Today I am interviewing Justyna Plichta-Jendzio, author of the high/dark fantasy anthology, Damned Children of Naor.
◊ ◊ ◊
DJ: Hey Justyna! Thanks for stopping by to do this interview!
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Justyna Plichta-Jendzio: I’m Polish, 42 y.o, married, one son. I was born in communist times, when certain types of literature was hard to get as it was not welcomed by the authorities. All art was to raise society to become role model citizens, hence literature like sf or fantasy was regarded as unusefull. Yet in the ’80’s regime in Poland wasn’t very strict and lot’s of foreign literature, moovies appeared on Polish market. It was then when I saw “Never ending story”(I queued for 6 hours to get a ticket), “Labirinth” and read “Lord of the Rings”. To buy the book I pre-ordered it 2 weeks before I was delivered in limited amount to a small store, which specialized in sff literature. An then I fall in love with this kind of literature. Earlier Icould read only miths and legends of ancient cultures. Which also fascinated me, yet was not so tempting as advantures I have discovered later.
Because the acces to sff literature was still limited I felt hungry for such literature. I started to create my own protagonists and built my own world Naor. For years all my writing ended in a drawer, only few years ago I decided to publish. Because in Poland fantasy is not as popular as in English speaking countries, I choose this market. For 2 years I’ve been looking for a publisher, until Devine Destinies decided to give me a chance. So far I published 4 ebooks “Dark children of Naor”, “Evil children of Naor”, “Cursed children of Naor” and “Damned children of Naor”. All books are anthologies, which can be read as stand-alone novels. All tell about the people, who had unpleasantness to meet demons in their life and had to choose what to do in order not to break gods’ law and save their souls.
DJ: Not to judge a book by its cover, but I am; And it is freaking badass! Could you tell us what Damned Children of Naor is about and what type of stories readers should expect?
JPJ: As I mentioned above “Damned children of Naor” is an anthology of three separate stories. All, what they have in common is place – world of Naor, and a system of believes.
First story tells about merchant’s daughter, who is sent to prince’s harem, despite she had different vision of her life. The girl didn’t expect, she would have to fight for her life with a demon and would discover her true nature, which for some was a curse, a blessing for others.
In the second story we meet Valbern, trusted servant and a right hand of lord Kolbern, who is sent to an isolated monastery on an island, to bring lord’s daughter back home. Valbern couldn’t expect that he would have to fight against an enemy he didn’t deal so far and that he’ll have to choose between loyalty to his master or respect of gods’ law.
Second story tells about a mercenary woman, who returns home after a war. On her way home she stops in a small village oppressed by a fire demon. Interested by the circumstances she starts her own investigation, which soon makes her demon target.
DJ: Damned Children of Naor is actually part of series; how does it fit in with the other books in the series and do you need to be familiar with the others to read this one?
JPJ: As single stories of each book are stand-alone stories, each book can be stand-alone novels. They are not chronologically sorted out, each one of them takes place in different place of Naor, has different protagonist, who faces different type of a demon. All that doesn’t change is world, it’s gods and the law, which orders to kill damned creatures of a dark god at all cost, even with a sacrifice of your own life.
DJ: What were some of your influences for the stories?
JPJ: My stories are shaped by my interests. I’m interested in history, especially ancient and medieval; geography, geology, religions and myths. I love to study how all this elements influenced development of the societies and how people seen the world over the centuries.
DJ: Could you briefly tell us a little about some of your characters? Do any of them have any cool quirks or habits, or any reason why readers with sympathize with them?
JPJ: I try present my world through the eyes of people from different social ladder: lords, servants, soldiers, mercenaries, both male and female. Every story has its own protagonist, each is unique, comes from different milieu and has a different burden of experiences. They are shaped not only by their society but also by environment they live. This makes them booth full of virtues and vices. One of them can be a pious noblewoman, very loyal servant of her king, other can be an absconder soldier, full of scorn toward women. Estimation of them I leave to there readers.
