Today on Paws4Thought we welcome fantasy writer Jennifer Castillo. Tell us a little bit about yourself, Jennifer.
I’ve lived in Arizona all my life. I am married to my husband of almost 6 years. He also happens to be my talented cover artist as well as the creator of all the music for my book trailers. We have two dogs, a boxer named Icarus and a pug named Sprite. We also have four cats named Atticus, Willow, Shasta (named after the boy in A Horse and His Boy), and Calypso. My husband and I are totally into swords and bows, and we have several on display in our house. Aside from writing, I like to draw and read.
When did you first start writing?
I first started writing when I was young, around second grade. I started with short stories and moved toward poetry. Around 5th grade, I had a dream that I decided I wanted to turn into a book. I finished it by my freshman year in high school. I suppose that was my test run in novel writing. I haven’t been able to make myself read it since then, as I cringe and want to throw it across the room. However, it proved that I COULD write a book and it was soon after that I came up with the idea for my novel, The King’s Son.
What attracts you to writing fantasy?
I love writing fantasy because I get to create worlds of my own. Anything can happen, so it’s always new and exciting. It’s not about the mundane, real life stuff. It gives me a break from reality and I get to go on adventures, live dangerously, fight bad guys, be a bad buy, and hang out with dragons. All from the comfort of my own mind!
Who are your favorite authors?
Laini Taylor, author of the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy, would have to be my absolute favorite author. Her writing is almost poetic and the imagery is so vivid. She is just very unique in her style. Aside from her, I would include Christopher Paolini and Patrick Ness among my top favorite authors.
What inspires you to write?
What inspires me to write is that I have a NEED to write. I have a bunch of stories in my head that I just need to get out or I think I’ll go insane, if I haven’t already. Seriously, though, writing makes me happy and when I don’t write I feel like there is something missing from my life.
Tell us a little about your books?
I write fantasy for both young adults and adults. My main work is a five part series called A Realm Hereafter. The books follow several characters as they attempt to save their kingdom. The characters are all brought together in the first book as they try to prevent an invasion. As the books progress, they must face bands of evil dragons, desert bandits, as well as certain characters whose agendas aren’t quite clear. They face a lot of adversity, not only from outside forces but from within the group as well.
I have also written an adult novel called The Priestess of Morengard. It is for mature audiences and not for those who might be sensitive to certain situations. This book is about a kingdom, Morengard, which has two rulers. There is a king and a priestess, but neither has power over the other. The prince of Morengard feels that this is an unacceptable arrangement and so he takes matters into his own hands. However, his actions bring about terrible consequences that affect his entire kingdom. This book was originally meant to be a standalone novel, but lately I have been toying with the idea of turning it into a trilogy with a prequel and a sequel. We’ll see if that happens.
What are you currently reading?
I just finished reading a novella by Laini Taylor called Night of Cake and Puppets. Not sure what I will read next but I do have a list of possibilities.
If you could meet anyone living or dead who would you want to meet?
I’ve met Laini Taylor before while she was on a book tour, but I would love to see her again.
What do you like to do to relax?
I like listening to music, drawing, reading, and watching movies as ways to relax. Sometimes, I will just lay back and listen to music or draw when I am stumped writing a book. Sometimes it helps get through writer’s block.
What are you currently working on?
I was working on my NaNoWriMo novel but have decided to put it aside as I’m just not feeling that drive to write it at the moment. I’ve never done that before and it was a difficult decision as I am more than 200 pages into the book, but I feel at the moment I am just writing to get it done and that isn’t how I like to write. I want to write because I am inspired to. So I am considering what I want to work on next. As I said before, I am toying with the idea of a prequel for The Priestess of Morengard. Right now that is the book that is calling to me the most and so I think I will be diving into it soon. This novel will tell the story of the five Prevailing Gods from the first book. The story was only lightly touched on in The Priestess of Morengard and this will give the readers the opportunity to hear what happened.
How can readers connect with you?
The best way for readers to contact me would be through my Facebook pages. My YA Fantasy page is www.facebook.com/castilloJF and my Adult Fiction page is at www.facebook.com/jenna.wood.author. I also have a Twitter account (@desert_echo) but I don’t tweet very much. And of course, more info about my books can be found on either of my websites: www.jfcastillo.com or www.jennawood.net.