Today I am interviewing Justina Robson author of the new fantasy novel, Salvation’s Fire, second book in the After the War series. She has previously been known for her Science Fiction novels, such as Natural History and the Quantum Gravity series.
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DJ: Hi Justina! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Justina Robson: Thanks for asking! I have published about twelve or thirteen SF novels and SF/Fantasy mashup books prior to writing Salvation’s Fire. I enjoy reading, gaming and living at home with my husband and three children plus a cat, dog and fish of various sorts. My background before publication was in Philosophy and Linguistics, just enough to know I didn’t know very much. I’ve also had various admin jobs and spent a few years as a fitness instructor and a yoga teacher.
DJ: What is Salvation’s Fire and then the After the War series about?
Justina: The series focuses on some characters who were instrumental in bringing about the end of a large scale epic-fantasy style war (I’m saying epic because it includes demigods and has that sweep of genocidal humans vs monsters flavour to it). They’re trying, each in their own ways, to find new lives and new purposes as they try to salvage and rebuild after this conflict has ended. My story picks up where Adrian’s left off (that’s Redemption’s Blade) and goes to explore the nature and fate of the gods who were instrumental in bringing about the start of the war – or at least laying the conditions for it. It focuses on the original characters plus a few new ones, in particular an orphaned girl and a monster in human form.
DJ: What were some of your influences for the After the War series?
Justina: Because the series was started by Adrian in Redemption’s Blade he had already done a massive amount of worldbuilding. I felt that it would be fun to try and continue with the same kind of rich texture and diversity he’d got as well as keeping the tone of the story’s origin, which is quite playful. It’s very much like a party adventure with some comic moments as well as action. But I’m not quite as lighthearted as Adrian is so my take on it is a little darker in some ways and a little bit more whimsical in others. I wanted to keep a sense of cohesion with the first part of the story. At one point, when trying to make the fortress of the Kinslayer we were discussing that it was very Mordor-like, in the first book, hinted at but not expanded. I had decided to go there so we said I ought to try for Even More-dor. And that’s what I tried. The monster I mentioned is also a combination of Maleficent, Bride of Frankenstein and Miss Havisham in basic concept but her journey is very much influenced by Flowers For Algernon – she starts out as an empty vessel, without personality or intelligence, but she grows and develops at exponential speed once she gets activated. Continue reading