Imaginative Insights with Fantasy Author Jeanette O’Hagan

Today it’s my pleasure to welcome Australian fantasy author Jeanette (Jenny) O’Hagan to the blog. Thanks for joining us today, Jenny.

A Fascinating Life Begins

You’ve led an interesting life. Can you tell us three things that people might not know about you?

  • On my fifth Christmas, I was inconsolable because my parents gave me a dainty dolls’ tea set and not an awesome Tonka monster truck like my two younger brothers each received.
  • I won first prize of all the Grade Three children in a city-wide art contest (the ‘city’ being Mt. Isa).
  • As a child, I’ve travelled twice by ocean liner across the Indian Ocean from Melbourne to Durbin (two weeks on the high seas, or four weeks in total).

The World of Nardva

Oh, I’m with you. I would definitely have wanted the Tonka truck over the tea set.

Most of your novels and stories take place in the fictional world of Nardva. Can you tell us a little about Nardva and how you came up with the idea for it?

Nardva is an earth-like fantasy world, with two moons, in another cosmos. The people of that world are divided into the much long-lived Eldar and the shorter-lived Younger Races. Some people within the world have special gifts such as farspeaking, mindreading, charisma and the ability to change form or shape. The stories from Nardva stretch from the mythological age to Nardva’s space age.

Nardva grew and expanded as the place where my characters in my stories lived and breathed and acted, stories I told at first to myself from the time I was eight. Much of the major world framework was in place by my teens.

What's Under the Mountain?

I’m in awe of your incredible imagination. And that’s amazing that you started at such a young age. No wonder the world of Nardva is so well-developed.

You’ve recently released the fifth and final novella in your ‘Under the Mountain’ series. Can you tell us a little about that series?

In ‘Heart of the Mountain’, the first book in the ‘Under the Mountain’ series, a young shapeshifter called Zadeki collides into the mountainside in the middle of a snowstorm. He is discovered by twins, Delvina and Retza, who live in a vast realm beneath the mountain powered through crystals technology. However, the crystal heart is failing and this has knock-on effects which put the Glittering realms in increasing jeopardy. Zadeki, Delvina, Retza and their friends risk their lives and overcome opposition in their mission to save the realm and its people.

More Tales from Nardva

You’ve also just released ‘Rasel’s Song’, the second in your ‘Akrad’s Legacy’ series. What can readers look forward to in that novel?

‘Rasel’s Song’ continues the stories of Prince Mannok, heir to the throne of Tamra;  Dinnis, Mannok’s disowned half-brother; and the shapeshifter, Rasel. ‘Rasel’s Song’ intertwines both a murder mystery with political ramifications and a romantic sub-plot and a heavy dose of courtly intrigue. The book may be read as a standalone, but is best appreciated as Book 2 of the ‘Akrad’s Legacy’ series.

Researching a Fantasy Novel

Although these books have fantasy elements, you still had to do a lot of ‘real world’ research. What sort of things did you have to investigate? 

In part, I draw on and extrapolate from my own experience (for instance a tour of the underground mine in Mt Isa, my own sea voyages, the occasional horse ride or my stint as a doctor).  But I also do further research on different elements for verisimilitude. For instance, the nature and treatment of arrow wounds, the potential nature and sources of poisons, how long different modes of transport might take, or timing the phases of the moon.

Universal Truths

Regardless of genre, your books touch on some universal truths that many people would find interesting. Could you mention a couple of those?

Adele Jones, Jeanette O'Hagan & Lynne Stringer

Broad truths emerge from my stories, such as love, friendship, family, loyalty, forgiveness in the face of betrayal and the desire for revenge. Also, the value and potential of each person, the struggle of good and evil we all face, the need to look past easy solutions, to resist sacrificing a few for the sake of the many, the power of hope and faith in the darkest hours and the infinite love of the Maker.

What's Next?

Some great themes there. What’s next on the horizon for you?

This year, I’ll be continuing with books 3 and 4 in the ‘Akrad’s Legacy’ series – ‘Lumi’s Allegiance’ and ‘Mannok’s Betrayal’. I’d also like to get back to my draft/outline of a cyborg trilogy set in Nardva’s far future – ‘The Chameleon Protocols’.

Giveaway

Wow, it sounds like you have plenty to keep you busy. Good luck with all of those projects.

Jenny has kindly offered an eBook of either ‘Akrad’s Children’ or ‘Rasel’s Song’ for one lucky reader. (If you haven’t read any of the ‘Akrad’s Legacy’ series, it’s best to start with ‘Akrad’s Children’.) All you have to do to enter the draw is add a comment below. Entries close at midnight on Sunday 23rd May 2021 (Australian Eastern Standard Time). The winner of the eBook will be chosen at random and their name published in the comments section of this blog post, on the Nola Lorraine Facebook page, and in my monthly newsletter. Please click here for full terms and conditions. 

