Hey Guys! I really hope you’ve been enjoying Fresh Start September so far! Don’t forget, if you want to go back and look at other posts, just click the graphic to the right *points* and it’ll take you to all the links! Today I am bringing you a lovely interview with the awesome, spectacular and hilarious Jay Kristoff whose debut novel Stormdancer has been released in Australia and in the UK, and will shortly be released in the US. Hope you enjoy his interview!
A DYING LAND The Shima Imperium verges on the brink of environmental collapse; an island nation once rich in tradition and myth, now decimated by clockwork industrialization and the machine-worshipers of the Lotus Guild. The skies are red as blood, the land is choked with toxic pollution, and the great spirit animals that once roamed its wilds have departed forever. AN IMPOSSIBLE QUEST The hunters of Shima’s imperial court are charged by their Shōgun to capture a thunder tiger—a legendary creature, half-eagle, half-tiger. But any fool knows the beasts have been extinct for more than a century, and the price of failing the Shōgun is death. A SIXTEEN YEAR OLD GIRL Yukiko is a child of the Fox clan, possessed of a talent that if discovered, would see her executed by the Lotus Guild. Accompanying her father on the Shōgun’s hunt, she finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in Shima’s last wilderness, with only a furious, crippled thunder tiger for company. Even though she can hear his thoughts, even though she saved his life, all she knows for certain is he’d rather see her dead than help her. But together, the pair will form an indomitable friendship, and rise to challenge the might of an empire.
How amazing does that sound? I hope you’re nodding your head and saying aloud; pretty damn amazing! If you are, check out this awesome interview with the author of this swell book!
What did you do when you first got the call to say that Stormdancer had been picked up by a publisher? It was a little drawn out, because Stormdancer sold at auction. I got told we had an offer before Christmas 2011, and that was awesome – I got drunk on Christmas day for the first time in my life (hey, my Auntie bought me a bottle of bourbon, gimme a break) But very soon we had two other houses bidding on the book, so it all became very surreal very quickly. I’d wake up each morning and there would be a new email from my agent with a new offer (which was a really nice way to wake up every day). The whole auction took about a month to complete – book auctions aren’t these big swanky affairs like I imagined them to be, they’re basically just a bunch of emails flying back and forth. On the day we actually decided which house we were going with, I played air guitar for about ten minutes (furious solo), called my folks and said “guess what?”, and then got stonkingly drunk. And I know I sound like a lush now, but it’s all coincidence, I assure you.
Were there any disagreements between you and your editor while you were editing or did you both agree on the things that needed to be changed? A couple of minor ones, but nothing earth shattering. My editors were great – working through the book with Pete (Thomas Dunne/SMP) and Julie (Tor UK) was an amazing experience – they’re both incredibly sharp and bring slightly different sensibilities to the table. It really felt like a collaborative experience. I’m just about to start working on book 2 with them – can’t wait.
Is Yukiko based on anyone you know? She’s probably an amalgam of a bunch of the awesome, strong women I’ve known in my life. But nobody definitive – I couldn’t point to anyone and say “you’re Yuki”. But I can definitely see a bit of myself in Buruu, her griffin.
Could you tell us anything about the world in which Stormdancer is set? Where did the inspiration for it come from? Stormdancer’s setting is a nation teetering on the edge of ruin, inspired by the Japanese samurai age. Shima is an imperium built on the backs of fantastical technologies – sky-ships and motor-rickshaw and thunder-rail, defended by noble Iron Samurai in lumbering suits of power armor. But Shima is being slowly consumed by the very technologies that once made it great. Fields of blood lotus flowers are cultivated for the fuel that drives their machines, but that same flower is killing the earth and everything on it. The magical beasts of legend are dead or gone, the air is choked with toxins, and a blast-furnace sunburns in a blood-red sky. It’s not such a nice place. The inspiration for it is all around us. The things we’re doing to this planet we live on and the creatures we share it with. And I don’t want to sound like some rabid environmentalist on a soapbox – Stormdancer is first and foremost an adventure story and a telepathic girl and her best friend, who just happens to be a two-ton griffin. But the book does kinda hold up a dirty mirror to our own planet and what we’re doing to it.
Do you collect anything? If so, what is it? I’m a collectible card game nerd. I’m playing A Game of Thrones at the moment. My living room is littered with the damn things. My wife hates them :)
In life there are people who love exercise and those who detest it, would you call yourself a sporty person or do you prefer to sit in front of a computer writing? I’ve always been terrible at sports. I hate exercise. Hate it with the fury of a thousand suns. It bores the crap out of me. But I force myself to work out every night, because sitting in front of a computer writing all day and night is a good way to get unhealthy. The cool thing is I’ve got a dog who I have to walk or else he loses his tiny mind. So I just take some weights with me while I walk and dutifully lift them up and down as he runs around whizzing on things. We must look pretty odd, now that I think about it…
I would like to take a moment to thank Jay Kristoff for answering all of our questions and for giving me the chance to host him for this event. We hope you enjoyed getting to know this author a little better – I know I have!
As a bonus part of the event we are giving everyone the chance to win some prizes donated by our wonderful participants and ourselves! These include:
2 winners of Strange Chemistry ARC packs, each pack including a copy of Poltergeeks by Sean Cummings, The Assassin’s Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke AND Katya’s World by Jonathan L Howard (courtesy of Strange Chemistry)
1 winner of an eBook of My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris (courtesy of Entangled Publishing)
1 winner will receive a paperback copy of Speechless by Hannah Harrington – US/CAN only
1 winner of a hardover copy of 34 Pieces of You by Carmen Rodrigues (courtesy of the author)-US only Enter here
3 winners of a book of your choice from any that has been featured in Fresh Start September (each courtesy of the hosts)
The giveaway is INTERNATIONAL and will run until the end of the event (30 September). Remember to follow the Twitter and Facebook pages of the prizes you want to win, for example, to be eligible to win the Strange Chemistry Prize, you must follow them on Twitter and Facebook. Good luck!