Q&A: Sophie Jordan

Posted by Goodreads on February 20, 2017
Once upon a time, a brave hero rescued a princess trapped in a tower. We presume they lived happily ever after. But in Sophie Jordan's lush retelling of the classic Rapunzel story, escaping the tower is just the beginning.

The bestselling author of Firelight and The Ivy Chronicles introduced her dark and dangerous fairy tale world in Reign of Shadows. Now her young heroes, Princess Luna and archer Fowler, are back in the highly anticipated sequel, Rise of Fire. Pawns of two merciless kingdoms, the pair have no choice but to put their trust in strangers as they cling to dying hope and fragile romance.

Jordan answers your questions about finding inspiration during Netflix binges, researching serial killers (for a book!), and daydreaming about dragons.

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Chey: I absolutely adored Reign of Shadows and am stoked for the next book! What made you decide to make Luna (the main character) blind? It was such a bold choice, and it worked so well. Also, do you have any plans on how long the Reign of Shadows series will be? Please say at least five books!!

Sophie Jordan: I'm sorry to say there will be only two books, Chey, but I'm thrilled you love the world I created. Thank you! Concerning Luna…I'm not sure I can pinpoint the moment I decided she would be blind. It was there almost from the beginning. I was intrigued with the idea of a blind heroine living in a world of darkness. Juxtaposed against that world, I really liked the idea of her state of blindness adding to her strengths and granting her better instincts in the dark. So, in a sense, she is her own superhero.

Katie: What was the moment of inspiration that led you to write Reign of Shadows?

SJ: You might laugh, Katie, but here it is: Besides being a bookworm, I'm also a TV/movie junkie. I burn through Netflix shows and chalk it all up as inspiration. I think, at least partly, Reign of Shadows resulted from my love of several movies/TV shows—obviously shows that have a darker bent to them. Also, I was feeling very nostalgic for the "epic-ness" of my past Firelight trilogy, and I wanted to create another big/epic/supernatural world.

Kelly: One of my favorite things about Reign of Shadows is that it has both strong characters and a really interesting setting. When you're writing, especially fantasy, do you prefer to write more character-driven plots or plots that are stimulated by the world you've built?

SJ: Smart question, Kelly. I'm not sure if it's a matter of preference. It just boils down to the story you want to tell. In most of my books I'm character driven, but Reign of Shadows is unique. So much stems from the setting/world. The conflict itself is a result of the world, and the characters (in this case Luna and Fowler) are molded by the world. Luna herself was born on the eve of the eclipse; her parents were murdered as a result of that. Fowler is this badass survivor because of his upbringing in a world of darkness. This is the one novel I've written where the setting feels like a character.

Jessica: Who is your favorite character to write about in Reign of Shadows?

SJ: That's a very tough question, considering the story is told in the POV of two protagonists. Fowler is special to me because he's the first male POV I've ever written in a young adult novel…but Luna is unique because of her blindness.

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Lily: Where and how do you get your inspiration for the names of places and characters in your books?

SJ: Speaking specifically about Reign of Shadows, the names of characters and places were tricky because the setting is entirely made up, and I didn't want the names to feel familiar or common. I did look up names found in Eastern European countries, but even then, I tweaked them. Luna's name, for example, was inspired by the fact that the world she lives in is shrouded in darkness and under a lunar eclipse. And my daughter suggested it.

Seda: Thank you for the amazing Firelight series. What prompted you to write about dragons?

SJ: Well, Seda, I remember that I was thinking about paranormal creatures that I could write about, and I landed on dragons. It just triggered something inside me. Other than fantasy, I couldn't think of any "dragon" books grounded within a contemporary paranormal setting.

So I started playing the "what if" game. What if dragons had been real? Where did they go? What happened to them? All those questions led me to create the lore of Firelight. With this lore, Jacinda's story was born—a girl who looked human but wasn't. A girl who was a dragon at the core...who could shape-shift, fly, and breathe fire.

Kayleigh: What's your favorite genre to write in? And out of all of the characters you've created, who's closest to your heart?

SJ: That's tough, Kayleigh! That's like picking a favorite child! On certain days I would rather be writing in one genre…especially when that story is "misbehaving" for me or I'm just struggling through the middle-of-the-book blues or a tough scene. But at the end of the day I love them all—historical, YA, contemporary romance. I feel so fortunate that I've found an audience for each of the genres I write.

Daniela: What's the weirdest thing you've ever researched for a book?

SJ: Hi, Daniela. During the writing of Uninvited, I did research a lot of crime stats and information on serial killers. In my contemporary romance, All Chained Up, I researched life in prisons and protocols for prison riots. When you write a fantasy like Reign of Shadows that isn't grounded in the reality of the contemporary world, the only rules are the ones you establish. You want plausibility, of course, but this allows for a lot of freedom, so I didn't need to research too much. Oh! I did research the habits and anatomy of nocturnal animals. I figured in a world of darkness they would thrive.

Skye: When did you know you wanted to pursue a career in writing? And were you scared of taking that risk?

SJ: I dreamed of being a writer from the age of 13, and yes, the risk was present and daunting. My parents wanted the best for me. In other words, they wanted to know I could support myself with a career. And the career of a writer (like any other artist) seems shaky, at best. While they didn't outright discourage me, they were wary of being too encouraging. That attitude, of course, made me question whether I was chasing after rainbows. Then there was the rejection aspect once I decided to dive in and give it my all. It can chip at your esteem. Agents say no. Editors say no. Then even once you're published, there are some readers/critics who don't like your work. That's when I remind myself that I'm doing this because I love it and because I can't imagine doing anything else. As a writer, you have to do it for yourself and the readers who love your work. That's what keeps you happy and sane.

Tiana: How has your writing evolved over the years? And what has kept you inspired to write?

SJ: Hmm. That's a good question, Tiana. My writing has certainly evolved. I have a little more confidence than when I first started out. I have several books under my belt, so I suppose that's natural. I didn't plot before, but now I love doing it. It makes me think about what I'm doing and why. And that leads me to…writing out of sequence. It's something I would have never done when I first started writing, but I do it often now. I write the scenes I have at the forefront of my mind. I think it makes for a better book—for me. My writing has gotten better for it because I'm always writing material I want to write, the scenes that I'm the most excited about. This goes a long way to keeping me inspired. I only write what I'm compelled to write that day. That makes the writing more compelling.

Comments Showing 1-3 of 3 (3 new)

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message 1: by Evanjaustin (new)

Evanjaustin Fun interview...sounds like compelling work (esp the fantasy stuff!) that I now want to read!

message 2: by Livia (new)

Livia Really great interview, thanks for doing it!

message 3: by Seda (new)

Seda Ricci Thank you Sophie Jordan for anwering our questions!!!

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