely immersed in the movie and what a better way for me then to cosplay and have fun! I stopped cosplaying for a while, and then when I decided I wanted to start Cosplay For Jedi, I made a Barriss Offee Cosplay. Now I love playing around with different lekku (Twi’lek head tails) and experimenting with different looks.

NG: What prompted you to start Cosplay for Jedi?
BERRIOS: I went to a local comic convention and saw all these amazing artists, happily living their dreams by showcasing their creativity. I always loved creating unique things, but was too apprehensive and scared. I was also having major self esteem and depression issues at the time, and thought this would help bring me out of my shell. I was a stay at home mom for a while, and a lot of moms won’t admit this because of the stigma, but it is NOT for every mom. You still need something for yourself. It worked! I still work a regular job, but I feel so fortunate that my entire family has been so supportive so I can pursue my dreams! And my Padawan has fun going to the local convention every year, and lets me know he is proud of me.

NG: What are some of your best/worst cosplaying experiences?
BERRIOS: I don’t really have a worst honestly, eveyone has been pretty friendly! Also I have a really good stank face if someone seems like they are about to get out of line hahaha. Best is this year, when I got to meet Nalini Khrishan (Barriss Episode II- Attack fo the Clones) dressed as Barriss. I got to moderate her panel along with Jesse Jensen (Saesee Tiin) so it was like, two Barriss’s. It was awesome!

NG: What advice would you have for someone wanting to start cosplaying?
BERRIOS: Be true to yourself and don’t feel bad if you can’t afford in time or money something that would win first place in a contest. It’s cosPLAY, no matter why you do it , for pleasure or work, it should always be FUN. My Barriss cosplay was done on a budget, and sometimes it’s easy to feel like your cosplay isn’t good enough. Confidence is the most important cosplay accessory you can wear. You do what makes you happy. Do it for yourself only, and don’t let anyone make you feel bad about your hard work. Sometimes cosplays you put together from Goodwill shopping binges are amazing!

NG: Do you think that Fangirls are an expression of Feminism?
BERRIOS: Yes, because we are equally as excited about it as men. No one’s trying to steal anything from the boys or any of that other nonsense the haters want to spew. We’ve been here all along, and we LOVE that we are feeling represented in BIG ways now in films.

NG: How do you think fangirls can change media industries?
BERRIOS: Keep pushing . When you see women not being taken seriously simply because of their gender, call it out. We don’t want special treatment or representation, we want EQUAL representation. If you read a book or watch a movie that was put out there by a woman and you loved it, let people know!

NG: Thank you so much, Alison! I am certain my readers will be glad to check out your creations.
Designed by Christin Gattuso.
Designed by Christin Gattuso.

New Blog Series at Comparative Geeks + New Author Interview

This week, I was at Margarita Morris’s blog for an author interview. I am grateful for this opportunity and I loved being able to talk about how my academic journey has influenced my writing.

I have also returned to Comparative Geeks! I will do two blog series of 3 posts each in the upcoming weeks. The first series is Human-Centric Diversity in Science Fiction and my post this week was about Farscape.

I hope you enjoy reading those. Have a lovely weekend!

Background by Ivory Mix.
Background by Ivory Mix.

No Need for Alien or Machine to Exterminate Humankind – The 100

Dystopian settings often draw on how humankind experienced a form of apocalypse, throwing the contemporary civilization into turmoil. While it can be caused by machines (whether Skynet in the Terminator franchise or Cyborgs in the shape of the Cylons in Battlestar Galactica) or aliens (Falling Skies), humans can also very much be the cause for their own demise, such as in The Hunger Games.

The TV show The 100 depicts such a case. While the third season introduced the question of Artificial Intelligence, most of the prior narrative and even current story is related to how different human groups can’t cohabit peacefully.

the100

The show’s major conflict is between the Sky people, who came down to Earth after the space Ark where they lived became unfit to keep them all alive, and the Grounders, who descend from the survivors of the nuclear apocalypse that killed most of the life on Earth a few decades ago. The tension between both sides remains significant even when peace seems to be attained sometimes. Getting more in depth within both groups is a pillar of the narrative, even when some character arcs seem to make little sense in season three, in the light of prior developments.

It is noticeable that genocide does happen by the end of the second season after a conflict between both the main groups and the people who lived in seclusion beneath Mount Weather. One of the main characters, Clarke Griffin, who emerged as one of the leaders of the young generation sent from the Ark in the pilot, chooses to kill the inhabitants of Mount Weather to protect her own people.

