JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
Jennifer Quail, author of Strange Roads: Book One of Omens In The Night
What do an ex-Navy test-pilot and a Senate staffer have in common? Nothing, really, except for being the two most powerful Mages born in decades. And none too soon, because the forces of evil are gathering to take over the world – or, at least, Washington D.C.
Elaine Gates and Alan Graves are the Lady of Wind and Water and the Lord of Earth and Fire, or so the mysterious Mark Valentine and his equally-enigmatic partner, Nadia Julian, say. In this urban fantasy set in the nation’s capital, two unlikely heroes team with very unusual allies to save the world and discover their destinies.
Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the inspiration to write Strange Roads: Book One of Omens In The Night?
Jennifer Quail: Washington D.C. is my favorite city. I first visited when I was in high school and went to George Washington University for grad school for Museum Studies. I also have always loved fantasy, vampires, and ghost stories, too. D.C. is full of history and has plenty of ghost stories to draw on. The characters all have jobs and backstories based on things that interest me-not necessarily what I’d want or be able to do, but that I find intriguing.
JP: What sets Strange Roads: Book One of Omens In The Night apart from other books in the same genre?
JQ: I enjoy contemporary/urban fantasy, but I got a little tired of reading books where the heroes were disaffected social outcasts of one kind or another and the vampire characters were there to be either bad-boy monsters or to moon over mortal love interests. Most of all, I wanted a female protagonist who had problems besides “Do I date the vampire, the werewolf, or the king of faerie?” and who wasn’t barely out of her teens and scraping to get by.
So I wrote the book I wanted to read–the heroine is an ex-Navy pilot with an engineering degree, and her primary concern isn’t the fact that she’s single. And she’s definitely not looking to date the vampire! (He’s in a committed relationship.)
JP: As an author, what are the keys to your success that led to Strange Roads: Book One of Omens In The Night getting out to the public?
JQ: I don’t know there’s any special keys. Just persistence. I got advance readers, workshopped the manuscript, rewrote things, submitted it to publishers, submitted other stories, and just kept writing and working on it. I finally decided to try publishing through Kindle and CreateSpace to see if I could build up a readership as I recognize it’s not an easy book to sell.
JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take you to start and finish Strange Roads: Book One of Omens In The Night?
JQ: Well, if you count just the final version of the plot (the basic structure it has now), it took about two years and one full rewrite to put it together. If you go back to the origins of the two protagonists, Alan and Elaine, they first appeared (by those names, but as very different people) in the first draft of a completely different book I started writing after I read Advise and Consent when I was fourteen years old. I’m thirty-three now.
So I’ve been kicking these characters around for a very long time! I write in WordPerfect (and have since version 4.2!) and usually work in the evenings, but as I have a laptop I can go just about anywhere. I find I write especially well on the train.
JP: What’s next for Jennifer Quail?
JQ: I recently sent out a story to Black Sails Press for their anthology Bloodsucking By Gaslight, a collection of steampunk vampire stories. I’m working on The Demon That Is Dreaming: Book Two of Omens in the Night, and I’m also in the early stages of a new book based on the character in the steampunk story.
Thanks for the opportunity to talk about my book!