Let’s start with an introduction: Who is Jenn Lyons?
I’m a writer, artist, and gaming nerd with a love of all manner of esoteric fields. I have previously worked as a video game producer and as a graphic designer.
Your debut novel, The Ruin of Kings, will soon be published in paperback by Tor Books. How would you introduce the series to a potential reader?
It would tell a reader that this was my chance to twist the “Chosen One” trope, because what if you were “chosen” to be something actively terrible? And also: there’s a volcanic dragon and a kraken.
The second novel will arrive soon, too: The Name of All Things, in October. What can fans of the first book expect from the sequel?
Well, more dragons for one thing. But also some of the consequences from book one, a whole lot of new characters, and a whole lot more Relos Var.
What inspired you to write the series? And where do you draw your inspiration from in general?
Oh, hmm. The world came before the novel, so when I decided to try writing a novel, it never even occurred to me not to set the book there. After all, I had a whole world already there! But inspiration for artists of all sorts comes from… everywhere. Everything. We are constantly pulling in all our experiences, processing it, and distilling it into our work.
How were you introduced to genre fiction?
When I was four-years-old I came across an illustrated edition of Snow White that I quite fell in love with. It was one of the versions where the Queen is put to death by being forced to dance in red hot iron shoes? Yeah… I suppose that explains a lot about me.
How do you like being a writer and working within the publishing industry?
I love it. Obviously the industry isn’t perfect, and has a lot that needs improvement. If I could wave a magic wand and change one thing about the industry, it would be eliminating piracy. I know far too many authors who would be doing quite well for themselves if only they’d been paid for all the copies of their books which had been pirated.
Do you have any specific working, writing, researching practices?
I don’t really know any writer who doesn’t. We are all on a constant quest to update our process, find the best new “trick” to help us write more effectively. I’m a big fan of sprints.
When did you realize you wanted to be an author, and what was your first foray into writing? Do you still look back on it fondly?
My ex-husband dared me to write a novel. This was quite some time ago. But I did, and I found I really enjoyed the experience, so I kept doing it. Looking back, I’ve always written — it was just that I’d been so consistantly told that I had to be an illustrator that I didn’t think any other options were possible.
What’s your opinion of the genre today, and where do you see your work fitting into it?
Oh I think things are starting to really become interesting. Certainly the genre still has problems, particularly with sexism and racism, but I think we’re much less willing to let these issues pass without comment than we were in decades past. And there’s just so much phenomenal work coming out of the genre. I really regret I don’t have more hours in the day to read it all!
Do you have any other projects in the pipeline, and what are you working on at the moment?
Oh, I’m working on book four of the series. And then book five. After that? We’ll see. It’s not a question of what as much as what first?
What are you reading at the moment (fiction, non-fiction)?
If you could recommend only one novel or book to someone, what would it be?
I cannot honestly answer that question. The idea of picking just one book is just not a concept I can wrap my head around.
What’s something readers might be surprised to learn about you?
I can’t drive. I have PTSD as a result of several nasty car accidents, so I can’t be on the road and trust me, you don’t want me on the road either.
What are you most looking forward to in the next twelve months?
Finishing books four and five, of course. I’m always a little over optimistic about these things, but I’m still hitting my deadlines, so it’s all good.