This is a testimony to one of the most compelling aspects of The 100. The often impossible cohabitation between humans remains predominant in the story, even as more groups emerge and try to either wipe another out, in a barbaric or more manipulative manner. Yet the show portrays characters who can have many diverse opinions and beliefs, regardless of age (the show used an older generation versus younger one at times but went past it for the most part), gender (many female leaders are featured), ethnicity (the only marker is the community they belong to: Sky People, Grounders…) or even sexual orientation.

Why do you think stories featuring humans having life-threatening difficulties to cohabit is important?

Blogging Plans + New Author Interview

Starting first week of October, I have embarked on an 11-week project of Science Fiction opinion pieces. The first one was Prevalent Alien Heroes in Star Wars, featured on the Wookiee Gunner.

In the next weeks, you will find these pieces both on my blog and elsewhere (Comparative Geeks, Part Time Monster, Poetic Parfait), so stay tuned!

I am also happy to share my author interview published today on Tina Frisco’s blog.

Have a great weekend!

blogging-plans

Upcoming #SciFi Book Release – Dream Crusher

Those of you who follow my Facebook page already heard about this. I am delighted to announce that my upcoming Science Fiction novella Dream Crusher will be released on November 10.

Morden Avachk of the Pravos Department is used to dealing with terrorists in the Dantek System. What he didn’t expect to find in a weapons cache was preparations for large-scale biological warfare.

He and his crew can’t face this alone. They need help from the targeted species: the Prisias. Reaching out to High Priestess Vahika and her peers, Morden’s team hastily develops a plan in the hopes of stopping the terrorists before they strike.

And to hell if Morden’s superiors disagree; they have a genocide to prevent.

The Kindle version is already available for pre order on Amazon and I hope to soon have the print version available as well. Waiting to receive the second proof copy then I should be able to confirm all details. The print version will also include a bonus short story.

Dream Crusher also has a Goodreads page.

dreamcrushercoversmall

The gorgeous cover was designed by Jennifer A. Miller with an illustration by Jean-Pierre Bordier.

I will soon create a page on the blog where I will share all the links to interviews and reviews for the book. Stay tuned for I have a lot in store surrounding the release of Dream Crusher, from now until December!

Top 5 Websites for Authors Who Are Not Bloggers – by Cassie

Today’s guest blogger is Cassie. She is a freelance writer who enjoys covering the topics of technology and literature. As a writer herself, she has used many of the listed resources and hopes they help others to take the plunge and get writing!

Information overload isn’t just a buzz term. It’s definitely a real phenomenon. There are millions of new websites, blog posts, articles, Facebook status updates and tweets on a daily basis, and it’s impossible to keep up with all of them. Even worse, with so much information, it can be difficult to parse good advice from fluff.

cassiepostimage

As a writer, the more time you spend researching, the less time you’re spending actually writing your book. If you want to improve your craft but don’t want to spend a ton of time reading, fact-checking or looking up information, this list is for you.

Aerogramme Writers’ Studio

Aerogramme compiles writing news, opportunities, calls for submission and even contests, making it a perfect all-in-one stop for your daily updates. There are also a lot of amazing articles regarding the art of writing. The tips are applicable to all writers whether you’re a non-fiction or genre writer.

They also delve into other markets, such as video game writing and blogging. There’s generally a new post daily as well as plenty of writing tips to keep you busy should the daily post not interest you.

Litreactor

If you haven’t heard of Litreactor, go visit the site now! It offers some of the best workshops taught by small authors as well as bigger ones, such as Chuck Palahniuk. There’s also a bustling community board where you can connect with other members and ask questions, play literary games, advertise your book and get feedback on your work.

Besides the workshop, it also provides excellent writing tips, reviews and even a podcast, so you can continue to hone your skills even if you don’t take part in the workshop. It’s a perfect place to browse if you’re procrastinating because you’ll end up learning something that will inspire you to start writing.

David Gaughran

Even if you’re signed on with a publisher, many expect you to do a lot of the marketing on your own. If you’re self-publishing through Amazon or Barnes and Noble, then you definitely need to know how to get in front of your audience to sell your books. David Gaughran offers great insight into the market with his articles and books.

He also goes over relevant topics, such as pirating and how it affects authors, updates to Amazon’s terms of service and much more. These topics could be incredibly dry, but Gaughran manages to make these topics come to life as he retells the issue through his own experiences or those of others.

