Friday, May 16, 2014

INTERVIEW: Janni Lee Simner on "Stars of Darkover"

STARS OF DARKOVER – not just the glorious night sky over the world of the Bloody Sun, but the authors who have been inspired over the decades by Marion Zimmer Bradley’s favorite world. It will be released on June 3, 2014, in honor of Marion's 84th birthday.

Here is the first of a series of interviews with these fabulous authors.

Janni Lee Simner sold her first short story to the anthology Leroni of Darkover more than two decades ago. She's gone on to publish more than three dozen short stories and eight novels, including the post-apocalyptic Bones of Faerie trilogy and the Icelandic-saga-based Thief Eyes.

Deborah J. Ross: How did Marion Zimmer Bradley influence your writing career?

Janni Lee Simner: I'd been a long-time Darkover reader when I first came upon Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover anthologies. I was just beginning to try to write professionally at the time, so I decided to try to write a story for one of them. I sent off for writer's guidelines -- this was in the days of snail mail, and I didn't know to include a self-addressed stamped envelope, but Marion sent me guidelines anyway, along with a page of advice for new writers. (I wonder how she knew? :-)) So I wrote my story, rewrote it about a million times, sent it off -- and was stunned when it sold! Knowing I'd made that first professional sale helped me stick with it as I worked on becoming a better writer and selling more consistently.

DJR: What inspired your story in Stars of Darkover?

JLS: As I began rereading the Darkover books, I was struck by the fact that again and again, one voice was missing. Elaine Aldaran-Montray  -- wife of Kennard Alton, mother of Lew Alton, sister to Larry Montray -- has a huge influence on Darkovan events, and yet we never get her perspective on those events, or even to understand why she left Terra with Kennard in the first place. The more I read, the more I wanted to know who Elaine was, what she was thinking, what it was like for her to be a child of two worlds. I wanted to give this important yet invisible character a voice, and I wrote "All the Branching Paths" to do that.

DJR: What have you written recently? What lies ahead?

JLS: I've recently published Faerie After, the final book of my post-apocalyptic Bones of Faerie trilogy, so I'm very excited about that!

DJR: What do you see for the future of Darkover?

JLS: I don't know, but it'll be interesting to find out! For so many writers to revisit the world of these books decades after many of them were written (and decades after many of us first read them) means we're all returning to Darkover with new perspectives and new ideas, and I look forward to seeing where that leads us!

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