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October 22, 2013 / minusbar

Author Interview: Janine K. Spendlove (War of the Seasons)

Today I have the privilege of sharing a conversation I had with Janine K. Spendlove. I first became aware of her work through a Kickstarter project that is currently going on for the third book in her War of the Seasons trilogy, The Hunter. What really appealed about her books to me is that they strike a good balance between different age groups; these are books that I could read, enjoy, and share with my younger sister without fear of her being subjected to anything inappropriate. In short, they’re entertaining and well written enough for an adult reader, and clean enough for the entire family.

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Janine K. Spendlove is a KC-130 pilot in the United States Marine Corps. In the Science Fiction and Fantasy World she is primarily known for her best-selling trilogy, War of the Seasons. She has several short stories published in various anthologies alongside such authors as Aaron Allston, Jean Rabe, Michael A. Stackpole, Bryan Young, and Timothy Zahn. She is also the co-founder of GeekGirlsRun, a community for geek girls (and guys) who just want to run, share, have fun, and encourage each other. A graduate of Brigham Young University, Janine loves pugs, enjoys knitting, making costumes, playing Beatles tunes on her guitar, and spending time with her family. She resides with her husband and daughter in Washington, DC. Find out more at janinespendlove.com.

 

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Bold writing – Me       Regular text – Janine

 

First, thanks for taking time out of your schedule to chat with me about your current writing projects.

Of course! Thanks for inviting me.

Before I dive into asking about that though, could you tell me a bit about your day job as an active Marine?

It’s actually a 24 hour job. I’m always a Marine.

But, my MOS (Military Occupational Specialty, aka job) is that of a KC-130J aircraft commander. In simple terms, I’m a pilot.

Please forgive my lack of knowledge about planes, but what exactly is a KC-130J used for? Also, how has your occupation influenced your writing?

No need to apologize! The C-130’s primary mission in the Marine Corps is aerial refueling, though we can, and often do, other missions (like aerial delivery, battlefield illumination, cargo and troop transportation, etc).

Guess which of these bad-boy’s she flies.

I’d say being a Marine influences me a lot. It’s unavoidable really – I mean it’s a huge part of who I am. That’s not say all my stories are about Marines (not even close), but there is definitely an influence. In my first novel, “War of the Seasons: The Human” the main character’s father is a Marine, and his gift to her of his old Marine Corps KaBar knife is absolutely critical to the plot of the story. My two military Sci-Fi stories (“The Marine Breed” in Dogs of War and “Coming Home” in War Stories) are both about Space Marines. Again, I don’t set out to write about Marines, but even when I write about Superheroes, it’s hard not to embody them with the Marine Corps ethos of Honor, Courage, and Commitment,

That’s a fair point. The things in our life that are important to us are bound to come out. So I know from your KS page that the inspiration behind War of the Seasons is very personal for you. For those who haven’t been over there yet, can you tell me a bit about that?

Sure – the abbreviated version is that back in 2003 my husband and I had a foster son, Will. Even after he went back to live with his family (who are like family to us), he still spent most Christmases and part of summer vacation with us. Will died in a single car accident in 2008, and as I’m sure you can guess, we were devastated. I turned to running and writing to help me cope with his loss, and that hasn’t changed. I’m addicted to running, and I love writing. More importantly, I created my fantasy world of Ailionora as a place where the people who mean a lot to me, like Katie Johnson, can live forever. So, in the kickstarter, in addition to pre-ordering the final novel in the “War of the Seasons” trilogy (and ordering any of my previous works) you can also purchase an exclusive “Will and Katie, defenders of the Force” Star Wars patch memorializing them. All the profit from the patches go to the Make-A-Wish foundation. And yes, that was the abbreviated version.

May you tell me a bit more about Ailionora? What type of world did you create for them?

I’m a huge fan of the Chronicles of Narnia, The Lord of the Rings, and Raymond Feist’s “Magician” books. So Ailionora is, superficially, about what you’d expect in a fantasy world. It has elves, trolls, dwarves, gnomes, dryads, centaurs, really nasty faeries, and loads of magic. The thing is, Ailionora is one of the many interconnected worlds (ours is one), so many of our world’s faerie tales are based on actual creatures that exist in Ailionora. But, as with any tale, we humans got a lot of things wrong over the ages, so things are definitely NOT the way you’d expect them to be.

Switching back to the Kickstarter, I noticed that you have stretch goals that will allow authors like Michael A. Stackpole, a personal favorite of mine, and several others to write in the world you’ve created. Is this the first time you’ll be sharing your world?

Actually, no! It’s the first time I’ve shared Ailionora, but not the first time I’ve shared a world. Earlier this year I wrote a superhero story called “He Was a Marvelous Man” for an anthology titled “Heroes”, and Maggie Allen, one of the stretch goal authors and dear friend of mine (and super talented writer) wrote a follow up to that story which came out in “A Hero by Any Other Name.” I suppose I should feel somewhat anxious to have other writers in my “sandbox” but I’m familiar with each and every one of them and their writing styles, and I know what they’re capable of. They’re all so very talented, and such good story tellers that I know my characters and world are in good hands. I’m so very excited to read their stories and truly hope we manage to make it to all of the stretch goals, because I think there are just some really fantastic stories waiting to be told. Also, I grew up reading Aaron Allston’s and Mike Stackpole’s Star Wars novels, so I’m pretty much fangirling over the idea of a writing universe with them.

I’m sure there are a lot of fan boys and girls out there that would love to help you get that too.

Here’s hoping! Spread the word everyone, pleeeeeease!

Only a couple more questions and you’ll be free of me! So in less than 100 words, how would you pitch your series to prospective readers?

A girl from our world falls into another filled with elves, trolls, dwarves, and nasty faeries that try to kill her a lot. She finds herself in the middle of an ages old war between races and goes on a quest to save a dying race. Along the way there’s plenty of action, adventure, and yes, like the Princess Bride, it is a kissing book. Ultimately there are consequences for the choices she makes, and everything builds to the final battle between the mortals and the Seasons of Ailionora – the fate of all worlds, to include our own hang in the balance.

I have no idea if that’s a hundred words or less.

I’ve a confession, I wasn’t really counting.

LOL!

Last question.. This is your third in the trilogy. Do you intend to write more novels with Story and Ailonora, or are you off to new fantasy worlds?

Well, I do have a prequel novella for one the characters, Morrigann, planned, but as far as Story’s story… well, it’s pretty much been told. So anything else I write will be most likely about someone else. I definitely left the door cracked at the end of “The Hunter” for another book series featuring other characters. I definitely don’t think I’m done with Ailionora. I don’t think I’ll ever be.

Thank you very much! I look forward to reading what you have in store for us.

Thanks so much for chatting with me! This was fun!

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Check out War of the Seasons now over on Kickstarter! If you’re on the edge, I guarantee you’ll be sold once you see the passion the folks over there have.

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2 Comments

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