Skip to main content


The thing mentioned a lot about Abendau's Heir is the ending. My editor talked with me about it, reviewers have mentioned it - some favourably, some less so - my beta readers were fed up talking about it.

One reviewer this week picked up what it meant to me - the set up of Abendau feels familiar and generic, and so it should do because it is a trilogy that sets out to ask questions of one of the central tenets of the genre - that of the untouchable, unbeatable hero. But, this reviewer went on, when the epilogue was read the generic became unique.

The ending is the first real hint of what Abendau is about. It was essential that the normal ending, the one the readers wanted and the premise that would be expected to deliver on, wasn't what happened.

Because, frankly, that ending isn't believable. Not once you put real people into books - and that's what my characters should feel like, real people in an extreme world.

People are not unbreakable. When they're in trauma - and there's plenty of trauma in there - people do strange things. They fall apart. They believe in things they'd normally laugh at. Some rise to the occasion and go over the top in saving it. But, for most of us, once faced with trauma we wouldn't overcome. We'd crack, at least. Some of us - most, I think - when faced with the events of Abendau would break.

This isn't a trilogy about a hero's journey - or, perhaps it is, but it's not the usual gung-ho hero of fiction. It's not a trilogy about one person's journey, even though there's a clear central character. By the time I get to book 3 all my betas remarked that it wasn't one person's story anymore but three, at least (I'd argue five).

We don't walk our path in life alone. Our heroes are no less ordinary than anyone else - they have fears and darkness and strength and hope. We can follow the same story laid down time and time again, we can be the same trope to succeed in that story but, if a character is real, they'll bring their own shape to the story. They'll make their own mistakes. They'll struggle to do what's laid down and cast in genre-stone. Because I would. And you would. And him over there.


ML said…
Thanks for picking up on my review (I have also posted it to my poorly-tended and probably largely unread blog at I was very interested to read it as I'm from the same town as yourself.

Looking forward to the next one.
Joanne Zebedee said…
Thank you so much for leaving it - every review is so appreciated at this early stage! (And always will be, I imagine.)It was thought provoking in the sense that the generic set up has always been a challenge to sell as something original but that without that feel, at least in the beginning, I couldn't play with the tropes and ask the question (which is largely around what it would actually mean to be the hero in sff, and what it would really do - I got fed up with invincible heroes constantly dusting themselves off and getting on with things) effectively. Hopefully as book two and three come into play it will diverge more into a unique world (I think it does) and answer some of the questions.

I had a scene based in Carrick in Inish Carraig (my aliens invade Belfast book), down at Kilcreggan farm, but it fell at the last edit as not adding more than another scene did. I might pop it up as a short story/excerpt for the Carrick people on the blog - that might be fun!

Popular posts from this blog

A NATURAL HISTORY OF GOBLINS - a guest blog by Teresa Edgerton

Some fantasy writers like to write about elves, others prefer werewolves, vampires, or zombies. I have a penchant for goblins.

In folklore, the word "goblin" has been applied in myriad ways. A goblin might be a mischievous sprite like Puck, a hideous, vengeful ghost, or even a beneficient house spirit such as a brownie. Sometimes it was used as a synonym for fairy, sometimes applied to a separate race: small, ugly, and malicious. I've taken advantage of this ambiguity, and in each series of books I've written where goblins appear, I've reinvented them.

In the second Celydonn series (sequels to The Green Lion Trilogy) they are fuathan, bad fairies if you will. I like writing about fairies. Even the best of them are not nice; they are not benevolent. On occasion they may be extravagently generous. Grateful for small favors, they return them with magnificent gifts and spectacular rewards. But you cannot trust them. Their morality is not our morality, their laws…

Getting hearts racing, an interview with fantasy-romance novelist Suzanne Jackson

Today I'm chatting with Suzanne Jackson, whose debut novel has been picked up by Venus Ascending, a new fantasy/sci-fi romance imprint headed up by Teresa Edgerton. I'm lucky enough to be a critique partner of Sue's, and can confirm that this book is something special with a great, unique world, sumptuous writing, a fantastic female lead, and the so-bad-he's-irresistible Nicholas Jarrett.
So I thought I'd be the first to nab the elusive Suzanne and find out what makes her - and her world - tick.


Firstly, tell us a little about your world, and how you've managed to marry fantasy with romance?

Hi, Jo. Thank you for inviting me onto your blog for my very first interview. I’m thrilled to be able to talk a little bit about my book and characters.
The Beguiler is set in a fantasy world similar in many ways to Georgian England. Many people are superstitious, with goo…


This week a theme has emerged over my conversations and interactions, almost organically. That theme is about communities and how they can give a voice and strength to the individuals within it. I’m a member of a range of writing communities. Some, such as Women Aloud and the SFFchronicles, I’m pretty central to. Some, less so:
Despite having a reputation for writing some dark scenes, my work isn’t dark enough to be classed as grimdark*. And I don’t read a whole heap of Grimdark books (the odd one slips through my eclectic book-selection part of my brain, but so does the odd macho-man romance.) But I like the Grimdark community grimdark fiction readers & writers – they’re funny and warm (I know, I know, they really need to up their grim credentials) and very welcoming. And moderated as tightly as a group needs to be. So, I hang around and post the odd comment and chat with the odd member – not that they’re all odd, of course – and that’s as far as it needs to go. The group have …