Literaturschock: Could you tell your German fans something about yourself? (family, hobbies and so on)

Jennifer Roberson: I live in Flagstaff, Arizona, a 90-minute drive from the Grand Canyon, in a valley near the San Francisco Peaks. I have a house on 2.5 acres. My hobby is showing dogs, specializing in Cardigan Welsh Corgis. I have eight Cardigans, including two 3-month-old puppies from my last litter, and two old Labradors Retrievers. I also own a Lipizzan gelding for trail riding. The animals are my family, as I am divorced and (unfortunately) have no children. I have a college degree in journalism, and worked as a newspaper reporter for a short while.

Literaturschock: What was the one event in your life that told you "I'm going to be a writer?"

Jennifer Roberson: When I was 14, I read a book about a girl and her horse written by a local author. I felt it could have been much better, and told my mother I could write a better one. She challenged me to do it. So I wrote my first novel. It was never published, though.

Literaturschock: What is a question you are never asked that you wish people would ask you?

Jennifer Roberson: No one ever asks MY opinion on my writing ability. Am I happy with the way I write, or do I want to get better? (I'm never completely satisfied. I work to make each book better in some way, and always try to improve.)

Literaturschock: What did you feel when your first book was published?

Jennifer Roberson: Incredible excitement. My dream had come true.

Literaturschock: Which of your novels do you like most? Why?

Jennifer Roberson: This is a hard question! Probably SWORD-DANCER, because it was so much fun to write. But LADY OF THE FOREST was a much more ambitious and demanding novel, and it taught me a great deal about plotting and character development.

Literaturschock: Do you have a favourite character?

Jennifer Roberson: Tiger. He's complex, opinionated, yet always willing to learn and change.

Literaturschock: You write both fantasy and historical novels. Do you plan to write about something else?

Jennifer Roberson: I have no definite plans, but I might try a suspense novel one day. And maybe a mystery.

Literaturschock: What are your current projects? Can you give us a little sneak preview of the next books?

Jennifer Roberson: For the answer to this, go to my website and read about the KARAVANS series. 8-)

Literaturschock: Do you have the story or characters in mind when you start?

Jennifer Roberson: Both. But I put more emphasis on the characters and often let parts of the story grow out of them.

Literaturschock: In Germany "Sword-Born" was recently published and I hope "Sword-Sworn" will follow soon. Do you plan to continue the Sword-Dancer novels?

Jennifer Roberson: I have no plans to write more novels about Tiger and Del, but I will do some short stories, and possibly some related novels.

Literaturschock: What do you think is the most difficult thing about writing? And the easiest?

Jennifer Roberson: The most difficult thing is pushing through the dead spots, when the story just isn't going well. The easiest is playing God with your characters by creating and directing them.

Literaturschock: How much of your own experiences do you share with your characters?

Jennifer Roberson: None of my characters is based on me, or on any specific parts of my life. But my opinions are often in my books, and there are bits and pieces of my life experiences in them sometimes. I don't know if I have anything in common with my characters. I must, since I invented them!

Literaturschock: Were you allowed to design the covers and titles by yourself?

Jennifer Roberson: No. The editor and art director handle this. Authors can request favorite artists, but the decision is always up to the editor and art director.

Literaturschock: Have your novels also been published in other countries besides the US and Germany?

Jennifer Roberson: France, Japan, China, Poland, England, Israel, Russia, Italy, Sweden.

Literaturschock: Tell me a little about working with Melanie Rawn and Kate Elliot on The Golden Key. How did it get done? Who labeled you three "The Dream Team of Fantasy?"

Jennifer Roberson: I came up with "The Dream Team of Fantasy" label strictly as a marketing thing. I mentioned it to my editor, and they used it. Our editors also told us right from the start Whelan would be doing the cover, as he is the best fantasy artist in the genre. We all love his work and were thrilled. Writing the book was a wonderful once-in-a-lifetime experience. Melanie, Kate, and I were friends, and we respected one another's work a great deal. We met at my house (then in Phoenix, Arizona) for three days to develop characters and an outline, then called and faxed one another almost every day as we wrote the book. I wrote the first section, Melanie the second, and Kate the third, but we invented characters and plotted the entire book together.

Literaturschock: I imagine that you love Scottland? Have you ever been there?

Jennifer Roberson: Yes, I visited when I lived in London in 1982, and again on my honeymoon in 1985.

Literaturschock: Are you in close contact with other authors or your fans?

Jennifer Roberson: Yes. Some of my best friends are authors. I meet my fans when I go to signings and conventions, and receive so much e-mail from them that I can't answer it all.

Literaturschock: How long did it take you to write your first book?

Jennifer Roberson: I'm not sure. I was 14 and had never written a book before. Probably 6-8 months.

Literaturschock: What were your experiences in finding a publisher?

Jennifer Roberson: I marketed my books on my own for many years, with no success. Then I got a literary agent. Within three months my first novel (SHAPECHANGERS) was sold to DAW Books, who remains my fantasy publisher in the US.

Literaturschock: Do you have a favorite writer or book?

Jennifer Roberson: I have no ONE favorite writer or book. I've read too much over the years to narrow it down. I read mostly fantasy, but also historicals, suspense thrillers, and mysteries.

Literaturschock: Thank you so much, Jennifer! I really appreciate your taking the time to let me interview you!

Jennifer Roberson: You're welcome!

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