Today we get to sit down with Mandi Jourdan, author of this week’s spotlight story, Bird of Prey. This is not the first time we have published Mandi’s work. If you haven’t had a chance to read Goddess yet, we recommend you do so.
We are pleased to announce that Mandi will be working with us to release a collection of short stories that take place in her universe, Shadows of the Mind. That collection of short stories kicks off with today’s Bird of Prey!
To get things started, we’ve included her bio for a bit of background into the lovely Ms. Jourdan.
Mandi Joudan studies Creative Writing at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. Her prose has appeared in four anthologies by Sinister Saints Press, Coming Around Again by the Central Arkansas Speculative Fiction Writers Group, Quickfic, Beyond Science Fiction Digital Magazine, 9Tales from Elsewhere, Theme of Absence, the 2015 and 2016 editions of Grassroots Literary Magazine, and the Kaskaskia College Scroll. She has stories forthcoming in 9Tales, Digital Science Fiction, and the 2017 edition of Grassroots Literary Magazine. She can be found on Amazon and on Twitter (@MandiJourdan), or at Whatever Our Souls (whateveroursouls.com), the literary magazine she co-edits.
Q & A
AR: What was your inspiration for Bird of Prey?
MJ: I’d created Ravenna several years earlier as an adult assassin in the first draft of one of my novels. After reading several YA series with tough teenage protagonists, I realized I needed to explore how she turned from a typical high school student into someone who has no trouble killing when she has to (as long as she thinks it’s justified).
AR: Who is your favorite character to write for in your universe?
MJ: Probably Eddie. He’s complicated and has done a lot of morally questionable things, but they were all with good intentions, and he’s trying to fix the damage he’s caused, all while trying to survive an android uprising and win back the love of his life.
AR: Give us an insight to your main character. What do they do that’s so special?
MJ: My main character in “Bird of Prey” is one of several in the main series. Ravenna has turned a personal tragedy—her brother’s death—into a form of power. She feels betrayed by the world because her brother died in an accident and for no good reason, and so when she joins Roman, she learns from him and decides to take justice for other people who have lost loved ones by avenging them.
AR: Did you start out seeing the big picture or did you have a bunch of little stories, then found ways to interconnect them?
MJ: I started out with the big picture. I’ve been working on the novel series in some form for about ten years, starting in junior high. I’ve revised and rewritten as I’ve developed my writing, but at one point, I had drafts of the first three novels finished. When I got to college, I started writing short stories to expand my understanding of the characters as individuals and to develop their backstories.
AR: What’s the potential scope for this project? Do you have a finish line that you are working towards?
MJ: I’m about halfway through a rewrite of the first novel that I love, and I’m hoping the series ends up being four or five books long, by the time it’s finished. I’d originally intended for it to be a trilogy, but the plot became a lot more intricate the more I worked with it, and I want to make sure I tell the whole story.
AR: What kinds of stories do you like to read?
MJ: I enjoy anything sci-fi or fantasy, and I have a soft spot for YA. Magic, creatures, anything futuristic.
AR: Do you have a favorite author that you find particularly inspiring?
MJ: J.K. Rowling. The Harry Potter books have inspired me in so many ways. I adore the way Rowling utilizes so many characters and develops even the minor ones vividly, and she’s excellent at showing something that I’ve always believed: no character is completely irredeemable, because people don’t see themselves as villains. They do what they believe is right for them, even if it isn’t for the one who may be considered the hero. My favorite characters are the ones that operate in shades of grey. They’re usually the most interesting and complex.
AR: If you could have personally witnessed anything, what would you want to have seen?
MJ: I would’ve liked to see Queen perform when Freddie Mercury was alive. I listen to them all the time, and Freddie’s voice is magnificent.
AR: If you could wake up tomorrow in the body of someone else, who would you pick and what would you do?
MJ: Honestly, I would probably pick J.K. Rowling again. I would want to look around for any notes about the Wizarding World that haven’t been published yet, because I’m always eager to read more.
AR: Do you have any upcoming projects that you’d like to talk about?
MJ: I’m expanding my novella Warhawks into a novel. The novella is on Amazon, and I’m excited to work on filling in the details, because I love those characters. I’m also working hard on getting the final draft of Lacrimosa—the first Shadows of the Mind novel—finished so that I can publish it.
AR: Thank you so much for your time Mandi! We will look forward to those projects and we are excited to work with you on your Shadows of the Mind collection!
Here are a few links to her other works:
-Aphotic Realm Editors