Dirty Dozen Author Interview J.M. Ney-Grimm

Author: J.M. Ney-Grimm

 Please tell us about your publications. I write fantasy in which the intimate and personal intertwine with the great forces of history and culture. Most of my stories are set in my North-lands, a world inspired by the watercolor illustrations of the Danish artist Kay Nielsen. My novels include: Troll-magic, Livli’s Gift, Caught in Amber, Fate’s Door, and The Tally Master. I also have a handful of novellas (plus a few short stories), among them: Sarvet’s Wanderyar, Hunting Wild, and Winter Glory.

Caught in Amber

What first prompted you to publish your work? In 2007, I re-discovered Maddy Prior’s amazing song ‘The Fabled Hare.’

Listening to her powerful lyrics and expressive voice, I grew suddenly aware that time was passing, I was getting older, and I didn’t have forever.

The imagery of the hunter and hounds closing in on the hare made me feel as though death were snapping at my heels.

If there was something I really wanted to do, something I had not done yet, I’d better get going or I might miss my chance entirely.

I didn’t ‘click the publish button’ in 2007, but that year and that song were the beginning of my publishing journey.

Are you a ‘pantser’ or a ‘plotter’? I do some of each.

I prefer having a skeletal outline at the start of a story. Doing without —pure ‘pantsing’—feels like walking a tightrope over Niagara without a safety net. Very uncomfortable! And yet…I’ve done it.

Once I awoke in the middle of the night, so afire with inspiration that I got up out of my bed to write the first scene of what would become the novel Caught in Amber. I didn’t work out an outline until I was a third of the way through the book!

More usually, I sort out the foundational plot line before I start writing. I need to know what happens, but (oddly) I need to not know how it happens. I discover the how as I write, and that keeps the story feeling fresh to me.

Even when I follow an outline, I always feel free to ‘have a better idea.’ Sometimes my outline writhes like a river in flood!

 

What piece of advice do you wish you’d had when you started your publishing journey? I’m going to pretend you asked me about my writing journey. 😉 Because there’s a piece of advice that I really, really needed and didn’t get, way back when.

For some reason, I thought that the process of writing was much more cut-and-dried than it ever could be. Why I thought this, I don’t know. Perhaps because I formed the impression when I was very young, at age ten or eleven.

But the result was that, when I sat down in my early twenties to write my great fantasy novel, and didn’t get anywhere with it, I concluded that I must not be made of such stuff as goes into the bones of real writers.

I longed to write novels, and believed I could not. I spent more than two decades believing this and writing poetry and story vignettes and gaming adventures instead.

And then I listened to Maddy Prior’s ‘The Fabled Hare’ and got serious about my creative aspirations. I read Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, did every last one of the written assignments in the book, and read several of the titles in its bibliography.

That’s when I encountered Becoming a Writer by Dorothea Brande, and one of her suggestions set me free.

So the advice I wish I’d gotten? Find out how other writers do it! Not just one or two, but dozens. Ask them. Read biographies. Whatever it takes, find out.

Because if I’d learned that there are as many ways as there are writers, I might not have concluded so wrongly that I was not a writer. I might have been writing novellas and novels (as well as poetry and vignettes and gaming adventures) between 1980 and 2007. I might not have been so unhappy in my creative desert.

 

What are your views on authors commenting on reviews? Do not go there! Reviews are a reader space. What reader wants to write his or her honest opinion and then discover that the author of the book has been peering over his or her shoulder the whole while?

 

Sort these into order of importance: Great characters. Good plot. Awesome world-building. Technically perfect.

As a reader (not a writer), I want them all. If the characters aren’t great, I have no interest. If the plot is stupid, I get cranky. If the world-building is unconvincing, I get thrown out of the story. If there are grammar errors, I’m tempted to email the author with the necessary fix. Gah!

I believe I’m known as what one writer calls a ‘fussy reader.’ That’s being kind!

As a writer…what can I say? I go for all four. One of my writing mentors told me that I need never worry about grammar or word choice; in her words, I’m stellar at that.

My readers tell me that my world-building is so thorough that they feel like they are ‘watching a movie on the insides of their eyeballs.’

Another writing mentor says that plot is clearly one of my strong points.

And yet more readers claim that the relationship dynamics between my characters feel utterly real.

 

How much research do you do for your work? What’s the wildest subject you’ve looked at? A surprising amount! I’ve heard those who don’t write fantasy speculate that fantasy writers need do no research at all: they can just make it all up.

