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Do you love the fantasy genre? Me too. And I have found out about an author who writes a whole bunch of it. If you like fantasy and you like author interviews, check out this interview I did with John D. Pepe. His name is Justin Fike and he currently has The Farshore Chronicles. Siege of Farshore out for pre-order right now. The Farshore Chronicles is 6 books deep right now. So you definitely will want to play some catch up before getting into Siege of Farshore.
I took the time to ask questions about both Justin Fike and his books. If you are a writer, then you might want to hear what he has to say about the writing process. He has some sound advice that is sure to help you on your journey. Let’s dive in and see what Justin Fike is all about!
About Justin Fike
The following was pulled from the Justin Fike about page on his website.
I’ve loved stories for as long as I can remember. As a boy, my grandma often told me tales of her adventures growing up on the South Dakota prairie as I drifted off to sleep, or filled my head with faerie queens, questing knights, and everything in between. Those stories shaped the way I saw the world and helped me understand my place in it. Eventually, I realized that I wanted to spin stories that would be just as important for someone else someday.
Pursuing that dream led me into a lifelong pursuit of the writer’s craft, both on my own and by learning from some of the most well-regarded professionals in their spheres at the Masters in Creative Writing program at Oxford University.
I grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and was blessed to have a mother who didn’t complain when I came home from the woods covered in mud and burs, and a father who told me the stories that sent him out there in the first place.
I live in Colorado with my amazing wife Mindy and pixie in disguise who permits me to claim her as my daughter at parties.
About Siege Of Farshore
Siege of Farshore is part of the book series, The Farshore Chronicles written by Justin Fike. You can pre-order the book until November 11th, 2020. There is currently no blurb for the book. Based on the reviews of the other books in the series (4+ stars), I’d imagine this one won’t disappoint.
Based on the cover alone, I think it is a cool book. It has fantasy written all over it so there is no mistaking what genre this belongs too. I love the clash of colors meeting in the middle too. The blue and orangish-red look very good together but they don’t overpower the two characters on the cover. I also like the tiny intricate detail outlining the edge of the book. Overall, I’d say if I was judging a book by its cover, I’d pick up the book.
When did you decide you wanted to be an author?
I was very fortunate to grow up in a family that loved to tell stories, so I think I always loved it too. I took a creative writing class every semester of college purely as a personal outlet while I studied something “serious”. The idea of writing and publishing professionally didn’t really register with me until I began to see the growing indie author scene. The traditional publishing route always seemed like such an exhausting lottery system, but the idea of writing books that would succeed or fail based on how much readers enjoyed them rather than on what a publishing house needed for their catalog that season really appealed to me.
By 2014 I’d been working hard on a book for several years, but still just thought of it as a hobby. It wasn’t until my mom asked me over coffee one day why I didn’t just admit that I wanted to be a writer. “You light up when you talk about your book in a way you don’t for anything else.” Thanks to her I finally committed myself too seriously improving my craft so that I could consistently write and release the kind of quality stories I’d been dying to create my whole life. Fast forward several years, one master’s degree in creative writing, two babies, one cross-country move, and more cups of coffee than I care to admit, and here we are!
How do your books come to you? Are they from dreams, real life, or something else entirely?
I’ve definitely had book ideas spring out of a dream, but usually, they begin as a single core idea or specific scene or moment that I get really excited about, and then I flesh that out into a full story that supports it. The first book of the Farshore Chronicles grew out of the idea of a thief from an old world that had destroyed magic centuries ago stepping off of a prison ship onto a newly discovered continent filled with all of the mythical creatures and strange magic that everyone thought were only legends and children’s stories. Each book in the series from there evolves as a combination of either a place in the world that I really want to explore or a moment I really want to create, mixed with my plan for moving key parts of the overall story of the series forward in fun new ways.
Do you enjoy reading as well as writing?
Absolutely! I grew up as the quiet kid in the corner who always had a book on hand. Books made more sense to me than people sometimes. For years I refused to wear anything but cargo pants because I insisted on always having a pocket big enough to carry the book I was reading (you can send your sympathy cards to my mother). With a heavy workload, an amazing wife, and two gloriously energetic daughters I don’t have the same kind of free time for I used to enjoy to get drawn into a book and stay up all night to finish it, but I still always keep a paperback on my nightstand and have a current ebook read on my phone at all times.
How do you handle bad reviews if you get them?
I’ve been very fortunate in that the closest I’ve come to “bad” reviews so far have been very fair critiques that were still very positive about some aspects of the story, but about the parts they didn’t enjoy. No trolls so far. I personally really appreciate the time that someone takes to write a thoughtful critical review. In a strange way, I find it encouraging because to me it means that my books have enough of a style and focus for some people to really love them, which means that they aren’t to everyone’s taste. I would so much rather that than having written books that no one feels strongly about either way.
What advice could you give to other authors?
