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?
My name is Justyna Plichta-Jendzio. I’m 44.
Fiona: Where are you from?
Fiona: A little about yourself (i.e., your education, family life, etc.).
I studied primary teaching at Koszalin’s Polytechnic but never worked as a teacher. I’m married, mother of one son and 4 spoiled cats. Right now I live on a small farm, where I breed horses and write.
I was lucky to live at the turn of two ages: communism and capitalism. When I was fifteen the communism fall in Poland. But that time allowed me to see different reality, incomprehensible for future generations. It was also the chance to “touch” the past and have a glimpse at the remains of XIX century life, which survived especially at the East’s parts of Poland till the end of 80’s of last century.
The range of my interest is wide. I am fond of Ancient and Medieval history. I also try to develop my knowledge of a history of two world’s main religions and their influence at societies, global and local policy and civilization development. I like to know different and regarded as exotic cultures, booth present and ancient. I am fond of nature and geography. As a writer I love to read ancient legends, myths and mysterious stories.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
Right now I’m working on fifth part of my short story collection “Abominated children of Naor”. I the meantime I’m writing a manuscript, a hand-written book with my fantasy novel “Mistress of Crystals”.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I took my first attempt of writing when I was thirteen. I was enchanted with Tolkien’s “Hobbit” and “Thorgal” comic series. I wanted to create my own word, my own protagonists and experience an adventure with them.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
In that time. I believed I would create a magical world, where good always win and bad guys always gets what they deserve.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I’d hard to say. I always loved to read fantasy, legends and myths. In my mind’s eye I saw wonders of those words but I wanted something more. So, in my mind I draw my own world and soon I decided I wanted to add a protagonist and storyline. Of course my first stories were naive, characters flat, black and white; storyline didn’t draw the reader in. I quickly quit my first novel and decided to practice a little. I started to write novelettes. Some of them are published as short story collections. “Dark children of Naor”, “Evild children of Naor”, “Cursed children of Naor” and “Damned children of Naor”. Few years ago I returned to the idea of writing a novel and wrote two parts of “Mistress of Crystals”. First part is already available for readers.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
The title is always a challenge. It has to suggest a main story line but not to reveal answers or secrets. Main title cannot be too long; the best is when it is only two, three words long and easy to remember. Subtitle can be a little longer. I usually change the title several times. As I write fantasy and dark fantasy I want my titles to be catchy, promise adventure, thrill and magic.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
People who read my books say my style is recognizable. Taking care about details is quite challenging if I want to build a world understandable for reader though magical and full of supernatural creatures. Also making magical laws to feel them like natural and not colliding with regular laws of physics is exacting.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Not much of my own life or my friend’s life is in my books. I write fantasy based in times similar to ancient and Medieval and in the world filled with creatures which doesn’t exist in our world. So I can’t describe my fight with vogun – a demon made of a mummy or dried corpse – because I never met any! In the ancient past many things and problems were also solved differently as moral and ethical norms doesn’t match present ones, so I cannot rely in some matters on my own experiences.
Fiona: to craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
In present times internet can take you almost everywhere and provide most of necessary knowledge. But yes, it is best to experience some things if you want to describe them the way the reader would feel their authenticity. I cannot travel to the past to experience life of ancient civilizations but I travelled some countries where I could admire the remains of countries no longer existing. Those experiences I used in my books.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I cooperate with two very talented Polish graphic: Ryszard Jalowy and Aleksander Karcz
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I write mostly to give the reader entertainment, opportunity of an adventure. But as in real life I say that good not always win, and the only person you can trust is yourself. But you cannot give up and fight to an end.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favourite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
Due to being quite busy person I haven’t read much recently. Too many tasks and only 24 hours round the clock. But last month I read “I inquisitor” by Jacek Piekara, Polish fantasy author. He is also one of my favourite authors. On the lists are also David Eddings, Kondad T. Lewandowski, Christian Jacq, and of course J.R.R. Tolkien. I will not be original but I have to add G.R.R. Martin. They have interesting characters, and their writing gives you an impression of being part of the story.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Oh, few of my friends! One of them is Joanna Zuk, a great horse rider, former rider of my horses.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes. Yet I have to earn for living, hence my other engagements. But writing is extremely important for me and I make strong efforts to make writing my main occupation.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No. I always carefully polish my work before I decide to submit them to a publisher.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I always learn during writing. Most often about natural medicine – herbs and poisonous plants – and about way of life in the past. I constantly explore history.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Well, I never reached so far in my dreams. But if I can dream… Kit Harington. He perfectly matches Menfer, one of protagonists of “Mistress of Crystals”.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Once my friend gave me advice, which is the most precious to me – Right the way you would like readers to feel your book. Your personal emotions will reflect in your books. If you will write with difficulty, just to have it behind, readers will feel it flat and be bored reading it.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Enjoy the adventure.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
“Cross of the Nile” by Jan Niznikiewicz, Polish writer
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
“Ruler of Morskie Oko Valley” by Tytus Kasprowicz. A story of lynx Koczownik (Tramp) living in a Tatra Mountains.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Depends of the situation. I like intelligent jokes. Because I’m animal lover I suffer seeing human cruelty to animals.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
A monk who created Codex Gigas. I’d like to know how did he managed to create such impressive work, how did he found strength and persistence to finish the task.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I lake creating Christmas tree toys, learning about ancient cultures.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Game of thrones – I know, I’m not original. Also I love cartoons – “Storks”, Transylvania Hotel”, etc.
Fiona: Favourite foods, colours, music?
My favourite dish is the one traditionally prepared in Poland for Christmas supper. Mushroom dumplings in red beetroot soup. But generally I like various cuisines of the world. Colour – various tones of brown. Music – rock and when I’m in the mood progressive house.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Maybe I would be an oral narrator? No, I can’t imagine that.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
For now I have only my fb page: https://www.facebook.com/worldofnaor/