Author Interview: Jan Foster

Jan Foster

We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.*

Editing my second in series novel, Anarchic Destiny ready for ARC’s

In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.*

Already released are a prequel (set in 800AD when Vikings invade!) which is an introduction to my Naturae world and the creation of the villain, and Book 1, Disrupting Destiny, which is set in Tudor England. The Naturae Series weaves real world history with creatures such as fae, witches, vampires and daemons living alongside, or in, actual settings. The main characters, Aioffe and her husband Joshua, are both winged fae, which, as you can imagine, presents certain problems with trying to remain hidden in a human C16th world! They have to wrestle with events which are playing out for the humans as well as their own realm, one of the Orkney Islands off Scotland, and try to stay alive, and together. Although there are romance elements to the book, that is not the main storyline.

As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)*

Editing – being dyslexic I rely heavily on a variety of programmes, editors, beta and ARC readers to help me spot blundering errors! I far prefer to just write and write and get lost in the universe in my mind!

Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?*

I love it when I’ve been doing some research which happens to tie neatly into what I was planning for the plotline! I’m a plantster – so I know my rough plot, and characters, but it sometimes takes a twist away from me I wasn’t expecting and then I have to plot my way out of it.

If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)*

I find writing humour quite difficult – it’s such a personal thing! So I’d have to say any author who can broadly make the majority of their readers giggle is someone I admire.

Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

My usual main characters have already suffered being kidnapped, and I’d be pretty petrified of the repercussions if it was tried again. However, in Book 2 (Anarchic Destiny) my third MC, the somewhat morally grey Henry Fitzroy – a reluctant vampire who believes he should be king – would possibly be persuaded by the ghost of his father Henry VIII coming back and reprimanding him for being un-sporting. So, with the aid of some modern fancy audio equipment (which, being in the C21st, I happen to have!), I might fudge a vision and tell him this is simply a trial for him to prove he is worthy, and kind. So he should free me instead of ripping me to shreds….

You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

Giordano Bruno (SJ Parris) would definitely give Joshua and Aioffe a long and probably tense card battle. While he is wily and reads people, they are very used to deceiving humans, better at bluffing (especially Joshua – lots of practise in the taverns and blessed with a long memory), and – if they are playing poker at all – probably quite desperate for something. The stakes? A life. Probably one of their friends – Nemis the witch, or Jeffries the fallen monk perhaps. As to a winner, the game would be disrupted by Fairfax, a tricky daemon who trails chaos wherever he goes, especially if it involves protecting his precious jam! For sure, he’d bumble in, knock over the card table, and carnage would follow!

Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)*

As an author, my best piece of advice is to grow a thick skin. Everyone likes to read different things (whoopee!) but that equally means that not everyone will like the stuff you write. It can be hard when a friend of family member does read what you’ve written then doesn’t respond to your questions about it – and even ARC readers don’t always like your style although they should read in your genre at least! Try not to take it personally – think of books like bacon – some people like it chewy, some thin and crispy, others thick and meaty, and some don’t like it at all or won’t eat it for various ethical reasons.

Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

Ever wondered what might have happened if Henry VIII’s bastard son, Henry Fitzroy had lived? Find out in Book 2 of the Naturae Series which launches 30th January 2022

Subscribe to my newsletter and I’ll send you a free copy of the Naturae Series prequel Risking Destiny (a full length novel set in Viking Age Orkney!) to enjoy!

Fancy getting Advance Reader Copies of all of my books? Join the Launch Team here

Catch up on what’s happened so far in the epic historical fantasy Naturae Series – Book Links: Disrupting Destiny Risking Destiny