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Jane Lindskold
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message 1: by Anna (last edited Jun 03, 2015 07:49AM) (new)

Anna Erishkigal (annaerishkigal) Greetings Space Opera Fans!

Woot! I just *LOVE* author interviews!!! This month we've got some insight into the Honor Harrington universe from Jane Lindskold, who brought the second and third books of David Weber's Star Kingdom prequel universe to life.

Jane Lindskold Fire Season (Honorverse Stephanie Harrington, #2) by David Weber Treecat Wars (Honorverse Stephanie Harrington, #3) by David Weber

My daughter just adores these books because who doesn't want a sentient, six-legged psychic treecat for a companion? And I, to my surprise, enjoyed them as well. It's so nice to have a 'bridge book' between a legacy sci-fi fan such as myself and a budding sci-fi fan. What I really like about the Star Kingdom universe is that Stephanie is respectful of her parents (though she often gets into mischief), she's resourceful but realistic, and uses her brains to get herself out of the messes her curiosity gets her into.

So come on over and learn what it was like bringing Honor Harrington's ancestor, Stephanie Harrington to life, where treecats come from, and the Harrington's long ancestral history of kick-butt, feisty women! And learn about Jane's newest project, a new Space Opera epicArtemis Invaded

Thank you Jane for granting us this author interview!

Be epic!

Anna Erishkigal
SOF Borg Queen


Hi Anna,

Thank you so much for supporting Tree Cat Wars and for asking me to do this interview. I kind of tore through this because I'd had to think about a lot of these things for a convention I was at a week ago. Great questions!

I hope the community enjoys reading the book! My answers are below. Thank you again!



1. What books have most influenced your life?

I can never figure out how to answer this question because a life, especially when you get to be my age, is a big thing and has many parts to be influenced. There is a not at all inclusive list of SF/F works I have enjoyed on my website under “Neat Stuff.”

2. How do you develop your plots and characters?

I don’t. They develop with the book. It’s a very interesting journey. One of the reasons I write is to find out what’s going to happen in the book and to meet cool people.

3. Tell us about your Space Opera Fans book.

Treecat Wars is the second Stephanie Harrington book I’ve written with David Weber. The first was Fire Season.

Fire Season (Honorverse Stephanie Harrington, #2) by David Weber Treecat Wars (Honorverse Stephanie Harrington, #3) by David Weber

Treecat Wars is the third in the series. Weber wrote the first one, A Beautiful Friendship, as an expansion of his novella of the same name. I did some “backstage” work with him on this one as well, since Weber wanted the set-up to be something I would be comfortable with.

A Beautiful Friendship (Honorverse Stephanie Harrington, #1) by David Weber

I should mentioned here that these novels are prequels to the Honor Harrington novels and take place when Sphinx is settled but still largely frontier containing a lot of surprises – including treecats.

(Sidenote: I always call David Weber “Weber,” because at the time we met there were many Davids in my life. So I’m not being formal here. It’s what I call him when we talk.)

Treecat Wars features two interlocking narratives. In one, Stephanie and Karl go off to an intensive training course on Manticore. Back on Sphinx, Jessica and Anders come across some suspicious things to do with the treecats. Because Stephanie is far away – and has some serious problems of her own – they need to figure out how to deal with them without the help of Sphinx’s Number One treecat expert, Stephanie.

4. We all need a hero! Tell us about your protagonist(s)? Was there a real-life inspiration behind him or her?

Stephanie Harrington is the first human to make contact with treecats. Even as a small girl, she’s an avid – as in fist fighting – advocate of wildlife rights. She learns different ways to deal with conflict as she gets older, but always combines brains with a willingness to take risks for what she believes in.

Karl Zivonik is a bit older than Stephanie. A native of Sphinx, he also wants to go into forestry. He’s a bit more laidback than Steph, but no less determined.

Jessica Pherris gets to know Stephanie in Fire Season. After some misunderstandings, they become close friends. Jessica lacks both Stephanie’s overwhelming brains and temper, but anyone who thinks of her as a mere sidekick is in for a surprise. She’s a lot more experienced than Stephanie both in interpersonal relationship and life experience.

Anders Whitaker is the son of a xenoanthropologist who came to Sphinx to study treecats. He’s very handsome, but makes up for it by being smart and perceptive. In Fire Season, he and Stephanie started dating.

Then there are the treecats: Climbs Quickly (aka Lionheart), Dirt Grubber (aka Valiant), and Keen Eyes. Both Climbs Quickly and Keen Eyes are point-of-view characters.

5. A good villain is hard to write. How did you get in touch with your inner villain(s) to write this book. Was there a real-life inspiration for him/her/it?

