Artist Spotlight: Jordan Alyssa Duncan

Writer, book junkie, geek, and lover of all things fantastical and humorous.

Jordan is a part-time librarian and full-time reader who loves literature so much, she got a degree in it. She graduated from Athens State University with a BA in English Language Arts and a minor in marketing. When not practicing the dark arts of the written word, she’s slaying monsters like a boss in Skyrim or Witcher, binging paranormal and fantasy shows, or wandering the great outdoors whilst conversing with the voices (*cough* characters) in her head.

Check out her website Coffee, Book, & Candle.

What projects are you currently working on and what would you like people to know about them?

“Since I’m close to finishing my main manuscript, I’ve already teased my current blurb to our subscribers. Outside of subscribers, I’ll say it’s a coming-of-age urban fantasy about a girl who develops powers and isn’t entirely sure what to do with them.”

What brought you to writing and blogging?

“Storytelling, like for many writers, just seems to be in my blood. I’ve been making up stories since before I started school, and it’s the one part of me I could never give up.

“Blogging started much later as a means to vent about book tropes I hated during high school. After finishing my English degree, the urge and time to blog returned, so here I am—but certified.”

What writers are your biggest influences?

“Truth be told, I don’t think my writing style compares to any authors I’ve enjoyed reading. As huge of a reader as I’ve always been, most of my influences developed outside of books.

“That said, my early exposure to characters like Lara Croft and Xena (yes, I’m a nerd) set the tone for what I consider a strong female character, as well as my interest in mythology and history. The Spiderwick books by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black were my first exposure to real fae, which launched a lifetime obsession with Celtic mythology.”

Like so many who work in independent publishing, you wear multiple hats. How do you see your various endeavors coming together as a single, unified life’s work? Or do you?

“Who knows? I’m a marketer and a librarian who edits and writes on the side. It seems like my entire life revolves around the book world. Between all the networking and acquired skills, I hope it amounts to a continued lifetime of reading, writing, and sharing my work.”

When you get out of bed on a work day, what drives you to do something creative? What gives you the motivation to contribute in your unique way?

“My job right now is inherently creative, so that’s a plus. It’s a wonderful atmosphere, even if the work itself gets tedious. The drive to be creative when I get off work isn’t always there, but the characters’ voices always are. The thing that continues driving me is the characters in my head, demanding their stories be told.”

What are some of the trends you notice in fiction? How do you feel about those trends?

“My domain at work is YA, which is more trend-heavy than adult fiction. It often reflects the social and political climate we live in. The vampire/goth trend went hand-in-hand with a spike in suicide awareness, when people were fascinated with the concept of power, control, and living forever. Gritty dystopian followed some rough political turmoil, something you can tell by Suzanne Collins’ admission that the awful state of the news prompted her to write The Hunger Games. The popularity of Game of Thrones led to a dark fantasy craze, and now we’re seeing a shift toward contemporary books that explore race and sexuality issues.

“I’m all for novels that reflect the current climate, but I’m also drawn to stories with timeless themes, so I can’t say I’m a trend-follower. Besides, no one can predict the future, so write what feels right for you.”

When you look at the world around you and the publishing industry in particular, how do you envision the future of creative writing, publishing, and/or fiction?

“I’m hoping the shift toward more digital content and the gradual acceptance of indie publishing will help indie authors better carve a chunk of the market for themselves. A lot of what we consider “good writing” is outdated and clings to industry standards. I really hope readers’ willingness to purchase those “unmarketable” books will make traditional publishers realize there is a market for untraditional stories.”

What would you like to see happen in the world of writing? What’s the change you want to see realized?

“I would love to see more acceptance for innovative writing that doesn’t cater to industry standards and trends. I want writers to be able to play with different formats, writing styles, and tropes without worrying if it’s “popular.” There should be room to invent new niches and standards, not shovel out the same material under different guises.”

Is there a creative project farther out on your horizon about which you feel most excited?

“The book series that my first manuscript kicks off is a huge goal for me, but I can’t spoil much beyond that. Let’s just say it’s a huge undertaking I see spanning years, something akin to the expansive worlds built up by authors McCaffrey, Kenyon, Lackey, and the like.”

A big thank you to Jordan Alyssa Duncan for taking part in the Artist Spotlight. Coffee Book & Candle, the website she has developed with Kori Jenkins, who will be featured on the Artist Spotlight in the upcoming weeks, can be found here.

As always, check back soon to discover a new exciting independent artist.

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