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Book Review and Author Interview: Curse and Consequence by Savannah Jezowski

I've been looking forward to this post for a while now. Today, I'm featuring Curse and Consequence, Book 1 in the Whitby Tales, as well as an interview with its author, Savannah Jezowski.

First off, synopsis and beautiful cover:

When Love visits Ravenhead Hall, sparks fly…quite literally.

Miss Rea Abernathy only wants to honor the family who has taken her under their wing, rescuing her from a life of poverty. But thanks to two determined suitors, she finds herself in a state far worse than the one from which her benefactress saved her.

When Mr. Sedgwick Whitby sets his sights on his mother’s sweet-tempered pig keeper, his orderly life is thrown into chaos: Rea’s station is less–than-desirable, and another gentleman may be pursuing her. Hoping to get his annoyingly charming twin brother out of the way, Sedgwick purchases a simple curse from a disreputable faery which consequently plunges them all into a misfortune far more serious than troubles of the heart.

With time running out to break the curse and tempers flying high, can Sedgwick and Rea set things right and find love after all? Jane Austen meets dragons in this frolicking fantasy romance about a comely pig keeper, two wealthy gentlemen, and the curse binding them all together. Perfect for fans of Diana Wynne Jones and Gail Carson Levine.

Click here to buy on Amazon. Available on Kindle Unlimited. Click here to add it to your lists on Goodreads.

My Review of Curse and Consequence

There is a strong Jane Austen element to this book, but it's so wonderfully original that it would be unfair to shelve it with fantasy-themed Jane Austen retellings. It's not actually a retelling at all. At heart, it's a Regency fantasy with a world and a story all its own. There's enough of an Austen touch to make fans of the Pride and Prejudice miniseries (or book*) smile at the witty dialogue. But as the synopsis indicates, the influences of Diana Wynne Jones and Gail Carson Levine are there in equal measure as well (and even a touch of Terry Pratchett, in my opinion). Rather than “Pride and Prejudice in a fantasy setting,” I'd describe it as “Austen-style characters confronted with a humorous magical predicament.” The blurb wisely avoids revealing the exact details of the story's main conflict, so I'll steer clear of doing that as well. You'll enjoy the book a lot more if you discover all that for yourself. All you need to know is that this is a supremely enjoyable fantasy with strong characterization and lots of laugh-out-loud moments. Not to be missed, and particularly appropriate for family reading.

*Yes, I have also read Pride and Prejudice in book form. I'm not a Philistine.

Author Interview with Savannah Jezowski

About the Author: Savannah Jezowski lives in Amish country with her Knight in Shining Armor and a wee warrior princess. She is the founder of Dragonpen Designs and Dragonpen Press, which offers author services such as cover design, developmental edits, and interior formatting. Her debut novella “Wither” is featured in Five Enchanted Roses, an anthology of Beauty and the Beast, and is a prequel to The Neverway Chronicles, a Christian fantasy series filled with tragic heroes and the living dead. She is also the author of When Ravens Fall, a Norse Beauty and the Beast retelling. She is featured in several Fellowship of Fantasy anthologies, including Mythical Doorways, Tales of Ever After, and Paws, Claws, and Magic Tales. When she isn’t writing, Savannah likes to read books, watch BBC miniseries, and play with cover design. She also enjoys having tea with her imaginary friends.

Hi Savannah! To kick things off, what first inspired you to become a writer? How did the journey begin for you?

Er…do we have to go that far back? Let’s see…we’re talking about twenty-five years or more into the past. Well, if you insist! I warn you, though, it’s a long story.

I first became interested in writing when I was in elementary school, long before I even knew what a paragraph was. My first stories were hand-written and illustrated with crayons. Yes, some of them were Star Wars fan fiction or pioneer tales inspired by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Later on, I became obsessed with fantasy and science fiction (so bye bye, Laura, sorry). I wrote multiple, complete series that will never, ever be published because…well…the things you write about when you’re twelve aren’t exactly best seller material.

In high school, I became fascinated with epic fantasy and wrote several books in yet another series. I think it was called The Curse of Kellanore and had a horrible love triangle, a petty princess, lots of archeological expeditions and lots and LOTS of arguing. But, again, this series will never be published.

In college, I became more interested in short stories and Christian allegory. I didn’t do as much writing during this time: the demands of classes and the challenges of becoming an adult proved very stressful. I did manage to write some short stories, however, that did end up getting published in college publications or online magazines. I also journaled hundreds of plot ideas, several that have turned into published works.

After college is when things really got exciting. My first novella won a place in Rooglewood Press’s Five Enchanted Roses anthology. This proved to be a turning point for me, where writing transformed from a hobby into a profession. Self-publishing is definitely the route for me (I’m too impatient to wait on agents and publishers, and I love having my sticky fingers in ever little step). I eventually quit my job and now write and freelance full time from home so that I can spend my days with my daughter and write, write, write.

