Today I’ve got a quick but tasty interview with Danielle L. Jensen, whose debut novel Stolen Songbird will be hitting shelves in April! You can look out for my review of her book soon. In the meantime, let’s get chatty…
First up, hello and welcome! Let’s start with an intro – who is Danielle L. Jensen, and what is her book about?
Hello! My name is Danielle L. Jensen, and I am a chronic daydreamer. Becoming a writer was pretty much inevitable, because there aren’t many jobs where they’ll pay you to explain your la-la land adventures to the world 😉
Stolen Songbird is about a girl named Cécile who gets kidnapped by trolls to break the curse that has imprisoned them under a mountain for five centuries. You’d think she’d be all about escaping that situation, but instead she joins a revolution to help the half-bloods who are enslaved by the full-blooded trolls. A revolution that is secretly led by the enigmatic crown prince. It’s full of magic, intrigue, strange creatures, and a healthy dose of romance, so if that’s your thing, get yourself a copy April 1st!
It might be fair to say that trolls don’t have the best reputation in fantasy… Is your take on them (the world of Trollus, the culture of its people) intended to try to cast them in a fairer light?
I would say that I cast them in a different rather than in a fairer light. While trolls are typically cast as bad guys, they are usually so dumb that their actions are instinctive rather than purposefully cruel. They’re more animalistic, if that makes sense. My trolls are extremely intelligent, so their negative actions are deliberately malicious. In a way, I think that makes them scarier.
Were there any particular ‘real world’ places and/or cultures that influenced your fictional ones?
The royal court of Trollus is inspired by the 18th century French court. The reason for this is almost entirely because I wanted the trolls’ royalty to be extravagant and opulent in a way we associate with Marie Antoinette. That is the reason for all the French titles (Duchesse) and names for people (Cécile) and places (Trianon). To that end, their palace I always envisioned as a smaller version of Versailles, including the gardens. The focus on the arts, including Cécile’s opera singing, was also inspired by 18th & 19th century Parisian culture, and you see a bit more of that in the second book. Forsaken Mountain itself was inspired by a real mountain in Canada, but I’ve not yet divulged which one 😉
On the About Me page of your website you talk about dabbling in writing romance before turning to fantasy, and much of the storyline in Stolen Songbird focuses on romance/love. Was this an intentional mashup, or simply how the story came out for you?
I really can’t imagine ever writing a book without at least a small romantic subplot. I don’t often read books one would find on the romance shelves of a bookstore, but I prefer anything I pick up to have a bit of romance in it. I’m the same with television and movies. Relationships and friendships between characters tend to be what makes me really love a story. I guess that makes me a bit of a romantic at heart.
Stolen Songbird has (in my humble opinion) a wonderful cast of characters. Will we be seeing more of them in the following books or do you intend to add new faces to the cast? [She asked, totally not digging for hints.]
I value your humble opinion! As I’ve said in prior interviews, secondary characters are really important to me, and I put a lot of effort into them. My general rule is that if I give a character a name, they get a plot arc through the whole trilogy (unless they die!!), even if it’s a small one. So you’ll certainly be seeing the existing cast from Stolen Songbird in the sequels, plus you’ll get to meet a few people who have only been mentioned by name, and there are a few entirely new characters. Both Marc and Tristan’s father get a lot of page time in the second book. Or at least they do so far. Edits can change things.
When you’re not writing books, which ones do you most enjoy reading?
I almost always read genre, and I prefer historical fiction and fantasy. This year I’m planning on reading mostly YA debuts because I know so many of the authors through the OneFour KidLit group.
Methinks I’ll be checking out that group website in my own YA-reading quest! Many thanks to Danielle for her time. If you’re as keen as I am, keep an eye out for her book! And in the meantime, check out the links below to get in touch with Danielle herself: