Book Tour Q&A: A Bond of Thread by Allegra Pescatore and J.P. Burnison
Today we're taking part in the book tour organized by Escapist Book Tours for A Bond of Thread by Allegra Pescatore and J.P. Burnison! Continue reading for the book blurb and a Q&A with J.P. Burnison.
About the book
Enter the Nine Lands of the Mountain Fell.
Skye has only ever known pain and solitude since waking up with neither memories or magic. Hunted for being a Ruler in a time when they are scarce, she has survived in the wilds near the Rim, always on the run from the rest of her kind. Only starvation could draw her close to a village, but when a chance encounter and a bit of bad luck launch her into the arms of a man whose soul is bonded to hers, hiding who she is may no longer be possible.
Ilyas is a hunted man. Wanted for killing the last High Queen of Vine, he is plagued by his past of wholesale slaughter. He never wanted another Queen, and certainly not a half-feral, distrustful girl who gave up on the Fae a long time ago. Unfortunately, Soulbonds are not so easily walked away from, no matter how hard they both may want to, especially when trapped together in a cave with a pack of Feral Fae right outside.
With long-held enmities breaking out between the besieged villagers and all their lives on the line, Ilyas and Skye must learn to work together and trust each other if they want to survive.
On to the interview...!
Thank you so much for joining us for this Q&A! We’ll start off with one of our standard podcast opening questions–tell us something great that’s happened recently.
I’m on my way towards leaving the state of Florida, so I mean that’s a win.
What are you currently reading or what’s up next on your TBR? What made you pick up this book?
The next books on my TBR are to finish up the Lightning Conjurer series by Rachel Renner and to finish up the Antiheroes series by Jacob Peppers. The Lightning Conjurer I picked up because, as an author who WRITES fantasy romance, I should really read more fantasy romance. The Antiheroes series is fun and ridiculous and I didn’t realize how badly I needed this series in my life until I read the first few chapters.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what inspired you to start writing?
Hello! I’m J.P. Burnison, but you probably knew that courtesy of Fiction Fans putting that up on the header of the page. My mundane job is working in IT for a fairly large healthcare company whose name I won’t mention. Aside from that, I’ve been doing gaming in one form or another all my life. Whether video gaming from the young age of 4, starting DnD 2nd Edition at the age of 7, and so on. One could say I am just a giant nerd.
I started writing early, enjoying writing whimsical fantasies that came up from playing the role playing games of the nineties. Unfortunately for me, an experience in high school led to me forgoing any kind of professional writing. I continued to do online, play by post, role playing as life went on until I met Allegra pre-pandemic through a mutual friend. She drug me, kicking and screaming, back into the goal of being a professional author. Now, here I am.
How do you spend your free time when you’re not reading or writing? Do you have any hobbies or interests that you can talk to us about?
Well, as I mentioned I’m a gamer. Between video games, board games and the like are my favorite, time - passing shenanigans. Aside from that, I enjoy making chainmaille jewelry of various kinds (none of which I sell, I just make them for funzies), and have recently gotten into fitness and hitting the gym.
Who are your favorite current writers and who are your greatest influences?
Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series has always been my favorite (No, I won’t talk about the TV show) and has always been a huge influence that I try to build upon. Honestly, though, my greatest influences are my co-authors. Each and every one of the AO Collective influences each other’s writing as we co-write, edit and critique each others works. Through reading Allegra’s work, I notice things I can improve upon in mine, and through editing mine, she sees ways she can improve, rinse and repeat.
If you could collaborate with any one author, who would it be and why?
Honestly, I’m quite happy with the AO Collective’s group of authors to collab with. I can’t imagine I would enjoy collaborating with Robert Jordan. Maybe Brandon Sanderson, he would probably be fun.
What is one thing that you love about the current state of SFF and what is one thing that you wish you saw more of?
Granted I’ve been reading more Indie Fantasy, but the thing I love most is how we have been stretching this genre and discovering new ways of doing things that traditional publishing just doesn’t touch on. I still think there are a great many improvements on, even established tropes, that we could see. New takes on magical schools, new ways to combine science and technology, etc. Those are the things I’d like to see more of, and that I even am trying to build upon myself in some works I’ve got on the back burner.
What is one book you want to shout about to the world? What about it makes you love it so much?
Allegra Pescatore and E. Sand’s NACL : Eye of the Storm. This is a treasure buried under a mountain of salt that not enough people have looked at. It is sincerely a trip with twists and turns that leave you guessing the entire time.
What are your favorite types of stories? Of characters?
My favorite characters are the tricksters. Mat Cauthon, Loki, Duo Maxwell, the characters of action with a huge sense of humor are the ones that both get themselves into all kinds of messes but also create some of the biggest events in the stories.
How much do you plan when you write? What’s your writing process like?
I like having a rough outline of what I’m doing. I have a plot map that covers the bullet points or a small summary of the chapter in Google Sheets I have in a tab in Chrome alongside the document in question. Aside from that, I generally have some music that touches on the subject that I listen to, or I’m in a video call with the co-authors where we all write back and forth, announcing our tags to one another.
You co-wrote this book. What was that collaboration experience like, and how did it change your regular writing process?
For me at least, it didn’t change much. The most amount of change came from planning and editing in my writing process. Aside from that, I’m used to back and forth style Role Playing in play-by-post boards and table top role playing. We planned together, then just sat down and wrote until the next person took over, whether because they had a particular stroke of inspiration, or the person actively writing ran out of things. Sometimes there was reigning the other back in when we’d go off on a tangent, but more often than not, Allegra and I communicated ‘Hey, I just need a response from Skye here cause I’m not certain what it would be’ or the like.
