Today I have the pleasure of offering something a little different from my usual fare – an Author Q&A with YA furry fantasy writer Hugo Jackson. The third book in his series, The Resonance Tetralogy, is due to be released later this month.
Read on my friends, and then be sure to share the Book Love!
“I want to hear everything, Osiris. All that you can tell me.”
In the desert town of Mahrae, a young fox is about to discover his power. A single bolt of crystal energy begins Aidan’s journey, one that will test him to his furthest limits and deepest loyalties. The gryphon Osiris takes Aidan under his wing and together they battle shadows and suspicion to bring warring nations to the pinnacle of invention and prosperity–the new city Nazreal. But not every creature strives for a bright and industrious future.
Conflict is an unsteady foundation for the burgeoning metropolis. The launch of a thousand incredible dreams plants the seed for an immeasurable disaster that even Aidan and his friends do not have the power to prevent. This is the story of Nazreal’s ascension… and the end of the world.
Purchase Link: https://www.inspired-quill.com/product/ruins-dawn
Q & A
Tell us about yourself.
I’m always so bad at these questions! Give me a fantasy world and I’ll dive right in, but exploring myself is always leaves me grasping for things to say. Most distinctly (from my perspective, anyway), I’m British, living in North Carolina. I have been a long-time fan of fantasy and storymaking, since even as a toddler, holding a fascination with telling tales and being crafted my own adventures by my older sister. Now I take the innocence of passion and creativity to heart as I stride through my thirties, remembering that there isn’t a limit to how long you can be emboldened or inspired by the world around you, or new ideas, and learn new things about yourself.
Give a brief description of your book.
Ruin’s Dawn is the third instalment in my series The Resonance Tetralogy, after Legacy and Fracture, and it’s a prequel to these events, set thousands of years in planet Eeres’ past. It’s a tale of an ancient cataclysm wrought by the struggle of a fair and promising world against those who wish to crush it by their own hand, emboldened by the presence of a rare, potentially infinite, power source. It follows the story of Aidan, the father of the young protagonist Faria Phiraco, from Legacy.
What other books or authors have inspired you?
My very first author inspirations were Robin Jarvis, of The Deptford Mice and Deptford History trilogies, and Diana Wynne Jones- specifically her book Dogsbody. The Deptford series had an incredible array of rich, balanced characters and what really struck me at the time was, for an ostensibly young boys’ arcane-horror-adventure, the lead was a female mouse called Audrey. Jarvis’ writing had a very profound effect on my style. Dogsbody held in it a fantastic and original story about a star who was cast down into the body of a dog. Being a child with a love of dogs and interstellar powerful beings, this was a perfect mix of suspense and creativity.
Is there a possibly unknown author or book out there that you think everyone should read? Tell us about them/ it.
I am not nearly as well-read as I would like to be, so even my ‘obscure’ book choices will be moderately mainstream! I feel like Garth Nix is underrated when compared to the likes of Neil Gaiman (whom I also very much admire, don’t get me wrong). They’re both very similar, but Nix has a style that just resonates with me a little more, and his standalone book Shade’s Children is one of terrifying action and suspense, woven in the tales of four renegade children surviving a world of disgusting and sinister creatures that have decimated the world.
What drew you to write this particular story?
The world of The Resonance Tetralogy has been with me for… probably almost twenty years now. I daydreamed constantly through high school, and eventually these characters formed their world in my head and, where I could find no book that would ever quite satisfy me, I set out to write one that I guarantee would. I wanted to see the book in the world that I needed when I was younger. I find animals enchanting, and get somewhat fed up of the fantasy tropes of different races being distinct from each other only by a sliding scale ratio of height to facial hair.
What do you love about this book? What makes this book special to you? Is there a part that makes you cry? Makes you laugh? Is there a part you’re secretly most proud of? What is it?
I love this book because it’s part of the story I’ve had in mind the longest, since I first started writing Legacy back in 2006, and having it finally in front of me is just… an immense release. While I know I have more yet to write, I feel this is the best of my writing ability so far and there are many moments I almost don’t credit myself for writing because they feel too professional. There are some specific scenes that make me cry, that I won’t spoil. Moments of loss and grieving, some reflections on regrets or soulful reconnections.
Which was your favourite character to write? Why?
Three characters in this book have been great for me: Aidan, Elysser, and Kaya. Aidan, being one of the original characters from Legacy, has evolved a lot since his inception, and being able to tie in his younger moments to what happens to him later was very rewarding. Also being able to weave the influence that Elysser and Kaya have, both as two very independent spirits who influence him in similar, distinct ways, was a nice interplay to experiment with.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
For me, for a fantasy, there are the usual suspects like parts of a boat, or medieval weaponry, sections of a castle, etc. For me now, given how very different I am from when I first started writing in earnest. I take a lot of time to analyse my characters and make sure my tropes aren’t doing anything harmful. And some of this is just passive research that I have to more consciously apply later. Fantasy, particularly white fantasy, is very easy to steal or speak over or enforce tropes that harm people of colour, even unconsciously, so that’s something I’ve made a push to eliminate from my books. It’s something I hope to always be aware of and changing as I need so people can immerse themselves in my world fully and not come across things that have continually punched down onto them for years. I want my world to be an escape, not a reminder.
What did you edit out of this book?
There were two very distinct moments I changed, and that has been as a part of my listening to people talk about their life experiences. There were two separate moments where two different characters were to commit suicide, or attempt it. And while this was, to my younger mind, an acceptable mindset for those characters at the time, as I came to it now, I realised the reasons why I was having them do that were based on a poor perception of what it means, and what the specifics of the story would have done to them. And also, that at the time, I had not encountered that in my life before. A lot of things have changed since then. I want my stories to be about hope. The characters still go through the exact same events, but they no longer reach that precipice. I cannot in good conscience depict that as a romantic denouement for characters I have come to love so much, who I want to present as strong, especially in a world today where we need perseverance and hope above all else.
And finally, who else should love this book? Describe the reader who ought to know about it.
A reader who loves fantasy, loves animals, loves adventure and elemental powers used in inventive ways, loves action, and battles, massive set pieces and sprawling scenery. I love cross-referencing stories between each other so there are a lot of different hooks that latch onto each other between all three books so far; I hope that would make jumping from book to book create some fun moments of recognition when they’re seen! If a reader loves balance between characters’ dialogue and morality, and something soulful in their stories, I hope I would enkindle that through its pages. I hope, I guess, that the book doesn’t just come across as pure construction. There’s a lot of ‘me’ in this. I want it to be sincere. So if that’s something that a reader looks for also, I hope they would find that here too.
In his spare time, Hugo is heavily involved with the furry fandom, standing as an advocate for LGBT+ rights, mental health awareness, inclusion, and artist/author visibility and fair treatment.
Many thanks to Sara-Jayne Slack at Inspired Quill for reaching out to arrange this Q & A and to Hugo Jackson for taking the time to provide such wonderful Q & A answers.