Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Welcome to Fantasy Author - Jessica Thorne

I’m delighted to welcome Jessica Thorne to my blog.

Jessica Thorne - Author

Hello Jessica – Thank you for joining me on Arabella’s Blog and Chit-Chat, today. I’ve been looking forward to hosting you and uncovering some of your writing secrets. But before we discover more about your latest release, Nightborn, here are a few questions which will hopefully give your readers and followers an insight into some of the things that matter to you.

Arabella: Are there any organisations, writing, or reader groups, you belong to? And, how do they support or help you in creating such wonderful, inspirational novels?
Jessica: I’m an enthusiastic member of the Romantic Novelists Association and have been for some years now. I am also one of the organisers of the Irish Chapter which meets quarterly for informal chats and a social afternoon. I find the RNA to be enormously supportive. The annual conference is a highlight of my year and it was such an honour to be nominated for the annual fantasy award this year for The Stone’s Heart (writing as Jessica Thorne). I work within a couple of informal writing groups too, my friends and fellow authors who are endlessly helpful. We chat more or less every day. I’m also involved with the Science Fiction and Fantasy Community in Ireland and since we had Worldcon in Dublin last year, internationally.

Although writing is largely a solitary occupation, it’s really important to have the support of those around you, and those who understand what you’re up to, and also those who are just happy to cheer you along. It’s fantastic to have groups you can turn to if you have business or creative questions, or even if you’re just worried about something. No writer really works alone.

Arabella: Where do you read? Sofa or bed or ____?
Jessica: Honestly? Wherever I can. I got into the habit when my kids were small or grabbing every moment I could to read and write. I was once reading Peadar Ó Guilín’s very scary The Call in the car outside my daughter’s school and was so caught up in it that when she opened the door I screamed out loud. Nowadays it’s a bit easier – I love to read in the garden, or curled up on the sofa and I usually read in bed before going to sleep.

Arabella: In your latest release, Nightborn, who is your favourite character and why?
Jessica: That’s a tough question. Nightborn is the sequel to Mageborn and all the characters from that are back. I am incredibly fond of all of them, the good and the bad. But in Nightborn we also get more insight into some of the minor characters and I think Ellyn, the wisecracking, badass, best friend and teammate of my main character Grace, is still one of my favourites. We learn more of her history in Nightborn, and see more of the secrets she keeps. She doesn’t suffer fools and is always quick to defend those she loves. And her lovelife is about to get quite complicated.

Arabella: When writing a novel, how do you work? Are you a plotter or pantser?
Jessica: I used to always be a pantser but in recent years I think it’s fairer to say I fall between the two. A Plantser perhaps. I tend to need some idea of where the story is going, but not how it is going to get there. Sometimes, if I’m really lucky, I have some key scenes in mind. But I try to leave things very flexible. I’m not very good at producing a synopsis in advance and in fact if I do I always have to add the warning that it’s more like guidelines. I try to write something every day and keep a very strict record of wordcount. I have a spreadsheet that calculates how much I’ve written each day, how much I have left overall and the percentage done which I find very helpful. The main thing I find is to allow myself to be creative and to listen to the characters in the story. If I ever find myself blocked it is usually because I am trying to force them to do something that doesn’t fit. The most magical thing is when the characters seem to take on their own lives and I’m just following along, writing up the incident report. This is a sign that my subconscious is more aware of what’s going on that the rest of me. There’s something of an instinctiveness to storytelling and when that happens, I know we’re going in the right direction.

Arabella: Which would you prefer to do: 1) spend a morning vigorously working out at the gym, 2) be pampered from head to toe at the spa and beauty salon, 3) indulge and pile on the pounds with a romantic dinner for two?
Jessica: Number 3 all the way. I love my food and I love spending time with my other half.

Arabella: We all have a long list of books we keep meaning to read but never have the time for --- which book is a must read for you this season?
Jessica: Helen Corcoran’s Queen of Coin and Whispers, O’Brien Press, June 2020. It is an absolutely amazing YA fantasy full of intrigue, danger and romance. When Lia, an idealistic queen, falls for Xania, her new spymaster—who took the job to avenge her murdered father—they realise all isn't fair in love and treason.

Arabella: Which would you rather wear: beach shorts and top, a long evening skirt and blouse, or pyjamas and slippers?
Jessica: Pyjamas and slippers all the way. I love my comfort.

Arabella: What about your future plans? Any books or series in the making?
Jessica: I have nothing immediately planned – it has been a very busy couple of years. But that said, while I’d love to say I’m taking a break, I know my writerbrain would never accept that. I like to be writing. I love the creativity and exploring new worlds and characters. I’m hoping to do something a bit different next. Not sure what just yet. But I’m always looking for a new challenge or a new way of looking at things. I have an enduring love of folklore and fabulism so I may see where that takes me.

Thank you for joining me on Arabella’s Blog and Chit-Chat, Jessica. Your latest fantasy release Nightborn sounds amazing. I’m also intrigued by your spreadsheet that calculates how much you’ve written, how much has still to be penned and the percentage done. Where can I find such a marvellous app?
Best wishes and here’s hoping Nightborn makes it into the charts.

About  Jessica Thorne

Jessica Thorne - Author

Jessica Thorne watched too much Sci-Fi and read too much fantasy at an impressionable age. And it was amazing. Now she writes fantasy, sci fi, and everything in between.
Sometimes she is Ruth Frances Long.

Twitter @JessThorneBooks
Instagram JessThorneBooks

Book Blurb   Nightborn

Like deep dark water, it pulls them down. The faint fire of magic within them flickers and dies. Their eyes turn black as night. They are nightborn now.

Grace Marchant has been many things: streetwise orphan, rebellious servant, and now beloved companion of Prince Bastien, heir to the throne of Larelwynn. But their sunlit happiness is not destined to last. The golden magic which brought them together in purest passion is threatened by strange and ancient forces. Innocent people are becoming nightborn – cruel, deadly, unrecognisable to their loved ones – and these two young lovers are the only ones with power enough to stop it.

In times of peace, striking a deal with their closest enemy would be unthinkable, but now their only hope is to ally with the neighbouring Valenti royal family: manipulative, cunning, and always with an eye on the Larelwynn throne. The partnership comes at a devastating price… if Grace wants to defeat the nightborn, she must watch Bastien marry a Valenti princess.

Grace knows she must make this heart-wrenching sacrifice for the good of the whole kingdom – but she also fears the magic in her veins, usually so warm and bright, is turning cold as deepest midnight. A beguiling darkness whispers to her from within. Is Grace herself becoming nightborn?

Time is running out. With Bastien promised to another, and a stony distance growing between them, will Grace find the source of the nightborn curse before every last soul is consumed by the darkness?

Combining sizzling romance, courtly intrigue, and heart-in-your-mouth action, this dark and addictive fantasy series is perfect for fans of Graceling and Emily R. King.
Release Date 26th May 2020

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