Calor by J.J. Fischer: Author Interview
About the Book
Author: J.J. Fischer
Release date: December 6, 2022
What if you could edit memories with a single touch?
The world-that-was is gone, lost to everything except living memory . . . but remembering comes at a terrible price. Sixty-two years after the apocalypse, a new society has emerged from the ashes of the old world where highly valued memories are traded and nostalgia is worth dying—and even killing—for.
Enslaved by a cruel master, Sephone Winter is forced to use her rare ability to manipulate memories to numb the darkest secrets of the ruling aristocracy.
Then Lord Adamo appears, speaking of a powerful relic capable of permanently erasing memories and recovering Sephone’s own lost childhood. But not everything about the young lord is as it seems, and soon Sephone must choose between helping Lord Adamo forget his past or journeying deep into the land of Lethe, where the truth about who she really is might finally be revealed . . . and a long desired future restored.
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What was the highlight of writing this book?
So far all the reviews have praised the worldbuilding in Calor and the
characters, but there were two scenes that for me really became the
highlight of writing this book. The first scene is early on and hint it
involves strawberries. That scene is one of the best I’ve ever written. The
second scene involves wolves and comes around halfway through the
book. That scene had me on the edge of my seat, wanting to know what
happened next (even though I was the author, ha!).
What famous author do you wish could be your mentor?
Hands down, C. S. Lewis. My friends will tell you, I’m a little obsessed with
his works, both fiction and non-fiction. I have plenty of authors I admire for
their characters, worldbuilding, and dialogue, etc. But Lewis’s spiritual
depth is almost without equal in the fiction world. I’d love to know what he
thinks of the spiritual themes in my books and what he would change to
make the stories a better reflection of the Gospel. Tolkien is great, of
course, but he didn’t like allegories very much and I’m rather intimidated by
his linguistic prowess.
How long, on average, does it take you to write a book?
Good question! The first book took twelve and a half years. Yes, really! But
I’ve been getting quicker. My second took nine months. My third, only six
weeks! But that kind of flow is quite rare, and I’ve never been that fast on
the turnaround again. Mostly, each book takes a few months to
write—usually I write quicker when I’m “pantsing” more. My most recent
(eighth) book was a lot faster to write because of this approach.
What genre would you choose to write that you don’t already?
I’ve thought a lot about writing a historical fiction book, but I’m just too lazy
to do the research. Truly. That’s one of the reasons why I write a lot of
historical fantasy, because I can make up my own worlds and break rules
whenever I want to. �� But I think what’s really drawing me in lately is
Space Western/Space Opera. I’d love to write an epic drama set in space.
Not hard sci-fi, but a bit of fantasy, a bit of romance, lots of adventure—kind
of like Firefly or the newish Star Trek series with Chris Pine.
Are you working on your next book already? What can you tell us?
I’m always working on a new book! The Nightingale Trilogy is actually
complete now, so I’m working on a new series—kind of a mash up between
Pocahontas/Avatar, Last of the Mohicans, and Snow White and the
Huntsman. It’s also my first attempt at comedic fantasy. I’m loving the
characters and the world so far! Stay tuned for more details…
About the Author
J.J. Fischer’s writing dream began with the anthology of zoo animals she painstakingly wrote and illustrated at age five, to rather limited acclaim. Jasmine began writing her first proper novel at age fourteen, which eventually became her debut fantasy series, The Darcentaria Duology, which was published in 2021. She is a clinically-trained psychologist but no, she cannot read your mind. When she isn’t killing defenseless house plants, Jasmine enjoys devouring books, dabbling in floristry, playing the piano, and wishing it rained more often. Jasmine is married to David, and together they make their home a couple of hours north of Sydney, Australia.
More from J.J. Fischer
Have you ever wondered what your life would be like if you could selectively edit your memories with a single touch? What would you choose to erase, if anything? What memories would you spotlight?
What if you could transplant someone else’s memories into your own mind (and yours into someone else’s)? What would you choose to take? What would you choose to give away?
Influencing and transplanting memories is the gift of the female main character of Calor, Sephone Winter. Her gift was inspired by my own career as a clinically-trained psychologist, working with people who frequently have pasts they wish they could forget and who so often struggle to recall the good in their lives amongst all the bad. In neuropsychology we say that our minds stick like Velcro to the negative, but are like Teflon with the positive. And I think that’s very true—it’s hard to be grateful, joyful, positive, and gracious when we live in a fallen world where there’s so much sin, pain, and darkness.
Calor is a fantasy transformation of Hans Christian Andersen’s beloved 1843 tale The Nightingale (with echoes of the myths of Hades and Persephone). If you’ve never read The Nightingale, it’s worth diving into and it’s not a long story—it’s the tale of a nightingale who sings beautifully for the Emperor of China and is admired by all, only to be replaced with a mechanical, bejeweled substitute. Later on, when the substitute breaks and the Emperor lies dying, the flesh-and-blood bird returns and sings so beautifully that Death decides to spare the Emperor, and his kingdom is restored. The Emperor realizes what a great treasure he has possessed.
Calor is set in a futuristic fantasy society where people trade in memories of the world-that-was (essentially, nostalgia) because they can no longer experience it for themselves. They’re either living in the past, craving the “glory days” and immersing themselves in various pleasures, or selectively numbing bad memories, erasing everything which would take them away from the here-and-now, but at the price of their own humanity and self-awareness. You can see the obvious links to Andersen’s The Nightingale—this is a world which has embraced the imitation at the cost of the real. And though this story is fictitious, Calor really holds a mirror up to us as a society because, increasingly, I think that’s what we’re doing in the West. Our pasts are deeply painful and the future is terrifyingly uncertain, so we inhabit the space between—a space devoted to the pursuit of pleasure.
As you read Calor, I want to challenge you to think of all the times in your life when you embrace the imitation or the simulation over the real. No, I’m not talking about using fresh turmeric instead of powdered turmeric in your cooking, or throwing away your camera and basking in the mountain scenery out from behind a lens, but you get the idea. How do you rely on the world to fulfill God-shaped needs and longings? Are you dwelling among echoes of the truth rather than seeking the truth itself? To where (or to whom) does your pain drive you, and how can you let it drive you into the arms of your Creator instead?
Whoever you are, wherever you are, it is my dearest hope that this story entertains you and blesses you and encourages you, and speaks to your soul in the same way that Andersen’s tale first spoke to me.
Cherish the Real,
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deb’s Book Review, December 21
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Rebecca Tews, December 25
Happily Managing a Household of Boys, December 26
Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, December 27
For Him and My Family, December 28
To celebrate her tour, J.J. is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card, a copy of the book, a signed bookplate, and four character art cards commissioned especially for the book release!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
2 thoughts on “Calor”
Thanks for sharing!