It’s been my custom over the last couple of years to feature the occasional interview with a fun and most beloved author. The spotlight this time belongs to Jacqui, who kindly answered a few questions during a break between far-flung travels…
What’s it about?
Sentenced to death as an infant by his grandfather then abandoned by his mother, Guillaume grows up with no idea of who or what he is. All he understands is that he has a voracious sexual appetite and the power to render himself irresistible to any woman he desires. His life is thrown into turmoil when his full powers are revealed in a violent display of fire and murder. Forced to leave the only home he has known, Guillaume sets forth to unravel the mystery of his heritage. His quest takes him through France and deep into Africa. As his powers grow, only his lifelong companion, Smoke, can help him control the depraved primal urges that threaten to overwhelm him. When Smoke loses her influence, it’s not only the lives of those close to him that are threatened. Can the world survive the ancient being that Guillaume becomes?
Jacqui! Welcome, welcome to my humble blog. Firstly, congratulations on the release of ‘Gods of Fire’! That must be, what, three or four years in the making?
Thanks, I’m delighted to be here! Yes, Gods of Fire has had an elephantine gestation. It took me a little over two years to write, and then, between editing and life, at least another year to finally commit and publish it.
Did you suffer any periods of writer’s block in the creation, or are you one of those alarmingly focused writers who doesn’t believe in it?
I have long periods of non-productivity, but I don’t call them writer’s block. During these periods I can be very productive in other aspects of my life or writing, but the major work in progress I’m writing just needs to take a rest while the story percolates in my mind.
One of the things I love about this book is that it straddles genres; it’s very hot in parts (and I’m not just talking about the fire, here), and yet the world-building has the richness I used to associate with David Eddings novels. Did you read any particular fantasy novels in your young adulthood, wishing it had more sex in it?
My childhood, young adulthood and adulthood have been filled with reading, a lot of it fantasy or science fiction. I didn’t come across erotica, or explicit sex in literature, until my mid-teens (probably a good thing!) and at the time associated it with historical romances. I don’t think I ever put the genres together in my mind until I started writing. For me, sex is an integral part of life and therefore should be included in our stories, so it just seemed right to include it in mine. I enjoy the challenge of writing hot sex scenes, it’s hard to get right and we all know that bad sex writing is embarrassing at best. I also believe that fantasy and science fiction offer ways to explore sex, sexuality and morality in ways that literature and other genres can’t.
I loved the lutin orgies. Can you describe lutins to our unknowing audience, and give some idea of scale—ie, bigger or smaller than a smurf? (Three apples high, according to Hervé.)
My lutins are based on the mythical French goblins. They stand around a metre tall, so much bigger than a smurf!
Is Abernethy Forest real, or based on a place you’ve visited?
Abernethy Forest is real and, yes, I have visited it. It’s in the Scottish Highlands and is every bit as beautiful and mystical as I described.
I think my favourite character, other than our fierce and ever-so-slightly-stubborn hero Guillaume, is the Nunda, Smoke. Smoke (without being too spoilerish) is a mysterious and deeply loyal wingman (wing-woman?), made even more mysterious by mind-altering powers and her insubstantial panther form. You have Smoke’s feline tendencies down pat. Is she influenced by people or cats that you have loved? Or a combination?
Smoke is certainly a favourite with my readers! She’s based on a cat from Swahili legend, that some still believe is real; so much of her physical description is based on reports from hunters. Some of the way she moves is based on the dearly departed “Evil Eddie”, my farm cat, who, at a metre long was a formidable beast with an unpredictable nature—loving one minute, furious the next. When writing, I’d watch videos of tigers and lions to get an idea of the movements or actions I wanted to describe.
Let’s have a game of ‘What would Guillaume do’. A nasty Norseman gatecrashes a lutin orgy. Does Guillaume:
- Distract him with a swift shag
- Dangle him from the nearest trees by his balls
- Nick all his clothes, tie him up, cover him in honey and crushed nuts, and leave him for the squirrels to nibble?
This is a very good question! It’s entirely possible he’d do all of the above…but in this order:
Tie him up, cover him in honey and crushed nuts, shag him, dangle him from a tree by his balls for the squirrels to nibble and wander off wearing his clothes and carrying his weapons.
What are your future writing plans? Got something lurking in the pipeline, or making its way out into the open?
My current work in progress is a sci-fi, fantasy in a quasi-historical setting. The main character is a young woman, there’s at least one dragon, a bunch of samurais, talking statues and a tricky fox. As always, there’s lots of violence, blood, death and sex scenes that will make you all hot and clammy.
I’m looking forward to that. Have you ever had an argument with one of your characters? Or do your characters keep you awake by arguing with each other instead of letting you have a bit of kip?
Guillaume definitely misbehaved! He was meant to be quite a different character but refused to listen to instructions. In the end I just followed along, typing like a mad woman, while he ran off wreaking havoc everywhere he went!
Do you have any particular routine or ritual while you’re writing? (beating the printer to death doesn’t count).
I can’t start writing for the day until I’ve read over and edited the previous day’s work. I find this helps to take me back out of the real world and immerses me back into the world I’m creating.
Finally, what book do you wish you could have written?
One that made a lot of money! Other than that, I don’t covet other authors writing or stories.
To find out more…
Buy link for Gods of Fire: www.books2read.com/GodsofFire
Finally, a little more about Jacqui…
Jacqui has lived an adventure-filled life, spanning a range of careers and countries. She’s wrangled kindergarten children, driven buses, researched humpback whales, spoken at the United Nations, visited Antarctica, farmed deer, and, most recently, written strange and sexy fiction. A New Zealander, currently living by the beach in Melbourne, Jacqui has two novellas published in the PNRLust Anthologies and several short stories in online publications. Gods of Fire is her first full-length novel.