Happily, for our collaboration, both Weber and I prefer intelligent antagonists as fitting challenges to intelligent protagonists.

The villains in Treecat Wars are of two types. The first is the human. Gwendolyn Adair and her associates are political manipulators who will stop at nothing to get what they want — in this case, that’s land on Sphinx.

However, natural forces (fire, weather, geographic limitations) play an important role in both Fire Season and Treecat Wars. The question of how treecats will manage to coexist with humans on Sphinx is central to these books.

6. What real-life inspirations did you draw from for the worldbuilding within your book?

I love the natural world: plants, animals, bugs, whatever… Although Weber had designed Sphinx in a general way as Honor Harrington’s homeworld, the Stephanie Harrington stories have needed to flesh out the planet itself on all sorts of levels. I took Weber’s basic notes and expanded a great deal on them.

Sphinx has a higher gravity than Earth-normal, for example, and so everything we dealt with in terms of the story kept this in mind.

7. Sci-fi fans love techno-porn! What real-life science (or pseudo-science) did you research for your book?

This was Weber’s department, since we had to work within the restrictions he’d already created for the universe. As I mentioned above, these books are prequels to the Honor Harrington novels, so we had to go backwards. Stephanie, for example, shoots a chemically propelled slug-thrower – aka a gun. However, anti-grav tech exists so we got to have flying cars.

In Fire Season we needed to have a group get completely lost and out of touch. Figuring out how to do that was a huge challenge!

8. What was the hardest part of writing this book?

Weber had a lot of information in his head about treecats, but much of it hadn’t been put on paper. Making sure that I developed treecat society so that it was in harmony with his vision while addressing questions he’d never really had to think about was hard – but fun, since I really like writing about aliens.

9. What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

I really liked writing the parts from Keen Eyes’ point of view. He’s a treecat not bonded to a human and relatively unsophisticated about humans. He’s also a wonderfully heroic person, determined to save his clan, even though circumstances seem to have doomed them.

10. Did you learn anything from writing this book and what was it?

It sucks when your world is invaded by another species, even if they are doing their best to be nice.

11. Is there a message in your novel that you hope readers will grasp?

No. I don’t believe readers need to be lectured.

That said, Weber and I did have some goals when we set these books up. We wanted to write YA novels in which, while the bulk of the story would be carried by our teenage characters, this would not be achieved by making the adults 1) idiots 2) absent and uncaring 3) cruel. If you look at a lot of YA novels, these three things are the default setting. I’ve even heard people say this must be the case. Weber and I don’t believe that.

(Interesting, many of the more popular YA novels don’t show this pattern either…)

We also wanted healthy relationships between people of different ages and genders – and, in the case of treecats, species.

12. What are your future project(s)?

June sees the release of Artemis Invaded, the sequel to Artemis Awakening (just out in paperback). Reviewers have often called these space opera, so I guess they must be, even though they take place on a planetary surface, not in space.

Artemis Invaded (Artemis Awakening, #2) by Jane Lindskold Artemis Awakening (Artemis Awakening, #1) by Jane Lindskold

I’m also working on a shorter piece in which Stephanie and Karl go to Gryphon, the third habitable planet in the Manticore system.

13. If you couldn’t be an author, what would your ideal career be?

Singleship asteroid miner with side specializations in alien first contact and hydroponic gardening.

14. What is your preferred method to have readers get in touch with or follow you (i.e., website, personal blog, Facebook page, here on Goodreads, etc.) and link(s)?

Probably the easiest way to follow what I’m up to is through social media. I have a blog, Facebook page, and am on Twitter. Links to all these can be found on my website I post substantially several times a week on my blog, so that’s best for people who want something meaty. I also always read the Comments.

People can pick and choose their own flavor.

15. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to the Space Opera Fans community members?

Don’t let Sense of Wonder die. Too much SF these days seems to be either dystopian or military. I have nothing against either, but its seems to me that many of the settings are a thinly disguised here and now. I really think SF can do better.

One reason I wrote the Artemis Awakening books is that I wanted to write something full of the cool stuff: lost civilizations, weird tech, intelligent animals and/or aliens, powers based in the mind, not in machines. Stuff like that.

Dream big!

Interview granted 2015.06.03

message 2: by Anna (new)

Anna Erishkigal (annaerishkigal) *********************************************************************

And don't forget to join our Treecat Wars Book of the Month club discussion thread.



message 3: by Echo (new)

Echo  (mrsbookmark) | 46 comments Thank you for this interview! I have been hearing lots of buzz about the Treecat series and keep meaning to check it out. Now, definitely a must read.

message 4: by Jemima (new)

Jemima Pett | 144 comments I love finding new-to-me authors through this group!

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