DJ: What was your favorite part about writing Damned Children of Naor? What do you think readers will be talking about most once they finish it?
JPJ: Each part of writing enjoys me. Once my friend, also a writer told me: “Justyna, if you will be bored during witting, if you will feel you get tired constructing a scene, the reader will feel the same. Your writing must flow, so will flow imagination of the recipient.” I always follow his advice. I will not accept my work if I don’t feel satisfaction in every moment of my writing. Some of my readers enjoy the plot, some protagonists, some environment they take place and their gloomy mood. For me the most interesting feature is surprised ending in each of the story.
DJ: When I read, I love to collect quotes – whether it be because they’re funny, foodie, or have a personal meaning to me. Do you have any favorite quotes from Damned Children of Naor that you can share with us?
JPJ: “Is it the fault of the knife that it was stabbed in the heart and not in the bread?”
DJ: Have you been reading anything good lately?
JPJ: Yes. My favorite book is “I, the Inquisitor” (Ja, Inkwizytor) by polish writer Jacek Piekara. I don’t know if the book was translated into English but I think Jacek Pierara is the best. It is a story of an inquisitor, who lives in the Medieval Times of an alternative world, in which Jesus Christ didn’t die on a cross, only stepped down and severely punished those who didn’t obey him.
DJ: Now that Damned Children of Naor is out, what is next for you?
JPJ: I have contracted my long novel with Rebel e Publishers. First part of it is entitled “Mistress of Crystals” (Chronicles of Second War of Gods). It is a mixture of high/dark, quest, sword and sorcery fantasy. This book should appear this year. I’m also writing next part of the series “Abominated children of Naor”. I hope to publish this book this year too.
DJ: Where can readers find out more about you?
DJ: Is there anything else you would like add?
JPJ: If anyone would like to get a sample of my writing, this is my free short story “Servant of the gods”: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/601020
DJ: Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to answer my questions!
*** Damned Children of Naor is available now!!! ***
About the Book:
Evil lurks everywhere and only waits for the opportunity to hunt down and devour the souls of its victims. It is all the same to the evil whether those souls belong to slaves, peasants, monks, nobles or kings. Every mortal must make a choice whether he wants to devote his soul to perdition or save it, even at the cost of life. This battle has been fought for millennia and its arena is every corner of Naor. Anyone can become a warrior and his main arms will not be a weapon forged by smiths’ hammers but faith given by the gods of lightness.
This time the goddess of fate chose Isilai, a merchant’s daughter from the far south, who was dreaming of traveling and leading a free life. The goddess’s finger also pointed to Sainal, a mercenary returning from wars to her lands. Valbern, an aide to a powerful lord Kolbren, has not been spared the test as well. Each of them had to face the evil. Did they decide to sacrifice what was the most precious in their lives to keep their souls away from hell?
About the Author:
I was born in Koszalin, Poland, in 1974, and am still a resident of that town. I have been married for 21 years, am the mother of one son, and the happy owner of three spoiled cats. I was lucky to live at the turn of two ages: communism and capitalism. When I was fifteen, communism fell in Poland. But that time allowed me to see a different reality incomprehensible to future generations. It was also a chance to “touch” the past and have a glimpse at the remains of the nineteenth century life which survived, especially in the eastern parts of Poland till the end of 80s of the last century.
I started writing due to the rarity of fantasy literature, which in that time was not as popular in Poland as it is now. There were only a handful of Polish writers who were occasionally published, and slightly more foreign authors. It was not enough for me, so I started to write and create my own fantasy world. For many years, like most of the other authors, all my works ended up in desk drawer. Finally, some of my friends read my stories and part of a big novel. They convinced me to publish my works.
My works are very strongly influenced by my wide range of interests. I am fond of ancient and medieval history. I have also learned a great deal about the history of two of the world’s main religions and their influence upon societies, global and local policy, and the development of civilisations. I like to study different cultures, especially those that might be considered exotic, both present and ancient. I am fond of nature and geography. As a writer I love to read ancient legends, myths, and mysterious stories. All of this can be seen in my works.