Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

Janine Ballard loves well-paced, character driven novels in historical romance, fantasy, YA, and the occasional outlier genre. Recent examples include novels by Katherine Addison, Meljean Brook, Kristin Cashore, Cecilia Grant, Rachel Hartman, Ann Leckie, Jeannie Lin, Rose Lerner, Courtney Milan, Miranda Neville, and Nalini Singh. Janine also writes fiction. Her critique partners are Sherry Thomas, Meredith Duran and Bettie Sharpe. Her erotic short story, “Kiss of Life,” appears in the Berkley anthology AGONY/ECSTASY under the pen name Lily Daniels. You can email Janine at janineballard at gmail dot com or find her on Twitter @janine_ballard.


  1. Shiloh Walker
    Oct 09, 2006 @ 08:39:47

    I don’t have any questions, but I had to say I love Archangel and Heart of Gold They are two of my favorite fantasy books.

  2. msaggie
    Oct 09, 2006 @ 10:03:56

    I have read and enjoyed all Sharon Shinn’s books, and my copies are rather tattered from re-reading. I particularly adore The Twelve Houses books and have already read Dark Moon Defender twice. I am really looking forward to Cammon’s story in Reader and Raelynx – will advanced reader’s copies be made available at some stage and how could I get one?

  3. Rosie
    Oct 09, 2006 @ 10:23:17

    Which book would you recommend for someone who’s read very little fantasy and never read any of your (Sharon’s) books?

  4. Janine
    Oct 09, 2006 @ 12:36:02

    As if I haven’t asked enough questions for the interview, I’ll ask another one that I wish I had asked. What kind of research do you do for your books?

  5. Jane
    Oct 09, 2006 @ 12:57:31

    I wonder if you have more planned for Kirra. Her story seems to be unifinished.

  6. kardis
    Oct 09, 2006 @ 16:33:19

    I am very happy to read that there will be more about Queen Valri coming up, I have to say that she is a character I am more than a little bit curious about. I really do love all the characters in this series, even among your excellent books it stands out.

  7. Sharon Shinn
    Oct 09, 2006 @ 16:47:04

    Hi, all:

    I’ll answer the questions that are posted now, and check back later to see if more have arrived.

    -About Kirra: A couple of other people have mentioned that they expected to see more of Kirra (and Donnal) in the later books. I see that my strategy of delicately indicating that she and Donnal are now a couple was actually too delicate. Obviously they both appear in Reader & Raelynx — and there are a few scenes where Kirra also has to deal with Romar Brendan in R&R — but mostly the spotlight is off of them as they work out exactly how to turn a longstanding friendship into love.

    I’ve thought about doing a novella set about 20 years in the future, when Kirra’s situation and Romar’s situation both change. It would be an interesting story…not sure when/if I’ll have the time to write it.

    -Research. I hate when people ask this question because my answer is so bad! I really don’t do much research. In the books that have had some actual science I’ve consulted with my brother and with friends who are the sorts of people who devour scientific magazines and understand physics and nuclear fusion, etc. For Truth-Teller’s Tale, I found and emailed a man who sells old-fashioned windup music boxes so I had a better sense of what kind of music they could play when Gregory and Alexander were giving dance lessons at the inn. That’s about the level of research I do for any of my books. In general I just make stuff up. For all you aspiring authors out there, this is very bad! Don’t follow my example!

    -For nonfantasy readers: I think the YA trilogy (Safe-Keeper and the sequels) are probably easiest. They read like fairy tales and you don’t have to suspend too much disbelief. Same is true of Shape-Changer’s Wife. And Summers at Castle Auburn. Those would be the ones to recommend to someone who’d never read any fantasy at all.

    -ARCs: I think someone answered this question elsewhere. I don’t have any control over who gets advance copies. Generally they go to established reviewers. Occasionally I’ve donated ARCs to fund-raisers at conventions (but usually right about as the book was coming out). Apparently they CAN be found on eBay from time to time, but I really don’t know much about how that works.

    -And for those of you with no questions, thanks just for saying you enjoy the books! That is ALWAYS good to hear.


  8. Jane
    Oct 09, 2006 @ 18:26:18

    Thanks, Ms. Shinn, for taking the time to come here . I did understand that Kirra and Donnal were together but I’ve always felt that their relationship was unbalanced and I think Kirra even alludes to this Dark Moon Defender. I would love to see a story for Kirra set further down the road. The golden girl deserves something like that.

