Tell us your biography in three sentences or fewer.
Got born then grew up a bit. Did various tedious day-jobs while wishing I could write for a living. Finally got to write for a living.
(too short? Ok then…)
Although I always wanted to be a writer I got distracted by work that actually made money, most notably in IT. I finally started to take my writing seriously in my 30s, initially getting short stories published before my first book deal, with Gollancz, in 2008. I became a full-time writer in 2016, though these days I mostly write for video-games.
How and when did you begin writing, and what was your first published piece?
I wrote a ‘novel’ on my dad’s typewriter when I was seven. My first published fiction was a contribution to ‘The Drabble Project’ way back in the late 80s but my first paid publication was ‘The Path to the Sun’, an Aztec alt. history story I’m still very fond of, published in On Spec in 2002.
What’s so special about writing speculative fiction?
It’s fiction without limits. Storytelling lets us make sense of a senseless world by creating other realities, so why limit yourself to this world, this reality?
What life skills and experiences, other than writing, do you bring to your work?
Far too many years writing and running table RPG campaigns gave me a head-start on plotting and an appreciation of how characters don’t always do what we want them to. I’ve also got a few amateur interests that feed into my fiction, most notably astronomy and archaeology.
Tell us about your most recent publication or current writing project
My last novel-length fiction was the Shadowlands duology, published by Angry Robot. It’s science fantasy, set in a divided world (one of my obsessions), and brings together a lot of themes and interests I’ve not indulged fully before.
I’m working on a Warhammer novel for Games Workshop but I can’t say anything about that, because Games Workshop. Sadly 2020 appears to have trashed my ability to write my own fiction, though I’m hoping that’s temporary.
Jaine Fenn is the author of the Hidden Empire space opera series, the Shadowlands duology and numerous published short stories, one of which won the 2016 BSFA Shorter Fiction award. She likes her tea strong and her chocolate dark.