J Philip Horne

Six Question Saturday with Savannah Jezowski

Here’s our author for today’s Six Question Saturday!

Savannah Jezowski lives in a drafty farmhouse in Amish country with her Knight in Shining Armor, her little warrior princess and a loyal brigade of dogs and kitties. She is the author of When Ravens Fall and is also a featured author in Five Enchanted Roses from Rooglewood Press. Her work has been published in Ray Gun Revival, Mindflights and in the student publication of Fountains at Pensacola Christian College. She likes books, faeries, writing hats and having tea with her imaginary friends.

You can find her here.

Now… on to the six questions! If you have any questions of your own, please leave them in the comments, and hopefully Savannah will drop by and answer them.

Question 1: Is there another life experience you’ve had that you believe compares well to writing your first novel in terms of both the difficulty and sense of accomplishment? If not, what do you think might compare well?

My first published novella, Wither: Five Enchanted Roses was heavily influenced by own struggles. My heroine had a strong love for family, something I can relate to, and my hero was a deeply spiritual character who had fallen into a dark place and was trying desperately to dig himself out of that darkness. So, honestly, my life experiences sort of became my novella. It was the first time I had ever written something that felt real—raw, yes, but very real.

Question 2: Tell us about that moment you decided to actually complete a novel. Had writing been on your mind for years, or was it a sudden impulse? What did you do next?

I started writing when I was in elementary school. My first story was about a wagon train that encountered a tribe of Native American Indians. It was about ten pages long, hand written on notebook paper, bound with yarn and sported a crayon front cover. At this time, I didn’t even know what a paragraph was. I wrote dozens of unpublished novels throughout high school and college, most of them epic fantasy and science fiction, with a spattering of Westerns. My first published work was a Beauty and the Beast novella I wrote for a fairy tale contest. My original inspiration for the story came to me when my husband and I were browsing the bookstore. We noticed that EVERYTHING on the shelf had to do with zombies. I asked my husband, “If zombies were real, how do you think God would see them?” That thought inspired me to create a turn-of-the-century world plagued with a terrible disease that does not allow the dead to ever truly rest. I was able to pull elements from modern fantasy (the zombies) and mingle them with a classic fairy tale and some symbols from my own religious beliefs. This was the first time I realized that I could be a “serious” author, if I wanted to be. What did I do next? Self-published my first novella of course. I have three more books in the works and plan to keep on writing.

Question 3: What’s your writing setup? How do you take notes? What’s your process to develop a first draft? Are any tools critical to your success?

I take notes by hand in composition notebooks. Sometimes I even sketch out paragraphs or chapters by hand. Usually, however, I just start my first draft on my computer and keep going. Sometimes I use the notebook app on my phone to jot down ideas while I am on the go (I love the voice to text feature so I can take notes while driving). I usually start with a story idea and a cast of characters and a very (VERY) loose plotline. Then, I pants my way through the first draft, oftentimes rewriting as I go. Then I have to go through several extensive rewrites to fix the messy first draft. I usually end up with dozens of bunny trails and dropped threads I either need to remove or wrap up. It’s the curse of pantsing, but I don’t do well with a rigid structure. It robs my creative energy.

Question 4: What book or series would you most love to see made into a movie or Netflix series? What would you fear the director or screenwriter would get wrong?

I would love to see the the Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander turned into a movie. My greatest fear is that they would do the same thing to the movie series that the did with the cartoon version of the Black Cauldron. It really was rather poorly done. Such an iconic and beautiful series really deserves an excellent film rendition.

Question 5: Can you write some verse (any form) that describes your hopes as an author? Or the theme of one of your books?

This is something I wrote a while back. It is not about a book specifically…but it is about a dragon. Because dragons are, well, awesome.

“In the Graveyard of Dragons”

I may have fangs and dragon scales,
but I have heart,
a bleeding, beating organ
that pumps life through
the husk.

I may have fangs and dragon scales,
but I have fire
that smolders in the breast
and ignites with secretions inside
the mouth.

I may have fangs and dragon scales,
but I have wings,
leathery and tattered, that
writhe and undulate in the most
foul winds.

I may have fangs and dragon scales,
but I have dreams,
violent crimson nightmares,
scorched and blackened with
searing heat.

I may have fangs and dragon scales,
but I have eyes,
decrepit and milky yellow
as they gaze on the relics, the
dragon bones.

I may have fangs and dragon scales,
but I have pain,
that curdles in the belly,
a hollow echo of solitude.
Beside the unconsecrated graves
of brothers and sisters,
I feel the keenest agony:
I am the last.

Question 6: You step onto an elevator with three other people, all representatives of your core audience. The doors close. You have their attention until they get off 18 floors later. Buddy the elf is not on the elevator with you, so it’s going to be a quick trip. What do you say to convince them to read your novels?

I think the best thing to say would be the idea that originally inspired me: “If there were such a thing as zombies, what would they really be like?” Or perhaps this: “If you like unique fairy tales with tragic heroes inspired by such things as, I don’t know, zombies and Vikings…read my books. Seriously. You’ll like them.”

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