As announced in my Sunday Summary post yesterday, today I am sharing with you an interview with J. M. Robison about her first traditionally published book, The War Queen. I was kindly approached by her with a free ARC copy of her book in exchange for an honest review.
Before we get to that review, I was given the opportunity to ask our author a few questions about both herself and The War Queen:-
Tell us all a little about yourself
I’ve been an avid writer and reader (after all, you should never trust a writer who does not also read) of the fantasy genre since I was 15. To date I’ve completed 8 novels with one traditionally published with Tirgearr. I hold a full-time job as a deputy sheriff in my local county jail. I’m also a reservist in the army which has caused me to travel Afghanistan, Romania, Bulgaria, Kuwait, and too many U.S. states to list. Having had so much experience with people and cultures, I’ve used this in my world building for all my stories which adds unique flavor which I am proud of. My dream is to stay home and make money writing books. I also home make my shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, deodorant, laundry soap, and lotion.
For anyone who is yet to read The War Queen please can you give a brief summary of the book.
Altarn is used to tolerating the biases of men. It comes with being the first female to secure the political State Head of Blindvar. But Kaelin, the State Head of Ruidenthall, crosses the line when he proposes a merger of their two states. Altarn has reason to believe this is Kaelin’s attempt to make himself king of both. Believing it’s her responsibility to “dethrone” him, she rides to her last ally to ask for aid.
While on the road, she’s kidnapped and taken to Ruidenthall. She wakes from a drug-induced sleep to hear about a foreign army marching upon Blindvar, and Kaelin capitalizing on her kidnap to make himself king. He threatens her life if she tells anyone, but she will suffer tyranny under a king if she does not.
When the final battle forces her hand, she has but one choice: to save Kaelin’s life or let him die. She never expected to dethrone his heart instead.
What inspired you to write the book?
I had just finished writing a 5 book fantasy series, and I was hankering for something else to write. I was living in Pocatello, ID at the time, right above ISU campus. In the mood for a midnight walk, I walked up the hill right above campus, to the 4 Grecian pillars at the top. 3 of the 4 pillars are connected, while the 4th is not. In my mind, I saw this as being “broken” and I started devising up a story about how it came to be broken. Eventually that idea developed into a god falling on them and breaking them, and the story about why he fell.
This idea actually is only 10% of The War Queen but, because I’m a pantster, it spawned into much more. (Author confession: I was only 20 pages into the story when I stopped writing, out of ideas. I sat on it for 7 years before a simple prompt kick-started me to complete it and publish it.)
What was the most challenging thing, writing the book, getting published etc?
This book came easy to me. After that 7 year hiatus, ideas flowed through my brain so within the space of 3 hours I had exact dialogue, scenes, and characters fleshed out in my head. And I love editing because I get to experience the story all over again. The hardest was publishing, and fighting through the grind of “is my query good enough? Is the first 3 chapters good enough? Was my beta reader honest enough?” because after 47 rejections you start to doubt.
Do you have any fellow authors you look up to? If so, why?
Megan Spooner and Amy Kaufman for convincing me to re-write a book in 1st POV present tense (best thing I ever did for a story). Margret Weis and Tracy Hickman for teaching me how to write fantasy and for giving me my love of fantasy. Susan D. Kalior because Warriors In The Mist is the best book I’ve ever read.
Any plans for another book?
Yes. I always must be writing something. Next planned is a religious fantasy about a demon and angel who switch places and then collude to overturn the religion that corrupted them both. No title yet.
What’s the next book you plan to publish?
It’s in the hands of my publisher now for consideration. It’s an historical fantasy based on Victorian Era England, called The Last Wizard. I already have a book trailer for it: https://www.jmrobison.com/the-last-wizard-2
One of my favourite parts of doing these interviews is learning about the people behind the books. It’s easy to idolise authors for their works but very often not appreciate their backgrounds (and ultimately their inspirations).
This also happens to be a very special week, as there is a live event which has been set up especially on Facebook to celebrate the books first birthday! During the event, you will be able to ask any questions and interact with JM. If you would like to join in on the Facebook Event I have provided the link to do so. I hope to see you there!
If you would like to find out more about The War Queen, please see the below links:-
I look forward to writing my review tomorrow and hope you take the time to check it out!
A huge thank you to JM for taking the time to contribute to this post!