For generations prophets have foreseen the birth of the Shadow Seer, the oracle of dark visions and fallen kingdoms. But by the time of Sorron, King of Carnia, their warnings have mostly been forgotten and his name is known only to a handful of scholars.
When Sorron’s grandson, Prince Candale, falls deathly ill, the Seer’s legends are brought to light once again by his saviour, a witch named Mayrila. She believes that Candale is the fulfilment of those long forgotten prophecies. She believes that he is the Shadow Seer…
Hi Fran! Thank you for agreeing to do an interview today.Can you tell everyone a little bit about yourself?
Certainly. I’m 32, was born in London and now live in Swansea, South Wales, with my two cats, Megaera and Mr Kitty, as I’m working on becoming a crazy cat lady. I have a Masters degree in Ancient History and as well as writing I run an online gothic gift and clothing store, Megaeras Realm.
How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing since I was a child, it’s something that I’ve always enjoyed doing, although I wasn’t actually very good at it while at school. I find it difficult to be creative with another person’s ideas, I guess. I wrote my first novel while at school, after being inspired by Tad William’s ‘Dragon Bone Chair,’ which was my first real venture into the world of epic fantasy. I produced many other awful attempts of novel after that, until finally creating one that I was proud of, ‘the Shadow Seer.’
What is your writing process like?
I don’t really think I have much of a writing process, if I’m honest. I dabble in short stories, from time to time, and those I have to plan out in some detail, to make sure that I stay within a reasonable word count. But, with bigger projects, I prefer to just sit down and write and see what comes out. If I get an idea I will jot it down and fit it in later, but most of the time I’m rather free handed with my writing. I like the characters to dictate what’s going to happen. It does mean that I tend to waffle a little though, and things can run on a fair bit, but that’s what editing is for, I guess!
Can you tell us about your newest release The Shadow Seer?
The Shadow Seer is the first in a trilogy called Ellenessia’s Curse. It’s written in the first person, from the point of view of the hero, Candale, a young man who is told that he is a foretold prophet, the Shadow Seer. The Shadow Seer is said to have visions that will lead to the destruction of the kingdoms, visions that will eventually drive him insane. Panicked, Candale runs away from home, with his best friend and his female bodyguard, in search of the truth.
When will the next book in the series be out?
At this moment I’m still working on it, giving it a final edit before submission, and I’m not really sure how long it will take to be released, after that. But I do have both a group and page on Facebook which interested parties can join so that they will be told as soon as I know. Or a mailing group, which can be found on my website, if readers prefer their messages sent directly to their email address.
Can you tell us if there are any romantic relationships in Candale’s future?
When I started writing ‘the Shadow Seer’ I had one person in mind as a romantic interest for Candale. At the moment, editing book 2, ‘The Seer’s Tower’ everything seems to be on target for that to finally happen in book 3, ‘Children of the Shadow’ but I can’t promise anything until I get to that point. My characters have a habit of dictating what they want, and it might well be that the romantic feelings will remain one sided and poor Candale will stay alone.
What are you currently working on?
Currently I’m working on tidying up book two, ‘the Seer’s Tower.’ I have also started the third, and final, book in the series, ‘Children of the Shadow,’ and have a short story in mind, based on the Hindu demon Vetala, but I have yet to come up with an ending for that. I have also recently started to gather ideas together for a standalone book, set in a new world, called ‘The Necromancer’s Son.’
Where do you get your ideas for your books?
To be honest, I don’t know! I know that when I started writing ‘the Shadow Seer’ I was listening to Paula Cole’s ‘Hush’ and something about the imagery, of that boy slowly dying in his father’s arms appealed to me, and so I decided I would begin my book that way, with the hero dying. But other than that, I’m not really sure. Things just seem to come out as I wrote it. Once it was finished, though, I was able to look at it more objectively and give some of my ideas more thought, decided they didn’t work, and then changed them. But I can’t say where the ideas actually came from. Most of them just come to me, usually when I’m traveling. Sitting on a train or bus, staring out the window, I have nothing else to do but think. I start thinking of something simple, a conversation, perhaps, or maybe an argument or small event, and then an idea spins out of that.
As an author, you must be an avid reader. What books do you enjoy reading? Who are your auto-buy authors?
I don’t actually read as much as I used to since I started taking writing more seriously I find it harder to find books that appeal to me. When I do buy a book it is usually fantasy with strong characters in particular, but I’m also investing more in mythology books and books about classical witches and demons. I only have one author, these days, that I would say was an auto-buy and that is Carol Berg. Her characters are always vivid and well rounded, although I might not always like them, and her plots are simple, but the reaction of the characters to everything that is going on around them makes them seem more complicated.
What books are on your keeper shelf?
All books I buy tend to remain on my keeper shelf, unless they’re so bad that I can’t get through them, although I may never read them again. I like to hang onto books as reminders of who I was when I read them and how they made me feel at that time. My favourites, those I have read time and again, are ‘Swordpoint,’ by Ellen Kushner, ‘Legend,’ by the late David Gemmell, ‘A Shadow on the Skin,’ by Keren Gilfoyle, ‘the Name of the Wind’ by Patrick Rothfuss and ‘Alice in Wonderland,’ by Lewis Caroll, which is a childhood favourite. They are a rather varied collection, but I think that, excluding Alice, they all have strong characters in common.
What was the first fantasy book you read or the one book that has stood the test of time for you?
Tad Williams ‘the Dragon Bone Chair’ was the first real fantasy that I read and it got me completely hooked, even to the point where I wrote my own first novel based on parts of it, a sort of fan-fiction/fantasy fiction homage. Even now, I still think it’s a really great book, with vivid characters, a plot that draws me in, and a sort of sadness that I like in the books that I read.
If you could switch lives with one of your characters who would it be & why?
When I first started writing the series I would have said Candale or Trellany. But now I think I would like to be Willow. She might be rather cold and sarcastic, but she’s also intelligent, independent and capable. She loves learning, something that I have also always loved, and her gift allows her to travel with very few worries, as long as she stays out of the magic hating kingdoms, of course!
When you are not writing or reading, what do you enjoying doing in your spare time?
I enjoy a variety of things, belly dancing, going to the gym, visiting the cinema, especially to watch a good, or even very bad, horror. I also enjoy the theater, museums and shopping!
If you could ask readers any one question, what would it be?
Although it’s rather boring, I would probably ask my readers who their favourite, and least favourite, characters are and why. As characters are the most important part of any story to me, I would be interested to see how they’re coming across to readers, and who is appealing and who is not. A couple of my friends have already said that they rather like Silver, a third has said that she likes Kal, and I’d like to know what others think. I guess it would be something of a confidence boost, too, to know that people like my characters and that I’d done a good job with them.
Where can readers find you on the internet?
As well as Facebook, as I’ve mentioned, where I have a group and fan page, I also have a website, http://www.franjacobs.com. It has more information about me, my writing and the Ellenessia’s Curse series, including images and extracts from ‘the Shadow Seer,’ ‘The Seer’s Tower’ and ‘Children of the Shadow.’
***Leave a comment for a chance to win a digital copy of The Shadow Seer! Good luck