Nope!

Because my world is make-believe featuring magic and fantastical creatures, it is all the more important that I get the details of living there right. Horses better behave like the real beasts. The combination of wet and cold better be appropriately dangerous. Travel attempted under medieval conditions better be realistically inconvenient. And so on.

I’ve researched the horse sandals of the ancient Romans (horseshoes weren’t invented until 500CE), the forging of Bronze Age swords, the details of how fishes’ gills work, and more.

 

How influential is storytelling to our culture? To be human is to be a storyteller. We remember our past with story. We predict and plan for our future with story. We make meaning out of our present with story. We cannot be ourselves without story.

That’s an existential answer to a more grounded question, but I stand by it. 😉

 

Which authors have influenced you the most? I love the sense of wonder present in the fantasy of Robin McKinley. I adore the cultural creativity in C.J. Cherryh’s Foreigner series. The poetry of Patricia McKillip’s storytelling inspires me. And the great characters within the amazing worlds of Lois McMaster Bujold carry me completely out of myself.

 

What is your writing space like? All I need is my laptop! I prefer quiet, but I can write amidst noise and hullabaloo if need be. (I learned how when my kids were still little and would nestle against me while I tapped away on my keyboard.) When I had a badly broken foot (doctor’s orders to keep it elevated and bearing no weight for 10 weeks, so as to avoid surgery), I learned to write while semi-reclining on the couch. I got so used to this position that I use it still!

 

Tell us about your latest piece? My novel The Tally Master released in April 2017. Here’s a little bit about it:

Seven years ago, reeling from a curse in the wake of battle, Gael sought sanctuary and found it in a most perilous place.

The citadel of a troll warlord—haunt of the desperate and violent—proves a harsh refuge for a civilized mage. But Gael wields power enough to create an oasis of order amidst the chaos.

Set in the Bronze Age of my North-lands, The Tally Master brings mystery and secrets to epic fantasy in a suspenseful tale of betrayal and redemption.

 

What’s your next writing adventure? I’m really excited about the novel I’m working on now. Its tentative title is To Thread the Labyrinth. Here’s a bit about it:

Ohtavie de Bellay craves safety. Craves obscurity. She seeks solitude and secrecy and shadows. Because only hiding holds death at bay.

But Ohtavie fears that all her care—decades of prudence—won’t be enough. No, she knows it won’t save her.

One day an angry mob will come to drag her forth from her long retreat and stone her. Or pinion her within her refuge and burn it down around her. Or, worst of all, summon the executioner who will hold her unmoving with his enigmatic magic, while his great axe parts her head from her living body with brutal precision.

So Ohtavie lurks and hides and fights her fears alone.

Until that one day arrives, bringing…no mob, no stones, no flames, and no axe.

Just one sweet-faced girl who threatens Ohtavie with something more perilous still.

A gripping story of quiet courage and fortitude.

 

Is there a message in your books? I don’t deliberately include a message, but I suspect my most cherished beliefs seep into my fiction.

There is hope. If the first attempt fails—or the second, or the third—try again. How you do a thing will shape who you become, as well as the ultimate result. You are loved. There is beauty in existence. ‘All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.’

 

Links

Website: http://jmney-grimm.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009200970533

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JMNeyGrimm

Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/315055.J_M_Ney_Grimm

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/J.M.-Ney-Grimm/e/B006QRFNAS/

 

J.M. Ney-Grimm lives with her husband and children in Virginia, just east of the Blue Ridge Mountains. She’s learning about permaculture gardening and debunking popular myths about food. The rest of the time she reads Robin McKinley, Diana Wynne Jones, and Lois McMaster Bujold, plays boardgames like Settlers of Catan, rears her twins, and writes stories set in her troll-infested North-lands.

Swift Six Character Interview – Acionna #Fantasy #Mythictales

#Swiftsix #fantasy #talesoferana #Meetacharacter

mythic-fb-bannerName: Acionna

Which book/world do you live in?

I live in the Jagged Peak mountains, they are in the world called Erana by those who live there. I am in a book? I know of books and lore. Then am I not real? – I feel real, and the mountains around me seem real. Is it, perhaps, that I am real here, and you are the myth, you are the imaginary?

Tell us about yourself: (Name, race/species, etc.)

