Author Interview: Jeanette O’Hagen

Author JeanetteO’Hagen’s tales of Nardva span continents, millennia and cultures. Some involve shapeshifters and magic, others include space stations and cyborgs. She has published over forty stories and poems. Please welcome her to No Wasted Ink.

Hi, my name is Jeanette O’Hagan, Born in Australia, I spent part of my childhood in Africa. Over the years I worked as a doctor and lectured in theology, ethics and history, and am now a writer. I live in Brisbane with my husband, two children (15 & 21) and two cats. I love traveling, painting, reading, learning and catching up with friends and family.

When and why did you begin writing?

I began telling myself stories about characters in an imaginary world at the age of eight. I made maps, drawings, genealogies, alphabets etc but didn’t consider writing down the stories until a family friend challenged me to do so when I was fourteen.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

In my late teens to early twenties, when I wrote my first novel and a few short stories, but life took on a different turn and it wasn’t until about eight years ago that I dusted off my old novel, enrolled in a Masters of Arts (writing) and started writing again, that I took it seriously.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

I (just) released Rasel’s Song (26 April 2021),the second book in the Akrad’s Legacy series and I’ve wasted no time in pulling out the drafts on the next book, Lumi’s Allegiance (due for release later in 2021).

What inspired you to write this book?

Rasel’s Song continues the narrative arc in Akrad’s Children, in the Akrad’s Legacy series (though each norel has its own arc). I was inspired to write the series as a prequel to my original unpublished novel, Adelphi (now Finding Elene), to tell the backstory of the previous generation behind that novel, in particular Mannok, Rasel, Ista and Dinnis.

Do you have a specific writing style?

My style is immersive, descriptive, a mixture of action, character and world-building with a strong sense of place.. Some have called it lyrical.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

Rasel is a shapeshifter and an intruder on Tamrin society. Her people are semi-nomadic, following the ‘songlines’ in the country. For them, a person or creature’s nature and characters as an expression of a song. While she does sing, Rasel’s Song is also a reference to her character, motivation and story.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

For me, the story comes first and I rarely start with a theme or message. However, themes do emerge as I write. Akrad’s Children had a strong focus on betrayal, forgiveness and revenge. In Rasel’s Song themes of love, duty and the nature of freedom.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in
your own life?

Though I do draw on my own experiences and that of others as I write, I haven’t based the story on actual people or actual events.

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you
find inspiring?

So many great authors. Early influences were C S Lewis and J R R Tolkien – though other authors such as Isaac Asimov, Ursula Le Guin, Ann McCaffrey, Julian May, Peter Beagle have given me a strong love for fantasy and science-fiction. They inspire because of the richness of their imaginative worlds, their understanding of character, their ability to find a thread of hope even in the darkest times, and their willingness to persist with their writing.

If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor? Why?

So hard to choose one. The writers I’ve just mentioned have shaped my own writing. Other writers in writing groups and critique groups, as well as my editors, have also been invaluable in challenging and encouraging me as a writer.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

I must confess, I designed the cover of Rasel’s Song and, in fact, all but one of my books. While I have no formal artistic training, I love drawing and painting for as long as I can remember and it’s just something I wanted to do for my own books.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Don’t give up, keep learning and always be prepared to take on constructive feedback.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Enjoy. Enjoy the world, the characters, the story. And, if you loved the book, review the book and recommend it to others you think will enjoy it.

Jeanette O’Hagan
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia


Rasel’s Song


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