Author Interview: J. Emery's FORGOTTEN MONSTER

Better with numbers than people, Taisce would have been perfectly happy managing the family estate the rest of his life. But when his older brother, Rupert, vanishes on a quest to find a mythical monster, Taisce has no choice but to find him before anyone realizes there's an heir missing.

Sef has learned a thing or two about magic and poor life choices during his centuries of cursed immortality. He's also fresh from a missed appointment with the hangman and looking to get out of town quickly, so he happily volunteers to assist in locating the wayward brother. In return for his services, Sef only wants one thing: for Taisce to break his curse. The fact that it will likely kill Sef (permanently this time) is just a bonus.

But somewhere in the midst of bickering and searching for Rupert, Taisce and Sef start to struggle with keeping business separate from pleasure, leaving both wondering how exactly their quest is going to end.

Ana: Today we have J. Emery introducing their book, FORGOTTEN MONSTER. J, how would you describe your book to your prospective readers? In broad terms, what is your book about?

J: At its heart Forgotten Monster is a fantasy romance about two lost people making bad choices together and accidentally falling in love. Taisce starts out very sheltered and set in his ways while Sef is the cynical, lonely traveler. They’re pretty much designed to clash and some magic and tropey fun also happens along the way.

The book is also set in a gaslamp fantasy world with a Western edge (a portion of the book takes place in a cursed desert) so I feel like it’s sort of an odd duck in the romance category. I’m sure there must be some similar books out there, but I haven’t found them yet. I’m always open to recommendations if anyone has them.

Ana: What themes does your book explore and what do you hope the reader will take away from the experience? Is there a particular feeling or experience that you hope to evoke in the reader?What do you hope your book will mean to a reader?

J: Forgotten Monster dances through a few different themes but the biggest one (for me anyway) is how someone comes back from making A Big Mistake about which they have lots of regrets and learns to move on.

But mostly I just wanted to write a fun soap opera of a quest book with romance and melodrama and two characters who are extremely different but find a way to fit together anyway. As long as people are having fun while reading my work, that’s all I could ever ask for.

Ana: That's honestly my goal when writing, and I can't think of a better one! What prompted you to write this book and did you have a specific inspiration in mind? Were you influenced by a certain author or work that inspired you to add your voice to this genre? Besides the boatloads of money and rockstar fame, what motivated you?

J: I wrote Forgotten Monster at a time when I was figuring out some things about myself so it’s pretty special to me. It was the first time I tried writing a pansexual character (Sef, one of the main characters) or chronic pain (Taisce, the other main character). Both of those things are close to my heart since they’re Own Voices to an extent. So in a way you could say the book was a love letter to the parts of myself that I hadn’t accepted before.

I think I was always going to write romance. I’ve been a romance reader since I was in my early teens and those books were some of my earliest favorites. I still have a bunch of the old Harlequins I grew up with. So getting to write in a genre I’ve loved for decades is always a treat. Plus romance lets me embrace my desire to write emotional monologues. I’m really melodramatic at heart. Romance lets me embrace that.

Ana: If you could compare your book to any other existing works, which ones would it be and why? If you could say to a reader, "If you like X, you'll love my book!", which work would you invoke?

J: Hmm, that’s tough. I draw a lot of inspiration from Diana Wynne Jones and how she weaves together character interactions and fantasy elements, but this book is probably much closer to KJ Charles’ Charm of Magpies series. Forgotten Monster is secondary world fantasy but some of the trappings are similar. I definitely count those books as an influence.

Ana: Is this your first published work, or have you published other books? If you have published other books, how do they compare to this one? Do you have any more books planned, either as a follow-up to this one, or as a completely different book or genre?

J: This is my first published novel. Everything before this has been novella length or shorter and I’m excited to get a longer work out into the world. Novellas have my whole heart, but there’s something really great about finally getting to put one of my own novels on a shelf.

As for what comes after this, truthfully I originally planned Forgotten Monster as the first in a trilogy. The other two books probably won’t happen anymore (though you never know, I change my mind a lot and circumstances can change too) but that’s okay. I still have a lot of other books in the works including the one people may be familiar with from twitter. I’ve been calling it “shady vampire hunter” and it’s the story of a demisexual monster hunter who is forced to team up with the vampire he already tried to kill (twice). NineStar Press will be releasing it (with an actual title and everything) in spring of 2020.

Ana: Ahh, I love that! Where can readers obtain a copy of your book for them to enjoy? Do you have a means by which they can "sign up" to be notified when your next book comes available?

J: Forgotten Monster was released as an ebook at most book retailers as of August 7th. Print is still in the works and should follow within a few days.

[Everywhere Else.]

You can also sign up for my newsletter here.

Ana: Thank you. Is there anything else you wish to add for our readers?

J: Thanks for having me! I really appreciate this chance to talk about Forgotten Monster and I hope it’s as fun for readers as it was for me to write.


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