The Dragon Tempest Blog Tour
Author Interview – Jane Dougherty
Author, Jane Dougherty, was a first place winner in Dragon Knight Chronicles short story contest. The contest was held to gather stories for publication in Dragon Knight Chronicles Anthology #2. The title of Jane’s winning short story is The Last Battle.
- Where did you get the idea for your short story, The Last Battle?
Hylomone and Cyllarus, the two Centaurs in The Last Battle are ‘real’ Centaurs. They are also minor characters in the third volume of my trilogy, The Green Woman. The battle itself is in the story, but I decided to rewrite the event as seen from the viewpoint of this tragic couple.
2. What inspired you to write The Last Battle?
The battle is a pivotal part of the story of The Green Woman, and in writing it I had only portrayed the emotions of one of the central characters. This is a deeper version of what happened, and the personal grief it brought to a couple of the off-stage characters.
3. Is there a message in your short story that you want readers to grasp?
Not a conscious one, but I was probably influenced by my aversion for Greek myths where women are almost always in the wrong, the sacrificial victims, or the wicked demons. The Centaur is the epitome of all that is wise and noble, so I wanted to bash the point home that there were female Centaurs too, and they were just as wise and noble as their company.
4. What was the hardest part of writing The Last Battle?
I don’t honestly remember there being a hard part in the writing of this story. I knew it already, and I knew the outcome. Writing battle scenes isn’t something I enjoy particularly which means that to do it well, I have to concentrate on the human rather than the military aspect. If there’s more emotion in The Last Battle than actual battle, that’s because I’m more comfortable writing about sentiment than sword thrusting and swiping.
5. What kind of research did you do for this short story?
Many of the characters in story of The Green Woman are taken from myth so I don’t feel that I have the right to take liberties with what are essentially the fruits of the collective imagination. Cyllarus the Centaur really existed (if you see what I mean) and so did his companion Hylonome and their children. Their story is a tragic one, and I simply transposed Cyllarus’ death to the Last Battle of my story. I hate reading stories with sloppy research and anachronisms so I try not to make the same mistake myself.
6. How did you get interested in mythology?
I think we are all interested in mythology. It’s part of all human culture and part of the way humanity works. My grandmother was a big fan of the Greek myths, and of course the Irish myths were considered more as history than story.
7. What’s a typical working day like for you?
I check my emails, reply to comments on my blog and on twitter, look over the last scraps of poetry I wrote the previous night and probably get bogged down in wrestling with a poem. There’s usually a hiatus while I take the dog out for a run, go to the market, do the washing, that kind of stuff. After that I try to get into a WIP. I’m very easily distracted though. In theory I should have most of the afternoon to work. But there are always so many other things that need to be done.
8. Do you set a daily writing goal?
I do at the moment. I’m in the daft position of having six different (very different) WIP. I also write a ton of poetry and short fiction; Since one WIP is a book that has actually been commissioned by a publisher I feel that I ought to write it before indulging myself in any of the others. If I meet my daily goal of words written, I allow myself to spend a bit of time on one of the other stories. I get very distracted by poetry though, a recently discovered passion, and spend far too much time fiddling with rhythm and rhyme.
9. What’s the best thing about being an author?
Doing what I love most. And having a husband who indulges me in it, even though it doesn’t even keep us in dog biscuit.
10. What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Write. Don’t watch TV, don’t go out, make your children autonomous as soon as possible, and write. All the time. Make writing your favourite leisure activity, and don’t be afraid to share it with people whose judgement you value. Most of all though, listen to advice about your writing. Listen to the criticism, and try not to be so blinkered by the thrill of actually producing a story to act upon it.
11. Who is your favorite author?
I don’t have one. There are far too many authors whose work I love. Of the classics I can read anything by John Masefield and adore it, Tove Jansson’s Moomin books, C.S.Lewis was a pretty fine writer too, and I’ve probably read all of Alberto Moravia and not read anything I haven’t enjoyed. Of the more modern writers, I have enjoyed a lot of Guy Gavriel Kay, Barbara Hambly, and the first of the GRR Martin books.
12. What really strikes you about their work?
For all of them it is the ability to transport the reader to a new, unknown place, be it an imaginary Finnish forest, the planet Mars, or Rome in the 1950s, and make it come alive.
13. Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I have six WIP all in more or less rough draft form. This is the opening of a romance which is about half-finished. The working title is Where the Wild White Horses Play.
I heard of a girl once, who went off with a Selkie. She didn’t know he was a Selkie to begin with, not until he came back for her. She followed him into the ocean and never came back. They say she drowned, but I know different. I think the girl was me.
This may be the last time I sit on this cliff top looking down at the sea. The white chalk falls away below me, ghostly in the twilight, and tumbling into a jumble of pale rock at the foot, lapped by the waves. There’s a steep stair down to the rocky cove that I will take before the sun sinks. I look along the coast road to the straggling line of houses, set back from the track behind thick vegetation. I know them all, the old couple who turned their plot into a little market garden, the middle aged couple who take in tourists in the summer, and the last house before the road drops down out of sight towards the town.
Pierre still lives there, in the house I knew so well, the house that one time I felt would be my tomb. He has remarried and has a couple of children. They will be indoors now, like the good obedient children of a schoolteacher. Perhaps there will be school tomorrow and they will be early to bed. Perhaps not. I lose track of the days and their names. They have no meaning any more. Time itself has no meaning. The ocean is timeless. I mark the passing of the days by the movement of the sun and the moon, but none is worth more than the next or the last. Time is. I am.
Pierre’s house falls into the quiet of the evening, calm and tidy, as he would wish it. And I am glad that I am out of his life and he has found happiness. The horizon is on fire, and the sun is almost over the rim of the sky. By its last light I take the steep steps carefully, down to the rocks where the others are waiting for me.
I sat in this same spot ten years ago, on the last day of their millennium. Ten years ago I left to reclaim what was mine. The sunset looks just the same. They said it was a special day. Momentous. For me it was just a beautiful sunset.
14. Are you a pantser or a plotter?
Both, I think. I’ve never understood how you can write without letting the story go its own sweet way. No matter what plan you might have already roughed out, the story inevitably goes where it wants. Mine do, anyway.
15. What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview and how would you answer that question?
How did you get to become a multi-million dollar best-selling author? I’d love to be asked that one. Unfortunately the chances of being asked it are so remote I haven’t thought up an answer.
Jane Dougherty writes various kinds of fiction but finds it very hard not to include at least an element of fantasy. Her self-published trilogy, The Green Woman is straight up no nonsense fantasy. The retellings of some of the great love stories from Irish myth she co-authored with Ali Isaac are in that hazy, magical domain between historical fact and flight of poetic fantasy. Wormholes, her new YA series, starts off as gritty, realistic Armageddon, but rapidly takes off into pseudo-science fantasy inspired by some of the more trippy writings of the Apocrypha. The first volume is to be published by Finch Books this autumn.
Jane is also a prolific writer of short fiction and poetry, some of which has been published in anthologies, literary journals, and webzines. To read some of her poems or download a short story, visit her blog at:
For official purposes she gives Bordeaux as place of residence, but most of the important stuff goes on inside her head.
Author’s Social Media & Additional Links
Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/JaneDoughertyWriter
Amazon author page US: http://www.amazon.com/Jane-Dougherty/e/B00FMR7Y0U/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1
Amazon author page UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Jane-Dougherty/e/B00FMR7Y0U/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1
List and Links to Jane Dougherty’s previously published works:
The Green Woman Trilogy
The Dark Citadel:
The Subtle Fiend:
Beyond the Realm of Night:
In the Beginning:
Grá mo Chroí:
The Dragon Tempest offers a collection of short stories in a variety of fantasy genres, including dark, light, adventure, and epic. Creatures from all worlds abound: dragons, angels, centaurs, witches, gods and goddesses, and those lurking below the water’s surface. Whether you’re moved by tales of battle and bloodshed, suspense, humor, or enlightenment, The Dragon Tempest will leave you craving more from each author. Such a diversity of great fantasy tales to enjoy will leave no room for disappointment.
Allison D. Reid
1st Place Winners
Wilson F. Engel, III
2nd Place Winners
Deborah Jean Anderson
J. Abram Barneck
3rd Place Winners
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