I have been sitting on this interview for a little while just waiting for the time to be right, well waiting for publication date to get closer anyway, and now is that time. I think you are going to get a real kick out of this one, I know I do – every time I read through it. If only I lived in another state and could do these live and over coffee, or bourbon. That would really have made for an amusing interview.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I do, and please check out Stormdancer, published by Pan Macmillan, from the 1st September.
Your blog states that you tricked the world into thinking you’re an author, how did you manage that?
I abducted an author with actual talent from outside his home, locked him in my basement and played Rebecca Black at him until he agreed to write a novel for me. Then I stuck my name on it and sent it off to publishers. Bam.
What/who were you before you were an author?
I wrote TV ads for a multinational advertising agency, which is way less exciting than it sounds. Have you ever seen that TV show ‘Madmen’? It’s kinda like that, and I was kinda like Don Draper except, you know, NOT AT ALL. You’d be amazed at how little murder and infidelity there actually is in the average advertising agency these days. It’s mostly about selling toilet paper and crappy cars and your eternal soul.
Can you tell us a little about Stormdancer, your debut novel releasing later this year?
The best summary I’ve come up with is “Telepathic samurai girls and griffins in steampunk feudal Japan”.
Shima is an island nation verging on the edge of ruin. They have this wonderful fuel source that powers all their machines, like sky-ships and chainsaw katanas and whatnot. But the pollution caused by the fuel has killed virtually all the wildlife on the island. The Shōgun commands his hunt master to find him a griffin, even though the beasts have extinct for centuries. The hunt master’s daughter, Yukiko, accompanies her father on the hunt. Hijinks ensue.
Oh, and there are ninjas. Every book is better with ninjas.
Where did the inspiration for Stormdancer come from?
It came from a dream I had about a griffin with broken wings, and a little boy trying to teach it to fly. But “I had a dream…” is the SINGLE lamest answer and author can give to that question, so I’m going to make up a better one. Something to do with time travel and crashed alien motherships and secret destinies, and Lawrence Fishburne all looking at me and saying “You are the one, Jay.”
It’ll be awesome, I’ll get back to you.
Can you tell us a little about your journey to publication?
Well, Lawrence Fishburne grabbed me in the street one day and said “You are the…
I guess it was a lot like other people. Lots of time banging away on a computer, lots of kicks to the baby-maker. It’s a bit of a boring story tbh (to be honest), so I’ll put some explosions and dancing girls in there to keep you awake.
I wrote a book about vampires, right in the middle of Twilight mania (for the record, my vampires were evil, and they did not sparkle). I read that you needed a literary agent to get published in America, and I figured if I was going to try, I’d aim high, so I sent it out to a bunch of US agents. *EXPLOSIONS*. It got rejected so many times that it almost broke the space time continuum. I made a sad panda face. I picked myself up, read a whole bunch about publishing, wrote another book and sent it out. Three months later I had an agent. *DANCING GIRLS*. Two months after that, the book was being bid on at auction by three different publishing houses. Eighteen months later, it’s almost on shelves.
And here we are.
Stormdancer is the beginning of a series, how many books have you got planned for it and do you already know how the series is going to end?
Three books planned. I do pretty much know how it ends, yes. I could tell you, but my publishers have a Ninja Death Squad on standby for just such an emergency and those dudes have got no mercy.
I have been told you can’t participate in our author desk feature, can you tell us a bit about where you write?
Yeah, I don’t have a desk, sorry.
I write on the couch with my feet on the coffee table, my dog on my lap and my laptop on my dog (hey, that sounds like a Snoop Dogg lyric….). It’s a balancing act but it works as long as the dog doesn’t spy the cat next door. Then it’s chaos.
What do you like to read?
I used to be a big SF/F buff, but now honestly, I just want wonderful words. I try not to limit myself to a particular genre anymore, because that limits you to a particular way of thinking. So yeah, I’ll read anything good. Comic books. Mysteries. Historical fiction. Instructions for the TV…
What is your favourite book of all time?
Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
How do you like to spend your downtime, what do you do to relax?
I don’t have much downtime atm. I still work a full time job, so my downtime is spent writing. What little spare time I do have, I spend with my lovely bride or engaging in pursuits far too nerdy to ever admit in the cold light of day. I do love video games though. I shred on Guitar Hero.
I was all prepared to say something witty about it only being a trick that we think you’re an author when clearly you’re a rockstar but considering it’s in your Facebook bio I guess you get that a lot. Has anyone every accosted you on the street and NOT believed that you are an author, not a rockstar?
I usually get the ‘OMG ARE YOU DAVE GROHL’ thing from drunk people at dimly lit rock gigs, not on the street. I’d shave my beard to avoid the comparison, but I look twelve years old without it. It’s a problem…
Oohh, have you ever used that resemblance to your advantage?
Not yet. Although one time (at some dimly lit rock gig) a guy looked at me all secretive-like and mouthed the words “Dave Grohl?” and I winked and put my finger to my lips, and the dude just FREAKED OUT. Which was pretty funny.
Maybe I could figure out a way to get free drinks from it…
Have you actually seen your book in print yet, how did that feel?
I have, and it’s the strangest feeling. Sometimes I just sit and hold it in my hand, and it still doesn’t feel quite real. I think about it being out in the world, all these strangers reading it soon, sitting on shelves in countries I’ve never visited. How it’s not really mine anymore and how it belongs to everyone now. How I can point at it and say “No matter what else I do with my life, I did that”.
It’s exceptionally cool, and exceptionally strange.
What is next for Jay Kristoff?
First, I finish my draft of book 3. Then, I take some time off and play the SHIT out of Diablo 3 and just turn off my brain. Then its launch for bk 1, edits on bk 2, and hopefully lots of swimming in my solid gold money pool in my Scottish castle that I buy with all the mountains of money I make.
Hey, it started with a dream, right?
Thank you so much for your time Jay, it has certainly been entertaining. Good luck with the launch of your debut and I can’t wait for the entire series to be out here in the world with us.