Interview with Janna Ruth

I'm delighted to be able to share my interview with Janna Ruth with you this week. Janna is the author of The Spirit Seekers urban fantasy series, the first book of which - A Force of Nature - has just been released. I caught up with Janna recently to grill her.

Tell me more about your book?

All she ever wanted was to live in peace with the spirits. Now, the storm king is out for her blood.

My new Urban Fantasy Series “Spirit Seeker” is working on the premise that all natural disasters and extreme weather events have been caused by nature spirits. The story follows Rika, who is one of the few people in the world who can see the otherwise invisible spirits. After having lived on the streets for eight years, she is taken in by the Spirit Seekers, elite soldiers in the war against nature. To survive, she’ll have to learn their ways, but Rika isn’t quite so sure whether she wants to become a spirit seeker, because not only can she see spirits, she might’ve befriended one or two.

The series takes place in Europe, showcasing a different European capital in each novel and featuring a different kind of spirit. It’s a series for everyone that loves action-packed stories with found family, conflicting loyalties and a slow-burn romance (so slow the love interest only appears once in book 1 😉).

What prompted you to write it?

Last year, I was on a panel at the CoNZealand WorldCon talking about Urban Fantasy. One question was what we would like to see more of, and I said, Urban Fantasy that takes place in cities that are not in North America or London. And people loved it. Half a day later, I had the Spirit Seeker plot. 

What are you working on at the moment? Are there already plans for the next book after this one?

I just finished writing the final book of the Spirit Seekers in July and will be busy with editing the novels for the next couple of weeks/months. But I’ve already got plans for the next series, which will be the novelised English version of my literary baby Ashuan, which can be summarised as Buffy in Germany’s magic-steeped Harzer mountain region. So, lots of witches, snarky humour and demons instead of vampires.

When did you first start writing? And what made you start?

I was always a storyteller, coming up with my first stories in kindergarten, but for a long time, I liked drawing more, so I started with comics/mangas when I was about twelve only to realise that telling a story via panels takes so much time. So, I skipped all the time-intensive drawing and started to write novels instead.

What was the first full-length novel you ever wrote? (I realise this may not be the same as the first book you have had published!)

I don’t want to say! Oh well. A very terrible bog-standard fantasy quest-type of book of ca. 130 pages at the age of sixteen. I even got four printed for my friends/family. While that was the first novel I finished (over the course of two years), I don’t really like to consider it as such. Instead, I wrote a coming-of-age novel about twelve years later (within a month this time) and ever since I cracked the secret to finishing my stories.

Which is your favourite secondary character in your book, and why is it your favourite?

Thinking long and hard about this, I’d have to say, it’s Lukas. I love all the secondary core characters, and I would absolutely hate a real-life person as arrogant as that little piece of shit, but gosh, is he fun to write. And of all the secondary characters, I feel like he has the most complete journey, while staying absolutely true to his jerky self.

Where is your ideal writing space?

My desk. That’s where work happens.

What’s the best bit of advice you’ve ever been given?

Not to edit until after I finished the first draft. Ever since, I can churn out books and actually finish them.

And now for some more random questions...

What’s your radio tuned to most often?

Music. Though I only listen to the radio when I’m driving. 

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You’re stranded on an island. You can choose one of the following three things. Which do you choose and why?
1. Limitless supply of paper and pens.
2. A computer which will never run out of battery and which can access the internet, but you can’t post anything/get help via it, only read what others have put up.
3. An endless supply of loo roll.

Oh, that’s a hard one. I don’t really have a use for that paper. I’ll just run my stories in my head if I’m the only one who’ll read them. The computer might be good to keep up with the world. Just in case, I do get rescued at one point. Don’t want to come back and not recognise the world anymore. But if I’m forever stranded, the loo roll will probably be the best option. A bit wasteful with no proper sewage, but in case there are no leaves, much appreciated. 

You can only wear one of the following colours for the rest of your life. Which colour do you choose?
Yellow. Orange. Green. White. Pink.

I love green! Was thinking of going with white, being a little less out there, but nah… green it is.

Cats or dogs?

Dogs, but I’m allergic to anything with fur, so in reality neither.

City or country?

City girl here.

Real book or e-book?

E-book. Just a whole lot more convenient. If I really like the book, I’ll get a paperback or hardcover edition, though.

Fountain pen or biro?

Biro. I love feather pens, but they’re not really practical. So biro all the way.

Thanks very much for letting me bombard you with questions!

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