This interview was originally posted on SentientOnline on the 7th October 2009.
Q. Welcome, Jenny! Could we start with a mini-biography as to who you are and what you write?
I am Australian, I live in Alice Springs (smack bang on the middle of Australia) which is the heart of the Outback. I grew up Melbourne and Canberra and moved to the Northern Territory when I was twenty. I left school at 15, had three children by the time I was 22, and decided I was going to be an author at 14. I would say I write ripping yarns.
Q. If someone has never read any of your books before, where would you prefer them to start?
I really don’t mind. It depends on the person and their preferences. If they lean toward sci-fi, then I usually tell them to start with Second Sons. If they like traditional fantasy, then I recommend the Demon Child, Hythrun or Tide Lord series.
Q. Would you prefer your readers to start with Medalon or Wolfblade?
Chronologically, it’s better if they start with Wolfblade, but truth is, I think my writing improved considerably between Medalon and Wolfblade (I’d written 5 more books between them). I usually warn people if they start with Wolfblade, don’t get to Medalon and suddenly think “Oh my god! Her writing has really gone downhill since Wolfblade” because it actually works the other way around.
Q. A few of us want to know where you got your inspiration for Damin Wolfblade. Tell us about his creation.
He truly is a figment of my imagination. I wish I could give you a better answer than that, but there is no secret, and no drop dead gorgeous model for him lurking anywhere in my life. And if there was, I wouldn’t tell you anyway. I’d keep him a secret…hehehe
Q. You said in an interview elsewhere (http://www.sffworld.com) that you’d love to go back to the world of ‘Second Sons’ someday. After the series you’re currently working on, do you think you will?
I haven’t a clue what I’ll do next after Rift Runners. It’s not likely to be any sort of sequel series at this stage unless a publisher requests it. If you want a sequel to the Second Sons, start an email campaign harassing, Bantam in the US, HarperCollins and Orbit UK.
Q. A few people have been asking this hopefully… Do you hope to do anything else in Medalon/Wolfblade world?
See answer above. I’m not averse to it, but I’m more likely to want to do something new than revisit old ground unless I have a good reason to. The Hythrun Chronicles was commissioned by Tor, otherwise I probably wouldn’t have written it. I actually had to put the Tide Lords aside for it.
Q. Regarding the ‘Tide Lords’ series, you’ve said that there was disagreement with the editors. Can you tell us about that? Which character was brought in that you never originally planned for?
Declan Hawkes was added in a re-write after the MS was submitted to the publisher. They thought Cayal was too morose to be sympathetic. I didn’t want to change him, so I added Declan as a compromise. Then I wrote about how I did that and earned a Masters Degree. Everything has a silver lining.
Q. Your ‘Tide Lords’ series is so in depth with the world they live in and the unique concepts they live by. What gave you the idea for the Crasii race? What gave you the idea for the Tide?
I was on a tram in Melbourne in 2000 and I saw a sign on a building for a newspaper called the The Chinese Tide. I think it’s a Mandarin publication. It struck me as being a cool name. The name “Tide Lords” popped into my mind about a nanosecond after that. All I needed to do then was find a plot that went with such a cool title.
Q. How do you plan your stories? Some authors have story boards, some have little index cards or a dozen A5 books. You said when writing the Hythrun series that you had a whiteboard with a list of characters under ‘These Need to Die’. What else do you do?
I write a synopsis first and work from that. I find I keep most of my notes and plot points in the actual MS. I have chapter breakdowns that cover all the major things that need to happen and I have a very complex spreadsheet that tracks how many words a day I need to write to meet my deadlines. I find that very motivating.
Q. If you were to ever move away (please, no!) from the fantasy genre, what sort of style would you take on instead, and why.
I really have no idea. Fantasy suits my style. I wouldn’t mind trying horror or sci-fi, but who knows… I’m up for any challenge if it takes my fancy.
Thank you so much for your time, Jenny!