Start before you think you’re ready, finish the book before you think it’s perfect, and move on to the next one before you have it all figured out. It’s easy to stay “safe” while working on the same story for years before you finish and release it (I certainly did). But you learn so much more from finishing a project and starting a new one than you ever could be going back over an existing book to try to make it 2% better. Trust that new worlds, characters, and stories will come to you as you finish the current ones. But, most of all, start!
You took the Masters in Creative Writing program at Oxford University. What was that like?
It was amazing. The instructors were brilliant, and the small group of fellow students was all fantastic humans that I’m still friends with today. I learned so much just from reading and discussing their work and gleaning from their approach to writing. But I think my favorite part of the program was that it was structured to require us to explore and practice all styles of writing, not just fiction. I wrote poetry, screen and stage plays, radio dramas, literary essays, and so on and I grew so much as a writer by bringing aspects of each of those styles back into my fiction stories.
What is something about you that your readers wouldn’t know?
I’ve practiced various forms of martial arts for over 15 years now. I began in college, and have managed to find a different style or school to learn everywhere we’ve lived. Currently, I practice traditional Northern Style Kung Fu and absolutely adore it. I think my experience with martial arts and various weapons helps inform the action scenes I write and make them more grounded.
What would you say is your favorite thing about being a writer?
I love the creative discovery of the writing process. Each new story starts with a concept and some key scenes or plot points in mind, and I’ve always been a pretty heavy plotter so the general structure of the story is typically fairly clear from the beginning. But then inevitably some random idea or inspiration strikes you, or a character says or does something unexpected that opens up a new angle on events, and by the time you type “the end,” there are so many aspects of the story that you didn’t and couldn’t have planned in advance. Those bits of surprise and unexpected discovery are what keeps drawing me back to write the next story.
Out of all the books you have written, which one is your favorite?
That’s a bit like asking me which of my daughters I like more. Each of my books genuinely has many elements that I love, and also a few things I think I could have done better. If you put a gun to my head and forced me to pick I think I would say Vaults Of The Undergloom. I had so much fun stretching my imagination in that strange underground world, and I think that story does the best job so far of tying to the action of the plot and the growth of the characters together into one solid whole.
There are six books in The Farshore Chronicles. Siege of Farshore is available for Preorder right now. Will there be more books to come for this series?
Absolutely! I planned the first 6 books as a connected “series”, so that story arc will wrap up in Siege Of Farshore in a rather epic way that I hope readers will really enjoy. I have another 6 books series planned that will pick up a few years later. That storyline will take Charity and her friends to new corners of the world as they battle to save their world from an unstoppable invasion.
Are any of your characters inspired by real people?
None of my characters are directly inspired by one person, but they all absolutely have traits, habits, quirks, or worldviews that are sort of a melting pot of the things that I’ve observed and experienced from my family, friends, co-workers, etc. I think that’s one of the best ways to create complex, authentic characters on the page.
Without giving away any spoilers, what do you hope your readers will react like when they finish reading Siege of Farshore?
I hope that the experiencing of reaching the end of the first volume will be a mixture of satisfaction from seeing the payoff of some long-running themes and threads that have been building throughout the series, the adrenaline high from the “one step from disaster” final battle, a bit of sadness for things that were lost, mixed with hope and excitement for the future of these characters they’ve grown to know and love. That’s obviously a pretty tall order, but that’s what I’m aiming for.
How do you think you’d feel if you found out one day that you inspired someone to become a writer?
Amazing. I can list the half-dozen or so authors who had the biggest impact on me as a young reader and gave me the inspiration to share my own stories, and I’ll always be grateful for their creativity and talent. Knowing that my books had the same effect on even one person would be the ultimate reward for the love and effort I’ve invested into them over the years.
These Quick Answer Questions!
If you had to rate all of The Farshore Chronicles out of 5 stars, what would you rate them?
If I’m being honest I’d say 5 stars, but that’s probably because they’re the type of character-driven adventure fantasy that I love as a reader.
What is your favorite number?
Do you prefer listening to books or reading them?
Reading, in print when possible, although I’ve just recently started trying audiobooks. The jury is still out, but listening to books has definitely helped me find more time in my day for “reading”.
What is a hobby of yours?
I’m a full on video game nerd. My wife and I are currently playing through the Uncharted series together and having a blast.
If you could be any mythical creature what would you be?
Get To Know Justin Fike Even More
So, I think you and I really got to know Justin Fike in this interview. But, there is always more to know. Especially when it comes to his books. Use the links below to follow him and learn more about his books both old and new. I only asked about one of his books because it is his most recent. But, he has written a lot more so he is worth checking out. I’m sure you will find something that piques your interest!
Let’s Talk About It!
As you may know, I love doing author interviews. Today you and I learned more about Justin Fike like he is a video game nerd. We also learned about his most recent book coming out this November and his writing process. What I would love to know is who you’d like me to interview next. Is there an author you’d like to learn more about? Let me know in the comments below!
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