You can also download his book Let’s Go Digital for free on Amazon. It’s a great reference for beginners just getting started in digital publishing. If you cannot access the book due to geo-restrictions, you should use a Virtual Private Network service such as ExpressVPN to reroute your IP to a server that isn’t geo-blocked. You might find it especially necessary if you are a traveling writer.

Positive Writer

Even if you love writing, it’s also a path full of hardship. From getting rejection letters to sacrificing time with your loved ones, many days it is an uphill battle. Enter the Positive Writer. The author covers a lot of sensitive topics, such as overcoming your fears and doubts, handling rejection and taking the bumps and bruises in stride.

As you would imagine, the articles are about motivating yourself and positive thinking. Although it’s aimed at writers, almost anyone in a creative industry can relate to the topics. If that’s not enough to convince you to read it, it also won an award from Writer’s Digest as one of the best websites for writers in 2016.

IndieReader

They say the best writers are avid readers. When you read a variety of authors and genres, you begin to understand what works in terms of structure, pacing and storytelling elements and what doesn’t. If you’re looking for a new book but don’t have the time to scour Amazon or your local bookstore for something interesting, IndieReader is the perfect place to find quality work.

You can also read interviews from indie authors, reviews on books and articles from top indie authors. You can even have your book reviewed and posted on the site. Of course, you only want to pay for the service if you’re sure it’s good. A bad review can have a negative impact on people’s view of you later on down the line.

Of course, there are hundreds of other resources available to writers, but these are the five we think offer some of the best advice and classes on the web right now. Do you have other resources you think should make the list? Tell us in the comments below!

#SciFi Women Interview – Tracy Gardner

September guest for #SciFi Women Interviews is Tracy Gardner! I met her about one or two years ago through the Star Wars online community (I am pretty sure it was thanks to Johnamarie Macias and/or Amanda Ward). I am glad Tracy is with us today.

Tracy Gardner.
Tracy Gardner.

I will let her introduce herself:

I’m a Los Angeles native with a degree in Art History and Women’s studies from UC Irvine. I worked for art collectives and institutions, primarily focusing on public works, performance art, and archives. I have a passion for history, art and technology. I’m an aspiring artist and one half of the podcast Rebel Grrrl on the Making Star Wars network. Additionally, I’m a whiskey and craft spirit specialist, as well as a fine dining server of ten years in Orange County.


NG: How were you first introduced to Science Fiction? 
GARDNER: I was introduced through films and books. As a child I was an avid reader. H.G. Wells and Edgar Rice Burroughs had a huge effect on me. I’m pretty sure I read The Time Machine at least ten times when I was 11. Films like The Day the Earth Stood still captured my imagination and started a life long obsession with Science Fiction and fantasy.

NG: What are you top 3 favorites for Science Fiction books, TV shows and movies?
GARDNER: 3 is so hard to narrow down! My top three books are Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood, Saga by Bryan K. Vaughan and the Time Machine by Margaret Atwood. For TV shows,   Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek and The Twilight Zone. For movies I’d have to say The Empire Strikes Back, The Day the Earth Stood Still and 2001: A Space Odyssey.

NG: Which Science Fiction characters have had the greatest influence on you?
GARDNER: I would have to say Starbuck from BSG, and Princess Leia and Padme from Star Wars.

NG: What place does Science Fiction have in your life?
GARDNER: It’s not only a personal interest, obsession, and hobby, but it has greatly influenced my academic pursuits. I’m very interested in the agency and role of women in Science Fiction. I love reading and writing about the history and cultural significance of Science Fiction. I believe the stories we tell are indicative of our complicated relationships with technology, progress and industry.

NG: How did you start podcasting?
GARDNER: I had a commute from Orange County to Hollywood and I started listening to quite a few podcasts. I loved the format and ease of conveying culturally relevant information in a casual, genuine manner. It felt like something I could do. I actually started podcasting with Randy from MSW back in 2011. The focus was video games. From there I started Force Cult, which is still around. I’m excited to be back home at MSW doing Rebel Grrrl with my cohost Amanda.

NG: Can you tell us more about your Science Fiction-related projects?
GARDNER: I’m currently finishing my Masters degree in American studies with and large emphasis on art and technology. Science Fiction has fallen perfectly into this emphasis and I hope to keep analyzing marginalized identities within Science Fiction. I also paint scenes from my favorite Science Fiction. My art is mixed media and can be found at irebelart.bigcartel.com

NG: Do you think that Science Fiction’s responsibility in diverse and inclusive representation?