  9. DH
    Oct 09, 2006 @ 19:41:35

    Ms. Shinn,

    Do you have a website? Or any plans for one in the future?

  10. Sharon Shinn
    Oct 09, 2006 @ 20:01:34

    Hi again:

    Yeah, the Kirra/Donnal relationship IS unbalanced, and I don’t envision any scenario where it will change. Kirra’s will and desires will always drive the dynamic, but since Donnal wants only to be with Kirra, the inequitable nature of the relationship somehow suits both of them. I have to say that one of my friends has told me that Donnal is her idea of the perfect man. :-) I do think there are real-life situations that are equally out of balance that manage to be entirely successful.

    As for a Web site…I keep making New Year’s resolutions to get a Web site this year! And then the months go by with no progress. Currently a friend-of-a-friend is working on a prototype site for me as he learns the basics of design. I’m not sure what this will eventually yield in terms of an actual site, but I’m hopeful.

    And I missed the comment about Valri before. I actually intended her to have an even bigger part in R&R than she does, but there was too much going on in the book already. But I liked having her around for the time she was available. :-) These characters have been so much fun to hang around with! Kind of missing them now that they’re not around every day.


  11. AAR Rachel
    Oct 09, 2006 @ 22:22:36

    Since LFL hasn’t dropped in yet – I thought I’d ask this question: Archangel and Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey have considerable surface similarities. Was that intentional? Is Archangel an homage to Dragonflight? McCaffrey provided an enthusiastic cover blurb for Archangel. I’ve always found that interesting. I’m just curious about the background of this book as it’s one of my very favorites.

  12. Sharon Shinn
    Oct 10, 2006 @ 09:50:27

    Other people have mentioned the resemblance between Dragonflight and Archangel! No, it wasn’t intentional, but since I had read Dragonflight about four thousand times before I wrote Archangel, I’m not surprised some references seeped in. The fact that Anne McCaffrey blurbed the book (and asked to blurb subsequent books!) makes me think she didn’t find the similarities close enough to be troubling.

    On the other hand, the similarities between Jane Eyre and Jenna Starborn ARE deliberate…

    BTW, thanks for the great review of DMD. I have to laugh, though, over the comments about the cover. Here’s the back story: The original cover, which was AWESOME, featured a Justin who looked veerrrrry much like actor Josh Holloway, Sawyer from “Lost.” (And, may I say, my favorite character on the show.) But my agent, my editor, and I worried that this might cause some legal hassles, so the artist redrew the face. I think the age of the character as now shown on the book is more correct, since Josh Holloway is about 10 years older than Justin, but there was something pretty impressive about that first version. Which, by the way, sold at ComicCon on its first day for a price I was not able to afford…


  13. --Deb
    Oct 10, 2006 @ 17:33:08

    Hmm, I left a comment with questions on the interview’s entry rather than this one . . . darn!

  14. Sharon Shinn
    Oct 10, 2006 @ 20:49:53

    I looked at Deb’s questions on the interview page, so here goes:

    -Music in the angel books. I’ve sung in a lot of school and community choirs, so the great choral pieces like “Elijah” and “Messiah” would be the inspiration for the Glorias. But truthfully, I don’t know much about classical music. I’m a rock-n-roller myself, and I’d probably never have had any exposure to this kind of music if I hadn’t been in choirs.

    -Cool idea about having Jehovah be recording all the Glorias, including the ones sung by Rachel and Gabriel! Never occurred to me! I’ll keep that in mind.

    -As for the Heart of Gold novella, I do hope I get a chance to write it. My basic idea would be to have a young gulden man come to the city to try to find his mother, who escaped from Gold Mountain when he was a child. He’s helped in his search by a young indigo woman. Lots of chances to show the clash of cultures and heritages! So I hope I’ll be working on that one in the next year or so.


  15. Libby
    Dec 13, 2006 @ 07:03:14

    I am supposed to be doing an author study book project on you and your books, and we are asked to tell about previous jobs, goals, and family of our author. I’ve searched everywhere but can’t find a thing to match that critea on you. So I was wondering if you could post a replie containing some of that info. If you would I would be very appreciative.
    Thanks, Libby Arford, 6th Grade

  16. Janine
    Jan 06, 2007 @ 20:54:04

  17. aravis
    May 29, 2012 @ 05:43:46

    I liked the Heart of Gold novella better than the novel! I can’t remember exactly why since I read the novel long ago but I remember I was very disappointed with it.

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