MOONSTONE MONDAY-INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS, BOOKS, AND MORE!
The SPIDER & DOMINO LADY: (“action”)
JF: My background lies in epic fantasy. I have 13 novels in print around the world, across three series (the six books of the Hythrun Chronicles, the Second Sons Trilogy and the Tide Lords quadrilogy) and a new book coming out in March 2011, which is the start of the Rift Runners trilogy. I have a novella featured in the Legends of Australian Fantasy anthology, edited by Jack Dann, and I have also co-authored a tie-in novel for Stargate SG1. I have contributed a story to the More Tales of Zorro anthology, the Baggage anthology and various other publications with the magic million books in sales looming on the horizon so they tell me. In my spare time, I run the Reynox International Writers’ Retreat near Christchurch, in New Zealand, mentor a number of writers online, work as a practice manager for my daughter’s veterinary practice, undertake public speaking engagements, and — so I found out this morning — I’m about to start a construction company.
My story-telling influences are old-school – Asimov, Clarke, H Beam Piper, Robert Forward, to name a few (note the lean towards sci-fi, rather than fantasy). I like that they wrote ripping yarns, first and foremost. If I had a chance to live my life over, I would be an astrophysicist, put in 20 years with NASA and then retire to write bestselling hard sci-fi. I would also arrange not to flunk math in high school, which I have long suspected is the reason I never became an astrophysicist in this life.
AP: You have a story featured in the Moonstone anthology, CHICKS IN CAPES. Can you give us a bit of a teaser of what readers can expect from your tale?
JF: Hopefully a smile and a bit of entertainment. When I was invited to contribute to the anthology, I jokingly suggested I should give my superhero the superpower I have, which is the ability to find a car park right where I want it, every single time. Imagine my surprise (and consternation) when they emailed me straight back with “Wow! What an awesome idea! Can’t wait to read the story!” Turned out to be a great challenge, but I love the end result. Long may the Violet Valet rule!
AP: What goes into building a heroic tale for you? What makes up a good heroic character?
JF: For me it was getting the tone right. Mine is an origin story so the arch-villain isn’t really the focus of the story. It’s more how the Violet Valet and her sidekick get together. I think what makes a good hero is one who is flawed in some way, but overcomes their flaws to do the right thing. I read somewhere that a fearless person can never be a hero, because there is nothing heroic about charging in when you’re not afraid of anything. The true hero is the one who does what they must, in spite of their fears. I tried to give my characters some flaws. The more super they are, oddly enough, the more human they need to be for the reader to identify with them.
AP: Do you feel like CHICKS IN CAPES is more than just a book about super heroines. Is there a greater statement to be made with this collection?
JF: I think it’s a timely reminder that superheroes are not just for boys. They come in all shapes and sizes. We should judge our superheroes by their deeds, not their gender. Just like real people.
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