Author Spotlight – Jane Fletcher
Meet UK Lesbian Fiction Author Jane Fletcher (Bold Strokes Books)
Our reviewer Valden had this to say about Jane Fletcher’s books:
Jane Fletcher is one of those fantasy authors that I always recommend to new lesfic readers because she has written some classic books. Her two series – Celaeno (pronounced Se-li-neu, /sɛˈliːnəʊ/) and the Lyremouth Chronicles – are very special and showcase some of Jane’s talents. You will start reading the first book in either series, and by the end of the first page, you will be hooked.
Jane has a natural talent for creating worlds that are engrossing to the reader and utterly captivating. The characters that live in these worlds are such that you will love those that are on the side of good, and grow to hate those that are nasty, or evil. There is a lot of humour, and while some is obvious, some is more subtle – such as the names of the two moons (see our giveaway question below).
There are excellent stories in each book, and Jane has a superb storytelling talent. I had a real reader’s hangover at the end of the Celaeno Series. I lived in the world Jane had created for five books, and it was just magical, and such a disappointment to leave it.
The humour in Jane Fletcher’s books is often subtle and layered – in the Celaeno series, she has named the two moons of the planet, one large, one small on two well-known and well-loved comic TV characters. Leave your guess as to what the names might be in the comments below.
We spoke to Jane Fletcher about her books and her writing plans for the future.
(a) Tell us something interesting about your last published book.
In The Shewstone, I needed some characters to speak a few sentences in an ancient, formal, language which one of my protagonists did not understand. For this, I was using my best fantasy Gibberish (think Dothraki in Game of Thrones). But, half way through the draft, my other (slightly condescending) protagonist described the everyday language that had derived from the older form as seeming “to consist of removing everything that would strain the abilities of an idiot, blending in the most vulgar elements from the assorted vanquished nations, and then shifting the vowels, so it could be spoken without fully opening one’s mouth.” It struck me this might be how a speaker of Old English would feel about modern English. I therefore switched the fantasy Gibberish to Old English.
For anyone who wants to know word for word what is being said there are a couple of translation website available online – such as here:
(b) What got you into writing?
I was a total bookworm as a child, but my attempts to write got nowhere. I just couldn’t get the words to flow. I’d sit down to write a story, and after 3 hours I’d have a paragraph of turgid prose.
It was only when I got a home PC that things changed. My writing was still tedious and flat, but knowing I could go back and edit it easily meant I kept ploughing forward, rather than agonising over an irredeemable first sentence. Over the course of completely reworking the novel six times, through a period of five years, my writing slowly improved. I’m a firm believer that the way to develop writing skills is to get stuck in and do it.
(c) Can you tell us about your writing style? How do you decide on plots and characters? Are you a planner or a pantser?
I’m a planner. I have the whole storyline sorted before I type a word. I then go through a series of expansions. First one sentence per chapter, then one sentence per scene, then paragraphs. The final summary stage runs to between a half and one full page per scene, at which point I’ll have the who, what, and where, significant lines of dialogue, scene settings, plot points covered, etc. This usually comes to about 18000 words. So all I have to do then is write it all out in proper syntax, which will expand it 500% to 600%. At 90,000 words, I have my novel.
(d) If you had to do it all over again, would you do anything differently?
LOL – everything. I’m a compulsive editor and rewriter. This is why I only write using a word processor (that and the fact I can’t read my own handwriting).
(e) What is next for you? What is your next project?
I have a new book out on 1 October (2018), titled “Isle of Broken Years”, which starts out as a historic novel set in the Caribbean during the Thirty Years War and ends up as something quite different.
I’ve also just started putting together chapter notes for my next novel, which is vaguely inspired by the Mabinogion.
VALDEN’s REVIEW of THE SHEWSTONE & THE CELAENO SERIES
It has plenty of the trademark Fletcher humour, for example, the names of the sisters who are the priestesses, characterise the people that have the roles. Redoubtable Sister Door-warden has got to be my favourite! There is perhaps more romance evident in this book than in previous stories, which is stand-alone despite my hope that it would be written as the first in a series. I am really hoping that Jane has her pen out and is already writing another story.
The Imprinter is one of the few women who can manipulate DNA physically using a mental process to allow procreation. The Church and the beliefs are protected by soldiers who are zealots. But what is the truth behind these beliefs? Is there any alternative? You will have to read to find out, but I promise you will enjoy the journey.
Chronological order of the Celaeno series: Shadow of the Knife, The Rangers at Roadsend, The Temple at Landfall, The Walls of Westernfort and Dynasty of Rogues.