Interview with: Jannie Lee Simner who wrote Bones of Faerie
Questions by: Lauren
I apologize for this being posted today. It was meant to go up yesterday (since this was part of the January celebration). I also wanted to say sorry to Jannie and Tina Ferraro as well for not getting their books read/reviewed this past month, but I have them and will get to them ASAP. Life just got really busy all of a sudden. Thanks for the book and Q&A though, and I hope everyone enjoys the interview!
1. Bones of Faerie is your first novel for teens. Did you always want to write for this age group or was it simply that the book fit?
It was sort of a combination of both. I've been wanting to tell this story for more than a decade and a half now, ever since I wrote the opening chapter. Back then, I wasn't thinking much about genres and age levels yet--it was just the story I wanted to tell. Only I wasn't ready to tell it--maybe I wasn't good enough a writer yet--so I went off and wrote other things first, most of them (as it turned out) for either younger or older readers. That opening haunted me, though--I could never quite forget it.
By the time I finally returned to the story a few years ago, I'd sold a few young adult short stories and was an avid YA reader (really, I never stopped reading YA)--so I was thrilled to know I was writing a book for teens! YA is a fabulous genre to read in, and I'm honored to be part of it.
2. Faeries are the new "it" group for the supernatural stories, after vampires and werewolves. What made you want to write about them?
It's funny--when I first started writing Bones of Faerie, fantasy wasn't (though this is hard to believe now!) a popular a genre at all, and I remember wondering whether anyone would even really want to read about faeries--let alone the end of the world (Bones of Faerie is set in the aftermath of a catastrophic war between the human and Faerie realms). But I went ahead and told the story I wanted to tell--and now, suddenly, YA shelves are filled with faerie books and post-apocalyptic books both. Maybe it was something in the water? :-) It's fascinating--and fun--to me that so many writers, working separately, can wind up telling stories about similar creatures and with similar themes.
As for why I wanted to write about Faerie--I think Bones of Faerie, and that opening written long ago, began with a fascination with the whole business of changelings and of faeries stealing children. Bones of Faerie ultimately didn't wind up being a changeling story, but it does still begin with a child being set out on a hillside for the faeries to find.
3. Will Bones of Faerie be a stand-alone novel or do you have a sequel or series in mind?
Right now it's a standalone, but I'm definitely open to writing more books set in the same world one day! (I actually do have a short story set in the same world--in a different place with different characters--online now in the magazine Coyote Wild: http://coyotewildmag.com/2008/august/simner_invasive_species.html)
4. The cover is very simple but conveys a lot of meaning at the same time. Did you have any input into what it would look like? What's your opinion?
I had no input whatsoever into the cover, and I absolutely love it. The designer, Michelle Gengaro-Kokmen, did an amazing job. I smile every time I look at the cover, which I think is more powerful and more beautiful than anything I 'd been imagining.
5. Finally, I'm always curious how authors come up with their characters' names. Do you have any specific stories?
In the very first, very rough draft of Bones of Faerie, the three main characters were named Steele, Marcus, and Lissa. By the time I finished that draft, though, none of those names really felt right. So I sat down and thought about the world of the story--which is based on our world--and thought about what sorts of names characters named by parents who lived in our world would really have. Marcus was the only name that seemed even close to likely, but even that wasn't likely enough--while the name Lissa makes me wince when I look at her character now, and the name Steele intrigues me, but feels like it belongs in some other story. So after thinking a while, though three characters became Liza, Matthew, and Allie, names that did--and do-- feel right.
So I guess I go with a mix of instinct and looking at the background of the world to name my characters!