Six Elementals Author Interviews will introduce prospective readers to some of the best writers in their genre you may, or may not, have heard of, via a series of six questions. I encourage you to check out the work of these phenomenal creatives! Links to their websites and purchase links will always appear, accompanying the interview. Check them out!
This is a distinct pleasure, in that I have an incredibly talented new fantasy author join me: the amazing Connor A. Jackson! Connor’s currently published works include: The Bindings of Woe, part one in the Chain of Worlds series.
P.L.: So honoured to be able to interview you Connor! Thanks again forjoining Six Elementals Interviews!
I’m a big fan of your writing, after reading The Bindings of Woe, as you know! It was an outstanding book!
Your book was extremely compelling, with some very difficult themes, handled extremely sensitively and compassionately. Loss, betrayal, violence, and more. Can you tell readers who haven’t yet read your incredible book about some of those themes, and why you chose to write about them in a fantasy novel?
CONNOR: The themes of The Bindings of Woe kind of just came on their own. I did not have an intent to relay a specific message or central theme. It sort of evolved on its own as a result of the story and how the scenes unfolded. I did however want my fantasy novel to be realistic and character focused, so the themes of loss and violence come as a consequence of my writing trying to stay true to what real people in these situations would feel and be going through.
I desired the losses my characters suffer to feel real and have the reader truly get a sense of the raw emotions such actions have on a person’s mind, as a more believable response from the characters makes a more believable/relatable character, in my opinion. I think fantasy can be a great medium for complex human situations and emotions, so I didn’t pull any punches when it came to the true nature of people and how they respond to trauma and grief.
P.L.: Agreed, your book was definitely poignant! Who are some of your favourite authors, and their novels, and why do you enjoy them so much? Have any of them inspired your own writing?
CONNOR: Some of my favorite authors are David Gaider (Who wrote much of the Dragon Age book series), J.R.R. Tolkien and his son, Christopher Tolkien (my favorite book is the Silmarillion), and Andrzej Sapkowski (author of The Witcher series). I simply enjoy fantasy, whether it be books, video games, or movies.
I love the old style of swords and shields, and the government styles of those times. Obviously much of my writing is inspired from works I have enjoyed (not just books, but video games and films too), in the form of settings, themes, and story elements, but I truly wanted to do my own thing and do a “Connor Jackson” story so I have worked hard on creating my own style of writing and storytelling that is apart from what I/others have experienced.
P.L.: That’s a great list of favourite authors! How would you classify your work? Is it epic fantasy? Grimdark fantasy? YA fantasy? Or something else? Why?
CONNOR: I would classify my work as General Epic Fantasy with a strong foot in YA Fantasy. I know people have told me The Bindings of Woe is dark and grim, but my intent is not to write a “Grimdark Story.” I do like Grimdark (Big fan of Warhammer Fantasy and 40K) but not in everything. I do not like stories or fiction that are all gloom and doom, hopelessness, depressing statements about our world relayed through the story, or edgy all the time. Stories need to have happy moments, comedic moments, heartwarming moments, and yes they need sad/grimdark moments to make the world believable, but only enough that the world feels realistic to the setting.
My novel does focus on a group of teenagers (fitting YA Fantasy) but also adult characters and the world of Gaia itself, so adults should enjoy the book as much as youth (as is my intent). I enjoyed fiction made for adults when I was 16, and as an adult I have enjoyed fiction made for the YA audience too, so I don’t see why I can’t make something similar.
The world I have created is simply Fantasy in my opinion, (labeled Epic only due to its length), and my focus is to make it an organic, believable world that is not contained to a specific “check list of genre definers.” Gaia is a world of cultures, histories, and races, and much of that world has different settings and situations.
P.L.: What are your plans for Chain of Worlds? Is it a trilogy? Can you tell us about plans for any further books in the series, or other projects you have on the go please, if you can disclose them?
CONNOR: Chain of Worlds will be a series; of how many installations I am not sure. Originally it was meant to be 4 or 5 books (as I know the beginning, middle, and end of the total narrative) but in writing the first book I see that my initial plan may change.
The Bindings of Woe was planned as a 300ish page book, yet it published near 600 pages and covered less of the total story than I intended for the first instalment. As such the series may be longer, or I might find a way to condense it to a trilogy of large books if I can make it work properly in that manner. The narrative as a whole is the most important thing to me, so the short answer is “it will be whatever it needs to be in order to stay true to my idea and be the best I can make it.” Whether its lots of short books or few long books, or something in between, I will simply have to keep writing to find out.
I do have an end in sight (as I detest never ending stories that outstay their welcome) and I am currently working on the second installment of the Chain of Worlds series now. I don’t intend to work on many other projects (if any) while working on my series.
Chain of Worlds is my lifetime goal/project (aside from my wife and unborn child obviously) and I intend to put all my writing/artistic effort into this single project and not spread myself thin across the creative/writing world.
P.L.: I can’t wait to read the rest of the series! Can you please give us a bit of an elevator pitch, for those who may not be aware of your awesome book? Why should fantasy readers check out Bindings of Woe?
CONNOR: Chain of Worlds is set in the fantasy world of Gaia, which I based on a hybrid setting of the Ancient Roman Empire (Mediterranean World) and the Medieval/Renaissance Period (as I am a history lover/graduate). Humans, Dwarves, and Goblins inhabit this world within their own distinct kingdoms, but are all apart of a Greater Empire ruled by a new fantasy race of my own design, the Sovereigns.
The Sovereign Empire has long ago conquered the known lands and is now embroiled in an empire-wide conflict with a rebel movement (also seen as terrorists) called the Lost Seekers who fight what they claim is an oppressive government in an effort to free the races and kingdoms of their own people.
These greater world conflicts pull in our protagonists, Carver and Helena, who are teenagers from a small village, knowing quite little about the grander world themselves, and we follow their adventures/struggles to survive as their lives are pulled into the evolving and deadly events that are shaking the Sovereign Empire and Gaia.
P.L.: That’s a great pitch! How have you found the writing community on social media? Do you believe being on social media as an author is critical to success?
CONNOR: The writing community has been spectacular so far. Even though I’m 25 (expected to be a social media expert it seems) I’ve never had much of a social media footprint, so I was nervous and inexperienced when I started, but the writing/author community has been so welcoming and helpful so far.
I’ve had help with understanding many things and don’t feel threatened by the other authors, rather welcomed and supported. Being on social media in this time, and as a self published author, is crucial I believe, as it’s really up to me to get my work out there on my own.
Thanks to the community I got my Goodreads set up, figured out how to contact/approach reviewers and media, and a whole litany of other things.
P.L: Connor, I have truly enjoyed our chat and I really appreciate you joining me on Six Elementals Interviews! Thank you so much!
Chain of Worlds.com (Author Website “with Indie bookstore listings”)
Amazon / Kindle U.S: https://www.amazon.com/Bindings-Woe-Chain-Worlds/dp/1039128432/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1658427341&sr=8-1
Amazon / Kindle CAN: https://www.amazon.ca/Bindings-Woe-Connor-Jackson/dp/1039128432/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1658509673&sr=8-1
Chapters / Indigo: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/the-bindings-of-woe/9781039128439-item.html
Google Books: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Connor_Jackson_The_Bindings_of_Woe?id=jYZ8EAAAQBAJ
Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/us/book/the-bindings-of-woe/id6443186364
Barnes&Noble / Nook: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-bindings-of-woe-connor-jackson/1141824421?ean=9781039128439