I am an ancient elemental, a Goddess to some. Born of the mountain, and the pounding waterfalls when the world was young and the magic free. It was so long past I could not tell you how many years or centuries of your time. Once there were many of my kind – creatures of magic and wild places but the magic was chased away, corrupted and sickened and many of us fell, or hid, or faded. Now I am a myth, a legend told around the fire and a drop of blood here and there in lineages old and noble. The Plague came and everything changed. The land changed, the magic changed.

My myths say:

‘Many creatures were born when the magic was wild and free. Guardians of the wild places they would become, and when there were mortals to believe they would become gods; for those whose lives end often seek out those who endure. Acionna had been born of the rock, the water and the snow. She was a child of all and none, a child of the raw magic of the earth and streams. So it was the elemental walked among the rock and water, a goddess of sorts.’

 My hair is white like the fresh-fallen snow, and my skin blue-black like the beloved mountain which spawned me. To you I would appear naked. Elementals feel no shame of their bodies, nor a need to cover themselves. Shame is a mortal emotion. But even elementals may love, and experience loneliness. For everything which lives craves company of some sort. I do not fear death, but I do fear this awful loneliness lasting until the mountain falls to dust.

I’m an adventurer – why should I recruit you to accompany me?

I have had my adventures, I have warred, and lost all save myself. I have walked the mountain paths and fought with monsters and men who would seek to kill every last trace of magic. Why should I wish to adventure again?

If I were to consent I would bring you elemental magic, of the oldest sort. The Power of the elementals, the Power of nature and the furious waters and mighty peaks.

Tell us about your companions?  How do they see you?

I have none. My mate is long dead, now nothing but a statue and even I cannot undo the curse. My daughter is gone, fallen to wicked magic and I walk these peaks alone. Sometimes the trolls come and bring offerings but they see me not. For I know now that mortals and immortals should not mix.

What’s your most heroic exploit to date?

We fought the Sal tribe, with their wicked fae-bought magic. There were no winners in that war, but I cleansed the mountain of its taint of stolen and bargained dark sorcery. No more did the trolls bargain with the fae.

What’s your greatest failure?

We lost the war. The Plague came anyway and the land was blighted. My mate was killed, by allied tribe scattered and the Relic of the Moon was lost.

Where do you think you’ll be in a decade?

To an immortal time is nothing. I was born of magic and mountains, and with luck, I will fade when they do. The magic is hunted, it is purged, and it is tormented but magic cares not. Magic is and always shall be wild and free. The Order of Witch-Hunters are mortals, they rose and they will fall sooner or later. I have seen the tribes of men come and go like the seasons, but through them, magic remains. I concede it hides and shows itself in places of mystery and crafty ways but the magic is as old as the land and will not die completely.

Do you have a great love? (This could be a person/trait/item)

Talin Var – Hirik prince of the Var tribe of trolls. Is it wise for an elemental to love a mortal? No, usually it ends in tragedy, but love is a sister to magic and she finds her way when one expects or desires it not. Love cannot be controlled or denied. Talin was brave, strong and honourable and he gave his life for his people.

My love for Talin persists, even after so many years.

Links to book etc

 The Moon on the Water appears in the Tales of Erana: Myths and Legends – this appears in Mythic Tales Box Set.

Mythic coverfan.png

TalesErana cover

Mythic Tales Montage

Mythic Tales can be found at the following stores:

Mythic Tales on Bundle Rabbit https://bundlerabbit.com/b/mythic-tales

Mythic Tales on Kobo http://bit.ly/2fI2Ons

Mythic Tales on Amazon http://amzn.to/2fFWnkI

Mythic Tales on Barnes and Noble http://bit.ly/2xLbdLi

Mythic Tales on I-tunes http://apple.co/2xMaolH

 

 

 

Tales of Erana: Myths and Legends

In a world where magic is illegal, and elves enslaved dare you hear the tales of old? Five tales of myth, magic, and monsters from the world of the Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles.

Audio editions narrated by Michael Legate

Amazon.com http://amzn.to/2j0yyEh

Amazon audio http://amzn.to/2hKoUoZ

Audible.com http://adbl.co/2hKOKHP

Amazon UK http://amzn.to/2j0DJnK

Amazon UK audio http://amzn.to/2iBbmM8

Audible UK http://adbl.co/2bxgVrw

Barnes and Noble http://bit.ly/2i31N56

I -books http://apple.co/2hKO19z

Kobo http://bit.ly/2i2W0MR

Swift Six Character Interview – Fae – Fantasy/Mythic/Bundle

Mythic Tales Bundle

Myth, Magic and Mayhem abound and today we welcome Fae, who shares some of her thoughts with us.

