Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
Jane: My author name is J.M. Robison but for the sake of this interview please call me Jane. I am 29 years old.
Fiona: Where are you from?
Jane: I originate from a small town called Bennington, ID. You can’t find it on most paper maps. Currently, I live in Nevada, but I don’t claim this as my home. Hope to move back to Idaho.
Fiona: A little about yourself (ie, your education, family life, etc.)
Jane: I graduated high school but never pursued college (I feel college is a giant money grab and I don’t feel like spending a hundred thousand dollars in student loans just to get a degree that will pay me $60,000 a year.) I’m a child of six kids, married but no children yet. I joined the army reserves when I was 17 (still in), and from that I’ve been to Afghanistan (9 months), Kirgizstan, Romania (9 months), Bulgaria, Germany, Italy, and more but I don’t want to rattle on too much. I hold a full time job as a deputy sheriff at my local jail. My job includes wrestling drunk idiots and trying not to get stabbed on a daily basis.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
Jane: I have a young adult historical fantasy romance novel based on Victorian England in the hands of a literary agent right now. If she likes it, she’ll represent me for publication.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Jane: I wrote my 1st story when I was 6, so I suppose it started then. I started writing because Big Sister wrote stories and I wanted to be just like her. I followed her up trees, swam in the lake with her, everything. She stopped writing stories and is now a professional artist, but she seeded the love of stories within me and it keeps growing.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Jane: After I completed 5 full sized novels. I wanted to be sure I was serious about it before I claimed that title.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Jane: I’m an introvert and so to entertain myself I would make up stories in my head, sometimes acting them out, or just thinking about them. I was 15 one December, in my backyard kicking at the snow in my attempts to create a path to the back fence. A story started bubbling in my mind, that I was a dragon and could not fly, but the village located at the back fence had really pissed me off so I was fighting through the snow to get to the village to burn it down. This idea spawned a 98 page story, which blossomed into a series of 5 books.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Jane: I never think of the title before I write the book. I let the story emerge and tell me what it should be named. When I choose a title, I always try to title it after an actual sentence that is quoted in the book. For The War Queen, its title came from this quote, which is in the book: “Your people don’t want a princess. They want a war queen.”
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
Jane: I have a writing style but I couldn’t tell you in words what it is because it’s not something I can describe; only something I can do. As far as a challenging genre? I write fantasy because I DON’T find it challenging, because if I hit a challenge, I make up a fix for it (A man stuck in a hole? A pegasus flies out of the sky and saves him! Just kidding. I’m not THAT lame, but the concept is still the same.) Writing contemporary, I’m bound to write within the confines of realism, and I can’t do that. THAT would be a challenge.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Jane: I admitted in my bio that I joined the army when I was 17. The reason I did that was so I could learn battle tactics so I could write battle scenes more realistically with clearer emotion. In case you are wondering, yes, it worked. The War Queen features a structured government and a battle. I used my experience from the military to base all that off of. An actual event that happened to me ended up in The War Queen. It was a short conversation a man had with me, complaining he was afraid he got his girlfriend pregnant. So my reasonable answer was, “then why did you have sex with her if you were worried about that?” And his answer? “You have to drive the car before you buy it.” A similar version of that quote ended up in The War Queen and the character who says it is based on what I thought of that real-life man… a sleeze.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Jane: I don’t HAVE to travel, but having been to Romania and Afghanistan, I’ve experienced other cultures which have helped to shape my own made-up cultures in my books. Traveling helps, but is not a necessity for me.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Jane: Cora Graphics designed The War Queen. She’s amazing: http://www.coragraphics.it/portfolio2.html
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel you want readers to grasp?
Jane: The War Queen features a female, Altarn, in the highest position of political power one can reach in my fantasy story. Having a female in this position is a new concept, one that is met with bias and distrust from her people and those who are supposed to be working beside her. This likely feels familiar because real-life females have been facing this since time began – we want to be “equal” per se, to our male counterparts. However, Altarn does not demand respect, she earns it, and by the end of the book another female is elected to hold the same political position because her people realize, “Females are awesome!”
What I want my readers to grasp in this novel, especial my female readers, is, yes, if you want to become “equal”, do not do it by being disrespectful and demanding. The feminists culture today have a good idea, however, I find them to be disrespectful and demanding to the males they are trying to be equal with in order to shoulder their way into their ranks.
