Author Spotlight: Kristin Jacques
Updated: Jan 15, 2019
An interview with science-fiction, horror, and fantasy author, Kristin Jacques. Her latest novel, Ragnarök Unwound, is available January 8th.
Growing up, what authors were you drawn to? How has their style affected the way you write today?
I was really drawn to female protagonists in fantasy. Some of my early influencers include Tamora Pierce, Diana Wynne Jones, Vivian Van Velde, Gail Carson Levine, and Annette Curtis Klause. They had a huge impact on not only my style but the sort of fiction and characters I aspire to. Their stories also had a full spectrum of strong female characters, from sword swinging warriors to women who saved the day with their wits and inner strengths.
What was the inspiration behind Ragnarök Unwound?
The universe of Ikepela Ives was inspired by the concept of all mythology exists. This has popped up in more than a few fictional incarnations, but for myself, I like the common themes and motifs that can be found across world mythologies and how they mesh with one another. How nearly every mythology has some sort of trickster story teller, or the differences and commonalities between polytheistic pantheons. A big commonality is the concept of Fate, and how that tied into so many myths. As the purpose of myth and religion was to explain the world around us, I felt there should be an explanation of when, how, and why Fate didn’t take hold. Hence Ikepela Ives came to be.
Ragnarök is having a pop-culture moment. What appealed to you about Norse mythology, particularly the Ragnarök prophecy?
I am incredibly amused by the pop culture boom to Ragnarök as I wrote this story back in 2015. This is one of the cautionary downsides to writing. Inevitably, right as you are releasing, writing, planning or plotting your story, someone, somewhere is riding on a similar wavelength. I feel this should never dissuade a person from telling their story, as each story is unique and brings its own spin, though prepare for comparisons. I have a life long fascination with mythology and ancient cultures and the Ragnarök prophecy appeals to me because it is so detailed. These people had the entire course of the end of the world mapped out, down to individual battles and it's fascinating.
When using established mythology in your novels, do you stay true to the source material, or give yourself creative license to tweak age-old characters and gods?
The answer is both. As point of reference, I stay true to source material. Marvel plays loose and fast with the source material, taking elements and building their own mythology to fit the world they have created. My foundation is original myth but I give myself complete creative license to create a new spin on age old characters, modern updates, and for some, fleshing them out like they never have been before. Loki has a ton of interpretations and spins on his character, but a character like Hel was almost a blank slate to build on. I also like to use mythology to tell a story, using it not only as a point of reference but something that is relevant to the plot.
Do you allow family to critique your work, or do you prefer to keep work and family completely separate?
Much as I love my family, I do keep them separate. My partner supports me in myriad other ways, through watching our kids while I write, to greenlighting ‘me time’ and trips to writing conferences. This works for us and it works much better now than it did when my spouse viewed writing as a hobby rather than a job. Seeing firsthand the amount of work I put into a single book, his view has shifted quite a bit. My parents and extended family will read my work but after it’s already out rather than as critique partners. I want them to see what I’ve polished and slaved over rather than the rough edges.
As a writer, do you think a good story can be pure entertainment, or should it try to convey a message or belief?
I think, we aspire to check all those boxes. We want to entertain with our tales, but we also impart a piece of ourselves in our writing, and a piece of our world view in our story telling. I think a message can be subtle, something that the reader can find on their own as they mull over the piece after, but for me, the entertainment factor comes first. A story is a journey, it’s a window into another world, an escape from reality. It’s a portable piece of magic, and that spark, that promise of entertainment is what first draws a reader to your stories.
Prophecies don't untangle themselves.
Just ask Ikepela Ives, whose estranged mother left her with the power to unravel the binding threads of fate. Stuck with immortal power in a mortal body, Ives has turned her back on the duty she never wanted.
But it turns out she can’t run from her fate forever, not now that Ragnarok has been set in motion and the god at the center of that tangled mess has gone missing. With a ragtag group of companions—including a brownie, a Valkyrie, and the goddess of death herself—Ives embarks on her first official mission as Fate Cipher—to save the world from doomsday.
Nothing she can't handle. Right?
Kristin Jacques is science fiction, horror, and fantasy author based out of New England. She holds a B.A. in Creative Writing from Wells College and has been published in numerous anthologies including Outliers of Speculative Fiction, 13: Night Terrors, Vices & Virtues, and the Witching Hour:Urban Legends anthology.
On the digital writing platform Wattpad she was selected to be part of the Wattpad Stars program. She has written for Warner Bros, National Geographic, and has participated in several contests. Her flash fiction ‘Skirt’ was a winning entry in Hulu’s #myhandmaidstale, selected by Margaret Atwood. Her stories, Marrow Charm and Edgewise, won two consecutive Wattys in 2015 and 2016 for excellence in digital storytelling.
In 2016, she published Zombies vs Aliens, a humorous science fiction horror romp, which was picked up by Chapters Interactive Stories in 2018 to be released as an Interactive Story Game.
Her contemporary fantasy Ragnarök Unwound will be published with Sky Forest Press in January of 2019. Her award-winning dark fantasy Marrow Charm was picked up for publication by Parliament House Press for Fall 2019.
When not writing, she is juggling two rambunctious boys, spoiling her cats, and catching up on a massive TBR pile. She is currently working on projects full of magic, mystery, and delight.
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