Monday, September 17, 2018

Sword and Sorceress 33 Author Interviews: Jane Lindskold

Enter a wondrous universe…the latest volume of Sword and Sorceress, featuring stories from new and seasoned authors. Herein you will find tales of fantasy with strong female characters, with some version of either martial skill or magic. Not all the protagonists will be human, and sometimes the magic will take highly original forms, but the emotional satisfaction in each story and in the anthology as a whole, remains true to the original vision. The release date will be November 2, 2018.

Deborah J. Ross: Tell us a little about yourself.  How did you come to be a writer?
Jane Linskold: I’ve been a storyteller since I was very young, but I didn’t really make any sort of focused effort to write those stories down until I was a college undergraduate.  By the time I finished my PhD, I knew that I wanted to be a fiction writer.  Therefore, as soon as my dissertation was completed, I put the time I’d been using to write that into writing fiction.  I had a lot of rejections, but finally started selling.

DJR:  What inspired your story in Sword and Sorceress 33?
JL: As far back as I can remember, I’ve always been interested in the non-human perspective.   For various reasons, I found myself wondering what it would like to be a familiar.  Many Fantasy stories feature familiars, but I couldn’t think of any where they weren’t either sage advisors, flippant commentators on the action, or (worst of all) simply another tool in the wizard’s kit.  I decided to try my hand at writing a story from the familiar’s point of view, and this is what resulted.  I very much like both the (currently nameless) familiar and the people it meets.  I definitely plan to write more about them.

DJR:  What authors have most influenced your writing?  What about them do you find inspiring?
JL:  That’s pretty tough for me to  answer because I’ve read very widely, both in the SF/F genre and without.  The PhD I mentioned above is in Literature, so I’ve read a lot of mainstream material as well.

Although there are many authors whose work I have enjoyed maybe, in the final analysis, the biggest “influences” have been negative – the writers I have read whose work I have hated.  These are the ones I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about, trying to assess why my reaction is so intense.  Then, of course, I avoid doing those things!

DJR:  Why do you write what you do, and how does your work differ from others in your genre?
JL:  I write in many voices, each meant to be the best way to tell that particular story.  So, for example,Asphodel, Smoke and Mirrors, and Through Wolf’s Eyes are all written by me, but they are not in the least alike.  So I’d say that my work differs from many others in my genre because the trend seems to be settling on one voice and style, then staying there.

DJR:  How does your writing process work?
JL: I’m an intuitive plotter, which means I don’t outline or plan much more than a scene or so in advance.  When writing a novel, sometimes I’ll make myself notes as I go along, but often I end up changing direction even from those.  I research intensely, sometimes before, often during, writing a piece.

DJR:  What have you written recently? What lies ahead?
JL:  My most recently published novel is the short surreal Fantasy, Asphodel.  Recent short fiction publications include “Unexpected Flowers” in Asimov’s and “A Green Moon Problem” in Lightspeed.

I’m currently working on the first Firekeeper novel in about ten years.  I also have some short stories gnawing at the corners of my subconscious that I hope to squeeze in.

DJR:  What advice would you give an aspiring writer?
JL:  On the creative side, persist.  Listen to what other people say about their creative process, but realize there is no one-size-fits-all answer and search for your own.  My book Wanderings on Writing is intended as a sort of craft box through which you can burrow, taking what is of use to you and discarding the rest.

On the business side, please note, it’s harder than ever to make a living as a full-time author, so be prepared to have a day job.  Try not to have that day job involve writing.  Most people have only so much writing in them per day.  If you use that all as a journalist or professional blogger or whatever, you may find yourself dry by the end of the day when you sit down to write fiction.

If you’re not yet through college, don’t major in Creative Writing unless you either want to teach creative writing or plan to write literary fiction.  If possible take a few business electives, especially one dealing running a small business and/or contracts.  If you feel a real need to study the craft of writing SF/F, consider one of the specialized workshops.  However, it’s possible to be a professional without ever attending one of workshops – I never did and here I am.

Jane Lindskold has been writing full-time since 1994. She is the New York Times bestselling, award-winning author of over twenty-five novels, including the acclaimed Firekeeper Saga, Changer, and the sword and sorcery classic When the Gods Are Silent. Her most recently released novel is Asphodel. She has also had published over seventy short stories.

When she is not writing, Jane delights in doing the impossible, including herding cats, wrangling guinea pigs, and tending a garden in the desert. You can learn more about her works, as well as find links to her social media, at

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