Obligatory Biographical Information:
I currently live in Atlanta, Georgia after having lived most of my life in Los Angeles, California. After self-identifying as an artist, graphic designer and illustrator since I was a child, I’ve since come to the conclusion that while a picture may be worth a 1,000 words, I’d rather have the words.
I have one husband, three cats, and a nearly infinite number of opinions on anything from feminism to the correct way to make a martini. I sometimes think that writing is my personal excuse for endless world-building, and an alibi for when the FBI wants to know why I’m doing all this research on suitcase nuclear weapons and M-theory. I have an obsessive love of semiotics, mythology, occult mysticism, and science. So basically: I’m a geek and proud.
Did you self-publish? I’m considering that for my first novel.
The original plan was to self-publish, but I’m waiting to hear back from a publisher so…it’s all a mystery! I certainly don’t think there’s anything wrong with self-publishing, and it may yet be a fallback for me. I think it’s a lot more work to self-publish though, so it would be nice to have an agent/publisher who tackles such stuff for me. I wouldn’t spurn this help!
I agree. I’ve sent my novel out, gotten a couple rejections, and I’m still waiting on a few (and probably will send out a few more queries). But the more I wait the more I want to self-publish even though it’s so much work. I’m just so impatient! Lol I wish you luck with your querying!! 🙂
As you can probably tell from my posts Alexis, the publishing deal fell through and I’m back to self-publishing. I’ll let you know how it all goes!
Hi Jenn, I nominated you for a blog award, check here for more details, http://fotsfantasy.wordpress.com/2013/08/18/one-lovely-blog-award/
Oh gosh! O.O I will have to uh…read! Thank you!
No problem! It’s up to you if you want to do it, I know some people I nominated did not want to, and I think the next time I get an award like this I might not either.
You certainly are getting published now. I pre-ordered your book. It’s a great read so far Jenn. Well done!
Just finished ‘The Ruin Of Kings’….thanks for the good ‘read’!
FYI – page 373/1st para/5th line: ‘and I don’t who that person is either’….should it have been ‘and I don’t know who that person is either’? Thought I’d let you know if you were unaware of it so can be corrected for future printings.
Thank you! I’ll pass it along to Tor’s copy editors.
Where can I get a copy of The Culling Fields? I can’t find it anywhere either in e-book or hard copy. I live in British Columbia. Thanks!
Well…that’s because the Culling Fields isn’t for sale anywhere (and really, a good thing too). The only book I have available right now anywhere is The Ruin of Kings, which is what became of The Culling Fields after it was torn apart, re-written from the ground up, given excellent editing and treatment from the wonderful people at Tor, and basically made better in every possible way.
Great, thanks! I’m currently reading The Ruin of Kings and didn’t know if I should read The Culling Fields before.
I just love The Ruin of Kings, and I’m reading it a second time before I start the second book. Do you have an address via an agent or such where your fans can send you real letters? Thank you so much!
Oh goodness, I’m so glad you liked it! As it happens, you can send me mail at Jenn Lyons, P.O. Box 958236, Duluth, GA 30095.
The Ruin of Kings was everything I could ever hope to want from a book and more! Your characters and story captured my heart, and I can’t wait for The Name of All Things!
I just read somewhere that the footnotes do not appear on the kindle format for the Ruin of Kings. Had to read twice to get my head around all the characters, not complaining though, I always reread books just before the next sequel. Do you have an external list of these footnotes that we can access on your website.. By the way, thoroughly enjoyed the book, looking forward to next books.
I’m not sure where you read that, but it’s not true. It IS possible that someone may be using a Kindle reader of some kind which doesn’t gracefully handle footnotes, but footnotes come stock in the ebook formats too! (I’m so glad you liked the book!). But no, I don’t have a separate footnote list. They wouldn’t make much sense removed from context.
I just finished The Ruin of Kings and was thoroughly impressed. One of my new favorites. I was also very much surprised that the next book in the series is premiering this month. That’s always a pleasent surprise in fantasy, to have another one coming so soon.
I’m happy to see this footnote style of writing in another author’s work. It’s in The Bartimaeus Trilogy, which was a favorite of mine growing up. I see a few parallels themes between that series and this one as well, slavery in particular. Have you read those books?
I’m so glad you liked it! I admit, I haven’t read the Bartimaeus Trilogy, but in my experience it’s not uncommon for authors to tap on to similar experiences and themes. Some of my writing friends and I like to joke that we’re all figuring out ways to write the same book.
I stayed up till 1 am the other night to finish “The Ruin of Kings” and I’m now 200 pages into “The Name of All Things.” Brilliant! I’m hooked. Great writing and I appreciate the super handy glossary. But I hate the maps — they’re impossible to read and I’m getting frustrated. They’re too dark, the fonts are a mess and are either way too big or way too tiny. You’ve built an incredible world and I think you’re doing readers a disservice by making it really difficult to ascertain where your characters are in that world. I think cleaner maps would make the reading experience a lot more enjoyable.
A fan in Seattle
I’m glad you’re loving the book and rather sad you don’t like the maps. This is honestly the first time anyone has ever said they have a problem with them, so I’m not really sure what to say. I’d say it’s all the artist’s fault, but given that I’m the artist in question, I’m afraid I can’t pass the buck on this one.
Isn’t it just times like these when one needs truly engrossing fantasies the most?! We decided my daughter was old enough to read The Name of All Things this year by herself, and I am really grateful that she is so entranced because she has needed something enticing while staying indoors. As always, I am endlessly grateful that my daughter’s generation will grown up in a world where women are the best parts of epics and not the worst, and you have everything to do with that, so I thank you, sincerely!!! This 2nd installment is one of my favorite books to discuss! I read it so quickly the first time just to find out where the plot would go, but on the second read, I felt like I understood the rhythm of your sentences so much more because I took the time to truly hear them. I just love your writing…obviously! I feel like you must have written poetry at some point. Anyway I just wanted to say please stay well, and we appreciate you! With a little luck, by this time next year, we will have leadership who values human life more than the stock market and one who will renew funding for the arts in general. I sincerely hope so, anyway.
Wishing you all the best! M Norris
Thank you! Notes like this mean the world to me, and I really appreciate you taking the time. I’m so glad both you and your daughter have been enjoying these. Take care of yourself and be safe!
So sorry to say something negative, but I was turned off by some of the language & terms which were very “modern”. Using the term “teenagers” which didn’t come into use till the late 1940’s Lines like “so I’m not on your favorite person list” and “you almost gave me a heart attack” just don’t work in pre-industriall fantasy novels. That kind of language was jarring to this reader
I believe the mistake you may be making here is thinking this is a ‘pre-industrial’ fantasy novel. It’s not, and at no point does it share history with Earth. So keeping to some preconception of medieval language struck me as needlessly anachronistic. Since the conceit of these books are that they’re being written diegetically, it follows that in the original Guarem they have some equivalent word that does in fact mean ‘teenager’ and has been translated into English as such.
But to each their own. Thanks for stopping by.
Hey Jenn, firstly I wanted to say how much I’ve loved reading your work! The Ruin of Kings completely sucked me in, having different narrators with their own styles and unique POVs was so ingenious and fresh. I’ve just started The Name of All Things and it’s so so so amazing! The world-building in this series is incredible, from the characters to the history and everything in between. I hope you don’t mind me asking, but what was your process like when you were creating such a complex world? It was no doubt difficult keeping everything organized and original (and you accomplished it in such a great way!)
Thanks in advance and I hope you’re doing well!
Ah, thank you! Sorry I hadn’t gotten back to you sooner. I really appreciate all your kind words.
Worldbuilding is an ongoing process for me. The world itself is something I’ve been working on for many years, but there’s always something new to figure out. I use a wiki to keep track of it all, and that really helps!
Please when will the Culling fields be released, I’m a top fan of yours
It won’t be. The Culling Fields was a manuscript that I tore apart and rewrote from the ground up — it became The Ruin of Kings. I have no plans on ever publishing that original version. Besides just not being as good, it’s just not set in the same universe because of how much fundamentally changed. So, the Ruin of Kings is out, as is book 2, the Name of All Things, with book 3, the Memory of Souls, releasing on August 25th, and book 4 and 5 to be released in 2021 and 2022.
