Today we’re excited to welcome young adult fantasy author Jane McGarry to Novels Alive to answer our interview questions.
What drives your story forward in your books the most, the characters or the plot, or do you feel they are intertwined?
Plot always drives the story forward, but the characters must be compelling enough to make readers want to stick with the story. In A Prophecy of Wings, both the protagonist and antagonist’s points of view are explored, which I hope makes the story more interesting.
If you were a character in one of your books, which would you be? The protagonist, mentor, villain, love interest, etc.?
Wow, what a great question. Probably the villain. In A Prophecy of Wings, the villain Dahlia was the most interesting character to write. Although being a morally ambiguous protagonist would be fun too.
If you had the power to make any of your books into a film, which would it be and why?
I would like to see my first book, Not Every Girl, made into a movie. It is a young adult adventure/romance with a feisty heroine, a standoffish prince and a few crafty outlaws for good measure and I think it would be fun to watch.
Is there a particular genre of fiction that you have always wanted to write, but haven’t yet tackled?
I have a High Fantasy Series which I have been mapping out for over a year now. It’s a daunting genre to write because so much detail must go into world building. Hopefully someday I will get it all on paper.
If you could meet a literary character or author, who would you most like to meet?
Morgaine from Marion Zimmer Bradley’s The Mists of Avalon, the story of King Arthur told from a woman’s standpoint. The book is rich in archetypes and symbolism and told in a lyrical way that is quite poignant. It would be amazing to meet the main character who in other works is not portrayed in the most flattering light.
As with the rest of us, you have a real life to live. So, in your most recent book, what was happening in your life and how did it influence your writing?
First and foremost, I am a mom to two boys, two cats and a puppy. They take up the bulk of my time. While writing A Prophecy of Wings, the Covid quarantine happened and I had to help my kids with a lot of online learning. This definitely cut into my writing time and made readying the book for publishing a bit more challenging.
Was there something in your first edit that didn’t make it in the final copy that you sometimes wish you would have kept?
Not in this book, but there has been in others. Editing is the hardest part of the process and many times there can be second guessing when you are done.
What do you do to prepare your mind to write? To get into the mind of your characters.
I have always had a vivid imagination, so usually once I find a quiet place I can easily feel the characters. When I am done with a writing session, I leave myself detailed notes, so I have a jumping off point the next time I start.
What book as a child/adolescent most influenced you as a writer?
As a child, I loved fairy tales, the Nancy Drew series, and Little House on the Prairie books. I also enjoyed the works of Judy Blume whose characters were genuine and relatable—a trait I hope to convey in my own work.
How much research went into your last book?
I read several different versions of the Thumbelina fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen. Each brought its own nuances to the story. I also researched word origins for all the different types of fairies in the book, mostly using animal genus names.
What’s one of the most important things you’d like your readers to know about you? What defines you most as an author?
I like to write strong female protagonists with enough self-doubt to resonate as authentic with readers. My Not Every Girl trilogy has a heroine, Olivia, who is brash right from the start. Lina, from A Prophecy of Wings, needs time to develop her strength over the course of the story. My aim is to create characters young adult readers can see part of themselves in and provide a feeling of connectedness with the world.
What is one thing about you that may surprise your readers?
I have a bit of an obsession with movie musicals—Beauty and the Beast and Moulin Rouge are right at the top of the list. Naturally, I have all the soundtracks downloaded and burst into song at any given moment at home, especially when cleaning. My kids either roll their eyes or join in.
Can you tell us what prompted you to write your latest release?
I remember taking a copy of Thumbelina out of the library over and over when I was little. On the cover, the tiny girl was sitting inside a flower and it simply fascinated me and inspired A Prophecy of Wings. Though I loved the story, the ending never quite satisfied me so I decided to do my own take on it.
What’s next for you? What are you working on now?
My next work is another retelling of the lesser-known Italian fairy tale, Biancabella and the Snake. I stumbled upon it a while back and felt a strong connection to the story. I am also working on a Greek mythology retelling. Stay tuned for more details.
Thanks for reading. I would love to connect to answer any more questions.
Thanks again for joining us, Jane! We’d love to have you back at any time!
Publication Date: May 11, 2021
A betrayal, a prophecy, a kingdom in the balance. Sixteen years ago the evil Dahlia overthrew the kingdom of Roshall Grove, the heart of the Fairy World.
A prophecy foreseen by Edwina, a powerful enchantress, remains the only hope to topple her iron-fisted rule. Now, Lina, a simple peasant girl, learns her future is linked to this prophecy. Edwina brings Lina to the Fairy World to fulfill her destiny—conquering Queen Dahlia. Separated from the enchantress by agents of the dark queen, Lina begins a perilous journey to join the Resistors, who await her return to mount their attack. Thrust into this strange world, Lina must navigate relations with a host of different fairies and animals, never knowing who seeks to help or to thwart her.
Finally reunited with the Resistors, Lina must find the strength to lead her people and fulfill the prophecy. Meanwhile, Dahlia prepares for the battle, which will ultimately decide the survival of her reign, while reflecting on the path that brought her and her foe to this moment of reckoning.
A fairy tale with an ending twist, A Prophecy of Wings is loosely based on Thumbelina by Hans Christian Andersen and examines the ideas of predestined fates and the subsequent, sometimes unforeseen, consequences.
2 winners will receive an autographed copy of A Prophecy of Wings.
Reading was always a big part of Jane’s life. Creating her own stories developed out of this love. To date she has published the Not Every Girl trilogy, a YA Fantasy Adventure. Her latest novel, A Prophecy of Wings, is a retelling of the classic fairy tale, Thumbelina. She lives in New Jersey with my husband, two sons and two extremely spoiled cats. When she is not running around with her family or writing, she can be found curled up with a good book and said cats.