5 Minutes, 5 Questions With… S. J. Tanner, author of Selda’s Quest

JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
S. J. Tanner, author of Selda’s Quest

Bored with life as a royal princess, lady knight Selda embarks upon a quest to become a hero. However, questing isn’t quite as straightforward as bards and legends would have her believe.

Legends and ballads don’t mention much about the perils of wearing armour in the rain, the worrying incompetence of wizards or how to deal with handsome but smart-mouthed sidekicks.

Offered a quest by a mysterious sorceress, Selda finds herself battling cowardly dragons, zombie warriors, giant spiders and Puppets of the Dark Lord, all in the name of becoming a true hero.

Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the inspiration to write Selda’s Quest?

S. J. Tanner: I was set a task in one of my college classes to write an alternative fairy tale and wrote the opening of a short story about a princess trying to slay an uncooperative dragon. I enjoyed writing the story so much that when I was assigned a longer creative writing project, I began to turn the short story into a full-length novel which eventually became Selda’s Quest.

At the time of writing, I was reading a lot of fairy tales and novels such as The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, The Song of the Lioness and The Chronicles of Narnia, all of which inspired my writing of this novel.

JP: What sets Selda’s Quest apart from other books in the same genre?

SJT: Most books which parody fantasy tend to be farcical and/or offensive at times. Whilst Selda’s Quest gently parodies the genre in places, it is never offensive. It is whimsical and quirky but often deals with more serious issues. The characters are archetypal but not stereotypical and are very human. They don’t always get things right, they’re sometimes stupid, lazy or cowardly at times.

Whilst romance is often considered a staple of fantasy plot, I’m not afraid to downplay the romance between the main characters and allow things to develop more slowly between them and keeping it as subplot rather than main plot.

JP: As an author, what are the keys to your success that led to Selda’s Quest getting out to the public?

SJT: Just getting out there, telling people about it, using social media, advertising and a lot of hard work.

JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take you to start and finish Selda’s Quest?

SJT: I wrote the first draft of Selda’s Quest in about six months, although the process of re-drafting took considerably longer. I submitted it to a couple of publishers but didn’t have any luck, so put it away, intending to go back to it at a later date with fresh eyes. I came back to it some time later, and I came across decided to re-draft it and re-write the ending.

As far as my writing process is concerned, I write best in the evenings and late at night when I have no other distractions. My preferred method of writing is when inspiration strikes to simply write down as much as I can, as quickly as possible, before the inspiration fades.

I don’t like to re-draft my manuscripts until I have a completed first draft as I prefer to worry about tying up loose ends and making significant additions or changes once I have the entire story laid out.

JP: What’s next for S. J. Tanner?

SJT: I’m working on several projects at the moment, one of which is a sequel to Selda’s Quest, an extract of which can be viewed on my website. I am also working on a Christian fantasy novel.

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