What was your favorite part of writing this book?
Yes. All of it but the battle against the giant Feral Faerie. That had been the bane of my existence the entire book and I hated it as it was the bit I had to write solo.
What do you think characterizes your writing style?
In depth characters. As an example, many people look at Ilyas, who I primarily wrote in A Bond of Thread, and many have varied feelings over whether they love him or not. Which, frankly, is what I wanted.
How much of yourself do you write into your stories?
I don’t think there was much of ‘J.P.’ as a person in Bond. A lot of what I did pulled from stories and experiences of friends and loved ones to build upon for writing this story. I’d say the most that’s me came from Allegra’s and my own combined writing of Mycellica. As we wrote that character, the laughter we had while doing it echoed in our houses.
What comes first to you when you’re writing, the world, the characters, or the storyline?
It depends. In the case of Bond, it definitely was the characters. Namely because they originally started as mine and Allegra’s RP characters in a site we were both on. For one series I’m worldbuilding still, it’s the world. For one I’m actively writing right now, it was the story. It’s whatever strikes my inspiration properly that forms the rest of my ideas, but I more often than not, it’s either the story or the world that comes to me first.
Can you give us an elevator pitch for your book?
Do you enjoy grumpy-grr male protagonists and manic, pixie dream girl female protagonists in an enemies to lovers story with zombies where they are stuck in a cave together? Give A Bond of Thread a try.
Describe your book in 3 adjectives.
Deep, Whimsical and Romantic.
How different is the final version of this book from the first draft?
Significantly. In the original version, about the majority of the middle didn’t exist.
If you could choose one worldbuilding detail (a place, ability, or creature, for example) from your book to exist in the real world, what would it be and why?
Good question : The magic system or the Fair Folk. Both would be excellent and, more so interesting, things to bring into the real world. While there are many different species of Fair Folk, I think you cannot have one without any of the others. To that end, the Fair Folk would add so many levels of whimsy to the world that I think we all need. The Magic system, where the magical powers you could utilize being based on where you were born would be so very interesting. Especially when you think about what each country would have as a power, and how the neighboring countries powers would add in to each individual one. The dynamics would make the world even more zany and … sometimes I think we just need that kind of chaos.
In your opinion, what kind of reader would like this book?
The mix of those who enjoyed Kushiel’s Dart and Brandon Sanderson’s work.
What would you like readers to take away from this book?
That everything is more complex than it seems, folk stories and philosophy can be used to solve even the most convoluted problems, and Mycellica is always right.
Do you have a favorite quote from your book that you can share with us? What about this quote in particular makes it your favorite?
I have two, both of which I wrote. The first is when Mycellica introduces Skye :
“This is Queen Skye, Balancer of the Lands, Arbiter of the MOuntain’s Will, She Who PLays Chess with the Elders, Emissary of the Void, Bringer of the Mighty Potato, and Queen of —”
Not only does it give the first hints to Skye’s greater destiny with the introduction, but it adds a level of levity to a dire situation. Most importantly, it kind of mocks the whole ‘Rulers and their Titles’ things that happen in fantasy and reality. The Bringer of the Mighty Potato was the right choice.
The second, far more poignant, is from Ilyas:
“Bad luck is like a storm; it is in how you choose to face it that determines if it breaks you.”
Ilyas is a broken man, whose weathered storms that would destroy most others. He is deeply injured, so much so that he hears the voice of the Queen he broke an Oath to strangle. Yet he keeps going, sharing just how bad it can be, and that there are multiple ways it can go.
Is there anything you can tell us about any current projects you’re working on?
Mountain Fell Stories :
A Vow of Bones, the third book in the Mountain Fell series is in rewrites, and that is being written by myself and M.D. Chester. A Vow of Bones features Ashan Oriset, the son of Meavian Oriset, the Mad Queen, and Ilyas the Oathbreaker, in his own conquest over the Nine Lands, and brings in the woman he hopes is his salvation. Yet, there is an assassin sent against him, a woman tied to the Queen of Earth and Sky. We hope to have that out as soon as possible.
A Dance of Petals, the fourth book, is in its first draft by FOUR of the AO COllective authors - myself, Allegra Pescatore, E. Sands and Elle Larsen. This novel ties together the events of the first two books, bring Ilyas, Kiarian, Plume, Skye, and Willow together in the capitol of Flower, Aconitum, while an army sits outside trying to break in.
As well, A City of Rains is in its first draft, being written by myself and Elle Larsen. This novel features two new characters. One is a member of the Players, an organization of bards, historians and spies, named Hyasca of Flower, and a Librarian named Meira of Palm as they seek to uncover the treasures of the lost City of Rains, buried under the deserts of Palm.
Finally, as a solo piece, I am working on a Modern Fantasy novel called ‘Welcome to CWW’ (Title Subject to Change). This is the first in an ongoing series that mixes the worlds of Fantasy and Professional Wrestling, where the characters, or Gimmicks, the Wrestlers take on give them strength and even supernatural powers, but only the more the fans cheer for them.
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer a few questions for us! Do you have any parting thoughts or comments you’d like to leave for our readers?
I should have started as an author years ago, but I allowed the ridicule of others to stop me from pursuing a dream I have always had. Don’t do what I did. Pursuit the things that others might make fun of you for, or for attempting. If it’s a dream of yours, honestly, truly, chase it. Work at it and don’t stop.
And finally, where can you be found on the internet if our readers want to hear more from you?
You can find me on discord in the PlotMom Discord server (https://discord.gg/ADAT69Kt).
Alternatively, you can find me on facebook at www.facebook.com/jpburnison or at twitch playing some game at https://www.twitch.tv/authorjpburnison .