Page 1 of 3
This Interview has been provided by Orbit, and is printed with their permission.
She's been away far too long, but now J.V. Jones is back with A FORTRESS OF GREY ICE - the stunning sequel to A CAVERN OF BLACK ICE. So we thought the time was right to drop by and say Hi...
*Book Two of Sword of Shadows has been hugely anticipated - was it much harder to write than A CAVERN OF BLACK ICE, and how do you feel now it's published?*
A FORTRESS OF GREY ICE proved to be the hardest book I've written so far. Generally I thrive on juggling multiple storyline and point-of-view characters. I enjoy waking up each morning and writing from a new perspective. It's challenging to filter the world of the Northern Territories through characters as diverse as a shy eight year old girl (Effie Sevrance) and a middle-aged clan chief (the Dog Lord). Having said that, though, when I was about halfway through Fortress, I began to suspect that I'd taken on too much. I'd introduced five new characters, and these together with the existing point-of view characters proved to be too many balls to keep up in the air at one time. I feared the focus of the book was shifting from the core characters of Raif Sevrance and Ash March to secondary characters. In the end I had to make some hard decisions, and cut out certain storylines. I hope to come back to those characters' tales in subsequent books in the series.
*Without giving too much away, what can readers expect from A FORTRESS OF GREY ICE?*
A lot of action. One of the benefits of writing multiple storylines is that there's always something happening to someone. As in CAVERN the central focus of the story is Raif Sevrance, and in this book we watch his ongoing struggle to come to terms with his gift, and his exile from Clan Blackhail. He matures through the course of the story, and learns how to heart-kill through his sword. Ash March undergoes perhaps the most powerful change during Fortress, as she becomes Sull. Her blood is drained to make way for theirs, and to survive she must learn their ways and guard herself against the Unmade.
The story also gave me the chance to explore new places in the Northern Territories, such as the windswept desolation of the Rift, the ruin-strewn clanhold of Castlemilk, and the most southerly reaches of the Great Want. Epic fantasy is defined as much by its scale as its fantastic elements, and in Fortress I wanted to widen the arena; show just what is at stake in the battle to come.
*Did the plot move in unexpected directions, or have you always had a firm path in mind?*
I always write with plot "destinations" in mind, but the route I take to reach them often surprises me. My characters have a knack of pulling unexpected twists from their hats. I'll be writing away, quite certain of where a particular chapter is heading, when one of the characters suddenly starts asserting his (or her) personality on the plot. The next thing I know I'm being lead along on an unplanned detour, holding on for dear life and hoping I'll be able to find my way back to the main storyline before the book ends. It's a little unnerving ... but it's also a sure sign that the characters are taking on a life of their own.
*The environmental conditions are incredibly vivid, does this come from research or real experiences?*
I grew up in the North of England, so I know cold and rain pretty well. However, I've never experienced the kind of sub zero temperatures that grip the clanholds. I've always been fascinated with cold climates, and it's a pleasure to research conditions in the Siberian Tundra, Alaska, and the Northwest Territories. I'm always learning new things about ice and its effect on the environment; such as how trees can literally explode in an ice storm; how steel can shatter at -20 Fahrenheit; and how easy it is to burn your tongue when eating - the surface of food can freeze instantly, while inside its scalding hot. Of course, not all of these things find their way into the books, but they help me get a clearer picture of the environment I'm describing.
Copyright© 2002 Orbit
. All rights reserved. No part of this may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. The interview has been provided by Orbit
and is printed with their permission.