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I'm Jordan MacLean, and I'm primarily a fantasy author, although I've had several careers in my life ranging from symphony cellist to engineer to actor/director to press director for a Presidential campaign. I've also been a stay-at-home mom and a homeschooling parent.
What first inspired you to start writing?
Reading, I suppose. I loved stories of all kinds, both those that I read and those that came into my mind, and I was always intrigued by the possibilities a blank page offered. While some people see it as a place to doodle or draw, I played characters and ideas in words. I could always paint a person better in words than in lines and colors. Even when I was a musician, I had bits of stories scribbled here and there, characters tugging at me, begging me to tell their stories. I always found other things to do because writing frankly terrified me. It wasn't until I wrote some plays and saw my characters come to life on the stage that I decided to commit to writing.
And what attracted you to writing fantasy stories?
This is kind of why I say I'm primarily a fantasy writer. The series I'm working on right now is an unapologetically epic fantasy series, but that's because that's the way the story goes, if that makes sense. I suppose I could have hammered it into a western or set it in New York City at the turn of the century, but the story presented itself to me as fantasy, and the characters who presented it to me simply live in their world. It just feels right. I have other stories which are not fantasy.
If you could pick one book that everyone should read (not one of your own!) which would it be?
For every book that comes to mind, ten more protest that they would be better. This is a very difficult question, as I'm sure you know. :-) I suppose it would have to be The Hunchback of Notre-Dame. It's some seriously thick reading, but in that work, Victor Hugo explores just about every facet of human nature imaginable. It has more content in the first chapter than many novels have in their entirety.
What do you bring that's new to the fantasy genre?
One of my major themes is the enslavement of an entire race of people, not by other people but by their assumptions, particularly about those who do hold real power over them. This echoes from the dangers facing the entire world all the way down through the individual characters facing their own destinies and the choices tied to those destinies. One of the major themes tied to this involves gender identities and the assumptions that go along with those. I'm sure other authors have examined these themes before, but my particular approach is new and likely unexpected.
If that seems a bit vague, it's because I'm trying to avoid spoilers. :-)
What is the best piece of writing advice you have received?
Don't show your work until it's finished, and don't share the ending, even with yourself, until it's written. That may sound odd, but I killed a few stories in the cradle for myself by thinking them through to their endings. I felt like I'd written them and lost interest. As far as not showing your work until it's finished, it's a similar thing. It's easy for it to lose its shine. It's also easy not to finish since you keep getting little sips of approval from people reading a chapter here and a chapter there. Writing is the hardest part of being a writer, and for some reason, it's something we all tend to find excuses not to do. This is one place to kill an excuse.
If you could write anybody's biography whose would it be and why?
Carlos Hathcock. I'm a sucker for heroes, and any man who can take third degree burns over most of his body while rescuing people from a burning train qualifies as a hero.
What are you working on at the moment?
I'm working on a few short stories for an anthology that my publisher is putting together, as well as book 3 of the Lords of Syon Series. I also have a story based loosely on the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale and another novel which is not fantasy at all, set in southern NM during the latter half of the last century.
Tell us about your latest work and how we can find out more.
My latest release is Guardian Last, which is the second book in the Lords of Syon Saga, following Sword of Hemlock. While Sword of Hemlock mostly focused on Lady Renda and her battle to defend her cousin, the Duke, and the rest of Syon from destruction, Guardian Last centers more around her companion, an unconventional sorcerer named Dith the Merciless, whose power has grown out of his control and who must now make his way across the sea to a place with which those of Syon have had no contact in thousands of years, and all of this happens within the context of Renda and her few remaining companions combatting the ancient forces that threatens to keep their whole world enslaved.
My books are published through Raconteur House, and you can get both books in ebook or paperback format from Amazon and Barnes and Noble, as well as smashwords.
www.jordanmaclean.com/books gets you to two easy ordering links and gives a short synopsis of each book. The rest of my website has fun links to descriptions of the races in my books and other "extras."
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Books by Jordan MacLean on Amazon