What’s the story behind the story? What inspired you to write The Light Wielders?
A lot of fantasy is set in a land inspired by medieval Europe, and my first one was in an ancient Mediterranean setting, so I thought, why not be inspired by Southeast Asia? An island, jungles, volcanoes, a different culture, and food. So, the climate, food, and landscape are inspired by that region. I have also borrowed place and people names from there too. The culture I developed for Jumali, the land in The Light Wielders, is only lightly flavored by Southeast Asia. I didn’t want to try to use a culture I couldn’t fully do justice to. I had the idea of something coming into the world and changing it in some way (can’t say too much more without giving away the plot!) and then I created Angkasa. I wanted her to be unaware of her full strength and to have some physical flaw that she believes defines her future. By the end of the novel, she realizes it doesn’t define who she is or what she can accomplish.
If you woke up in the world of The Light Wielders, what is the first thing you would do?
If I woke up in Jumali I would definitely head for the Tenpat Temple, I want to see the vegetable garden growing at the top of a mountain!
If you had to write a blurb for the last book you read, what would it say?
The book I last read was The Cutting Season by Attica Locke, a book I really enjoyed. So, my blurb would be as follows – A tense and atmospheric crime novel set to the backdrop of a plantation-turned tourist destination. It is run by a woman descended from one of the slaves that used to cut the sugar cane there. This novel explores slave history, current race relations, politics, and small-town policing all whilst the main character is snared in an investigation into a tragic death on the plantation. A death that re-awakens a tragedy from the past.
What’s your favorite genre to read? Is it the same as your favorite genre to write?
I have two favorite genres, fantasy, and mystery. I love YA fantasy and adult fantasy. When I wrote my first novel, I had no clue I was actually writing YA! I just liked that age for my main character. But in The Light Wielders, I have tried to embrace the genre, and I knew that was what I was writing.
Do you have any quirky writing habits? Where did you write The Light Wielders?
I used to write longhand and then type it up, but now I have a little study I type straight into the laptop. However, when my kids are off school and we go to the park, I often take a notebook with me and a lot of scenes from The Light Wielders were scrawled in that notebook at the park!
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
I don’t often get offered advice, but I have taken on board the advice that there is no right way to go about writing. Read up on how everyone else does it and then choose the bits that work for you.
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The post Interview with Jane Shand, Author of The Light Wielders appeared first on NewInBooks.