Which author (or specific book) has had the most profound influence upon the development of your own unique writing style and choice of genre?

There are so many of them. I hate this question, because how do you pick one over another? Early in my life I read a lot of classics, by authors like Tolkien, Lewis, Austen, and Alcott. Later on, I found myself reading Lloyd Alexander and Diana Wynne Jones, as well as many current authors like Maggie Stiefvater (The Scorpio Races) and Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games made a huge impression on me, although I despised the final book for so many reasons we shan’t get into). If I had to pick just one…only one…oh, the agony…I would probably go with Howl’s Moving Castle. I have read that book so many times, I almost have it memorized. I love the lively characters, the light-hearted humor, the magic, the fire demon. I love it all. That book inspired me to venture away from the dark, heavy fiction like my Neverway Chronicles and try some newer stories like The Witching Hour and Curse and Consequence, which are easy reading and full of smiles, clean adventure, and sweet romance. I find these stories so much easier and more enjoyable to write. They make my heart happy.

Curse and Consequence is a delightful blend of fantasy and Jane-Austen-esque romance. Which of Austen’s works would you say is your favorite, and why?

Again, why does it have to be only one? I’ve read all her books multiple times. When I was younger, I really liked Pride and Prejudice for all the obvious reasons and adored the gothic feel of Northanger Abbey. But when I got a little older, I think Persuasion became my favorite. I like the fact that the characters are older which a history behind them.

What was the biggest challenge you overcame on the path to getting this story finished and published?

The biggest challenge was probably figuring out the plot and the REAL story I wanted to tell. I first plotted this book in 2011 or 2012, and while I loved the concept, the story just never seemed to go anywhere. Last year, H. L. Burke asked me to consider submitting a funny romantic comedy to an anthology and it got my mind thinking about what stories I had in my files that might suit such a tale. Curse and Consequence became that story, although I didn’t submit it to the anthology because it became much too long and decided it wanted to be a series and not a short story. It also became a regency-inspired tale rather than straight fantasy. Once I got that sorted, the story practically wrote itself.

Tell us a little about your writing process. I’d say that every author uses a mixture of discovery writing and outlining to some degree, but which method do you tend to use more?

I used to be a complete pantser (no plot, just writing by the seat of your pants), but I never seemed to finish anything, and if I did finish a story, it was riddled with bunny trails and required multiple, extensive revisions. I came to the conclusion this was detrimental to my sanity. So now I use something called the One Hour Plot. It’s a very basic outline that helps you sort out character motivations and the primarily obstacles and plot points in your novel. Then, I sit down and write from there. So it’s a little outlining mixed with some pantsing because I like the freedom of being able to go where the story takes me…as long as it doesn’t take me into half a dozen sanity-robbing revisions. I find this method hugely successful.

In the Author’s Note of Curse and Consequence, you reveal that this story went through a number of different incarnations and revisions before it reached its current form. (This is a process I can definitely relate to!) What advice would you give to authors who have a story concept they love, but are struggling to get it into a final form that they’re happy with?

The best advice I have…try something different. Take the characters and put them in a different time period or story world. Throw in a new character. Try a new villain. Sometimes all the story needs is something fresh to bring it to life.

Any vague, non-spoilery teasers you’d like to drop for Book 2?

(Evil giggles) I am so glad you asked. I love teasers. Book 2, titled Magic and Mischief, will pick up right where Consequence leaves off, but I think it’s going to be told from Hugh and Ella’s perspective. I think. It’s also going to have some very subtle Cinderella themes although it won’t be a retelling. The curse is going to get more complicated and the squabbling more troublesome. I don’t have much written yet for book two, but here is one line I scrawled out the other day before my toddler interrupted my writing session:

“I need a pretty dress,” said Hugh. “No, it’s not for me. And, dragons smite me, will you keep Wicky away from me until after the ball?”

Since we do want to keep this non-spoilery, I will let your imagination take you from here.

***

Thanks for coming on the blog today, Savannah! Readers, be sure to connect with Savannah and find out more about her books via the following links:

Website— Newsletter— Facebook  — Facebook Group— Twitter— Amazon Author Page

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Comments (5)

Thanks for inviting me over today, Kyle. This was a great interview (and I loved your review too!) 🙂

[…] Kyle Robert Shultz: Book Review & Author Interview […]

Ahhh this was SO much fun!

It was! I had a great time participating in the tour.

[…] fantastic interview between Kyle Robert Shultz and Savannah Jezowski! Savannah shares more about her writing journey, including a vague teaser […]

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