I think disrespect happens because feminists don’t know how else to get it done. I have the answer, proven because I’m a female and in the U.S. Army (a male-dominated job) AND I’m a Deputy Sheriff aka police officer (a male dominated job). I’m treated with respect by my male co-workers at both these jobs. I’ve never in my 12 years had an issue with “equality” because, you got it, I earn it by respecting them. What you give is what you get. I asked a male soldier once what he thought of having females in combat beside him. “I don’t care,” he said, “so long as the female can DO the job required of them.” And that’s the thing, a lot of females who want the same respect CAN’T or WON’T do the job, but they still want to be equal. What?
Just as Altarn earns her respect by proving herself in battle, I want my readers to know that if they are respectful – and earn it by their actions, not demands – they will find the equality they want.
Fiona: Who is your favorite writer and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
Jane: My favorite authors fluctuate depending on my current needs. Right now it’s Megan Spooner and Amie Kaufman. They wrote “These Broken Stars” together. It’s written in 1st POV with two main characters and every other chapter it’s the other character’s POV. This format is so beautiful and their clear and emotional writing style punched a craving need into me to write a story like that of my own, which I did, which is called The Last Wizard and is the next book I’m pitching for publication.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Jane: Soldiers in my military unit. One of them is my biggest fan.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Jane: My dream is to quit my job, write books, and get paid to do it. I crave the day I’m not beholden to any boss.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Jane: Yes. Because I will always think up better lines and cooler scenes, but then the book would never be finished.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Jane: I’m currently writing a historical fantasy based in Rome. One bridge crossing the Tiber River is called the Sant’Angelo Bridge and has statues of angels on it. Each angel is holding an instrument from the passion of the Christ.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Jane: I’ve already picked out Eva Green to play Altarn in The War Queen. Perhaps I should tell her? Altarn is a soldier with a firm and no-nonsense bearing. I feel Eva Green portrays those same features in the two movies I’ve seen her in.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Jane: Get on twitter – or facebook – even if you hate it (like I do). You don’t need to post anything, but you NEED to follow those entities that offer writing advice. Then read the writing advice. Then put that writing advice to use and write. And keep writing.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Jane: I’m a fantasy historian who chronicles the events which force heroes to reveal their mistakes, lead rebellions to dethrone tyranny, and unearth ancient secrets to free the oppressed. If these interest you, watch for my future book releases which feature these exact elements.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Jane: Good question, for you should never trust a writer who doesn’t also read. Eye of the World, book one in the Wheel of Time. Never read the series, or anything by the author, so I’m giving it a shot.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Jane: Can’t remember the name of the book, but I still have it. It’s about a boy who got a giant python for a pet, and the python kept eating his clothes and homework.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Jane: I laugh really easy, mostly at mundane things that other people don’t find funny. I cry when ugly things are said to me from people I care about. Ugly things from strangers don’t bother me.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Jane: I’m all about supporting the little guy. I’m sure lots of people would like to meet famous heads, but I’d like to meet the street peddler in 1100 A.D. Rome and ask him about his life as a peddler, his living accommodations, and how he feels about the current emperor.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Jane: Writing – of course. I also love shooting my recurve bow, hiking, camping, and making chemical free soaps.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Jane: I enjoyed Grimm, but that’s it. I don’t watch movies or TV unless it’s with my husband. I find them mostly boring unless it’s a movie I really want to see, which isn’t often. I spent 9 months in Romania on military orders and I watched a total of 3 movies. I had a LOT of free time to myself. What did I do with the rest of my time? Write stories.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Jane: I don’t have a favorite food. Just whatever is homemade, chemical free, and fresh. My favorite colors are orange, green, brown, and glow in the dark. I like techno a lot and anything that’s not rap or screamo.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Jane: Live as a hermit in the mountains. I love the idea of building my shelter and hunting and gathering my food.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Jane: “There were two people, Evermore and Nevercease, and together they conquered the world. Or they would have if Nevercease wouldn’t have stopped and Evermore wouldn’t have died.” It’s a work in progress, also a quote from one of my novels. Sometimes you have to give yourself attribution.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Jane: Still figuring out the blog thing. But the blog is found on my website, which is here: http://www.jmrobison.com.
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