I just finished memory of souls and omg!!! Best one yet!! Turned right around and read it again. Absolutely love this series! Any chance on getting a title and release date for the last one? Waiting without knowing might just kill me.
I’m so sorry! (I didn’t see the notifications for this.) So Book 4 comes out May 11, 2021, and book 5 should release I think in March of 2022? (Don’t quote me on that last one, since I don’t have a final date on that yet.)
I won your book through the Worldbuilder’s lottery this year. I received the hardback (gorgeous cover, by the way) about the middle of August. I’m currently tearing through The Memory of Souls (< a month later). I can’t express how much I’m enjoying the story. It’s beautiful and complicated and thoughtful. I’m glad you’ve moved to writing and have an elaborate adventure to share.
And omigosh how in the world did you keep those family trees straight in your head? Wow!
I am intrigued to find that copyright of your books is @Jennifer Williamson, who is asserted to be the author of your books in accordance with the Copyright, Designs & Patent Act 1988. Do you care to enlighten me? I cannot find Jennifer Williamson on the internet – a real person? Very interested in your books, but finding keeping track of genealogies a tad difficult!
It’s my legal name (I’m hardly the first or only person out there writing under a nom de plume, although in my case Jenn Lyons is also my married name–it could easily have been my legal name had I felt like changing it.) This has never been any kind of secret; copyright law does not require me to list my legal name as long as it’s on record with my application, which it is.
As for not finding the name on the internet–there are Jennifer Williamsons who are lawyers, politicians, diplomats, artists, soap manufacturers, bus drivers, teachers, and even to my vast amusement, exotic dancers. I’m not even the only Jennifer Williamson in my own family. I assure you that they’re all real people.
hey! i am half way through the Ruin of Kings and admittedly i have an uncorrected version, i was wondering if i could have to buy the corrected version before the 2nd book or not? anyway it’s a very good book and i do enjoy reading it!
Apologies, but I don’t understand what you’re asking, although I’m very glad you’re enjoying the book.
The Chorus of Dragons has quickly become one of my very favorite book series.
As a young woman who loves Fantasy I was utterly transfixed by your feminist, hilarious and equally solemn, deeply humane storytelling.
More so, as an asexual, I cannot begin to describe what it means to me to see this orientation portrayed not only in psychopaths, but in “normal” human beings too, and awesome magicians at that!
Your writing shows what true heroes are supposed to look like (and what they’re not), equally the presented sociopolitical problems could not be more relevant.
I am so excited for the fourth book and cannot wait to delve deeper into this impressive world you created.
I wish you the best!
I reported this through the Kindle itself, but figured it would be good to also report to the author.
I’m not sure if this is the right place to report this or not, but footnote 2 in chapter 60 crashes my kindle to the home screen. Error message says:
An error occurred. If you purchased this item from Amazon, delete the item and download it from the Cloud.
It’s an original Kindle touch with firmware 18.104.22.168, jailbroken.
Being a fan of of the fantasy genre for over thirty years now, I’ve found that it is the easiest genre to just totally “mess up”, which has led me to being extremely picky about what authors and series I will read. Usually I just re-read series I’ve accumulated over the years, very rarely ever buying new ones due to my extremely picky nature. I just happened across a review of your first book, and it piqued my interest, and I have to say I LOVED the cover art for it (and all the other novels in the series so far). I decided to take a chance on your series, and hoped I had gotten lucky and found another series I would enjoy, and not some other sloppy storytelling that occurs in most fantasy these days. Needless to say, I was not disappointed. Having just finished “The Memory of Souls”, I wanted to tell you how much I have loved your series and your writing so far. Your debut series is one of the most impressive projects I have ever read – each novel gets better and better, and I find i cannot put them down. They really got me through this extremely tough last year of quarantine hell, and kept me sane. The worldbuilding, the characters, the extremely intricate plot, the creativity – it’s all amazing and top notch. I’ve already highly recommended your series to my two best friends that also read fantasy, and am desperately waiting for them to get caught up to me, so I can finally discuss the books I have grown to love so much. I just wanted to let you know how much your books meant to me and what an amazing job you have done with this series. I look forward to reading more from you in the future. Best wishes, and great job! 🙂
I was suggested the chrous of dragons series by a friend. After reading it, ive been suggesting it too everyone also. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, it is so refreshing and exciting to find a whole series that truly hits on all of the parts of LGBTQ+, without making it the only focus of the series. High fantasy, lgbtq+ characters, amazing story, magic, mystery. It has everything, thank you.