Name: Oh, I wish I could remember my name! I wish I could remember anything. I feel so… lost, knowing nothing of who I am, where I come from. Yesterday, when I was pretending to be brave, I gave myself a name. It feels right, but it might not be right. How could it, when I remember nothing? But… I’m Fae (she raises her chin) and I’m going to pretend to be brave again. I have to.

Which book/world do you live in? I seem to be trapped in a castle. It’s very beautiful, with marble halls and tall windows looking onto flowering summer gardens. But it’s utterly deserted; I’m all alone and locked in! None of the doors to the outside seem to even have functioning latches and hinges. And when I tried to break a window with a paperweight, it bounced off!

Tell us about yourself: (Name, race/species, etc.) When I look in the mirror, I look human. But something tells me I might not be. Oh, I’m not anything truly strange, like the creatures in fairy tales or the monsters in myths and legends. Yesterday I thought I might be the granddaughter of a goddess, but that’s not it either. I’m trying to figure it out, because I think that if I can only remember something, that’s the key to escaping this castle and finding… home? Oh, I wish I could go home, wherever home is! (She raises her chin again.) But I’ll do it. I’ll figure it out. I won’t give up.

I’m an adventurer – why should I recruit you to accompany me? Adventurers… (Her tone is musing.) I always thought they were ne’er-do-wells, the black sheep of their families. But sometimes they’re soldiers of fortune, aren’t they? I wonder if a soldier—a warrior—could help me? I don’t think so. This castle, this situation, is a puzzle, not a battle. And I’m going to solve it. (She sighs.) But I wish someone were here. Besides me. It’s so lonely. I miss my friends, even though I can’t remember who they are. Oh, I hate this!

Tell us about your companions?  How do they see you? I know I had friends. Maybe a band of girls my age? How old am I anyway? Maybe fourteen? Maybe sixteen? I don’t know! But it’s something like that. I think we spent a lot of time out of doors, rambling in the woods, running races, practising archery? Someone else was the fastest in the foot races, but I was the best with bow and arrow! Oh, I miss the outdoors! I hate this castle and being pent inside from dawn to dusk!

What’s your most heroic exploit to date? Ha! I don’t think I’ve had time to be a hero! I’m too young. But, guess what? I think I’m being a hero now. Something has happened to trap me in this place, and I don’t think I’m the only one affected, even though I’m the only one here. Somewhere that I can’t see, that I don’t even know about, there are people I love in trouble. If I can just solve this puzzle… I’ll get out and go help them! Whoever did this to me (she raises that chin again) is going to be sorry!

What’s your greatest failure? I think I failed at something important. Something really important. I wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t.  I think I betrayed… not someone else. Never someone else. But I might have betrayed myself. I might have… consented to something? To a punishment? When I should have fought it tooth and nail? Oh, I wish I could remember! This is horrid!

Where do you think you’ll be in a decade? I’ll be out of here! I’ll escape! I’ll rescue my cousins! Oh! I remembered something! I have cousins! (She does a little dance step of jubilation.) One of them… Athena? Athena was studying military history. Oh! I have an uncle! Uncle Leander was.. a blacksmith? No, that’s not right. He knew smithing. And he was good at it! But he was so much more. I can’t remember. (She grits her teeth.) I can’t remember, but I am remembering! And I’m going to remember more!

Do you have a great love? (This could be a person/trait/item) I loved someone. I know I did. Besides my friends. And my cousins. And my uncle. I almost think I loved… Was she my aunt? I saw her so clearly in my mind’s eye yesterday. She was pale and stern and garbed in a sweeping black velvet gown as she admonished me to never open that quaint pointed door in the corner while she was gone. Did I open it? Is that why I’m here? Or did I fail to open it? And is that failure why I’m here? I wonder if that door… might be somewhere in this castle? (Her eyes light.) I’m going to go look!

 

Fae is the heroine of the novel Caught in Amber by J.M. Ney-Grimm

Amazon US: Caught-Amber-J-M-Ney-Grimm Amazon

Amazon UK: Caught-Amber-J-M-Ney-Grimm Amazon UK

Apple: Caught in Amber – I tunes

Kobo: Caught in Amber – Kobo

Barnes & Noble: Caught in Amber – Nook

Smashwords: Caught in Amber – Smashwords

Universal Books2Read: Caught in Amber – Books2Read

Bundle Rabbit Caught in Amber – Bundle Rabbit

Caught in Amber.jpgmythic-fb-banner

 

Zweihander Interview – Kerrien and Rithvik #Fantasy #Mythic

Today we welcome two characters at once – Kerrien and Rithvik

Relationship: it’s complicated

World: Silvery Earth

Books: Beautiful, included in the bundle Mythic Tales or the collection Fairy Tales Revisited

  • How and where did you meet?

