Thursday, September 17, 2009

5 Questions with... Juliet E McKenna

This week, our ‘Five Questions with...’ features British writer Juliet E McKenna, author of the fantasy series The Tales of Einarinn and The Aldabreshin Compass, and no stranger to us here in Chapters, due to her regular visits to Dublin-based SF Conventions. We always have a ready supply of signed copies of Juliet’s books on our shelves!

1. What are you working on at the moment?

I’m putting the final touches to Banners in the Wind, the concluding book of the Chronicles of the Lescari Revolution trilogy. Those exiles and rebels who decided it was time to put an end to their quarreling dukes’ tyranny in Irons in the Fire are dealing with no end of unforeseen consequences after taking the battle to their enemies in Blood in the Water – and I’m expecting the page proofs of that book any day too.

Since I deliver the Banners manuscript in October, I’m already thinking ahead to some other projects that could take me in interesting new directions.

2. Who's the best new writer you've come across recently?

New to me personally or new to publishing? If it’s the former, I’m loving Andrea Camilleri’s Inspector Montalbano detective novels, set in Sicily. As for debut novels, Kari Sperring’s Living with Ghosts is a fantastic read, showing just how far from formulaic fantasy fiction can be these days.

3. Do you have any peculiar rituals you do before you start writing?

Not that I’m aware of. On a typical morning, I’ll wave the teenage sons off to school and make a cup of tea while ignoring any outstanding housework or washing up. That can wait till the lads get home and do their share. Then I head upstairs to my study. Dealing with email limbers up my typing fingers, and then I’m off into the current chapter.

4. Who's your favourite literary character?

How am I supposed to answer that? I’ve been reading books by the shelf-full for the past forty years! I can’t even decide on a favourite among my own characters, never mind anyone else’s. If you really must have an answer? At the moment, Sam Gamgee from The Lord of the Rings; loyal, brave, whose heroism comes from innate strengths, never mind external appearances. Ask me again next month and it may well be someone entirely different, depending on what I’m reading or thinking. Like, say, Steven Maturin. Oh, or Elvis Cole. Or…

5. If you could be anything else in the world, except a writer, what would it be?

That’s an interesting one. If my life hadn’t taken the turn that ended up with me being a writer, I’d most likely be a Personnel Director by now, and I reckon I’d still enjoy that kind of work.

But anything else in the world? I would be an actor; middling-successful, please, so doing a bit of film work to take me to exotic places, some quality telly so I’d meet the great Sir and Dame thespians and observe their skills, interspersed with the different challenges and thrills of live theatre every few seasons. But without all that paparazzi nonsense, thanks.


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