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Friday, November 8, 2013

An Interview with Debut Fantasy Novelist "Just B. Jordan"

Always on the lookout for a good fantasy book to read (for I consider myself a picky reader) Marcher Lord Press's feature on their new release caught my eye instantly. Never To Live by debut author Just B. Jordan (yep, a pen name, but we'll learn about that in the interview). First, here is a blurb for her novel to whet your appetites:

Imprisoned, Elwyn endures torture so horrific she drives herself insane to elude true madness. 

When she finally escapes, unless her broken mind is playing another cruel trick, she discovers she is turning into the monster she despises most of all.

If you love a good fantasy story, folks, you have got to try this one. I got the Kindle sample and now I am hooked. I am going to purchase a copy for my bookshelf.

I contacted the authoress, Jordan, and she graciously answered my interview questions. Here is the interview:

Thank you for taking my questions today! I found your novel Never to Live on Marcher Lord Press's website and my first thought was "Wow! A Christian Fantasy novel with a great cover that catches my eye!" I immediately downloaded the Kindle sample onto my iPad. Commendably, your prose is very solid and the story feels original rather than pieced together from well-known novels.

Q: What inspired you to write this story? And how long did it take you to finish the manuscript?
A: Initially it started with a scene in my head that I couldn't get off my mind, and it grew from there. I had always thought a lot about the bad life stories I heard others share and how it took forever for them to realize they didn't have to let their past shape them. Those stories stayed with me. I found myself writing that type of story into my world; a character who was told she was horrible and had horrible life experiences, yet she wanted to be something different than what she was told she would be and already was. Originally I thought this story was going to be very different from the story it became. While I was writing it, the song "Set Me Free" by Casting Crowns became some of the inspiration that shifted it to what it is now. As time went on I even started thinking of it as Never To Live's theme song.
The manuscript was finished about two and a half years after I started it. I only dabbled around with it in that first year. Most of it was written in the second year, and it was finished up in the months after that.

Q: Would you like Never to Live to be a stand-alone novel, or the beginning of a series?
A: I hope for it to be a series. I have ideas for at least 7-8 other books in this series circling around in my head. We’ll see where it goes.

Q: Why write fantasy? Did you read fantasy novels as you were growing up?
A: Actually, what I read most of growing up was historical fiction and classical literature. The fantasy novels I did read stuck with me though. I almost became obsessed with some of them. I think the reason I chose to write fantasy was because it can be so magical and unreal, and there are no boundaries to what a story can be or where it can go. The possibilities are endless. I like that.
Q: Now, the other thing that caught my eye about you was the pen name that you chose. Do you mind revealing what led to the decision to use a pen name?
A: From the time I started writing I knew I wanted to use a pen name. I didn't like the idea of my real name floating around in cyber space, I guess. I also wanted a name that would catch people’s attention and that would (hopefully) be remembered. Sadly my real name isn't very memorable, so a pen name was the way to go. I knew I still wanted to incorporate my first and middle name into it, though. One morning my mom hunted me down and said that she had woken up in the middle of the night with an idea: Just B. Jordan. (I had always been worried about being myself around people, so my mom would say “Just be Jordan!”)  The pen name uses my real name and my middle initial “B”, so I feel like it is still my name, with a twist. :) I thought it was a little odd for a pen name at first but it quickly grew on me. And it stuck.
Q: Do you plan to make writing your career?
A: I certainly hope so. :)

Q: Marcher Lord Press has been established as one of the go-to markets for Christian speculative fiction. Did you initially intend to seek out publication there? Tell us a little about your journey from writer to published author.
A: Originally my plan was to self-publish my novel. I knew my manuscript wasn't anywhere near being publishable yet, so I began looking to hire a freelance editor. I looked up lists of recommended editors and rifled through their websites. Among the dominating swarms of romance editors I found a link to Where The Map Ends. I read through some pages on the website and noticed that this guy also ran his own publishing company. I thought that was cool, but I didn't give it much thought. I was still planning on self-publishing my book. I hired Jeff for a 4 page editorial review. He came back with 17 pages and an offer for a publishing contract. At first I was going to decline the offer. I was pretty set on self-publishing. But then my gut intervened and I knew becoming a MLP author was what I should do. So here I am.
Q: What is your favorite novel (that you have read of course!)?
A: Oh dear. That's always a question I dread. I have way too many favorites! But I think I have to say it's Just David by Eleanor H. Porter. It's not a well known story and it's not a fantasy, but that book is connected to a lot of good memories for me.
Q: I have to ask the question that everyone is probably curious about: What other books are you working on that are 'in the pipeline' so to speak?
A: I have started working on a book that's in the same series as Never To Live. The MC in this one is the character named Jasper in Never To Live. His story isn’t quite what people might expect it to be. I'm really happy with how it’s turning out so far.

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R.P.H said...

Lovely interview! Thank you for sharing. :-) I LOVE the story behind her pen name and her book sounds great!

Scott Appleton said...

I'm glad you enjoyed the interview (-: I think I'll do more of these in the future, time permitting.


"Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones." -Proverbs 16:24

In a world where morality is forsaken and Christ neglected, wholesome books are uncommon. The themes of my writing are love, self-sacrifice, and honor.

I see my generation turning from God to the gods of this world. I see homes torn apart in the pursuit of pleasure and self-gratification. Children are murdered by the millions every year . . . without ever seeing the world outside their mothers' wombs. Through fiction I strive to encourage those who are willing, to stand against these things and be heroes and heroines; chivalrous, gentle, full of righteous indignation, and the fear and love of their Creator.