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.
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.
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.