Interview with J.R. Kearney

What's the story behind your latest book?
Many people who love fantasy enjoy the archetypes and creatures that dwell within so I wanted to create a story that could fit in as many of these things into a story without the story being ridiculous or just simple name dropping. Even though this particular story is spread across six parts I've managed it in a way that is both sensible and exciting for the reader to behold. Secondly some fantasy stories can become overcomplicated in their telling and history and even though I have created an extensive lore for my world it never interferes with the story, so characters and places are easily identifiable. Thirdly the dialogue in fantasy can be somewhat removed from modern dialogue so the challenge was to keep in the fantasy setting but bring about themes and dialogue in a more contemporary way that readers can relate to. Lastly, though I'm sure sex and gore exist in this world, a good enough story doesn't need to showcase these things for the sake of realism, so they are excluded. It was ambitious to bring all four together but not impossible, and the end result is quite satisfying.
What are you most proud of about your story?
To finish and sell it for one. To be honest I think the respect given towards women is paramount here. In almost every story or movie I've seen the woman always needs to be kissed or saved by the man at the end as if the writers deemed it 'rude' not to. In this story however there are several lead characters who are women and all carry a sense of identity and don't feel the need to be swooned or saved or sexualized in any way. Though a relationship does develop with one character the others I'm hoping can be seen as role models in their demeanor and beliefs. Many of my own personal friends are females and through my time with them their influence and intelligence is dominant within these characters. As much as I love my male characters the women I am most proud of.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
Growing up my mum and brother constantly moved around, never at a place for longer than two years. My location never really influenced me, mum used to just plant us in front of the television to watch movies or play games. This gave me more of an imagination than nature did as unromantic as it sounds, but now in the jungle of apartment living writing is a good escape into a world that I can create.
Describe your desk
Riddled with notepads and exercise books with a lamp that rarely gets turned off. I tend to have photos of loved ones and heroes to inspire me to battle on when times get tough and fatiguing. Pens and pencils are sprawled about in an almost cliche way, mostly I keep it tidy so not to distract me, other than some empty water bottles.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Being a writer is very solitary so I try my best to get out once or twice a week for a drink and chat. My time is mostly spent at a 5 day a week job where I start at 5 in the morning so I can spend afternoons writing. Apart from that I find it important to exercise and keep in shape, just to feel better about myself. No time for games or TV bar some sport, only the occasional movie will I indulge in just to get my head out of my world for a bit.
What do your fans mean to you?
They share in this joy with me and it's great to find people who share similar interests. They need not write a story of their own to garner a love or relationship towards the fantasy world and I'm personally glad they have taken the time to find happiness in the journey of my characters and their world. Mostly it is a great acknowledgement, after working for close to ten years with all the sufferings and negativity to prevent me from enduring to write this, it's heart warming to know that others find joy in something I've kept to myself for so long. Be they millions or few, it inspires me to continue writing to see their expectations fulfilled.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
In the social world there is a certain persona that is considered 'normal' in which to behave so obviously in real life I'm easy going, friendly and always up for a laugh. But there are some personalities that exist in me that remain hidden, including anger, childishness, philanderer or vindictiveness that are great to incorporate into characters who can express these emotions in a way I personally couldn't do. It also offers an outlet for your opinions that aren't always relevant in normal conversation and gives me the opportunity to bounce them of other opinionated characters. In a way it is therapeutic, because many of these conversations stir in the back of my mind and writing reveals how deep they really go.
What are you working on next?
Obviously book 2 of the series which I will keep close to my chest for now, though the second book is very action packed and for lovers of fantasy and the creatures that dwell within they will be well entertained. Where Book 1 introduced just over a dozen varying creatures book 2 includes at this point more than 40. Plus, what resides in the fog?
Published 2016-01-27.
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