Jaq D Hawkins

Jaq3smQ1. Jaq, how did you get into fantasy writing?

Like most, I started as a Fantasy reader. I began my writing career in non-fiction, but my love of Fantasy worlds made me want one of my own and one day the details of the world that I must create began to come to me in the form of a dialogue that grew into an entire culture.

Q2. Tell me a little about yourself and where you live.

I live in England, currently near London. I’ve travelled much of my life and have a lot of experiences behind me that I can draw on for stories. I’m an official crazy cat lady, as I moved in with my partner last year and between us we have 9 cats!

Q3. What inspired you to write the Goblin series, and why did you choose goblins?

I had started trying to get involved with activist groups in relation to an election and found a lack of cohesion in the various factions. I get a lot of ideas when I’m walking, which I was doing when a couple of lines of dialogue came to me:

‘We have no leader. We are all one kind here.’
‘But surely someone must be in charge?’

‘We are not like you. We do not glory in having power over our own kind. Or imagining that we do.’
It wasn’t something a human could say to another human, so the anarchist became a goblin, someone who lives close to the earth and doesn’t put importance on power and position.

Q4. Do you have a routine when you are writing (certain music, make a coffee, quiet study room etc)?

I get up in the morning and go straight to the computer. I don’t get dressed, no coffee, no food, just that first morning mind and a keyboard. I seem to always have people around me who want to feed me and such, so at some point I become fully awake and I’ve finished my actual writing for the day.

Q5. Would you describe yourself as a detailed planner or someone who just goes with the flow as it directs you, or maybe a bit of both?

These days there is some of both, but I lean towards going with the flow. I’m always amazed that the story fits together neatly in the end. I’ve started keeping retrospective outlines, keeping track of who I’ve left where. I’ve always had scenes come to me that I could work towards and I’ll start thinking about an ending by the time I get halfway through a book if I don’t already have one. Often the beginning and ending occur close together.

Q6. Give an outline of your Goblin series

Keeping it brief, in Dance of the Goblins a feudal society has grown from the survivors of a planetary catechism five generations before. They are led by Count Anton, a magician who accidently came upon a goblin one night when he was dancing in the moonlight. The goblins had lived unseen beneth the city for hundreds of years, so that stories about the old goblin wars had passed into legend and none knew they were real except Count Anton and his closest advisors. One day a man wanders into an old undergropund transportation tunnel and is captured by goblins, drugged so that he will forget, and ejected from a tunnel in a hill (old fairy hill mythology). A search party has been looking for the missing man and happens to be there to see the goblin, which leads to conflict as the humans think the goblins are like demons from their old mythologies. It is up to Count Anton and Haghuf, his goblin friend, to avert all out war between the species.

Demoniac Dance takes place a generation later. A young girl runs from an unwanted marriage in the strict settlement across the river and joins the magicians. Among them she meets several goblins and learns that the species can co-operate and even be friends. The old city is threatened by foreign invaders the magicians ask for help from the goblins, but there is resistence. Old hatreds die hard, and the warrior goblins would be happy to see all men die. Count Anton is forced to ask help from the goblins who despise him most when his goblin friend is injured, but neither side could have predicted that one among the goblins would release the dragons.

Power of the Dance takes place yet another generation later. Anton’s son Alaric is king now, but he has had an easy life. A new enemy moves towards the old city from the northern reaches of the land that was once one with them, but these people have changed over time. They have grown into a tribe of wild men, led by a vicious leader who shows signs of goblin blood. Meanwhile the goblins have internal troubles of their own and when the humans above ask for help once again they show no interest, until they learn the nature of the invading tribe.

Q7. What tips would you give to anyone wanting to write fantasy?

Let your imagination completely loose. Don’t try to write like anyone else or bind yourself by rules from games or other imaginary worlds. Don’t try to force it either. Start with an idea and ask yourself questions about how your world deals with particular situations. Build it a piece at a time.

Q8. Provide an excerpt from one of your books

This is from Power of the Dance:

Namah closed the big wooden doors and reluctantly bolted them, wishing that she could pull Alaric inside to safety first. Womanly tears stung her eyes as she climbed the stairs to the northeast tower with her Amazons. She blinked quickly, willing the moisture to reabsorb rather than spilling on her cheeks where she would have to wipe away the tears.
The inside of the castle was quiet for the moment. Namah found the women safely inside the tower, watching the battle from the high windows. Ivy immediately came forward and took Namah’s hands.
‘The goblins are helping,’ Ivy exclaimed. ‘We saw them, dozens of big ones outside the wall.’
‘Where did they go?’ Namah asked quickly.

‘They couldn’t stop the horde. They killed many, but others poured over the walls. Once there were no more coming outside, they just went away.’

Q10. Lastly, what do you like to read and do you have a favourite author (It doesn’t have to be fantasy)?

My main genres for reading are Classics, Fantasy, science fiction, some (non-bloody) Horror and Historic Fiction. Favourite authors include Charles Dickens, Charlton Daines, Roger Zelazny, Marion Zimmer Bradley, GRR Martin (I’ve just finished Game of Thrones and I loved it).

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