Please welcome Jennifer Fallon to the blog! Her new book, The Lyre Thief, just came out, and she kindly answered a few of my questions about it!
Will you give us a teaser for The Lyre Thief, and tell us what inspired you to write it?
Since the year 2000, about 3 times a week I got an email asking me if I was planning to write a sequel to the Demon Child Trilogy. I was first asked to do this in 2001 by Tor. In fact, the prequel trilogy, the Hythrun Chronicles came about because when the Tor offer came in for the Demon Child Trilogy, they wanted to know if there was anything else on offer.
It made my head hurt, writing a prequel I never intended to write to make it fit the other series. For almost a year on my whiteboard there was a list entitled “These People Must Die” which was the names of all the characters I had to get rid of by the end of Warlord (Book 3) to explain why they never turned up in the Demon Child Trilogy.
The upshot of this was that by the time I was finished the Hythrun Chronicles I was convinced I had a brain tumor and was ready to nuke Medalon, Hythria, Fardohnya and Karien and turn the entire world into a molten lump of rock.
What stopped me from pursuing it until now is that I feared the series was suffering from Buffyitis – that’s a condition you get when you are faced, over and over, with the apocalypse to end all apocalypses, and you have to find a way to make it interesting, not to mention plausible.
Then then, a couple of years ago, as I was lying underneath a radiation machine being zapped for breast cancer, I finally had idea for a plot. And it didn’t feel forced and it didn’t feel like I was rehashing the apocalypse. Of course, once the idea bit it’s been gnawing at me ever since so I had to write it. The new series is set ten years after the events of Harshini. It’s actually been about the same in real time. I needed the new characters to grow up, I think and find a theme, which in this case, is unintended consequences.
What kind of research did you do for the book, and what is your writing process like?
The research for this series involved mostly going over the previous 6 books of the series and noting both events but also things that I needed to extrapolate out. Like where were certain characters now, what they were doing, and if that was going to form part of the new story.
Why fantasy? What do you enjoy most about writing, and reading, the genre?
Fantasy allows me to play with worlds, and political systems and religions in a way I can’t do in the real world. Perhaps I have a god complex, but as soon as I realized there was a genre out there where I could create my own societies from scratch, I was hooked!
Worldbuilding is very important in books like this. That said, what are a few of your favorite literary “worlds?”
If I had to pick the best worldbuilding I’ve ever encountered, to would be Melanie Rawn’s Sunrunner Series. She leaves me gasping, her world-building is so good.
You’re a prolific author, but have you always wanted to be a writer? Will you tell us a little more about yourself and your background?
I decided I was going to be a writer at 14 and never wavered from that decision, although life got in the way a fair bit, so I didn’t actually publish anything until I was 40. I left school at 14, was married at 17, had three kids at 22. I’ve lived in the Australian Outback for many years, doing lots of weird jobs and moved to New Zealand just in time for the big earthquakes. I’ve have 50 foster kids, I have a Master Degree in Creative Writing, work as an IT consultant in my “day job” and have spent about 3 months in Antarctica over the past 4 years, working in the NZ Antarctic program. I don’t sleep much and to get everything written that I want to finish, I am going to have to live to be about 146. Oh… and then there’s the 5 dogs and 7 cats, and I recently got in dog showing. Best people watching fun, ever.
What’s one of the first things you remember writing?
A short story in the 10th grade that I got an A+ for. I still have it. It was a horribly fraught story about a teenage girl in mental asylum dropping dead from an aneurysm. It’s awful.
What do you like to see in a good story? Is there anything that will make you put a book down, unfinished?
Characters doing illogical things make me crazy. I’ll swallow anything if I believe the character had no choice, but the moment I start to think “hang on, he didn’t need to rapelle down the side of the building, he could have taken the elevator” I’ll toss the book across the room!
If you could experience one book again for the first time, which one would it be?
To Kill a Mockingbird. Still my favourite book ever.
What are you currently reading? Are there any books you’re looking forward to diving into this year?
I’m not actually reading anything at present. I am just finishing up writing Retribution, which is the next book in the War of the Gods series. I have a strict policy of not allowing myself to be distracted by any other books when I’m writing.
What’s next for you? Is there anything else you’d like to share?
I have to finish off Retribution, then I’ll take a couple of months off to read and work on a few other projects, and then I’ll start Covenant around June. In the meantime, I’m working on a new proposal which I have yet to show to the publishers, but which I am very excited about. I just need to get it down on paper to make sure it’s viable, before I start talking about it.
Other than that… thanks for the chance to say hi, and I hope you guys like The Lyre Thief because I had so much fun writing it, I’m not sure I can call it work!
JENNIFER FALLON is the author of The Hythrun Chronicles, and one of Australia’s bestselling fantasy authors. She lives in New Zealand. You can find her online at JenniferFallon.com, facebook.com/Jennifer.Fallon.writer and @JenniferFallon.
About The Lyre Thief:
Ten years have passed since the events of the Demon Child books that left the god Xaphista dead, the nation Karien without a religion or king and the matriarchal country of Medalon ruled by men. But it is in the kingdoms of the south that things really heat up. When Princess Rakaia of Fardohnya discovers she is not of royal birth, she agrees to marry a much older Hythrun noble in a chance to escape her ‘father’s wrath. Rakaia takes nothing but her jewels and her base-born half-sister, Charisee, who has been her slave, handmaiden and best friend since she was six years old. And who can pass as Rakaia’s double.
These two sisters embark on a Shakespearian tale of switched identities, complicated love triangles…and meddlesome gods. Rakaia is rescued on the road by none other than the Demon Child, R’shiel, still searching for a way to force Death to release her near immortal Brak. Charisee tries to act like the princess she was never meant to be and manages to draw the attention of the God of Liars who applauds her deception and only wants to help.
Then there is the little matter of the God of Music’s magical totem that has been stolen…and how this theft may undo the universe.
Powerful magics, byzantine politics, sweeping adventure, and a couple of juicy love stories thrown in for good measure, The Lyre Thief is classic Fallon that is sure to appeal to her fans.