Today, I get the opportunity to talk with another author currently working on a Fantasy novel, Fae Child, entered in an Inkshares contest: Jane-Holly Meissner. Fae Child is available for pre-order on the Inkshares website.
NG: Can you tell us about your book?
MEISSNER: Fae Child is the story of Abbie, a little girl who gets pulled through a portal into the Otherworld, and the adventures she has trying to get back home. The first person she meets is a young elf boy named Foster, who is on a journey of his own to become a full fledged Guardian of the forest. It is also the tale of her parents’ struggle with her dark copy – a changeling that has been left behind in her place. Her father has some secrets from his past that the changeling will force him to confront.
I love the idea of taking something that might be considered a story for grown-ups and looking at it through the eyes of a child. They see things that we don’t, they accept things we might not, and there’s just an honesty to how they interact with the world. I believe Fae Child will end up classified as a YA novel, but I’m definitely writing it for adults as well.
NG: What was your first writing experience?
MEISSNER: My first writing experience was when I was around six – as a homeschooler I was supposed to write a report about a little animal called a pika, but instead of a report my mother let me write a story. A day in the life of a pika, and it was, of course, titled “The Little Pika.” I’ve been writing stories ever since. My mom has always been supportive of my storytelling, and for my senior English project I wrote the first draft of a complete novel. Still haven’t finished that second draft, sorry Mom!
3. How were you drawn to the Fantasy genre?
MEISSNER: I am a huge fan of fantasy literature. The first ‘real’ book I ever read was C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, I read The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien multiple times as a pre-teen before graduating to the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Most of my favorite writers are fantasy authors – G. R. R. Martin, Terry Pratchett, Robert Jordan, Jim Butcher, Brandon Sanderson… I love the vast and complete worlds that a fantasy novel can transport you into, where anything can happen, and everything is possible. Using a fantastical setting to tell stories that highlight something that might be an every day, familiar situation or relationship from a new angle is something I really enjoy.
NG: What are your greatest inspirations as a writer?
MEISSNER: For this particular story, Fae Child, my greatest inspirations are the books I read as a girl about other girls having imaginative adventures. C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia, the Alice books by Lewis Carroll, and Frances Hodges Burnett and her wonderful books The Secret Garden and A Little Princess. Certainly my own children inspire me every day, with the funny things they say or do – and the things that upset them, or how they choose to assert themselves.
NG: How did your roleplaying experience help you grow as a writer?
MEISSNER: How hasn’t it!? Because of roleplaying, writing play-by-post stories collaboratively on a message board, I’ve been writing almost every day for nearly sixteen years. I’ve definitely grown as a writer in that time, learned how to plot out a compelling story, and how to leave hooks in my writing that I can come back and hang another plot arc onto at a later date. Those little story hooks are integral to making you look like an amazing writer, by the way. You can loop your narrative back around to an older story arc and it all looks like you planned it from the start. Which you did. Of course you did.
Writing with a great group online has been an iron sharpening iron process for me. The better they are (and they’re amazing) the better I try to be. Without roleplaying we wouldn’t be here having a discussion about my novel, because there most likely wouldn’t be one, or if there was I wouldn’t have been brave enough to send it out into the world. Technically I’m still not brave enough for that, but my writing friends have encouraged me, and this is the result.
NG: Can you tell us about your writing process?
MEISSNER: Usually I sit down, turn on some music that fits the mood of what I’m going to write, get interrupted a few times by the kids, write some… get interrupted again. Repeat ad nauseum. With roleplaying post I generally sit down, bang out a few paragraphs, read it to make sure I don’t have any glaring typos, and then send it. For something I’m writing on my own I make sure I have a good outline to hang my chapters on, and then I just write! I’ve started using Scrivener and I love it – it helps me map out my plot points and lets me move them around if I need to. I highly recommend it for any writer.
NG: What are the significant themes in your writing?
MEISSNER: Fae Child isn’t a coming of age story, but it is a book about growing up, and about family (biological or otherwise). It’s a book of discovery and wonder – Abbie is only 8, so she was still discovering our world for the first time, and she applies her childlike logic to everything she encounters in Faerie/Otherworld as well. It’s also the story of a father’s love for his daughter.
NG: Thank you very much! I wish you the very best with Fae Child and look forward to reading it.
Jane-Holly Meissner, an Oregon based writer, has been scribbling stories into notebooks and online for most of her life. She squeezes in time for homeschooling her three kids, date nights at the movies with her husband, and explaining her first name to everyone she meets. Jane-Holly believes that if creativity is directly correlated to how messy your house is, she might be one of the most creative people on the planet