Sunday, September 2, 2018

Questions About the Jinx Books

I love all the questions I get about the Jinx books! These are the ones that crop up most often.

Q: Is there going to be a fourth Jinx book?

At this time, I have nothing in the works. But I hope to write more about Jinx and the Urwald in the future.

Some people have asked if Jinx, the Wizard's Apprentice is a fourth book. It is not. It is the UK title of the first book.

Q: Are you going to write Simon's backstory?

Every time I start thinking of writing Simon's backstory, I run into two obstacles.

The first is that it probably wouldn't be a story for children. Simon's adventures, living with the Bonemaster and so forth, are considerably darker than Jinx's.

And maybe that would be all right, because this FAQ is only Frequently Asked by grownups.

The second obstacle is that when I start thinking about writing Simon from his own point of view, instead of from Jinx's point of view, I realize that from his own point of view, Simon is probably a reasonable, pleasant, easy-going kind of person. I mean, that's what we all are from our own point of view, right? I know I am.

And who would want to read about a reasonable, easygoing Simon?

So it would be a difficult tale to write. But I'd like to do it some day.

Q: What do the names in the Jinx series mean?

These are the names people ask about most often:

Urwald means “primeval forest” in German. I don’t speak German, but I ran across the word in a book.

Simon Magus was the name of a legendary wizard; a magus is a magician.

I gave Sophie her name because it means wisdom and because it’s the name of the legendary wizard’s wife.

Elfwyn is an Anglo-Saxon name meaning elf-friend, although Elfwyn is not really a friend of elves in this story.

Dame Glammer I just made up.

A clever reader pointed out to me that Reven is never spelled backward. I had not realized this.

Q: Why is Jinx named Jinx?

I wanted to give him a very old name. So I looked online and I found a list of ancient names. The name “Jinx” was on that list, and as soon as I saw it  I knew it was right for the character. It is short and sharp, like him.

Now here’s the trouble with researching things online. Later I looked in a dictionary and found that it wasn’t really an ancient name at all. The word “jinx” has only been around for 100 years or so.  And “Jinx” has sometimes been used as a nickname, but not as an actual name, because who would name a child Jinx?

Q: This isn't a question, it's a complaint. I like Reven and I think sometimes he's right and Jinx is wrong. Some of the things he says are true and Jinx acts like they're not.

I like Reven too. But Jinx doesn't like Reven much, and it's Jinx's story. 

Jinx and Reven have irreconciliable points of view about some difficult questions. Neither of them is completely right or wrong. Personally I agree more with Jinx, but I know that many people would agree with Reven. And then there are people in the middle, bridge people, who can see both points of view and search for a compromise. Without bridge people, extremists like Jinx and Reven couldn't survive. 

The whole world couldn't survive.

Sophie's a bridge person. So is Wendell. You might be one, too.

Q: Did you get some ideas from the Harry Potter books?

No; I got these ideas from much, much older sources, the same folklore that J.K. Rowling got her ideas from.

For example, the concealment of a magician’s life in a container separate from his or her body features in many old legends and tales. J.K. Rowling put her twist on it and invented horcruxes; I put my twist on it in the Jinx books. Lloyd Alexander used it in the Prydian Chronicles. It’s been around.

J.R.R. Tolkien said that every tale floats on a vast cauldron of story. And Terry Pratchett said that every fantasy writer takes things out of the pot, and puts things into the pot. They were both right.

Q: How did Simon and Sophie meet?

This is the most FAQ from adults. Kids, bear with us. 

Simon and Sophie met when Simon went to study at the Temple of Knowledge in Samara. Sophie was giving some lectures on the Urwald (a place she had never been) and Simon thought it would be amusing to attend. Then he decided he liked Sophie a lot. He invited her to come to his house; he said he wanted to show her something.

Sophie, being a sensible young woman, said “No, thank you.” So Simon explained that he wanted to show her the Urwald. This was rather stupid of him, because he could have gotten into a great deal of trouble had Sophie told the Samaran authorities that Simon was from the Urwald. However, as he later told Jinx, this is an area of life that presents boundless opportunities for stupidity. 

As it turned out, Sophie did not betray him, but they both ended up in a large amount of trouble anyway, which is another story. It mostly had to do with the Mistletoe Alliance and a traitor in their midst and so forth. This all happened about two years before Simon found Jinx in the forest.

Sophie was enchanted with the Urwald. She kind of liked Simon too. So they got married and lived interestingly ever after.

Who was Calvin-the-skull when he was alive?

Okay, I'm lying. This is not a FAQ. In fact, nobody has ever asked me this. Not once. And I am so disappointed. I thought people would ask me this.

Is there going to be a Jinx movie?

At this time I know of no plans to make a movie out of the Jinx books. 

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