| by Winter Lawrence |
It seems like forever since I last posted an Author Spotlight! Covid has definitely wrecked havoc on lots of things, so it's good to be back! Hopefully, normal times will return soon too! To start off 2022 with a bang, I got together with Jane Shand to discuss her newest release, "The Dark Cluster." Here's what she had to say...
(Q) Tell us about your current project. What was the inspiration behind it and how long did it take you to complete?
The Dark Cluster is the sequel to my very first novel, The Shard. When I wrote The Shard I meant it to be a standalone, but my editor and the first people that read it had other ideas! So, I had to think of a sequel. It was simple to decide on the main plot – Nalani (the protagonist) had to go on a search to find out what happened to her father who went missing 15 years ago. On the way she would join up with her friends from the first book, as well as meet new ones. Then I had to put them in jeopardy. In this book they face snow in the mountains - something she had never seen before as she comes from an island not unlike ancient Hawaii - and creepy villains. It will be a bit of an emotional rollercoaster for her too. I began in March 2021, it took me 4 months to complete the first draft. But then came my editing, my professional editor, book cover, etc. I put it up for pre-order on 6th December 2021.
(Q) How many hours a day do you put into writing and learning about your craft? Do you have any books or movies that you’d recommend to aspiring writers?
That’s difficult, as it varies day to day – I don’t do it at weekends if I can help it, that’s family time. I walk my son to school and then do household chores and then sit down to do writing stuff. I guess at least 2 hours in the morning and 2-3 in the afternoon. But ideas might pop into my head at any time.
I read a lot of books about writing, got a bit addicted to them if I’m honest! But if I had to pick, Save the Cat Writes a Novel is well worth reading and so are books on Character Arc and Structure by K. M. Welland.
(Q) Do you write based on particular themes, or does the story come to you first and then you incorporate important issues as you go?
I usually think of character and setting first and then the plot. Then I decide from what the heroine wants and needs what theme the story might have. I have only thought of theme first for a couple of short stories.
(Q) When you were growing up, which authors inspired you and what was your favorite book?
It would have to be JRR Tolkien and Lord of The Rings, then Raymond Feist’s books. They gave me my love of fantasy and great stories. They made me want to write my own magic filled adventures. I just loved the made-up worlds, magic and elves. Though I don’t use elves in my books – at least, not yet!
(Q) Do you have an addiction to reading as well as writing? If so, what are you currently reading?
I love reading! Sometimes though I have to choose between reading or writing, which is hard. I am currently reading Twelve Kings by Bradley Beaulieu and loving it. It has a desert setting so is very different to a lot of fantasy set in a European landscape.
(Q) Jane, thanks for taking time to share your thoughts on life and on your recent release! Is there any additional information you’d like to share with our readers before you go?
I have the release of The Dark Cluster, which will be on Amazon, Nook, Apple, Kobo and Google Play. The Shard will be at $0.99/£0.99 for the week of the 17th January as well. I am hoping that I will get the first of my new trilogy – The Crystal Mages Trilogy – out in early summer.
Jane Shand has always been an avid reader of fantasy and mystery and is an author of YA Fantasy. She got hooked on fantasy after reading ‘Lord of the Rings’ at a young age and was determined to write books full of magic and adventure.
She lives in Hampshire, England, with her family and two cheeky cats who would love to help her write.
She published her first novel, The Shard, in 2020 and her second, The Light Wielders, in Aug 2021. The Dark Cluster is her third novel. She's currently working on the brand-new Crystal Mages Trilogy.
Readers, to keep up with J. P.’s adventures, follow him on these social media outlets…
Amazon Book Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09N2RRQ4G