Thursdays of Sword & Sorceress 26: the Jean Tatro interview

This week’s interview is with Jean Tatro.

1.) Tell us about yourself.

I live in Wasilla, Alaska and I’ve been telling stories my whole life;
“The Girl Who Folded Dragons” is my first publication. I write mostly
Fantasy and Urban Fantasy, but I’ve been known to write an occasional
Post-Apocalypse story and dabble in Science Fiction when the mood
takes me. When I’m not writing I play video games, draw, and take my
dogs for hikes.

My website is

2.) How did you get started writing?

When I was about 10 a word processor got moved into my room for
storage, and I ended up developing a close relationship with it. Than
I discovered NaNoWriMo in 2003 and learned that writing a full novel
wasn’t that hard.

3.) Why write fantasy fiction?

It just more interesting. I could wax poetic about how coming up with
answers to the eternal question ‘what if?’, exploring worlds that
could never exist otherwise, and looking at things from a new
perspective, but really I just find it more interesting and fun.

4.) There’s been considerable upheaval about ebooks within the
publishing world. Do you think ebooks are good or bad for readers?

I think that fundamentally ebooks are good for readers. The two major
problems with books are space and durability – ebooks take up mere
megabytes at most, and their pages never tear. Digital books are never
out of stock, and need never go out of print. Along with the
availability comes the accessibility – my mom is losing her vision and
without ebooks, and the ability to change the size of the text, she
wouldn’t be able to read books at all.

What is bad for readers is the DRM and proprietary formats. A pirate
is going to pirate, so ‘anti-piracy’ techniques only serve as a
barrier to the average reader.

5.) Do you think ebooks are good or bad for writers?

I think ebooks are good for writers for pretty much the same reasons
they are good for readers – always in print, always available. Ebooks
are helping niche markets expand, and connecting writers with their
audiences in new ways – we haven’t even begun to scratch the surface
of the possibilities!

Ebooks also make it easier to become published, and though currently
self-published/small press ebooks have a  reputation as being low
quality I think there is a lot of potential in those areas. The
publishing industry is going to have to grow and change with the
technology, and change is hard. We can learn a lot from the music
industry’s mistakes.

6.) Tell us about your S&S 26 story.

“The Girl Who Folded Dragons” started as an idea – an observation the
differences and similarities of dragons in the East and West. One of
the surprising connections was the common story of sacrificed maidens.
I was also inspired by the Chinese fairy tale “The Magic Paintbrush”
and the idea of turning a talent that seems like a curse into a gift.
I struggled with the ending right up until the deadline, and though
I’ll probably always see things to tweak I’m very happy with how it
turned out.

7.) Can you share a brief excerpt from your S&S Story?

They spread out into the garden, settling on the withering plants. For
a moment the garden bloomed with color. Shiori shook off the ones that
had alighted on her, sending the whole flock into motion again.
Entranced by the sight Shiori leaned out from under the eaves to watch
her paper cranes as they circled up into the cloudless sky, scattering
like seeds on the wind.

8.) Recommend one other science fiction/fantasy book (other than your own).

Must I choose just one? I have so many favorites, and I find new ones
every year! Most recent to capture my imagination is The Cloud Roads
by Martha Wells.

9.) Recommend one non-fantasy book.

My non-fantasy shelf is a little more sparse. On the non-fiction end
I’m recommend Rowing the Atlantic by Roz Savage, because I find her
and her adventures amazingly inspiring. On the fiction end anything by
Tessa Dare, but particularly Goddess of the Hunt.


Thanks, Jean, for the interview.

Check out our interviews with past S&S contributors – Sword & Sorceress 22, Sword & Sorceress 23, Sword & Sorceress 24, and Sword & Sorceress 25.

And the novel featuring my S&S character, spy and assassin Caina Amalas, is now available for free in all ebook formats: Child of the Ghosts.


2 thoughts on “Thursdays of Sword & Sorceress 26: the Jean Tatro interview

  1. Interesting interview, that woman’s book about dragons sounds like it might be worth my time.
    And now for something completely unrelated (save for the significance of the date this was posted, 11-11-11, forgive me in advance for abusing this post)
    Today is a big day for fantasy geeks like me:
    “Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim” comes out!!!!!! (only the biggest game of the year!!!)
    “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 is released!!! (last Potter movie :( aww)
    “Immortals” hits theaters!!! (please be better than Clash of the Titans remake)
    The “Star Wars: The Old Republic” beta to which I was invited begins!!! (only one of the biggest MMOs of all time!!!)
    Again forgive me Jonathan, I am a over excited! Now my question to you, do those aforementioned things mean anything for you? In other words…
    1) Will you be playing Skyrim?
    2) Did you see the last Potter film/do you like the series?
    3) Are you interested in Immortals?
    4) Are you ever going to give “The Old Republic” a try? (or are you not into mmos)
    Seeing as how we are both into fantasy, I’d like to know :)
    (P.S I know Star Wars is technically SF, but I have always thought of it more as Science Fantasy rather than Science Fiction.

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