Author Interview: Jon Cronshaw

Biography

Jon Cronshaw is a best-selling author of fantasy and science fiction.

He lives with his wife and son in Morecambe, England.

He’s a voracious reader, a keen musician, and a history geek.

Your Amazon author site lists several pages of books. Summarize what you have published for our readers.

I’ve been writing fiction full-time since 2017 and have written in a few genres.

My first series is a post-apocalyptic/dystopian series set after the end of the world. It’s made up of four novels, starting with Wizard of the Wasteland.

My books Blind Gambit and Blind Reset are gamelit novels that I used to write honestly about disability. I’m legally blind with less than five-percent vision and wanted to write a book about me coming to terms with that as someone who loves but can no longer play videogames.

My series The Ravenglass Chronicles is a 21-novella epic fantasy inspired by the tarot’s major arcana. I love writing in this world and I have many other stories to tell in the Ravenglass Universe.

Speaking of which, my most recent novel Dawn of Assassins is the first book in an adult fantasy series set in the Ravenglass Universe. It’s a story about a pair of thieves reluctantly recruited by a master assassin…with lots of banter and swashbuckling.

If someone wanted to read your books, where do you recommend they start?

Probably with The Ravenglass Chronicles. It’s foundational to what I’ll be writing in the future. And fans of this series have enjoyed the Easter eggs in Dawn of Assassins.  

You have a PhD in history. Do you include a lot of history in your storytelling?

I steal relentlessly from real events in history and twist them to my characters and world. I love it when I come across stories in history that would seem too far-fetched for fiction.

What is your favorite book/series that you’ve written? Why?

Definitely Dawn of Assassins. I felt like it was first book I’d written where I hit the pacing perfectly.

How/why did you start writing novels? When/why did you start publishing?

I’ve always been creative, writing music, producing art, crafting stories.

I also work as a journalist doing political and court reporting as well as feature writing for several newspapers and magazines in the UK.

I published my first novel Wizard of the Wasteland in June 2017 and wrote my last freelance piece of journalism for The Guardian in February 2018.

The opening scene to Wizard of the Wasteland came to me in a dream. It’s about a self-proclaimed wizard displaying his magic in a post-apocalyptic settlement. Only the magic is just technology from before the fall.

It wasn’t the first novel I’d written, but it was the first one I felt was good enough to share with the world.

What do you do differently now than you did when you first started writing/publishing?

The biggest shift I’ve had is to think about the reader first rather than my own ego. I think we all write for ourselves when we start, but I had a moment where I realized there’s something incredible about making someone else hallucinate and take them on a journey That’s the closest thing to magic we can do.

What is your strangest writing quirk?

It might be that in my first drafts I don’t include description or any detailed action. I love writing dialogue, so my manuscript is something like a messy screenplay.

What have you struggled with the most during your writing journey?

I’ve written a lot of books. When I worked as a journalist I pretty much knew going on how long a piece would take.

Writing a novel is a completely different game. It took me eleven days to write the first draft of my novel Knight of the Wasteland. It’s taken me six months to get to the same point with my book Trial of Thieves.

I hoped by now that it would be easier, but each story I work on seems to present a new set of challenges.

What does success look like for you as an author?

Being able to get my wife out of teaching is a great feeling. And being able to pay my bills from stuff I’ve plopped from my imagination almost feels like I’m running an elaborate scam.

Anything additional you want to share with readers?

If you go to my website joncronshaw.com and drop your email address, I’ll send you a free novel, Birth of Assassins, plus a bunch of other stories set in the Ravenglass Universe.

Website: joncronshaw.com

@joncronshawauthor on TikTok, Instagram, Clapper, YouTube, and Facebook.

Book Locations: Amazon

Excerpt: From Dawn of Assassins by Jon Cronshaw

The assassin’s blade shimmered bright blue on black as the teardrops took hold. He glanced back at the washed-out echoes behind him, the thin reflection of the real world—scentless and silent and rendered in greys.

His target’s mind glowed a purplish-yellow through the ghost of a door—a tiny spark soon to be extinguished.

He drove his dagger into the door and dragged downwards, tearing a rift between realms large enough for him to pass through.

Ducking into the portal, the assassin stood for a moment, allowing himself to acclimatise to the sensory overload—the smells of damp socks and wood smoke, the stream of noise from the city beyond, and the colours…so many colours.

The target lay on the bed, his mouth half open, his sleeping breaths punctuated by the occasional snort.

The assassin wiped the lingering teardrops from his blade with his jacket’s hem. As successful contracts mounted up, the tears became harder to summon, as though each completed job took something from him.

He reached inside his jacket and uncorked a vial of his own blood. He allowed a drop to fall onto the blade, replaced the stopper, and returned the vial to his pocket.

For a moment, nothing happened.

He turned his head, averting his gaze as the blade glowed brilliant white and turned to fire in his hand.

Silently, he crept towards the target, his dagger throwing orange light across the walls.

He stared down at the man’s jowly features, his paunch creating a mound beneath the blankets.

Taking a breath, the assassin drew his blade across the man’s throat, slicing through flesh, tearing through the windpipe, and scraping along bone.

The man’s eyes opened. He clawed at his neck, gasping and gurgling for breath.

Something hissed.

The familiar smell of searing flesh filled the room.

The assassin stood back as the man convulsed.

The blade dimmed and grew cold in his hands, no doubt sated by its latest victim.

The hissing grew louder.

Flames erupted across the man’s body, spreading along his limbs and torso.

Flesh curled and slid from bones, turning to ash in less than a minute.

The assassin had seen death—too much death—but he could never get used to the stench of burning hair.

Covering his nose, he turned to the nightstand, struck a match, and lit a beeswax candle.

He dropped the candle onto the bed, resting it on its side, allowing the blanket to catch alight.

Fire spread slowly at first and gathered speed, engulfing the wool and throwing up smoke.

Taking one last look at the charcoal husk, he backed towards the rift and re-entered the shadow realm, sealing the gateway behind him.

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