The Jealousy Glass
"We came to stop a war before it came to Cercia. And it seems the war has come to us."
Responsibility and patriotism spur Cercia's new leader, Quentin, to protect his beloved country at all costs and he assigns Asahel and Felix to serve as ambassadors and secret agents to Anjdur. Their journey quickly turns awry and Asahel and Felix barely escape a devastating shipwreck, walk a tightrope of political tension, and rescue an empress before they learn they must face an enemy closer to them than they thought.
Will they be able to uncover an assassin's plot before it's too late? Will Asahel be able to unearth a secret that is vital to their mission? Will Cercia survive its own revolution? In The Jealousy Glass, Perkins boldly continues a series of unforgettable characters and events that will leave you begging for more.
If you could work with any author who would it be?
I'm actually writing a series of short stories and a novel right now with my dream collaborator, Wilson Fabián Saravia. (I'm still not exactly sure how on earth I managed to convince him to write with me!) He's just the greatest person to work with—a brilliant conceptualist, fantastic artist, and our minds seem to always fall beautifully into sync. There is honestly no one that I would rather work with more.
If I had to pick someone else? Either R.S. Hunter, Brandon Sanderson or Peter Straub—Hunter and Sanderson for their amazing worldbuilding abilities and Straub because his writing style is so poetic and lyrical. (Though I note, they're all completely different authors.)
What's your favorite part of a book?
In terms of writing, my favorite part of a book is the middle. This seems to be a bit unusual among writers I know but the middle is where I really get to know my story and go tearing ahead. I struggle with beginnings (in fact, I've been accused of starting my books in the action and that's a just accusation) and I dislike the end because well, it's the end. But I love being right in the middle of what's going on and bringing a tale to its climax and conclusion.
When naming your characters, do you give any thought to the actual meaning?
It really depends on the character and on the story. A few of the characters in the Artifacts series were named after inspirations of mine or from names that other people suggested to me. With the other series that I'm collaborating on (Efimera), we've put a lot of thought into the etymology of words and names. Pretty frequently, even "throwaway" names or concepts have a hidden meaning and a reason that the names were chosen.
What advice would you give to people who "run out of creativity" when writing?
Change your environment. Get up and take a walk. Visit a museum or art gallery or even a place filled with objects and pick up things, look at them, think about them. If it's a long dry spell, think about the things inhibiting you and ask whether you need to make bigger changes.
What books have most influenced your life most?
This is a constantly shifting list but right now, I would say the works of Octavia Butler, particularly Parable of the Sower. C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia, the Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle, the Pern series by Anne McCaffrey, The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper and Fritz Leiber's short stories are all fantasy works that were really important to me from the time I remember reading. Mary Doria Russell's The Sparrow and Children of God are also key works on my bookshelf, as are Ender's Game, Antigone, Shadowland… the list goes on and on!
What are your current projects?
Right now, I'm working on more novels in the Artifacts of Empire series—a hint of the third can be seen at the end of Jealousy Glass. I'm also working on a collaboration to produce short stories and a novel in a series with the working title of Efimera (which is quite a bit more steampunk than my Artifacts novels are). I'm having a lot of fun with that since my collaborator Wilson is so much fun to work with—we've come up with some of the craziest ideas and I really think people are going to be intrigued by our universe.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Let's see what happens when the reviews come in. Right now, I'm actually pretty happy with it—I think if I added anything, it might be to throw in a dash more humor. I really enjoyed having a few light-hearted scenes in The Jealousy Glass as I think it enhanced the more serious elements of the book to have that contrast there.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Chapter 23. I won't say anything more than that. J When you read the book, I think you'll understand that answer.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I thought a lot about tolerance and what it means to accept other people in spite of your difference. It's possible for anyone to close their mind and not be aware of it, even those of a less privileged class. I explore that a bit in Jealousy Glass and it will come more to the forefront in the book that follows, The Oracle Bones.
What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing it to life?
I think the biggest challenge that I faced, and continue to face, in this series is dealing with issues that are sensitive to many people and doing so in a manner that will cause others to think about the world around them. Fantasy is a great genre for discussing these kinds of topics although I think that it's not an obvious one. I've learned much more about life from Tolkien and Lewis than I have from authors considered more "literary."
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Gwen Perkins has always regarded the deep rainforest of the Olympic Peninsula as the one place that she feels most at home. Gwen grew up in small towns across the Pacific Northwest, going to slug races and strawberry festivals when she wasn't scribbling on any scrap of paper she could come by. She boasts the dubious distinction of going to a public school with only eight students, learning Irish sea chanteys from a man who sang with the Clancy Brothers, and catching tadpoles during classes.
Her adult life is generally just about as much fun.
She lives in the City of Destiny (better known as Tacoma, Washington). Her hobbies include wandering beaches, baking pies and lampworking. In between all of this, Gwen has written two novels in the Artifacts of Empire series: The Universal Mirror and The Jealousy Glass. The Universal Mirror has been nominated for a 2013 Endeavour Award.
She is presently at work on future novels in the Artifacts of Empire series while working on another series in collaboration with Wilson Fabián Saravia.
In conjunction with the release of The Jealousy Glass, Gwen is running a giveaway for an autographed, first edition paperback of The Universal Mirror through Goodreads here. Open Internationally. The giveaway officially ends on December 21, 2012—the author's birthday and supposed date for the oncoming apocalypse.