Jim C. Hines, author | In the Spotlight Interview

Posted on August 7, 2015 «
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in the spotlight feature

Today author Jim C. Hines steps In the Spotlight at Second Run Reviews. Jim is the author of the Jig the Goblin series, the Princess Series and the Magic Ex Libris series. Jim has also been the toastmaster at ICON for the last several year. He is also responsible for me binge watching Doctor Who 3 years. Recently Jim officially became a writer full time and just released Fable: Blood of Heroes, a novel based on the hugely popular video game.

In the Spotlight Jim C. Hines

in the spotlight question

Welcome to Second Run Reviews, Jim C. Hines! Thank you for being In the Spotlight. I appreciate you stopping by and answering a few questions. So let’s get things started

In a tweet (140 characters or less), tell us a bit about yourself.


Jim C. Hines at ICON 39. Taken by Terri M. LeBlanc

Father, husband, author, blogger, fan. 11 fantasy books and 50+ stories in print. Snoopy fan. Amateur photographer. D&D player. Geek.



in the spotlight question

Snoopy fan, huh? Would it impress you that I played Woodstock in a high school production of Snoopy!. My sister recently uncovered a VHS copy of said production. It’s quite embarrassing, but the old ladies ate up my performance.

Your most recent release is set in the world of Fable, a video game. What was it like writing in a world that was already created and has its own established fan base? Does it make writing a story more or less complicated staying within that already created structure?

Jim C. Hines at ICON 39. Taken by Terri M. LeBlanc

It was different working with other people’s characters in an already-defined world. The most complicated part was working to introduce eight new characters from the game. That’s a lot of point-of-view shifts to juggle, but I’m happy with how it all came out. And it was fun finding ways to work with and develop the characters, finding their voices without completely muffling my own, if that makes sense? I might write a scene, then Lionhead would send back feedback asking me to change some things to bring it more in line with their vision, and the end result would be something even better, something I might not have come up with alone.

It’s certainly extra work, but it was also a lot of fun collaborating with that team to tell my own story in their world. I’d certainly be up for doing it again one of these days.

in the spotlight question

Writing with a team does sound like a fun adventure!

You are an established author with a larger publishing house. Looking back, what was the most difficult thing about getting published? What was the easiest? If you had to go back and do it all over again, is there any aspect of your stories or getting published that you’d change?

Jim C. Hines at ICON 39. Taken by Terri M. LeBlanc

The hardest part was probably holding on to hope and determination during the early learning process. Nobody’s born knowing how to write good fiction, but there’s this myth that you just sit down at the keyboard, and wonderful publishable prose pours from your fingertips. So you spend years writing and submitting stories and getting rejected and struggling to understand why. For a long time, I couldn’t see the flaws in those early stories. It’s discouraging and frustrating to feel like you’re continually failing at something without knowing why, and with no guarantee that you’ll ever succeed.

If I had to change anything, I think I’d go back and tell younger Jim not to worry as much about what he thinks he “should” be writing, and to focus more on writing what he wants. One of the turning points in my writing career came about when I finally said the heck with it, and wrote some stories purely for the fun of it. Those ended up being some of my first big sales.

in the spotlight question

After reading The Rise of the Spider Goddess, I can definitely tell that writing does take patience and perseverance. I’m glad the younger Jim kept trying and succeeded in writing some truly excellent novels.

Of the books of yours that I’ve read, I’m a huge fan of the Princess series. Anyone who even whispers in my presence that they are a fan of The Lunar Chronicles or the “Crimson” books by Rosamund Hodge, I basically scream, have you read Jim’s books? He was re-writing the princess stories first! What inspired you to tackle re-writing classic fairy tales? (And why did you have to rip my heart out in book 4?)

Jim C. Hines at ICON 39. Taken by Terri M. LeBlanc

Thanks! Those books came about when my daughter was going through a princess phase. We had princess pajamas, princess bedsheets, princess toothbrushes, princess tissue boxes…they were everywhere. And a fair amount of the merchandising seemed to prioritize being pretty over all else. I have no objections to pretty, but these characters and their stories were so much more than that. I wanted to create stories that showed these fairy tale princesses as the heroes of their own stories, kicking ass and taking names.

Also, I just plain loved the idea of Sleeping Beauty being a badass martial artist, Snow White doing mirror magic, and Cinderella whipping out an enchanted glass sword. Those three characters, along with Queen Beatrice, formed such a wonderful team to write about.

