Dystopian December - Jay Kristoff!

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Interview with Jay Kristoff!

Why did you decide to write dystopian fiction/post-apocalyptic fiction?

I think looking into a darker version of the world we live in is a great way to hold up a dirty mirror to the problems of the now. The issues at the heart of Stormdancer are problems we’re going to have to be dealing with in our world very soon. Pollution, resource depletion, extinction.
And I don’t want to make it sound like a soapbox book – Stormdancer is still ultimately an epic adventure story with griffins and chainsaw katanas and a kickass girl trying to do the right thing in a world on the brink. But the setting in shares a few of the wounds our world does, and the message of the story – that every person has the power to change the world for the better – is one that I truly believe applies to our world too.

What, or who, has been the biggest influence in your writing?

Stylistically, I think I borrow a lot from William Gibson. Alan Moore. George Orwell. Stephen King (I was reading him when I was 10, which apparently makes him YA – who knew) Great storytellers and character writers like David Simon or David Knauf. And strangely enough, a lot of the lyricists of the bands I listen to. Telling a story in 100,000 words is easy. Telling in in three minutes with a few dozen is hard. There’s a lot of song titles hidden inside Stormdancer J
But I should really give a shout-out to my wife. She’s my beta reader. My biggest fan and harshest critic. Stormdancer wouldn’t exist if not for her.

What made you decide to write about a dystopian world with Japanese warriors?

I liked the steampunk aesthetic, but I felt like Victorian England had been done, and a lot of steampunk just seemed to be paranormal romance dressed up in a frock coat and goggles. No-one seemed to be playing with other cultures and steampunk from what I could see (remember I wrote Stormdancer nearly three years ago) so it seemed like a good way to have the book stand out from the pack.
I should be careful though, and point out Stormdancer isn’t set in Japan. The culture of the Shima Imperium borrows a lot from Japanese history and concepts, but there’s a lot I left out, and a lot I changed. I play with the language, I play with the religion, the caste structure, you name it. It was my sandbox, and I kinda did what I wanted with it, just like any number of fantasy writers before me have done with medieval Europe. If you go into the book expecting a historical Japan, you might find yourself “WTF’ing” quickly.  :)

What can fans of Stormdancer expect in the next story in the Lotus War series?

In a word: disintegration.
Book two will pick up after events in Stormdancer, which I can’t rrrrreally talk about for fear of spoiling people. But things get much bigger. Different factions with different agendas, a growing rebellion and discontent among the people, the Lotus Guild fighting to maintain some semblance of order while the country begins to collapse.
New allies. A new threat from the north. A wedding. Plots. Murders. Betrayal. Yukiko and Buruu caught in the middle of it all and learning what it means to be heroes.

What do you think our future is going to be like? Can you see any similarities in the world that you’ve created and our world today?

It can really go two ways – we can somehow realise that, as a species, we’re treating this planet like a tap that’s never going to run dry, and take responsibility for the way we act, on fundamental levels. We decide to sacrifice for the sake of something bigger than ourselves.
Or, we keep partying like it’s 1999 and eventually all the finite resources we’re hopelessly addicted to run out. And then we’re fighting wars over drinking water.
Carl Sagan said it a lot better than me:
“…and our small planet, at this moment, here we face a critical branch-point in history. What we do with our world, right now, will propagate down through the centuries and powerfully effect the destiny of our descendants. It is well within our power to destroy our civilization, and perhaps, our species as well. If we capitulate to superstition or greed or stupidity, we can plunge our world into a darkness deeper than the time between the collapse of classical civilization and the Italian renaissance. But, we are also capable of using our compassion and our intelligence, our technology and our wealth, to make an abundant and meaningful life for every inhabitant of this planet. To enhance enormously our understanding of the universe, and to carry us to the stars.”

What will you be doing come December 21st? And if you survive? (Assuming, of course, it’s the end of the world!)

I’m actually going to see Parkway Drive that night, so let’s hope the world doesn’t end! Then I’m flying back to my home town to spend Xmas with the folks. That’ll be my first Xmas as a published author. Weirdness :P

What would be your favourite dystopian/post-apocalyptic novel?

Nineteen Eighty Four by George Orwell. Nothing comes close. Nothing at all. I challenge any naysayers to a deathmatch on Guitar Hero 5!

Author Links:

Website - Blog - Twitter - Facebook - Goodreads -

Stormdancer - 
Jay Kristoff
Released: September 1, 2012
Publisher: Tor

Synopsis: Griffins are supposed to be extinct. So when Yukiko and her warrior father Masaru are sent to capture one for the Shogun, they fear that their lives are over. Everyone knows what happens to those who fail him, no matter how hopeless the task.

But the mission proves far less impossible, and far more deadly, than anyone expects – and soon Yukiko finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in her country's last wilderness, with only a furious, crippled griffin for company. But trapped together in the forest, Yukiko and Buruu soon discover a friendship that neither of them expected.

Meanwhile, the country around them verges on the brink of collapse. A toxic fuel is slowly choking the land; the omnipotent, machine-powered Lotus Guild is publicly burning those they deem Impure; and the Shogun cares about nothing but his own dominion. Yukiko has always been uneasy in the shadow of power, when she learns the awful truth of what the Shogun has done, both to her country and to her own family she's determined to do something about it.

Returning to the city, Yukiko and Buruu plan to make the Shogun pay for his crimes – but what can one girl and a flightless griffin do against the might of an empire?

Win a copy of Stormdancer - International!

Claire Blennerhassett

Reader, Blogger

Twenty-something | book-blogger | tea-drinker | procrastinator | wannabe-writer | student


  1. I always enjoy reading Jay Kristoff interviews on blogs. He is one very cool geek.

  2. Jay Kristoff has this talent of making me laugh! I am DYING to read this book! I will read it, eventually!

    Thanks for this post :)

  3. Jay resembles my fave musician Dave Grohl. I enjoy his blog too. This is perfect for your Dystopian December!
    Thanks for the giveaway :)

    Bella's Bookshelf


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