November 11, 2011

Unread Interview - Fran Jacobs

Please welcome Fran Jacobs for this week's Unread Interview! Fran is promoting her latest book, The Shadow Seer!
Unread Interview is a series where I feature authors whose books I couldn't accept for review because of time or logistics issues.
From Amazon: For generations prophets have foreseen the birth of the Shadow Seer, the oracle of dark visions and fallen kingdoms. But by the time of Sorron, King of Carnia, their warnings have mostly been forgotten and his name is known only to a handful of scholars.

When Sorron's grandson, Prince Candale, falls deathly ill, the Seer's legends are brought to light once again by his saviour, a witch named Mayrila. She believes that Candale is the fulfilment of those long forgotten prophecies. She believes that he is the Shadow Seer...

Tell us a bit about your book (s).
Ok, well the book is called the Shadow Seer, it's the first in a series called Ellenessia's Curse. In it the hero, prince Candale of Carnia, learns that he might be a foretold prophet, the Shadow Seer, whose visions are said to lead to the destruction of the kingdoms, a generally chaotic, nightmarish future. Candale doesn't want to believe it, understandably, but not long after he is told this about himself he starts to see a strange, tortured figure of a child, who calls him the Seer and warns him that Ellenessia is coming. Confused, and frightened, he runs away from home, to the mage school of White Oaks, in search of answers, and things go on from there.

Have you ever wanted to be a writer? When did you start writing "seriously"?
I've always written, and told stories. As a child, at school, I actually got in trouble for telling stories that scared some of the other children! I started taking it more serious when I was in my early twenties, although even then I felt I was too young for the publishing world to take me seriously. But, in the end, you just have to go for it, so I sent out my first short story. It was still a few years later before I was brave enough to send out my book, the Shadow Seer.

Do you read much? What kind of books do you usually read?
I used to read a lot when I was younger, any vampire book, when I was a child, and then, any fantasy book, when I was a teen. These days I'm a lot more picky. I guess because as I now write seriously I view other people's books from a  writer's point of view, so I'm less forgiving of errors, or weak plots and so forth. I love writing but it has, in many ways, ruined reading for me.

What are your favorite or least favorite scenes to write?
I hate writing battle scenes, or fight scenes or anything like that. It's hard for me to picture how a thing like that would go to be able to describe it properly, and to juggle lots of characters all at once. My favourite scenes to write are scary ones.

Do you relate more to any of your characters? Why?
I relate to the hero and his female bodyguard, Trellany, the most, probably because they contain aspects of my own personality. Trellany as a strong, outspoken woman and Candale, the hero, as a clumsy, naïve idiot.

Which genre do you feel it would be a challenge to write?
Romance. I'm not a big fan of romance generally and I think that writing a story where romance is the main point, rather than a side line, would be rather difficult, and rather boring!

What inspires you? And how's your writing environment - music, place, etc.?
My inspiration is random. For the start of my novel I was inspired by a song, some of the places in my books are inspired by places I've been, or want to visit. My writing environment is the dining room table, with the TV on behind me. I find I work better when I'm distracted, because then I don't think too hard about what I'm writing, and obsess over tiny details or the fact that what I'm saying sounds crazy! I'm usually helped by a kitty, or three, meowing for attention, sitting on the laptop, biting my feet, that sort of thing.

What would you say about the book - your words, no blurbs! - to convince someone to read your book?
Well, I would say that it was a character driven fantasy, from the point of view of Candale, a boy forced to reveal the plans of a vengeful demon, shown to him through visions. I think that point of view, from the side of the supernatural evil, even though the hero is not evil himself, is part of what makes the book different from other fantasy novels. As does Candale's position as a seer, as, although prophecies are fairly common, those who have them are not.

What are your plans for the future, writing-wise? New books, sequels, publishing deals, etc.
At the moment I'm currently working on the third book in the series, Children of the Shadow. After that I have another book planned, the Forest of Ghosts, which is a standalone fantasy. I'm hoping to take that further, to a mainstream, traditional publisher.