Rithvik: In my castle! He found me and awoke me with the sweetest…

Kerrien: Shut up, Rithvik! I’m an adventurer and bounty hunter, and I had followed some bandits to an abandoned castle in the forest. I found him at the top of one of the towers, spellbound, asleep…

Rithvik: And he kissed me awake! *beams*

Kerrien *glares*

  • What is it you like most about the other person

Kerrien: He’s darn handsome, I’ll give him that. And he has kissable lips, darn him!

Rithvik: He is strong and handsome and awesome and he kissed me awake, so we’ll be together forever!

Kerrien: We’re not. You consorted with demons, I will get rid of you.

Rithvik: No you’re not!

  • What is it you hate most about them?

Kerrien: I hate how he sticks to me and tells everyone I kissed him awake.

Rithvik: I hate how he’s trying to get rid of me! We’re meant to be together!

  • Do you work well as a partnership?

Kerrien: Well, he can hold a sword. I guess we’re a good team.

Rithvik: I have a lot to learn, but I’m sure we’ll be the best and everybody will want to hire us!

  • Do you think your partnership will last?

Kerrien: I don’t know. I like to work alone. And I don’t like his past.

Rithvik: Of course our partnership will last! We’re meant to be together anyway!

Kerrien: We’re not!

Rithvik: See why it’s complicated?

  • Describe the other person (max 100 words)

Kerrien: Rithvik is a spoiled prince with a puppy disposition, but he has a nice ass and beautiful emerald-green eyes. And he’s handsome, nobody can deny it.

Rithvik: Kerrien is a grumpy mercenary with lots of hidden scars. He’s like a stray cat, if you get to his heart, he’s the sweetest. And don’t you love his raven hair and hazel eyes?

  • Describe how you think the other person sees you

Kerrien: Great and mighty warrior. *snorts* I’m his caretaker, mentor, assistant and another dozen job descriptions!

Rithvik: Erm… he thinks I’m useless and spoiled and that I spellbound him. I didn’t, unfortunately, or it wouldn’t be so complicated.

  • Tell us a little about your adventures

Kerrien: We wander, looking for treasures, hunting outlaws, looking for Rithvik’s past…

Rithvik: And yours! I want to know everything about where you come from!

  • Tell us about your world – and your part of it

Kerrien: We both live in the north, where the Moren Empire used to be.

Rithvik: The Moren Empire was still there when the spell sent me to sleep!

Kerrien: That was centuries ago. Now we have small kingdoms, city-states and the lands of the barbarian tribes, where I come from.

Rithvik: I think someone mentioned this world is called Silvery Earth and this… continent? Yes, this continent is called Varia.

Kerrien: Where did you hear that, from your demon lover?

Rithvik *rolls eyes*

  • Where do you see yourselves in five years?

Kerrien: Still wandering and exploring the world.

Rithvik: Settled somewhere with Kerrien and living happily ever after!

Tales of Erana – Volume One

I’m pleased to announce the release of Tales of Erana – Volume One.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/1508403538

Available exclusively on Amazon and only in print it comprises the short fantasy stories set in the world of Erana, which are available in assorted anthologies. This is the first time the stories have been featured as one collection.

Lonely gods, errant mortals, monsters, magic and mayhem, love and loss, romance and revenge all set in a dark fantasy mythic world – The world of the Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles.

Featuring:

The Moon on the Water – a tale of greed, magic, love and loss and the lore of the Trollkind.

The Tale of Treyna the Beloved – the desire of a lusty god for a mortal has terrible consequences, and the sky will never be the same.

Storm Born – a lonely mage creates a companion but has he unleashed more than he knows?

The Blue Phial – a crafty apothecary recounts how important it is to read the label when dabbling with potions.

The Legend of Oeliana – A guardian of the forest keeps a secret, until the magic returns.

The Warrior’s Curse – when three adventurers stumble into a mysterious cave will their greed get the better of them, or will they too fall to the monster’s curse?

Just One Mistake – Reluctant hero Coel must right a wrong.

 

Tales of Erana PB Cover I

Cover art by Atelier Sommerland – Fotolia