Interview: Jenna Burtenshaw, Wintercraft

| 7 June , 2010 | 1 Reply

Tina Gamble

Upcoming author, Jenna Burtenshaw, takes readers on a thrilling journey to the lands of Albion. With mystery, and adventure around every turn, Wintercraft is sure to enthral and enchant readers of all ages.

Wintercraft is a fantasy novel that draws on the very idea of death, the veil that passes between the living and the dead, and the people who manipulate it.

Burtenshaw’s novel is one that will surely captivate readers and draw them into a world of intrigue, with likable characters, and a strong plot, this will no doubt be the start of a great new series.

What was the first thing you can remember writing?

When I was nine I kept a notebook of poems that I worked on after school. The one poem I remember most clearly was about a New Years Eve party. I was very proud of it at the time.

Was there anyone that inspired you to pick up a pen?

My mum taught me to read before I started school and I can’t remember a time without books in my life. I definitely have her to thank for introducing me to so many different worlds, for encouraging me when I first decided to become a writer, and for never allowing me to give up.

What was the first thought that ran through your mind when you found out you were going to be published?

Disbelief!  When my agent called to tell me that Wintercraft had found a publisher… I don’t think I said a single coherent thing during the conversation.  It was the most exciting moment!  There’s no feeling like it.

Was it a lengthy process creating and writing your first novel?

From beginning the first draft to finishing the final draft took about three years, but I had been writing seriously for almost six years before that. I finished three other novels during that time and working on them taught me so much. Wintercraft is a very different book from those early attempts, but without them it would not have come so far.

How did you come up with the idea of Wintercraft, the wardens, the skilled, the veil and the secrets of death?

The idea that there is a level of existence beyond what we see every day is full of possibilities. I love the thought of ancient knowledge being rediscovered through old books, and uncovering the secrets of death would be the greatest discovery of them all. The wardens represent people who want to suppress knowledge, and the Skilled are people too afraid of what might happen if they look too deeply into the unknown. Kate represents the people in-between who are not sure which way to turn. She can either accept her potential and make a difference, or she can hide away from it and remain invisible. I think that’s a choice everyone makes at some point in their lives.

What do you love most about creating a fantasy world?

The sense of discovery. Finding out how the world works and why it works that way.  A lot of the time it feels like piecing together a puzzle. Once the first piece is set into place it’s amazing how the world starts to develop a life of its own.

Do you find it is easier or harder to write fantasy – creating all new worlds, rules, social structures and landscapes?

In the beginning it was a challenge, but once I stopped trying to control everything and thinking about it too much it became a lot easier. Now, whenever I try to take the story in a direction it doesn’t want to go, or place something into the world that doesn’t belong there, it fights back! The world has almost developed a personality of its own. I had to learn to trust the story and let it follow its own path. I think the same is true for most other genres of writing too.

All the characters in your novel, Wintercraft, are very different from each other; their personalities, actions and behaviours – what sort of process did you go through to create and come up with each character?

Each of the characters began in the same way – with a visual image. I first saw Kate standing in the middle of a burning bookshop holding an old book, and the first image I had of Silas was very similar to the first time the reader sees him in the story, standing on a rooftop with birds flocking around him. Once I had those images I roughly mapped out a plan of each character’s life up to that moment. The rest came together as I wrote the early drafts of the story.

Was it hard to create characters and personalities that could relate and react to one another?

I didn’t really think about that, to be honest. I treated them completely as individuals, rather than how they would react to one another. The most interesting part was discovering how each character could help or harm each other and then letting them decide which choice to make in each situation. Some of the story’s best elements emerged once I set the characters free to find their own way.

What do you hope your audience will gain from reading Wintercraft?

I hope people enjoy spending time with the characters as much as I have.

If you could pick any song to be the theme for Wintercraft, what would you choose?

That is a very good question… I would choose ‘Bring Me To Life’ by Evanescence. Whenever I listen to it, it reminds me of Silas and the burden he carries within him.

And lastly, what can we expect next for Kate and from you?

Wintercraft is only the beginning of Kate’s story. I am working on books 2 & 3 at the moment, and there is much more to come from Kate and Silas as they continue to delve deeper into the secrets of the veil.

So, if you’re looking for a new fantasy series to get yourself hooked on, you may want to start here.

Jenna Burtenshaw’s new novel Wintercraft is exciting and thrilling and best yet – it’s only the beginning.

Available now: Hachette RRP$16.99

Read our book review for Wintercraft here.


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