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Interview with Jon Cronshaw

He is an internationally bestselling author of fantasy and science fiction. He released his debut novel Wizard of the Wasteland in 2017 and has published more than 30 books, including the 21-novella epic fantasy, The Ravenglass Chronicles. He lives with his wife and son in Morecambe, England.

Q.1 Tell us something about yourself not many people know?
I believed that the Mogwais from the Gremlins movies were real creatures for longer than I probably should have.

Q.2 What inspired you to write Dawn of Assassins?
It’s a combination of two ideas I had. The first is that I liked the idea of an assassin who could cut into a parallel dimension as a way to get into places other people can’t. Also, I wrote a series called The Ravenglass Chronicles which included a grubby city cut out of a cliff. 

I really wanted to explore that world and get to know its residents, but The Ravenglass Chronicles wasn’t the place for that. And, then, it was a case of coming up with a reluctant hero and a reason why he would be recruited by a master assassin.

Q. 3 Are we going to read more from you in the near future? Any new project you’re working on?
Yes. I’m currently working on Trial of Thieves, which is the follow-up to Dawn of Assassins. I’m also writing a prequel series to The Ravenglass Chronicles, set a few hundred years before the main series with a different cast of characters with one familiar one.

Q.4 What is the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
The things I find difficult with characters apply to all characters, and that’s making them interesting in later books after they’ve arced. I tend to think of all characters in terms of fatal flaws, what they need to improve, and how their moral alignment evolves throughout the story.

Q.5 Do you plan out your book before you start writing, or do you just write and see where it takes you?
I brainstorm. I plan. I outline. I write. But the outline is in constant flux, with things changing in response to my characters.

Q.6 How long on average does it take you to write a book?
I wish I knew! I wrote the first draft of my book Knight of the Wasteland in eleven days. My current project, Trial of Thieves, has taken me six months.

Q.7 How many books have you written? Which one is your favorite?
I’ve published eight novels, twenty-five novellas, three short story collections, and four non-fiction books. My favorite is Dawn of Assassins. It’s exactly the type of fantasy I love to read. Think roguish characters, witty banter, swashbuckling.

Q.8 Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I’d happily do podcasting full-time.

Q.9 If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead role?
If I could also include a time machine, I’d have sixteen-year-old Corey Feldman playing Fedor in Dawn of Assassins.

Q.10 Is it vital to get exposure and target the right readers for your writing, tell us about your marketing campaign?
If, like me, you’re Amazon exclusive, getting your books seen by the right readers is essential. This means getting a cover, description, and story that resonates with targeted readers and showing it to those readers, even at the cost of a flood of early sales. This way, you can teach Amazon who the book is for and then the book will sell consistently over time.

Q.11 If you could be a member of any fantasy race, which would you choose and why?
I do love Robin Hobb’s Elderlings. Who wouldn’t want to be a mutated human-dragon-thing?

Q.12 If you could invite one character to dinner from your books at home, who would it be and why?
Wow. I’m not sure I’d want any of the characters from Dawn of Assassins round for dinner; they’d rob half the stuff in my house. But, I guess if I had to pick one, it would be Onwyth. She’d at least be funny. I’d just have to keep an eye on her so that she doesn’t try to pocket my wallet.

Q.13 What three things a reader can expect from your books?
If you enjoy roguish characters, fun banter, and swashbuckling, you’ll enjoy Dawn of Assassins.

If you enjoy plucky heroes who run into one disaster after another, you’ll love The Ravenglass Chronicles.

Q.14 Among all the supporting characters in your books, who is dear to you and why?
Probably Lev in Dawn of Assassins. He’s cocky and arrogant and is very fun to write. Though the best friend in my next series might top Lev for one-liners that make me chuckle when I re-read them (yes, I know it’s bad to laugh at your own jokes, but someone needs to).

Q.15 Who designed your book covers? How do you select them?
Clarissa at Yocla Designs created most of my covers. She’s amazing when it comes to sci-fi and post-apocalyptic covers.

The Dawn of Assassins cover was made by Covers by Christian. I kept seeing amazing fantasy covers and asking who did them and his name kept coming up.

Both are super easy to work with. I give them a few details about my story and a few comparable covers, and then trust them to create something great. So far, they haven’t disappointed!

Q.16 How do you select the name of your characters?
I like names that give a feel of time or place, so I do a lot of research on names and the roots of names. For The Ravenglass Chronicles, I researched medieval German names to name my characters.

Q.17 Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with good or bad ones?
I do. But I treat them as data points. A one-star review on Goodreads on the day Dawn of Assassins was the greatest review I ever read (how many authors will you hear saying that?). I’d accidentally uploaded the prequel novella rather than the novel. Oops. But reviews are subjective opinions and not every book is right for every reader.

Q.18 Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
I’d love to meet Jimi Hendrix so he could show me a few pointers on the guitar.

Q.19 Are there any new books or authors in science fiction or fantasy (or both!) have you excited about? What are you reading right now?
Right now I’m reading the Fate of Wizardoms boxset by Jeffrey L. Kohanek. I’ve just finished the first book and it’s great.

I’m excited about Michael J. Sullivan’s new series, but I’m waiting until the final book is out because his novels are very binge-worthy!

There’s also new stuff by Angel Haze on the way that I can’t wait to read. I’ve seen the covers and they look awesome.

Q.20 Share the experience of your writing journey so far?
 I’ve been recording a weekly author diary podcast since October 2017 and haven’t missed a week. Simply search for Jon Cronshaw’s Author Diary on Apple, Spotify, Amazon Music, etc.

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