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A Conversation With Jonathan Fesmire
An interview with Lisa DuMond
October 2005

© Jonathan Fesmire
Jonathan Fesmire
Jonathan Fesmire
Jonathan Fesmire lives in sunny California, near the beach, but ironically prefers dusk to midday and cool weather to hot. He enjoys writing, art, and spending time with his family. He also enjoys traveling -- he has been to France, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Canada, and Poland -- and sometimes combines his love of travel with his love of speculative fiction by attending conventions. His fiction has been published in Marion Zimmer Bradley's Fantasy Magazine and elsewhere.

Jonathan Fesmire Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Amber in the Over World
SF Site Review: Tamshi's Imp
SF Site Review: Children Of Rhatlan
SF Site Review: Seeds Of Vision

Amber in the Over World
Tamshi's Imp
Children Of Rhatlan
Seeds Of Vision

First of all, for everyone who has read Amber In The Over World, are more books coming set in that universe?
Yes, I think so. What a universe it is, too! Readers get a hint of that in Amber, when the relationships between different worlds is explored.

I'd like to have all my forthcoming books linked, so that a careful reader will figure out that they all take place in the same greater universe. Stephen King did the same thing, with most of his books connected to varying degrees, only when he first started doing this, I don't think it was completely intentional. I enjoy finding these connections in his books, and felt inspired to do the same in mine.

So, expect my future novels to be linked, even if only by narrow threads. Taibril probably will not fit into this new spectrum. I'm not sure why, but I feel as if Taibril is all that much stronger for being a solitary world.

Amber In The Over World is your first young adult novel. Why the switch in target audiences?
When I wrote Amber In The Over World, I was thinking of all the YA fantasy I've enjoyed. L. Frank Baum's Oz books, the Harry Potter series, and The Chronicles of Prydain are among my favorites. I also wanted to write a book for my daughter.

Do you plan to stick with YA novels for awhile now?
When I started writing Amber In The Over World, I planned to stick with YA. I've changed my mind. I plan to write whatever seems the most interesting at any given time, be it YA or grown-up fantasy. The book I've just started, while set in the same greater universe as Amber, will be back at the PG-13 level of my prior books. If I write a direct sequel to Amber, it will, of course, be for young adults.

What is the next project heading our way? And when will we see it?
Oh, boy. Well, "when" is the toughest part of that question to answer. I've just started a new novel, and I hope to have it out in a year or so. I guess I can't keep everything about it under wraps. It basically involves my own take on dark elves.

You created the concept of "duality" in previous novels. Will duals appear in this universe or will you keep the two worlds separate?
I've thought about it. Do I leave "duality" as something unique to Taibril, or do I explore it in other worlds as well? The answer is that I still don't know.

For those who haven't read your previous novels, would you describe the concept of duality?
I'd be glad to! The concept is woven into Children of Rhatlan in some detail, so I'll simplify it a bit here.

We've all heard how twins, both fraternal and identical, tend to be closer than ordinary siblings. Now, imagine taking twins and magically binding them so that only one at a time can be present in our reality. The other shifts back into a pocket universe, safe from the world, but unable to interact with it.

As a pair, they are called "duals," and each twin therefore is a "dual." The overt dual can interact with the world like anyone else. The covert dual is psychically linked in to the senses of the overt twin, experiencing life but unable to act. They do, however, share a telepathic connection, and are able to think to each other.

Also, they must regularly switch places. To the casual observer, this looks like shape shifting. There are also some magical techniques duals can learn to make their lives easier. Readers can learn more about that in Children of Rhatlan. Perhaps the most interesting type of duals are those like my characters, Garum and Vayin, a brother and sister. There is tremendous prejudice against duals for a number of reasons, making secrecy a must.

Someone once mused about whether we all might be a part of someone else's dream. Was that in the back of your mind when you came up with the idea for the Over World in Amber?
That actually wasn't the main idea of Amber In The Over World. It's more about the importance of being true to yourself. In Amber, what's at stake is the existence of an entire world. Visions of that world come into its custodian's thoughts, and the custodian's creativity feeds the world's existence, but the custodian does not mentally create the world.

Not many authors take on the task of creating their own cover art. Did you find your stories weren't being portrayed clearly enough or did you just want to cut out the middle man?
Actually, I'm very happy with the covers Staphanie Law did for Children of Rhatlan and Seeds of Vision. At the time I commissioned those pictures though, I had not yet taken up graphic art.

Then, three years ago, I started working with Poser and other 3D programs. After I learned the basics, I was producing art that I liked. I've been getting better every since. When I released Amber in the Over World and Tamshi's Imp, doing my own covers seemed an obvious choice. And yes, it does have the advantage of cutting out the middle man! "There is good news. I just saved a bundle on my cover art by doing it myself."

Will you be showing up at any conventions where readers can meet you and ask their own questions?
Absolutely. For personal reasons I don't want this published online, but readers can feel free to get in touch with me from the "contact" page on my Web site for this information. Right now I'm able to attend one convention a year, but I hope to attend more.

Copyright © 2005 Lisa DuMond

In between reviews, articles, and interviews, Lisa DuMond writes science fiction, horror, dark realism, and humour. DARKERS, her first novel, was published in August 2000 by Hard Shell Word Factory. She is a contributing editor at SF Site and for BLACK GATE magazine. Lisa has also written for BOOKPAGE, PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, Science Fiction Weekly, and SCIENCE FICTION CHRONICLE. You can check out Lisa and her work at her website hikeeba!.

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