Monday 4 May 2020

Blog Tour: Interview with Jennie Dorny Author of Hybrids Volume 2

Today is my stop on the blog tour for Hybrids Volume 2 by Jennie Dorny. I have an author interview for you today and if you like the sound of that, you can click here to order your copy now Hybrids now. Don't forget to check out the other stops on the tour for more exclusive content and reviews. 

Here's what it's all about...

Caught in a web of murder and vengeance, Theo must outsmart the Spylady to save her new friends. 
Imprisoned in a male appearance, can Nand survive deportation without losing herself?
Forced to leave Eridan after her mental battle with Keith of Rain Forest, Theo travels to Earth Metropolis with SpaceSS agent Jack Finch. When Jack is arrested for murdering his husband, Farren, Theo’s plans for a new future collapse.
To impress Declan, Nand face-changes into her cousin’s appearance on the day of the Face Changer Assembly. But her moment of triumph turns into a nightmare when Keith launches an attack against the Face Changers.
Deported to Gambling Nova, the federal prison, with Ashta and a few Face Changers, will Declan be strong enough to overcome his guilt in order to help Nand keep her male appearance and safeguard Eridan’s future?
Convinced that Farren is still alive, Theo must outsmart the Spylady if she wants to get Jack released from the penitentiary and find Farren’s whereabouts. Yet when Sheer, the Savalwomen leader, orders her to rescue the Face Changers, Theo faces a new challenge: is she ready to return to Gambling Nova? And risk her life?

Are you ready for the interview?

First question – bit of a cliché – how did you get into writing?

My parents are artists and I grew up in an environment in which creativity was at once normal and highly encouraged. My creative way was writing. I still have poems and stories I wrote when I was a little girl.

Do you write full time and if so, have you always done this?

No. I work full time. Writing is for evenings and weekends. Not having much time to write is, for me, a godsend, because I never have the writer’s block problem. There’s no time to waste when you have at most two hours each evening. Sunday is the day devoted to writing, as well as anything related to writing (updating my website, writing the newsletter, etc.). I like Sundays because between noon and 8 p.m. I can have several hours in row to write: a luxury! When I am writing a book, I think about it on my way to work, on my way back. I test dialogue out loud as I walk.

Do you have a particular writing style or genre that you prefer to write?

I chose to write in the science-fiction genre because it enables me to have the freedom to invent places that do not exist and situations that are not happening in our contemporary world. I am not into science, so my books are not related to science. Instead they speak about societies. I find it very interesting to create a world – for instance, in Hybrids, Eridan, a planet covered by a living ocean – and to imagine what it would be like to live there, how it would function. I use elements that exist everywhere – traditional ways, modern ways – and then I add elements that don’t, for instance, a world where homosexuality and heterosexuality are on the same par, where some people are able to change gender at will, where women are in charge of well-being and the protection of others, where a few can communicate with whales. Afterwards, I instil problems – envy, jealousy, rebellion, an upset ocean, a foreigner arriving – and I watch what happens. Things can always be viewed from at least two perspectives: Eridan as seen by its inhabitants is different from Eridan as viewed by Theo.

How do you develop your characters as you write? Are any of them based on real people?

Theo and the Jack and Farren couple were created almost simultaneously. The others arrived as the story unfolded. Theo’s personality evolved over time. She is less angry than she was in the first drafts. Donatella Simpson was originally a male character, and in the French books, the character’s name is Donald Simpson. I enjoyed having a female villain with lots of clout, who, like every character in this story, has flaws and good qualities, who simultaneously loves orchids and will stop at nothing, including going against her ethics, to enact vengeance on behalf of her family.

What was the inspiration behind your book?

It goes way back. I started writing the first drafts back in the 1990s, at a time when the AIDS virus was beginning to spread. I saw the movie The Celluloid Closet, directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, and bought the book by Vito Russo upon which this documentary is based. I was struck by what one of the people interviewed said, that homosexual characters in movies always died or were the villains, and I decided I would write a story where homosexual characters would be the heroes, would be like everybody else, and they would not (all) die in the end.

What is your writing process – do you plan it out first? Write a bit at a time?

No plan. I know where I start, and I know where I want to go, and then I write.
Characters and situations create scenes, and then things unfold as they are written. But as I went along I did write some outlines of situations and events. And once I finished the last version, and before getting into the editing process, I used a very useful tool, Aeon Timeline, which enabled me to ascertain that the timeline was correct, since events, particularly in the last part, happen in different places at the same time. Besides events, I noted in this tool characters (with ages), organizations, and locations throughout the whole story. This was incredibly useful, and it made me realize that one character I had thought extremely important did not appear in many chapters/scenes. This tool enabled me to make sure that ages were correct and that memories of past events could be dated correctly when mentioned by various characters.

How much of you is reflected in your writing?

A lot.

What kind of research did you have to do before/during writing your book?

I researched mostly when I rewrote the whole book. The internet is a wonderful tool to explore and find answers: there are all sorts of websites devoted to very specific themes and vocabulary, and so it’s possible to learn a lot and use that knowledge.

How much attention do you pay to the reviews that you get?

It’s interesting to discover how other people interpret what you have written, what they enjoyed, and what they didn’t.

Are friends and family supportive of your writing?


How do you feel leading up to your publication day?

It’s always an exciting moment: the fruition of lots of work.

Which other authors inspire you, or are there any you particularly enjoy reading?

Authors who inspired me: Kate Wilhelm (Juniper Time, Welcome, Chaos, The Infinity Box …),
Ursula Le Guin (The Left Hand of Darkness), Anne McCaffrey (The Dragonriders of Pern), Chelsea Quinn Yarbro (False Dawn), Frank Herbert (Dune).
Authors recently discovered: Becky Chambers (The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet and A Close and Common Orbit), Octavia Butler (Kindred), Nnedi Okroafor (Who Fears Death), Martha Wells (The Murderbot Diaries).
Authors who don’t write science fiction: Elizabeth Strout, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Jhumpa Lahiri, Celeste Ng, Haruki Murakami, Dorothy Allison, Anne Tyler, Jane Austen, Julio Cortazar, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Paul Monette, Pénélope Bagieu.
Authors who write essays: Rebecca Solnit, Reni Eddo-Lodge, Joanna Russ …
… and many, many more (classics, philosophy, crime …) whose books fill the many bookshelves all around me!

Finally … what are you working on right now?

I am busy rewriting in English a book I wrote and published in French over ten years ago. I got the rights to revert to me, and so I plan on publishing simultaneously the French and English editions next year. It’s a romantic story set in Paris in the present day, with a theme very close to that of Hybrids.

About the Author

Jennie Dorny was born in 1960 in Newton, Massachusetts. She lives and works in Paris with her three cats. She is both French and American. She studied American literature and civilization, Italian and history of art at three Parisian universities. She wrote her Master’s thesis about contemporary Irish poetry after spending a year in Dublin. She loves words and languages, and she can spend hours exploring a thesaurus. Over the years, she has studied Spanish, Japanese, Hindi and sign language, and recently took up Italian again. She has published in French Gambling Nova (1999), Eridan (2002) and Les Cupidons sont tombés sur la tête (Mischievous Cupids gone Crazy, 2007). Gambling Nova and Eridan are partial, earlier versions of Hybrids; science-fiction novels that in many ways deal with the question of gender.

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Thanks so much to Jennie for stopping by the blog and answering my questions today!

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