The Gryphon King's Consort: Author Interview with Jenn Burke
Today is the release day of a great new romance! I loved The Gryphon King's Consort. You can read my 4-star review at RT Book Reviews, and here on Queerly Reads, Jenn Burke has stopped by to answer some questions about her writing and world-building.
You can also join in on her book tour giveaway — details below!
After the unexpected death of the old gryphon king, Crown Prince Luca is pressured into a diplomatic marriage with his ideological opposite, Eirian. The two navigate both their new kingdom and each other in a rocky world of political upset, where misunderstandings abound. The Gryphon King's Consort has some of the best political intrigue I've ever read in m/m romance, while still leaving plenty of room for a passionate love story.
Hannah: Welcome to Queerly Reads! The title The Gryphon King’s Consort drew me in immediately. I was wondering who gets the credit for the title?
Jenn: Amazingly enough, that title was all mine. I am notoriously bad for picking out titles for my books (you should see my file folder for works in progress—it’s kind of painful), but as this was intended to be a very tropey paranormal romance, I decided to go with a tropey title that would hopefully encourage readers to pick up the book. I’m glad it worked!
Hannah: The fantasy world is unlike any I’ve ever read. In fantasy romances, you often see familiar tropes used over and over again, which is understandable, because the fantasy elements are always secondary to the romance. But The Gryphon King’s Consort has one of the most original premises I’ve read in awhile in any fantasy, romance or otherwise.
Jenn: Thank you! This makes me so happy to hear, because creating this world was a lot of fun.
Hannah: One of the best parts was the stark contrast of mythological fantasy and, well, Canada. What made you decide on keeping the fantasy within our own world instead of something more Middle Earth-y?
Jenn: I wrote this story specifically for Dreamspinner Press’s call for paranormal category romances for their Dreamspun Beyond line. One of the requirements of the call was that the story be set in a contemporary world with paranormal elements. That wasn’t a hardship, because I absolutely love the idea of a magical world or culture set alongside the normal world we live in every day.
Some of my favourite books growing up were urban fantasy, such as Tanya Huff’s Vicki Nelson series, Mercedes Lackey’s Diana Tregarde series, and so many of Charles de Lint’s books, like Moonheart and Jack, the Giant Killer. In fact, my first book, Her Sexy Sentinel, is also a contemporary paranormal story set in Canada (Ottawa for that one).
Hannah: Do you have any favorite gryphon books that inspired you to take on the gryphon mythos yourself?
Jenn: No, actually! I love shifter stories, though, and I wanted to do something different for this book rather than the usual werewolf or big cat shifter. Dragons are another favourite of mine, but again, there are a ton of dragon shifter books out there, and I wanted to start with a mythological race that I hadn’t seen too much of. So I spent some time on Wikipedia and mythological websites and chose gryphons to be the focus of this book. I wanted them to be powerful—royal—so I decided that they had multiple forms and were especially wise as their age advanced.
I definitely hope to revisit this world soon! There are so many other mythological shifters to get to know.
Hannah: I hope you do! I love the tension in dual POV romances, and the idea of two leads who have opposing political beliefs is just delicious. So often Eirian thinks Crown Prince Luca is this inscrutable miasma of mystery, and then we get into Luca’s head and he’s more normal than expected. How do you decide on POV when starting on a project?
Jenn: I love getting into both protagonists’ heads. It really gives the characters that much more depth when you can see their thought processes, and therefore really understand their emotional reactions.
With this book, I knew I needed to have both Luca and Eirian’s POV, because they each thought so strongly that they were right. The tension and conflict is only enhanced by the fact that the reader can understand so clearly how Luca feels about Eirian even as he’s making decisions against what Eirian wants, and vice versa.
But sometimes, a dual POV just doesn’t work for a story. My current work in progress is told only from the perspective of an amnesiac character because I wanted the love interest to be just as much a mystery to the reader as he is to the poor guy with amnesia. So, really, it depends on the story I want to tell and how I want to tell it.
Also, sometimes a character just begs to have his first-person thoughts on the page—and that’s an entirely different challenge. Often first-person POV can get bogged down in too much introspection, so there’s a balancing act you have to do between character voice and storytelling that isn’t there in the same way in third-person POV.
As an aside, I absolutely love how the political conflict between Luca and Eirian unfolded as I was writing The Gryphon King’s Consort. The fact that they both believe their point of view is the correct one—and that the truth is that neither of them are really wrong—really made me happy from an author’s perspective. Conflict is always just a little more delicious when both parties think they’re right.
Hannah: Hooray! Your new book is almost out! What do you plan on doing to celebrate release day?
Jenn: I’ll be going out to dinner with my family and then getting a haircut at a wonderful local spa and salon. So yummy food and pampering—I couldn’t ask for a better way to celebrate!
Thank you so much, Hannah, for hosting me today. It’s been a pleasure, and I’m so glad you enjoyed The Gryphon King’s Consort.
About Jenn Burke
Jenn Burke has loved out-of-this-world romance since she first read about heroes and heroines kicking butt and falling in love as a preteen. Now that she’s an author, she couldn’t be happier to bring adventure, romance, and sexy times to her readers.
Jenn is the author of The Gryphon King’s Consort from Dreamspinner Press and the co-author of the critically acclaimed Chaos Station science fiction romance series (with Kelly Jensen) from Carina Press. She’s also the author of Her Sexy Sentinel, a paranormal romance from Entangled Publishing.
She’s been called a pocket-sized and puntastic Canadian on social media, and she’ll happily own that label. Jenn lives just outside of Ottawa, Ontario, with her husband and two kids, plus two dogs named after video game characters…because her geekiness knows no bounds.
Thank you so much for joining The Gryphon King’s Consort blog tour. Enter for your chance to win one of two $25 store credits for Dreamspinner Press!