An Interview with Jay Kristoff
This post is part of the Discover Australian Fantasy feature, running all July on The Oaken Bookcase. Please visit the Aussie Fantasy page to see all the reviews and articles for the feature and to enter the giveaway!
As you may have gathered from yesterday’s guest Five for Friday, Stormdancer is the highly anticipated debut from Jay Kristoff, releasing worldwide during September. Jay was kind enough to answer a few questions for me and today I’m delighted to share the answers with you! There’s more information on the book itself further down in the post.
Q: So, Stormdancer is just about to be released and it must feel like the light at the end of the tunnel is finally daylight rather than an oncoming train. How long since you finished writing the book was it actually accepted for publication?
A: It felt like years at the time, but honestly it all happened pretty quickly. I finished writing STORMDANCER in August 2010, I picked my agent by November (I was really lucky and had multiple offers of representation, which made a real nice change after years of being kicked in the baby-maker by boiler-plate rejection letters) and we had our first deal on the table by December.
Things went a little mad after the first offer came in though, and the book ended up going to auction. It took most of January for the auction to finish, so the deal wasn’t finalised until Australia Day, 2011. Lucky it was a public holiday – my hangover was killer.
I wrote a blog post about how the auction went down. Crazy stuff.
Q: It seems like a lot of the social media promotion for Stormdancer is being directed at the US and UK markets at the moment. Are you or will you be doing much publicity around Australia? Are there any plans to head overseas for the other launches?
A: Yup, we’re going to be doing a bunch of stuff closer to launch. We’ve got an Aussie giveaway on Goodreads in July (ed: it’s on right now!), I’ll be doing my first ever signing at Manifest in Melbourne at the end of August (terrifying). I’ll be doing a bunch of press too – my Aussie publicist is actually a bit of a gun, and everyone will be frackin’ sick of me by the time the book actually hits.
By the by, my book launch will be at Dymocks in Melbourne city on the 7th of September, and it’d be awesome if someone other than my mum showed up. She doesn’t even read fantasy. She wouldn’t know a griffin if one fell out of the sky, landed on her face and started to beatbox.
Q: Who are some of your favourite fantasy authors, Aussie or otherwise?
A: William Gibson, Douglas Adams, Robin Hobb, Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, Frank Miller, Katsuhiro Otomo, Stephen King, Robert Cormier, someone stop me or I’ll be here all frackin’ day….
Q: You’re a self-proclaimed tragic nerd. Care to tell us about your nerdy credentials? – Gamer? Star Wars/Star Trek/Firefly? Ever dressed up for a con or for a tabletop game?
A: Yes to all of the above. I could nerd for Australia at an Olympic level. If you weaponized nerdery, and put said nerdery under a microscope, you would see lots of little Jays with sweet beards swimming around having lightsaber fights and playing Collectible Card Games in the corner.
The last full-on argument I had with my bride (we almost never argue) wasn’t about money, or “were you looking at that girl’s ass” or whatever. It was about Theon Greyjoy and whether or not he is a tragic character torn between blood and duty, or just a straight up douchebag. We were yelling at each other. Drunkenly. Outside a pub. At 2am.
Q: What advice would you give to aspiring Aussie fantasy writers (or writers in general)?
A: To the Aussies – Don’t think of yourself as Australian, just think of yourself as a writer. Aim high. In this day and age, there’s no reason at all your words can’t be read all the way across the globe. If I can do it, anyone can.
Writers in general – I could say all the usual bollocks about write every day, write what you love, yadda yadda. But everyone says that. The best piece of advice I can give is this:
Believe in yourself.
The only belief that matters in this equation is your own. It’s nice to have the support of betas or trusted friends, but it’s not necessary (the only person who had more than the vaguest idea that I was writing a book until I got repped was my wife). The only person who needs to believe you can do this is you. Everything else is window dressing.
The peoplewho reject you? The people who tell you that you can’t do it? The people who give you a funny little look when you mention your book? The people who are waiting for you to fail?
Say those words. Sing them.Take a deep breath and scream them.
It doesn’t matter what theythink, or what they say. It doesn’t matter what they believe. It only matters what you think, what you believe. Because if you believe you can do it, and you’re meant to be doing it, then you will. You can. And that’s all there is to it. No more, no less than that.
Details about Stormdancer
Series: The Lotus War #1 of 3 (possibly more)
Genre: “Japanese-inspired Steampunk Dystopia”
Published: Pan Macmillan Australia, September 1, 2012; TOR UK September 13 and St. Martin’s Press (US) on September 18.
Griffins are supposed to be extinct. So when Yukiko and her warrior father Masaru are sent to capture one for the Shogun, they fear that their lives are over. Everyone knows what happens to those who fail him, no matter how hopeless the task.
But the mission proves far less impossible, and far more deadly, than anyone expects – and soon Yukiko finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in her country’s last wilderness, with only a furious, crippled griffin for company. But trapped together in the forest, Yukiko and Buruu soon discover a friendship that neither of them expected.
Meanwhile, the country around them verges on the brink of collapse. A toxic fuel is slowly choking the land; the omnipotent, machine-powered Lotus Guild is publicly burning those they deem Impure; and the Shogun cares about nothing but his own dominion. Yukiko has always been uneasy in the shadow of power, when she learns the awful truth of what the Shogun has done, both to her country and to her own family she’s determined to do something about it.
Returning to the city, Yukiko and Buruu plan to make the Shogun pay for his crimes – but what can one girl and a flightless griffin do against the might of an empire?
I know Rebecca linked this in her post yesterday, but if you haven’t seen Jay’s review of Stormdancer on Goodreads, you really need to read it. Right. Now.
Also, you can read the first three chapters for free at Tor.com! Can you wait until September? I know I can’t!