My pleasure. It was important to me (and still is) that the LBGTQ+ representation not be something whose presence in a story I had to ‘justify’ existing. We don’t need a reason to exist in real life. We just do. Happy reading!
I just picked up The ruin Of Kings on a whim in my local bookstore and finished it in 3 days, reading at every open moment. I didn’t think I would be so enthralled, almost like The Old Man told me to read :). While it’s my favourite book this year so far, some thoughts I had:
* Weakest point is I think the start for me, as there is a LOT of information thrown your way, of which I forgot a lot after a while – which I think is bad considering a lot of characters make a return at a later point. Of course, the naming list at the end remedies that but only a bit.
* In that respect, having maybe the narrator at one point do some funny intermezzo as in: so your mom was **unspoiled**, but she used the stone of shackles for this and that.. but I can understand if that’s not fitting – I’m not a writer after all
* Worldbuilding is excellent, Hopefully we will see some parts from the viewpoint of the other races /characters from different areas too!
Once again,loved the book. Will you be working on a new series after these and if so, can you show already a little bit :)?
I’m excited already !
Started on A Chorus of Dragons late last year and was hooked, The Ruin of Kings stands as some of the best fiction writing I’ve had the joy of reading.
Passed it onto my partner when I finished it and she blitzed through it in 4 days. Since then, we’ve got a physical copy (for me + for the maps), a kindle copy (for her) and the audiobook (so we can listen together) of each book. We’ve sat concurrently reading on planes, sat with her listening and me reading in busy bars, and read our separate copies whilst completely separated by travel. Each time is filled with exclamations as one of us reaches some drama before the other. A fair few arguments have ensued when i’ve fallen behind and she hasnt been able to talk about an event.
So, thank you. Aside from creating an incredible world and literary work, it’s been a brilliant experience for us as a couple to immerse ourselves in together.
Also, to echo another commenter, the LQBTQ (plus Joratese power complex’s) undertones are BRILLIANT 😀
Just wrapping up The Discord of Gods (we’ve been rationing it out, cant bear to finish it), without question the best book i’ve read/listened to.
I am so glad you’ve liked the books, and I’m just overwhelmed by the positives responses to TDoG. Thank you for taking the time to let me know. It means a lot.
I started this series on a whim and I was just captivated immediately. Once I started I couldn’t stop. I just finished the entire series, so I can say with certainty that this series is one of the best. It is so good! I am excited for whatever you decide to write next. If you decide to, of course.
Thank you so much for the kind words. I hope you like what I have in store next!
I’m really happy to see more lgbtqia+ represenration in fantasy books and i really love epic fantasy
I really want to read your books so I just have one question : is there ableism or ableist content in your books?
I am autistic with anxiety and as you know ableism and sanism are very made everyday and as a queer person I really hope that ableism and sanism questions are take into account because in france it is not the case… And lgbt+ pride and anti ableism and anti sanism (fight against racism too) are very close.
Thank you to read me it will be a real pleasure to read your books.
I wish I could say “no.” but all I can say with certainly is “i tried.” I’m neuroatypical myself, but I can’t guarantee I caught everything–sanism would likely be the biggest issue, given that I was largely ignorant of that concern when I wrote the first book.
In any event, you should be aware that while I did try, I have never shied from having bad people say bad things–which means that villains will espouse beliefs and insults that are sexist, ablist, and generally horrible in a variety of different ways. (Even the heroes might, in order to later discover and correct their mistake.) POVs are character specific, so reflect their sometimes very bigoted beliefs. Whether or not this is acceptable seems to be a matter of personal preference.
You would definitely be taking a chance, and depending on how triggering you find such language, I would certainly understand if you find it an unacceptable one.
Be safe out there.