Monday, October 4, 2010

Interview with author J.S. Chancellor

Today, my guest is writer, J.S. Chancellor,author of a new the fantasy trilogy, 
Guardians of the Legend.  Son of Ereubus is the first in the series.
1. Please tell me about your book.
Son of Ereubus is book one of an epic fantasy trilogy. Sounds like
a pretty generic description doesn't it? There is a reason for that.
We also chose to limit how much information is on the back of the
book. The Guardians trilogy reminds me of a labyrinth---twists and
turns and false leads, with creatures and characters popping up in
places you wouldn't expect: No fun telling you in advance where to
look for them. It will only ruin the experience. I will, however, tell
you this: Nothing is what it seems in this character driven fantasy. 
2. Where did the idea for this story originate?
The idea for this particular story came from a dream I had when I
was a kid, then came to fruition when I was early in High School. I
wrote the first two chapters in my parents' den when I was a
freshman--just 14 years old. Eventually, the drama of being a teenager
faded and once I'd graduated from college and was working a steady
job, those voices came back en masse and insisted that I finish their
story. So, at 25, I did just that. I sat down, started to write again,
and didn't stop until the trilogy was finished at 330,000+ words.

3. Are you a full-time writer or part-time and how do you organize your 
writing time? 
I'm a full time writer. Last September, I left my full-time job in
order to pursue freelancing and to my surprise (and everyone else's
around me) I was offered a book deal within 7 months.

4. When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
I first knew I wanted to be a writer when I was about 7 or 8 years
old. Then, when I was eleven, I wrote down a little book of detective
stories (which is forever lost) and a poem about a revolutionary war
soldier that garnered the attention of my teachers and the rest of my
family (beyond my parents). The rest is history. Every family
gathering, every year at school, I was asked how the writing was
coming along and I think that constant focus sort of steered my
passion in the right direction. No one would let me forget those early

5. What do you expect readers to take from your story.
I hope readers will take away a few things, one of which is that
genre fiction can be every bit as in-depth as literary fiction. For
too long our work has been the red-headed stepchild of the literary
world and it's time that mentality ended. You'd think Stephen King's
Shawshank Redemption, alone, would have taken care of the stigma. But,
no, we still have to put up with it. So, bottom line is that I hope
readers see the deeper themes and the precise threads that make up
this story.

6. What genres do you write?
I write mainly fantasy--be it dark, epic, or urban. I've recently
branched out to cyberpunk, which is turning out to be a fun
experience. I don't have a preference to be honest. I love it all.

7. What is the hardest part of being a writer?
Toughest part about being a writer, aside from the sting of
criticism and/or rejection, is quite frankly the monetary aspect. We
work for years without pay and then have to fool with submitting and
some really ridiculous "industry" rules about multiple submissions and
what not. As if writers don't actually need money to live. It's
ridiculous. I've voiced some fairly strong opinions on this stuff over
at The Asylum, but it's worth repeating: Agents are nothing more than
the literary equivalent of a temp agency and until they've signed you,
they don't have the right to demand exclusivity. I don't care how they
feel about it. I've heard more than one agent whine about their time
and how they are entitled to exclusivity while reading a partial or a
full and I say that's crap. The loss of their time is the cost of
doing business. If they are that worried about it, then perhaps they
ought to read a little faster or hire an assistant. Most of them have
assistants anyway. 3-6 months to wait on what is likely going to be a
rejection, before sending out more feelers, would be insane in any
other industry. But, because someone said they liked the emperor's new
clothes, this practice is hailed as acceptable. Good news for authors
like me, is that there are other paths to publication. The roads are a
little rougher, but the rewards are still there to be had.

8. Is there anything in your story based upon a real life event? If so, tell me about it. 
Nope, not a thing. Fortunately.

9. How much is your protagonist like you? How different?
 Ariana is so much like me that at times she's difficult to write. I
have to distance myself from her occasionally in order to see through
her eyes properly.

10. What kind of research did you do?
The only research I had to do with this story dealt with weaponry.
I learned a lot about crossbows and swords.

11. Do writing violent or highly sexual scenes bother you?
Why or why not?]
There are a whole lot of violent scenes in Son of Ereubus, and in
Guardians as a whole. The violence doesn't bother me, likely because I
read mostly horror novels whenever I'm not reading for reviews. Highly
sexual scenes would bother me, which is why there aren't any in book
one. Book two has two scenes in particular where there is sex and I've
tried to write them as tastefully as possible. I think once you build
a reader up for certain....ahem....closure, then you've gotta deliver
and a two liner just doesn't cut it for most of us (like in say,
Breaking Dawn). Still, this particular series doesn't warrant graphic
sexual content. It's a fine line I'm treading.

12. What about your book makes it special?
 Hmmm...good question. I'd say that there is a simplicity about it
that I haven't read or seen in fantasy novels in a while. It's a bit
like the old stories you'd hear around the campfire during the age of
Beowulf. Good 'ol adventure and intrigue. So much fantasy these days
focuses so hard on political machinations and "realism" that the
fantasy bit gets lost. To Kill a Mockingbird doesn't mention the Ming
dynasty isn't relevant. Yet, fantasists try to
pack everything, every little bit of world-building, into their novels
and it makes for a dense, two dimensional read. Quite the opposite of
what they intend. There aren't 30 different magic systems in this
series. There aren't 900 languages. There are, however, civil wars and
historical details that I'll never mention in the novel. I have a good
bit of it written down, but unless the reader "needs" to know, then I
won't bother them with it.  
14. Where can fans learn more about you?
You can learn more about my work at my website or my author website

15.Any tips for new writers? 
Just shut-up and write. That's the best advice that was ever given
to me and I'm just passing it along. Don't get caught up in rules or
tips or blogs on writing or any of the other time-stealing things that
are out there for authors to get snagged by. You're a writer, right?
So write already. 
J.S., thank you for being my guest and sharing a bit of your writing life.


  1. Interesting interview. I enjoyed learning about J.S., her book, and her journey with her writing.

  2. Hi Susanne, thanks for stopping by. I hope you get a chance to read J.S.'s book. It certainly sounds like a good read.

  3. Apart from one character name, I didn't learn much about the book from Chancellor's answers. I had to look up her website just to get a general idea of the plot: the world is going to end for some reason. From the blurb, I don't know why I'm supposed to care about the three unnamed main characters (beyond the saving the world part), what their personal stakes are, their relationships to the end of the world story (they're trying to stop it but were they specially selected for this, another destiny story, or are they just the guys who got stuck with it ala Frodo?). I understand she doesn't want to give away too much but being told you have to read the book to find out what happens without any further incentive e.g. damsel in distress, read on to find out if she gets saved or saves herself, doesn't cut it unless you already have a big fan base and established name. I can guess the world doesn't end so why do I need to read this book?
    - Sophia.

  4. Sophia, you raise some interesting points. I will pass along your comments to Ms. Chancellor for a response.