Sunday, May 1, 2011

Introducing J Damask

Today Toad welcomes an urban fantasy author, J Damask, who offers readers a glimpse into the very different world of Singapore, one that I do not believe we see painted with such magic and beauty, and with an obvious love for the supernatural.

Wolf at the Door is set in Singapore, which is a world away from most urban fantasy novels out there. What do you offer your readers?

A different world/landscape. An unique perspective, that there are also shifter types in places like Southeast Asia, a region itself rich in myths and legends.

Why wolves? And what makes your wolves-who-are-also-people different from those encountered in fiction?

Wolves are my favorite animals. ;)

What makes them different? They are wolves *and* humans. The wolf is inseparable to the human and vice versa. To me, the stereotype of the half-man, half-wolf never really appeals to me. To me, a wolf should be a wolf, four-legged. They are also a people, a race steeped in tradition and culture (in this case, Chinese). They honor the Chinese lunar festivals as much as they honor the hunt and chasing prey.

Tell us more about Jan and some of the conflict she faces.

Jan Xu is the daughter of the leaders of the Xu pack/clan. She is also married with two girls. She faces the dichotomy of being wife, mother, daughter and sister - she struggles and tries to balance all these roles while knowing that she is wolf.

Jan also has a younger sister, Marianne, whom she has a stormy relationship with. This stormy relationship is explored in the novel. She wants the rift to heal, yet Marianne has her own ideas...

Do you have any favourite legends you can share?

have many. *chuckle*

One is the legend/story of Madam White Snake. Madam White Snake is a snake spirit/jin who falls in love with a human scholar. With her maid-in-waiting Green Snake, Lady White Snake wants to live a comfortable married life. Yet, as stories go, things are not smooth. A Buddhist monk is determined to separate White Snake with her human husband, because snake spirits are evil and should be destroyed. He concocts a plan to unmask her for what she is, putting a magical potion in her wine (or tea). As a result, she reverts back to her snake form. Her husband is shocked (of course). A long battle ensues with White Snake imprisoned in the end.

Who are some of your favourite authors and why?

Anne McCaffrey, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Octavia Butler, Frank Herbert - They showed me different worlds where I happily explored. ;) At the same time, I was inspired to write!

I was also inspired by the strong female characters too. [That's why I tend to write strong female characters in my stories... Hehe!]

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J. Damask is the pen-name of Joyce Chng who writes speculative fiction and has published her fiction in online magazines and small presses like Semaphore Magazine and Crossed Genres. She likes werewolves, steampunk and all things speculative fiction. When she's not writing, Joyce is busy wrangling kids (two girls!), cat-herding and container-gardening. She sometimes wishes she has more time to write. Her website is found at

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