Interview with fantasy author J.M. Robison

Fantasy
author J.M. Robison is in the house
today. We’re chatting about her new novel, The
War Queen.




During
her virtual book tour, J.M. will be awarding a War Queen t-shirt to a lucky randomly
drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free
to visit
her other tour stops
and enter there, too!
Welcome, J.M. Please
share a little bit about your current release.

Altarn is the first female to secure the position of State Head of Blindvar.
Females being a new concept in political positions, Altarn’s competency is
treated with bias and mistrust. Worse, she has reason to believe that Kaelin,
State Head of Blindvar, wants to take advantage of her perceived “feminine
weakness” and stage a coup to take Blindvar for himself. Altarn’s army is too
small to fight him alone so she travels to her sister state, Luthsinia to ask
the king there for help in the coming war.
While
she’s gone, an army launches an attack. However, it’s not Kaelin’s like she
originally thought. Kaelin is actually in Luthsinia, and taking advantage of
the startling situation, he kidnaps Altarn, taking her back to Ruidenthall. He
plans to hold her there while her people flood his boarders to escape the
foreign army staking claim to Blindvar. This way, when he helps win back
Blindvar, Altarn’s people will love him for it and give Blindvar to him.
This
plan is slightly bungled when Kaelin doesn’t want to care for Altarn in her
imprisonment the rest of her life, so he lets her go, though tells her that if
she has any chance of fighting this foreign enemy, she’ll need his help, though
the price for his help will be Blindvar. Altarn is forced to accept.
When
Kaelin is fatally wounded in battle, Altarn sees her chance to let him die so
he won’t cash in on Blindvar as payment. But can her conscience allow her to
let this man die, whom so many other people seem to love? But if she saves his
life, will he still take Blindvar for himself?

What inspired you to write this book?
I went for a walk one day. Well, actually it was at night. 1 am to be exact. I
love the allure of darkness. I lived in Pocatello, ID at the time, about a
stones-throw from the campus grounds. Above the ISU’s campus is a hill, and on
this hill are 4 Greek-looking pillars. If you google “pillars in Pocatello, ID”
you’re bound to see a picture of them. The journey of my walk ended at these
pillars, and as I was sitting beneath them, looking across the landscape, I
formed a story in my head, because I’m a geek and had no life (I still don’t).
I imagined that a god fell from heaven onto these pillars which is why they are
“broken”. (They appear broken to me, anyway, because only 3 of the 4 pillars
are connected at the top.) I thought, “That would make a great story!” So what
did I do? I went back to my apartment. And went to bed.

Excerpt from The War Queen:
“Knowing you the short time I have,” he somehow made that statement sound like
that time started this morning, “it appears you wield your emotions like a
weapon and people have to back away or be stabbed. I don’t think it’s so much a
fear of having a female in charge, it’s…having you in charge, and so people
make that one and the same.”

The
daggered truth stabbed her. She sucked in a sharp breath, which left little room
for words to defend herself. His apologetic eyes made it worse, like he was being
truthful though she wished he’d said it just to be ugly. She didn’t know how to
defend against the truth.
“I
fail to see why you care,” she snarled. Her exposed weakness left her more nervous
about leading an army, and the bucket of white paint became so obvious now and
Japheron’s comment about it laid her entire self open, naked and ready for Kaelin
to dress her as he pleased.
“I
care,” he said, lifting a finger as if he could shove the understanding into
her skull, “because you showed up to a war council in a dress.”
She
laughed at the ridiculousness of his concern, but his eyes didn’t change. “You’ve
never had a dress in a war council, so I can see how it would appear odd to
you.”
He
pressed his lips together, and Altarn wished the real concern she saw in his expression
wasn’t so earnest.
“You’ve
never been to a war council, have you?”
“I
don’t see how the proceedings are any different than a regular court session where
other problems with equal importance are discussed. I have been doing that for
a year.”
He
exhaled and leaned back, crossing a boot over one knee. “It’s different for Ruids.
We discuss war plans every week because of our pirate problem. The mood is
different, the light in our eyes is different. It’s life and death we speak of,
and that holds a special kind of ceremony we honor in our speech, in our
manners, and our dress.”
“Why
would my dress not honor this ceremony?”
“It
might…except you look like a damn princess. I don’t know about Blindvar, but we
killed our princesses long ago. Your people don’t want a princess. They want a war
queen. A princess can’t handle the emotional responsibility of sending people
off to their deaths, but a war queen can. “You’d be surprised how willing your
soldiers would be to die for you, so long as you did it without crying as they
march away. They need to be reassured you’ll hold your ground when they
cannot.”

What exciting story are
you working on next?

A YA historical fantasy romance based on Victorian Era England. A wizard from
the Middle Ages is imprisoned for 324 years, where he is freed by a Victorian
Era English girl. She helps him reclaim his amulet, taken when he was first
imprisoned. The wizard is running out of places to hide from those who want his
amulet back, and from the church who’s on the hunt again to purge the world
from the last of the magic.

When did you first consider yourself a
writer?

When I wrote the third book to my 5 part fantasy series. I was 17.


Do you write full-time? If so, what’s
your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find
time to write?

Some day I’ll write full time. But since I still have bills to pay, I own the
title of Deputy Sheriff. I work in my local county jail, currently on 12 hour
nights shifts. I might be busy, say, 4 hours out of the night, so the rest of
the night is all just waiting for work to come to us. It’s either join my
co-workers who spend that time watching movies, or write. I also have time on
my days off to write, so it’s not bad.

What would you say is your interesting
writing quirk?

I write every 1st draft by hand. I’ve done this for 8 books so far, each book
70,000+ words. I then type them up for the 2nd draft, and proceed with editing.

As a child, what did you want to be when
you grew up?

Somewhere between the age of 5-19, I wanted to be a police officer, FBI agent,
CIA, a soldier, or a career writer. Currently I’m a soldier in the U.S. Army
reserves and a full time Deputy Sheriff, working on becoming a career writer.

Anything additional you want to share
with the readers?

I’m a fantasy historian
who chronicles the events which force heroes to reveal their mistakes,
lead rebellions to dethrone tyranny, and unearth ancient secrets
to free the oppressed.

Buy links:
Thank you for being a guest
on my blog!

Thank
you so much for having me.

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