Gwen Perkins, author of The Jealousy Glass, the newest novel in the fantasy series Artifacts of Empire, stopped by the House Millar early this morning to answer a few questions and offer a nice little giveaway!
"We came to stop a war before it came to Cercia. And it seems the war has come to us."
Responsibility and patriotism spur Cercia’s new leader, Quentin, to protect his beloved country at all costs and he assigns Asahel and Felix to serve as ambassadors and secret agents to Anjdur. Their journey quickly turns awry and Asahel and Felix barely escape a devastating shipwreck, walk a tightrope of political tension, and rescue an empress before they learn they must face an enemy closer to them than they thought.
Will they be able to uncover an assassin’s plot before it’s too late? Will Asahel be able to unearth a secret that is vital to their mission? Will Cercia survive its own revolution? In The Jealousy Glass, Perkins boldly continues a series of unforgettable characters and events that will leave you begging for more.
Where were you born and where do you call home?
I was born in Salem, Oregon but only spent a few years of my childhood there. For the most part, I’ve been a Washingtonian and that’s really what I consider myself (we spent a lot of time in Brinnon, Washington going back and forth even when we lived in Oregon). I currently make my home in Tacoma which is a fertile ground for speculative fiction writers. We have both the beautiful natural setting of Mount Rainier and the rainforests and the incredible artistic vision that our local museums and artists provide.
What is the name of your most recent book and if you had to sum it up in 30 or less words, what would you say?
My most recent book is The Jealousy Glass. At its heart, when you look past the fantasy setting, The Jealousy Glass is also a book about what it’s like to go faraway in the hopes of finding joy and then realizing that, in the end, we make our own.
I love reading the warnings on the blurbs for many books. If you could write a warning label for yourself as a person or an author, what would it say?
"This one makes you grow taller."
Which character speaks the loudest, to you? Do any of them clamour to be heard over the others?
Different characters often speak louder at different times. It seems like, from every book, a new minor character emerges and hints to me that I should tell their story at a later point. Felix, one of the protagonists in The Jealousy Glass, was one of those characters in the preceding novel, The Universal Mirror. So far as Glass goes, I definitely have an itch to reveal more of the story behind the mercenary character Zeno and his involvement in the politics of Anjdur. Whether I’ll limit myself to the next book or give him his own short story remains to be seen.
Do your characters try to make like bunnies and create ever more convoluted plots for you? Or do you have to coax them out of your characters?
< font face="Times New Roman">Oh, what my characters love to do is surprise me! I used to start out plotting romance storylines in my books—now, however, I actually leave that out of my plot altogether. I find that characters organically seem to decide who and when they’ll love (or not love) and that works best for me.
It’s also not uncommon in the heat of writing for a character to reveal a secret about them that I didn’t know and hadn’t planned for. Sometimes, I take those out but a lot of the time, they’re so interesting that I rework a plot around it.
How did you come up with the title?
Well, my series is called Artifacts of Empire because each book is based on an artifact, either metaphorical or literal. The Jealousy Glass takes its name from an artifact that was designed to look like a simple spyglass but in actuality, had glass and mirror set up inside so that, instead of the viewer gazing straight ahead, they could watch the people to either side of them. These were common in operas back in the 1700s because the people who attended these social events loved to observe the others around them, looking for scandals. (I have one of these glasses that I take to my book signings—it’s a lot of fun to show it to readers.)
Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
I do. I’m actually working on a few different things right now. There are other books planned in the Artifacts of Empire series. Readers will be able to read the first chapter of The Oracle Bones, the third book, at the end of Jealousy Glass. I’m also working on a steampunk/dark fantasy series with Wilson Fabián Saravia.
Who designed the cover of your book?
The artist for my book cover was Enggar Adirasa. He does remarkable work—you can see more of it on his portfolio site at sensevessel.daportfolio.com. One of my favorite recent covers of his (besides mine) was the work he did for The Exile’s Violin by R.S. Hunter, a novel definitely also worth checking out.
Is there an Author that you would really like to meet?
All of them! J More seriously, I would love to meet those who influenced my younger wanderings through speculative fiction—anyone who ever wrote for the Wild Cards series (especially Victor Milán, Melinda Snodgrass, George R.R. Martin, to name a few that I was particularly in awe of) and Tanya Huff, in particular. I’m a very shy person, however—I’m afraid I would be reduced to nothing but stammering awe upon meeting them.
What was your favourite chapter (or part) to write and why?
There is a "camping scene" in The Jealousy Glass—I think anyone who reads that book will know exactly what I’m talking about. I wrote it in response to the trope in epic fantasy that everyone is a ranger. By this, I mean that all characters who go on a wilderness journey seem to have an innate love and understanding of the outdoors. Let’s jus
t say that my two urban adventurers… do not.
As someone who spent a lot of time tromping through the rainforest and being amused at tourists who wore their best tennis whites to the mudflats, I took great joy in writing that scene.
Have you ever read a book more than once?
I do this constantly. I actually have what I call "comfort books," books that I return to and read when I’m feeling bad or depressed because I know them so well that it’s like having a friend hug me. Little Women is probably the best-known of these though there are others. (But Jo and I are sisters of the heart, fictional though she is.)
Cats or dogs?
Cats, for sure.
White wine or red?
Coffee or tea?
Coffee, though I am a sucker for black lavender tea (which I’ve only found at Mad Hat Tea here in Tacoma)
Vanilla or chocolate ice cream?
I don’t actually like ice cream very much.
What are 4 things you never leave home without?
A pen, some sort of paper, my laptop bag, clothing.
Laptop or desktop for writing?
If you were deserted on an island, who are 3 famous people you would want with you?
Living? Hmmm… Gordon Ramsey, Felix Baumgartner, and Rahm Emanuel. I’m pretty sure all my survivalist bases would be covered and the conversations would be fascinating.
One of your favourite quotes –
"If they give you ruled paper, write the other way." – Juan Ramón Jiménez
What is a movie or TV show that you watched recently and really enjoyed?
I’m really bad at keeping up with television but I love Fringe even though I’m behind a couple seasons. And I’m one of those who also thought Prometheus was great, so far as movies go.
In conjunction with the release of The Jealousy Glass, Gwen is running a giveaway for an autographed, first edition paperback of The Universal Mirror through Goodreads at:
Please note that to make this giveaway valid for all bloggers on the blitz, this giveaway is available for ALL countries. This is an international prize so have no fears in promoting it—Gwen will ship the book and assorted swag anywhere. (The swag may vary, of course, depending on where the book ultimately ends up going.)
The giveaway officially ends on December 21, 2012—the author’s birthday and supposed date for the oncoming apocalypse.
For the other Blitz stops, visit:
Gwen Perkins has always regarded the deep rainforest of the Olympic Peninsula as the one place that she feels most at home. Gwen grew up in small towns across the Pacific Northwest, going to slug races and strawberry festivals when she wasn’t scribbling on any scrap of paper she could come by. She boasts the dubious distinction of going to a public school with only eight students, learning Irish sea chanteys from a man who sang with the Clancy Brothers, and catching tadpoles during classes.
Her adult life is generally just about as much fun.
She lives in the City of Destiny (better known as Tacoma, Washington). Her hobbies include wandering beaches, baking pies and lampworking. In between all of this, Gwen has written two novels in the Artifacts of Empire series: The Universal Mirror and The Jealousy Glass. The Universal Mirror has been nominated for a 2013 Endeavour Award.
She is presently at work on future novels in the Artifacts of Empire series while working on another series in collaboration with Wilson Fabián Saravia.