Check out this author spotlight for Jonathan Pembroke!
You can find all his links furthest down the page, and don’t forget to check out his books!
1. Hi! Welcome to my humble blog of all things bookish! I would like for us to start by getting to know you. Give us a short bio, please!
Sure thing! I’m a former-meteorologist-turned-fantasy-author who’s been writing for the last fifteen years. I spent twenty years in the US military and am now semi-retired, and live in the southwestern United States with my wife Lisa and bunch of unruly dogs. When not writing, I read, work in my garden, and play an odd video game or two. I spend too much time on social media too.
2. To get to know you just a little bit better, I’d like to ask you some this or that questions. Answer 5 (or more!) of these and explain why you chose this or that, or maybe an entirely different alternative!
Tea or coffee?
Coffee over tea, every time—which is odd, because twenty years ago, it was the other way around. I’m still not sure what drove the switch but I like my coffee now.
Morning or evening?
Morning person. All that time in the service got me used to being up early. I’m usually in bed by 10PM and wake up between 3 and 5AM. I get my best writing done before the sun comes up.
Ninjas or pirates?
Pirates. They’re more fun, though I could never be one (see below).
Mountains or beaches?
Mountains, for sure. I have a shark phobia and I don’t go in the ocean over my ankles. Not many sharks in the mountains.
Standalone or series?
If I’m loving a series, I never want it to end. A good series is hard to argue with and I argue it’s hard to have multiple good character development arcs in a standalone. Not impossible, but it seems less common.
3. When you look for books to read, what trope or type of story will always catch your attention?
I like a little of everything but I’m a sucker for a classic “hero” story. Not necessarily the “Chosen One” but someone who overcomes their own shortcomings, self-doubt, or baggage to make a difference. Characters like Elric of Melnibone or Jon Shannow will always appeal to me. I love me some damaged protagonists.
4. What do you write? Tell us about your current projects and the latest happenings!
Dovetailing from the previous question, I like to write about protagonists who had trauma or even just a lot of angst, and have to overcome it. To me, character development is the real quest journey in fantasy. I’m working on a series now (tentatively titled The Sentinel) about a middle-aged woman is who part of a specialized military force, and who has some crippling issues from her past. This will be the biggest epic thing I’ve written but I’m trying hard to make it primarily about her journey.
5. What is your most recent release? Give us a short presentation, cover, and a link for where to buy it!
My most recent release was from 31 March of this year; it’s the third book in my trilogy The Holly Sisters, titled Sylvan Valley Aflame. The trilogy (Rumble in Woodhollow, The Mauler, and Valley) concern two faeries of the Holly Clan, Sydney and Marla. Marla, the older sister, runs away to the semi-industrial slum of Woodhollow, where she rises to lead a drug-dealing street gang of faeries, who brawl with gangs of leprechauns, brownies, and other mystical races.
Years later Sydney (the series POV protagonist) joins her sister and it goes from there. A big part of the story is Sydney trying to find her place in the world but it’s also a journey of the two sisters. I see so few good sister relationships in fantasy writing and I wanted to depict them starting a little stand-offish and developing a close relationship over the course of the trilogy. Sylvan Valley Aflame, along with the other two volumes, is available on Amazon for Kindle and paperback, and is also on Kindle Unlimited:
Rumble in Woodhollow (Book 1): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07XCB5TGH
The Mauler (Book 2): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08CZTZYWSSylvan Valley Aflame (Book 3): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08X2VNPM9‘
6. What real-life inspiration do you draw from, and what are your primary fictional sources of inspiration (books, authors, films, music, etc.)? Name a few!
I’ve read a ton of spec fiction (fantasy, sci-fi, and horror) over the years, so I’m sure a lot of those trickled in. Stephen King and Michael Moorcock have definitely been influences—the former for his turn of phrase and sheer productivity, the latter for his amazing world-building and character development. Music is a big influence on my short story development; I tend to pluck lines as titles, though most of those have been outside fantasy. Funny enough that you mentioned film. Rumble in Woodhollow was a result of me watching the movie Gangs of New York, and imagining what it would have been like with mystical races fighting for control of the streets instead of immigrant gangs. I think influences and potential ideas are everywhere. One just has to be open to listening to the voices whispering in one’s ear.
7. What is your writing routine? If you have one, give us the run-down!
I typically get up early, make some coffee, check email, and get to it. I have a few uninterrupted hours before anyone else is stirring. Then in the evening, I usually have another window. Neither time is set in stone but I always try to get in a little writing every day.
8. If you could go back and give yourself one piece of advice as you started out on the path to becoming an author, what would it be?
Get. Started. Sooner. I spent a lot of time—almost a decade—exclusively writing short stories. I had very little focus and careened from project to project. That might have been fine when I was sixteen but it meant that I didn’t publish my first book until I was forty-four. Now I have a massive number of book ideas and plots in my head and am feeling the crunch to get a few of them done. I wish I’d started sooner. So if you’re thinking about writing a book, don’t put it off … because ten years later, you might still be saying, “Maybe next year.”
9. Last but not least: where can we find you? Drop those links!