Author Bio

Jeanette O’Hagan has spun tales in the world of Nardva from the age of eight. She enjoys writing fantasy, sci-fi, poetry, and editing. Her Nardvan stories span continents, millennia and cultures. Some involve shapeshifters and magic. Others include space stations and cyborgs.

She has published over forty stories and poems, including the ‘Under the Mountain’ Series (5 books), ‘Ruhanna’s Flight and Other Stories’; and ‘Akrad’s Children’ and ‘Rasel’s Song’, the first two books in the ‘Akrad’s Legacy’ series.

Jeanette has practised medicine, studied communication, history, theology and a Master of Arts (Writing). She loves reading, painting, travel, catching up for coffee with friends, pondering the meaning of life and communicating God’s great love. She lives in Brisbane with her husband and children.

Web Links

Buy Links

If you’d like to buy Jenny’s books, check the following sites:

Akrad’s Children –  https://books2read.com/u/49PJOM

Rasel’s Song –  https://books2read.com/u/md72AE

Under the Mountain boxed set (1-3) –  https://books2read.com/u/mBgNPR

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17 Responses

  1. Dear Jeanette, I am amazed at all you have achieved! I like hearing of your Mount Isa time, too. Our brother-in-law was Baptist minister there 50 years or so ago and my sister was sent there to teach and that is where they met. Then our son-in-law was asked to go there as Fire Commander some years ago so our daughter was there for 6 1/2 years. We made quite a few visits there then, for baby sitting help and just family visits after we retired.
    I have not been too much into fantasy but I am going to get some on Kindle to read. I look forward to that and hopefully to meeting some time.

    1. Hi Heather – my parents met in Mt Isa many decades ago. Mum was sent there as a teacher & Dad got a job in the mines. They were foundation members of the Mt Isa Baptist church in 1966. Our family was in Mt Isa from 1957-1968 the first time and then 1974-1983, though my brother stayed on for a few years after that.

      My Under the Mountain series is not a bad place to start if you’re not used to fantasy – of course C. S. Lewis’ Narnia series is brilliant.

      Look forward to catching up sometime. Thanks for commenting.

      1. My sister was teaching there either 67 or 68. She was at Barkley Highway. That was when she really met her now husband, but it was on a visit she made back there to stay with friends that their relationship really started. Interesting, though, once they got together how family connections had been there before. When we were in Ballarat I met another lady who had been in Mount Isa at that time. I do not know what her name was then as her husband had died and she had remarried. We became quite good friends because of the Mount Isa connection. Yes, I am looking forward to meeting you some time.

          1. I went to Barkley Highway State School for two terms before going to Mines State School & then Happy Valley – but not at the same time as your sister. Life is full of fun coincidences. For a small town, it’s amazing how many people I meet who have some connection with Mt Isa.

  2. I loved finding out more about your story, Jeanette.

    You are a prolific writer and create amazing worlds in the fantasy realm.

    I need to read more of your books!

    1. Thanks, Elaine. I have a great deal of fun and enjoyment out of writing and imagining my world and characters. Would be chuffed if you read more of my books – the way to an author’s heart (as you would know 🙂 ).

  3. Thank you for sharing your story Jenny. You certainly have achieved a lot. And thank you Nola for hosting Jenny ♡
    I’ve read the first ‘Under The Mountain’ book and must read the rest as I enjoyed it immensely. I haven’t read ‘Akrad’s Children yet, but shall put all these books on my 2021 TBR list. I’ll need to get a move on as it’s nearly half way through the year 😀
    Cheerio,
    Josephine

  4. Another fabulous interview. Great questions, Nola. Great answers, Jenny.

    I loved reading your Under the Mountain Series. I’m enamoured by your ability, Jenny, to draw your readers into another world that feels so mysterious and intriguing and yet so real and tangible with loveable characters we actually want to meet. Now that I know you’ve spent the best part of your lifetime exploring them and their world, I can understand why.

    I spent a good deal of my childhood playing in imaginary caves and mysterious labyrinths in my back yard, and searching the walls of my house for triggers that would open the entrance to a secret passage which, sadly, never revealed itself. Perhaps it’s hiding in the story I began for a ‘Writing for Children and Young Adults’ assignment …

    😉 Mazzy

    1. Hi Mazzy,

      Thrilled that you loved the Under the Mountain series and the characters and world of Nardva 🙂 Can I quote you?

      My brothers and I spent many hours exploring the hills of Mt Isa looking for secret tunnels and deep caves inspired by the adventures of the Famous Five and Secret Seven. We did have some caves but they were shallow. It’s interesting how one’s childhood experiences and favourite books bleed through into one’s writing.

  5. Thank you for all of your comments. The giveaway is now closed. I’m pleased to announce that the winner of the random draw for the eBook is Mazzy Adams. Congratulations Mazzy, and thanks again to Jenny for making the giveaway possible.

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