GARDNER: Science Fiction has historically been a mirror for society’s fears and anxieties, as well as its optimisms. Like most media, It has a complicated history of further marginalizing certain identities. I argue consistently that Science Fiction has a responsibility to its fans to be more diverse. It’s an opportunity to represent and grant agency through story telling that is otherwise absent.

NG: Do you think that Fangirls are an expression of Feminism?
GARDNER: Absolutely. I’m so impressed by what the trans/queer/female/minority fans around me are accomplishing. We’re challenging the status quo and carving out a space in a traditionally male dominated fandom.

NG: How do you think fangirls can change media industries?
GARDNER: I think we already have. You can’t ignore the influence we’ve had. We’re consumers, content creators and and an ever growing vocal presence in media. We’re getting strong female leads. There will be set backs, but we are seeing changes.

NG: What hopes do you have for the future of the Star Wars franchise?
GARDNER: I hope for an integrity and commitment to meaningful stories. Star Wars shaped my childhood because at its core, it’s a powerful story. The allusions to mythologies and the resonance of the saga come from a deep and passionate place. I hope this legacy is respected and protected by future writers and directors.

NG: Thank you very much, Tracy! I am certain my readers will be glad to find more about your projects and check your art out.
Designed by Christin Gattuso.
Designed by Christin Gattuso.

Author Interview – Jenny Graham-Jones (Witherfist)

I am glad to welcome back Jenny Graham-Jones whose Inkshares contest entry in hope to see her Fantasy novel Witherfist published, is coming to a close. You can check and pre-order her book on Inkshares site.

Witherfist
Witherfist

NG: Can you tell us about your writing process?
GRAHAM-JONES: To say that I have a process might be a little bit generous, but let’s see. I’ve often read that there are two kinds of people: people who can outline everything, and people who look on in baffled wonder at that other group. I’m firmly in the latter camp. I love to world-build, to imagine the setting of my story, the culture, history and so on – but when it comes to plotting, I tend to leave that relatively loose. I have my start, middle and end, and I let my imagination wander down as wobbly a path between those three points as it likes. This can involve a fair bit of revision, as I might ‘discover’ something new about a character. Regarding my surroundings when I write, I use a lot of music to establish mood and setting for myself and often look at a look at images of real-world inspirations.

NG: What are the significant themes in your writing?
GRAHAM-JONES: People doing bad things for good reasons. In Witherfist, Irusai has made a pact with a malevolent spirit. She does this in the hope that she will be able to use the spirit’s power to defend the people of the province she protects. Meanwhile, Arren must consider whether she is willing to wake an army of the undead and use it to oust her mother from the Imperial throne. In both cases, Arren and Irusai view themselves as being in the right, but there would certainly be a significant number of people who would argue otherwise. I think this is another theme that I enjoy exploring: the subjectivity of morality. It’s an old trope of the fantasy genre that there is a clear, dividing line between what’s good and what’s evil – but it’s so much more fun, exciting and ultimately human to blur that line.

NG: Why did you choose to join Inkshares and enter their contest?
GRAHAM-JONES: I have to admit; I hadn’t heard of Inkshares until a month or so ago. Details about the contest popped up on my social media feeds on the day that it launched. I decided to take that as a sign. For the longest time, I’ve gone to and fro with the ideas behind Witherfist. The start of the contest was just that little extra shove that I needed to get the story moving with some urgency.

NG: Who do you believe will enjoy Witherfist?
GRAHAM-JONES: Witherfist features magic, mystical spirits and a healthy dose of political intrigue to top it all off. If I had to pick a series or two that to compare to, I’d say Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive, Steven Erikson’s Malazan Book of the Fallen or George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire. The style and story of Witherfist doesn’t match any of those three exactly, but there are common elements – such as shifting viewpoints, far-reaching plots and a healthy dollop of the magical – that I think readers will enjoy. In a broader sense, I think the book will appeal to anyone who enjoys reading about characters on a journey of redemption.

NG: What are your hopes for Witherfist?
GRAHAM-JONES: Right now, my main hope for Witherfist is that I’ll be able to share it with readers. The book is still in the process of being written and has a good amount of work to be done before it’s ready for production.

NG: Thank you Jenny and good luck with Witherfist! I was very happy to be among the first to-order it and hope to see it published soon.

Jenny Graham-Jones.
Jenny Graham-Jones.

English author Jenny Graham-Jones is a newcomer to the fantasy genre. Based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England, she spends her days at her job as a software developer and her evenings writing about the weird and the wonderful. Witherfist is her first foray into novel writing.

You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter and Inkshares.