As for book four…I’ll just say that I struggled with that one a lot, trying to find the ending that felt most honest.

in the spotlight question

I appreciate that there are stories out there like the Princess series, the Lunar Chronicles and Hodge’s “Crimson” books. I can’t wait for my nieces and nephews get old enough to share my copies with them. And any other adult I can convince to read them.

What type(s) of books to you enjoy reading most and what three books to you find yourself recommending to your fans over and over?

Jim C. Hines at ICON 39. Taken by Terri M. LeBlanc

It’s hard to say, because I keep finding books that don’t seem like my “type,” and then I end up loving them. Mary Robinette Kowal’s Shades of Milk and Honey is a good example. I put off reading that one because I didn’t think I’d like it. Then I started reading, devoured it, and immediately went looking for book two. Books stuck in the mindset that only guys can be the heroes, that nonwhite characters only exist as background decoration (if at all), that women are little more than trophies, that non-straight characters don’t exist, and so on tend to end up on my Do Not Finish pile pretty quickly. I read SF/F for the wonder and imagination, and that kind of narrow-minded narrative is the opposite of what I want.

I recommend Good Omens a lot, along with Hellspark and Uhura’s Song by Janet Kagan. I’ve also found myself recommending Nnedi Okorafor’s stuff more and more.

in the spotlight question

Have you had a chance to check out Ink & Bone by Rachel Caine yet? I was impressed by the wide array of characters and relationships in that book. One in particular jumped out at me because it was never called out. As a reader, you just started putting pieces together and it was natural. I was so impressed. I don’t want to say much more because it could be consider spoilerish.

If Libriomancy (did I spell that right?) was real, and what would you pull out of a book and why? (Feel free to invent a situation to set the mood!)

Jim C. Hines at ICON 39. Taken by Terri M. LeBlanc

I’d probably start with various types of healing magic. I’ve got several family members dealing with chronic health conditions, including my own diabetes, and it would be nice to fix those. Not to mention the number of friends and peers I’ve lost to cancer in recent years. Lucy’s healing cordial from The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe should be enough to help an awful lot of people kick cancer’s ass. Also a lightsaber, because it’s awesome, and any number of items from the Dungeons & Dragons guide books.

in the spotlight question

A Sonic Screwdriver might also come in handy. 🙂

Any last thoughts or wise words you want to pass along?



Jim C. Hines at ICON 39. Taken by Terri M. LeBlanc

Thanks for giving me a spot on the site! Fable: Blood of Heroes was a lot of fun to write, and I hope folks enjoy it. If you’re interested in the game, you can check out https://www.fablelegends.com/

Have a great weekend, all!



in the spotlight question

Any time, Jim. Thanks for stopping by and we’ll see you in October at ICON 40. Please come back again next year and fill us on your next big release. I’d love to have you back again.



fable jim hines

The Overview

Synopsis: Deep in Albion’s darkest age, long before once upon a time . . . Heroes are thought to be gone from the land. So why have the bards begun singing of them once more? For Fable newcomers and dedicated fans alike, Blood of Heroes delves into a never-before-glimpsed era, telling the tale of a band of adventurers who come together to defend a kingdom in desperate need.

The city of Brightlodge is awash with Heroes from every corner of Albion, all eager for their next quest. When someone tries to burn down the Cock and Bard inn, four Heroes find themselves hastily thrown together, chasing outlaws through sewers, storming a riverboat full of smugglers, and placing their trust in a most unlikely ally. As the beginnings of a deadly plot are revealed, it becomes clear that Heroes have truly arrived—and so have villains.

What connects the recent events in Brightlodge to rumors about a malicious ghost and a spate of unsolved deaths in the nearby mining town of Grayrock? Unless Albion’s bravest Heroes can find the answer, the dawn of a new age could be extinguished before it even begins.

About Jim C. Hines

author headshot jim c. hines

Jim C. Hines is the author of the Magic ex Libris series, the Princess series of fairy tale retellings, the humorous Goblin Quest trilogy, and the Fable Legends tie-in Blood of Heroes. His latest novel is Terminal Alliance, book one in the humorous science fiction Janitors of the Post-Apocalypse trilogy. His short fiction has appeared in more than 50 magazines and anthologies. He’s an active blogger, and won the 2012 Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer. He lives in mid-Michigan with his family.




author interview jim hines


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