The Literary Vixen presents…
Joining us today is J.S. Latshaw! Author of the Brathius Legacy Series.
How long have you been writing?
I was one of those kids that was always writing, trying (and too often succeeding) to make my classmates perform my plays. I remember a Christmas play in 3rd grade where for some reason I thought making 80% of the production an intense birthing scene would be a good idea, and my teachers didn’t agree, though they expressed their horror too late, only after it was performed for an audience of visiting parents. More formally, I started writing screenplays 20 years ago, and novels 7 years ago.
Where do you get your inspiration for your books?
I get my inspiration from living life and all the hurts and joys that come from doing that, from exploring the outdoors, from lots of reading (fiction and non-fiction), from unapologetically watching and loving movies and television, and from paying attention to what rattles around in my head and heart throughout the day.
How much ‘world building’ takes place before you start writing?
For me, a whole lot. I normally do not start writing until I’ve got a ton of raw material to work with, and I can inhabit the world and hang out with the characters. I think about stories and worlds for a long time before I write, normally during long solitary hikes in the santa monica mountains. Sometimes I even try to write little almanacs and encyclopedia entries about the worlds my stories take place in, and answer a lot of those questions. I’m curious about mapping all these things out, whether I’ll use them in the books or not, it’s important for me to know. Of course, while writing more of the world will be revealed to me too. But I need to have a lot of it felt and known prior to writing pages.
What do you hope your readers take away from this book?
I would hope characters are transported somewhere faraway and fantastic, and yet in that journey learn something about their everyday life and their own heart. I want people to feel like they’re reaching for the unknown and grasping enough of it to think they’ve embarked on an adventure. There’s a lot of loss and pain and joy and curiosity and strength and weakness and betrayal and heartbreak in my books, and I want people to feel those things deeply.
What is the significance of the title?
I’ve always been fascinated by the hidden dangers in this world, the creatures in the shadows, the sea monsters hidden below the surface. There’s something about an unmapped, unknown area that is both incredible attractive to me, and utterly frightening, at the same time. So with THE THREAT BELOW, to me that’s both a warning but also a siren’s call. Yes, it’s dangerous down there, but isn’t it also exciting? And don’t you want to know what’s going on exactly?
If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?
Curious, sensitive, active.
What was the highlight of writing this book?
Finishing it! And having it exist not only in my head, but in a form where other people can experience it, live in it, interact with it, love or hate it, feel something. That’s been truly satisfying in a way I wasn’t fully aware it would be prior to writing.
Are you working on anything at the present you would like to share with me?
Yes! I’ve finished the sequel to the Threat Below, and now I’m working on the third in the series. (I have 4 books planned all together.) I’m also almost finished a shorter stand alone novel which is set in this same world, but a completely different location with different characters. And I’ve completed a novel with a writing partner which I’m also very excited about and we’re pursuing traditional publishing for that one.
What advice would you give to other authors?
Oh goodness. One, write what’s exciting to you. If you’re looking at a chapter and you think I don’t want to write this because it feels boring… don’t write it! If you’re bored by it, there’s little chance someone else will enjoy it. Find another way, find something that intrigues you, characters who beguile you, stories that enfold you. And two, expect the criticism, and listen to what is useful but tune the rest out. Nobody can write something that everybody in the world loves. Accept that. There is no bullet proof book. Write something that you love, and there’s a good chance many others will love it too. And lastly, just write it! It’s scary to actually bring something that exists only in your head onto the page, because it never looks quite as good there as you’d hoped. But something on the page, that actually exists in the real world, is a thousand times better than something that lives only in your head. Accept this on faith, and press into it. You will fight yourself on this. But make the writing your goal, and tune out the naysaying.
What is the one thing you want people to know about you and your books?
If you like headstrong stubborn but lovable characters, faraway worlds that maybe could have been or could still be, mysterious monsters that aren’t quite what you think they are (but are, I promise you, still monsters – not people in masks, I will never write a scooby doo ending, my monsters are always real, and huge stories that ultimately focus on heart and relationships, you might find something you like in my work.
Thank you J.S. Latshaw for chatting with me! I will include his information down below. Check out Brathius Legacy Series today!
She heard the legends. She knew the history. But nothing could have prepared her for what she found.
Three hundred years ago, a lethal and mysterious threat arose and pushed humanity to the brink of extinction. Now, a small remnant – the descendants of the few survivors who escaped the massacre below – lives above the clouds, atop a mountain. When they discover their water supply is being poisoned, an expedition, including seventeen year-old Icelyn Brathius, must descend and face the horror that wiped out civilization centuries ago.
The danger is closer than you think. The shocking true nature of the Threat Below.
As Icelyn faces dangers in a world humans are not meant to survive, she learns that not everything is as it seems, uncovers an ancient revelation, and faces a choice that will change the fate of everyone above and below the clouds. Will Icelyn be strong enough to survive – and bear a terrible secret?
Read this page-turning adventure today.
Jason was raised in Pennsylvania and now lives in Los Angeles, where he attended UCLA’s Screenwriting MFA program.