Jordan Rivet - Swashbuckling YA Fantasy and Post-Apocalyptic Science Fiction
Jordan Rivet is an American author of swashbuckling YA fantasy and post-apocalyptic science fiction. She has written fifteen novels including the Steel and Fire, Empire of Talents, and Fire Queen's Apprentice fantasy series, the post-apocalyptic Seabound Chronicles, and Wake Me After the Apocalypse. Originally from Arizona, Jordan lives in Hong Kong with her husband. She was a fencer for many years and hasn't made up her mind about whether the pen is mightier than the sword. When she's not writing, Jordan likes to read, travel, binge-watch TV shows, and eat other people's cooking. As our Author of the Day, she tells us all about her book, The Watermight Thief.
Please give us a short introduction to what The Watermight Thief is about.
The Watermight Thief is a YA fantasy adventure about a young magic thief who gets the chance to study with a legendary magic wielder, the Fire Queen, but only if she spies on her for an enemy king. It has dragons with feathers, unique magical substances, and even a little romance.
What inspired the creation of the city of Pendark?
I draw from lots of different places to create the cities in my fantasy worlds. Pendark is a delta city, full of canals and mud and little islands. It was inspired by Mediterranean cities like Venice and Alexandria, and it also has stilt houses and floating markets like the ones in Bangkok and Tai O in Hong Kong (where I live).
Tell us more about Tamri. What makes her so special?
Tamri is scrappy and determined. She has spent her whole life trying to get by in a cutthroat city where magic wielders are constantly fighting over Watermight, a magical substance that is both weapon and currency. She has very little power of her own, but she’ll still stand up to powerful people to protect those she loves.
Readers say The Watermight Thief had them at the edge of their seats from start to finish. How did you pull this off?
I try to put my characters in mortal peril from the first chapter! I also write my rough drafts quickly so that the story has a sense of momentum from the beginning, then I add in additional tension points during the revisions.
Why do you write fantasy? What drew you to the genre?
Fantasy was my first love as a reader. I enjoy escaping into vivid imaginary worlds, and I love the sense of magic and wonder that’s an inherent part of the genre. Fantasy stories often have epic stakes and world-changing conflicts. They’re also a lot of fun! As a writer, I get to play with ideas in a way I can’t when writing something grounded in the real world.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
I was a fencer for many years, something that heavily influenced my Steel and Fire fantasy series. I can also block out noise like a champion—a skill I honed growing up as one of nine children!
This is the first book in the series. Can it be read as a standalone? How do the other books in the series tie in with this one?
Tamri’s story unfolds over three full-length books (two are out so far). Although The Watermight Thief has a complete story arc and a satisfying ending, it’s not the whole adventure. This series is also a spinoff of the Steel and Fire series, beginning with Duel of Fire, but you don’t need to read those books to enjoy The Watermight Thief.
Which of your characters was the most challenging to create?
Because this is a spinoff, I brought back some of the old characters from the first series. This is primarily Tamri’s story, not theirs. It was challenging to integrate them into her world in a way that would be compelling for new readers while still pleasing fans of the original series.
What is the first thing you do when you start working on a new book?
I usually come up with the idea for a new book while I’m still working on something else. I will let the idea kick around in my head for a while, and if it sticks with me that’s how I know it’s worth pursuing. At some point the idea will feel developed enough that I’ll sit down and write out notes for it by hand. I think of it as potential energy building up. When I finally release it onto the page, I will often be able to produce ten pages worth of material and a rough early outline in one go. I’ll use that material to develop a more detailed outline before I start writing.
When creating a fantasy world with supernatural or abnormal things, how do you keep it all organized?
I take a lot of notes and make maps and diagrams to help visualize details. I used Scrivener to organize the worldbuilding notes from Steel and Fire when I was getting ready to write the spinoff set in the same world.
Do you have any interesting writing habits? What is an average writing day like for you?
I go to the same Starbucks every weekday from 11 am to 7 pm. I find it difficult to focus at home, and the act of leaving my apartment and walking to the coffee shop helps me get into work mode. I typically write for 4-5 hours then take an email/research/social media break before going back into the writing for another couple of hours.
What are you working on right now?
I’m currently revising the sequel to my YA scifi novel, Wake Me After the Apocalypse. As soon as I finish this draft, I’ll write the rough draft of the third book in Tamri’s story. I usually switch back and forth between two books so I can let each one rest in between drafts.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
My website is www.jordanrivet.com. I post photos of my life in Hong Kong on Instagram @Jordan_Rivet_Books, and I’m on Twitter @Jordan_Rivet. My books are available on Amazon as ebooks, paperbacks, and audiobooks, and they can be read for free with Kindle Unlimited.