In this weeks Author Spotlight, I interview Jessica Dall, author of, Raining Embers, a fantasy novel.
What is your book about?
Raining Embers follows two characters, Palmer and Brier, who find out that they are the incarnations of Order and Chaos, and is set in a world based vaguely on Renaissance Italy. As it is book one, this story follows them as they learn who they are, and try to figure out their new place in the world while forces try to start a war around them. I like to joke that it’s a high fantasy for readers who like something a little different from the standard high fantasy (the world isn’t Medieval England and the story is slightly more character-focused than a lot of high fantasies tend to be).
What inspired you to write this book?
I originally got the idea at an art lecture I attended years and years ago. A picture of the Vatican Library came up on the projector, and as the lecturer was discussing the frescoes and beautiful, beautiful Renaissance art on the walls, I got the idea for a scene where a little girl was caught inside that sort of library as the city around it was being sacked. It took another couple years of playing around with just to figure out what was happening there—and writing several different versions of that scene—but eventually that scene became the start of Chapter 1 in the final manuscript.
Who is your favourite, and least favourite, character in the book?
That’s like asking a parent to pick a favourite child! I love most of my characters for a number of different reasons—mostly because I think I’m a writer and because I like studying people. All the characters have backgrounds and depth motivations that I probably know more about than I need to at this point. If I had to pick out one, though, I’d have to say it’s probably Rosette. She’s a six-year-old girl with her own powers and is a lot of fun to play with since she’s has an odd mix of exuberant, innocent, and crazy destructive powers. Least favourite, I’d say, perhaps Reinhald. He has his charms, but something about him just never made him much fun to write for me.
What draws you to this genre? Do you write in any other genre?
Raining Embers is actually my first foray into high fantasy. Up until this point I’ve been more focused on romance or urban fantasy, which I find are both rather different as far as expectations go. Still, the story came to me and so I decided I’d write it. I’m, personally, very happy with how it turned out.
Is this a standalone book, or can we expect more?
Book 2—working title at the moment is Graven Idols—is currently in edits with my fabulous content editor, Suzanne, and should be coming out through Red Adept Publishing sometime in 2016. From there we’ll have at least one more book. Perhaps two, depending on just how long book 3 starts to be!
Tell me about you and what drew you to writing? Are there any authors who inspired you to become a writer yourself?
I’m one of those people who have been writing since I was old enough to hold a pencil. It seems I would write even if no one in the world was interested in what I was writing. I sometimes like to quote Lord Byron at times when people ask me why I write, “If I don't write to empty my mind, I go mad.” If there’s any other author who I have to give some credit to, however, it’s likely J.K. Rowling. I admit I started out “seriously” writing (i.e. things longer than a page or two) as a young teen writing Harry Potter fanfiction. Those stories are (probably luckily) lost to time at this point, but it definitely put me on track to move into original fiction and then put me where I am today.
Other than your own book, what is your favourite novel?
I’m currently on a kick of going through all the books I loved as a kid/teen, and so just finished rereading The China Garden by Liz Berry. There are so many books that I love out there, but that one has always stuck with me—I’m not sure if that’s partially because of nostalgia goggles, but it’s certainly one of my favourites.
Have you written other books we should know about?
My previous series is an alt-history historical romance called The Broken LineSeries with books such as The Copper Witch and The Paper Masque. There is also Off Book, which is a new adult fantasy—but much more modern than anything like Raining Embers.
If you could advise aspiring writers on only one aspect of authordom, what would your advice be?
Know that you can’t please everyone all the time. Sure, you want your books to be taken well, most of the time, and all of that, but even the best book out there is going to get one-star reviews and have people saying they’re awful for X, Y, or Z reason. Write books that you want to read and don’t worry too much about what other people say.
Where can we find your book?
Barnes and Noble
How can we find out more about you?