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Tied Together with Magic:
Interview with Brian Fence

By Adeline J. Wells

Author Brian Fence is an up-and-coming writer of fantasy and science fiction works, short stories, and poetry.

With a diverse background spanning from studying sociology at the University of Oxford to working at his family’s financial firm, Fence is now focused on writing professionally full-time.

His upcoming book Freewoman will be the third and final segment of his fantasy series Lenna’s Arc, which details one woman’s quest through an alternate, sparsely populated, yet magical world.

Despite the challenges presented, both in this fantasy world as well the real world, Fence aims to remind readers that love and friendship are driving, magical forces all on their own.

Librarian - Lenna's Arc - by Brian Fence

In addition to creative writing, you also have backgrounds in sociology, East Asian studies and tax consulting. How do these diverse themes weave into your storytelling?

I wouldn't say that the tax consulting influences my stories at all; that was really just a grueling job that paid the bills.

As for East Asian studies, I lived in Japan for about six years. Japanese culture had a large social and cultural influence on me, as well as anime; readers will get a little bit of pop in that in my books.

I also spent some time in England at Oxford studying sociology about Japan, so I have a bit of a British background as well.

I accidentally became a third culture kid, where I had left home in America prior to 9/11, and came back after 9/11 to help out my family's business, which is where tax consulting comes in.

The world was completely different for me; America was not what I knew. I began to write with a different voice than what I had been writing with before.

What writers serve as influences for you?

My favorite writer is Diana Wynne Jones; she was a British author who passed away some years ago. We were pen pals; I literally just wrote to her one day and she wrote back, it was amazing.

This carried on for two or three years, and her influence shaped the way in which I write.

My favorite book of hers was drowned in a library that flooded; she sent me a Japanese copy of that book, which further inspired me to learn Japanese. I was at such a loss to see her gone.

Your upcoming book Freewoman is the third and final chapter of your fantasy series Lenna’s Arc. What served as the inspiration for this trilogy?

The first chapter of the first book, titled Librarian, I had written when I was at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, with my lover at the time. His returning to England meant that we had to separate, so I wrote about my grief and loss.

I decided that I needed a witness to that grief, and that's how I came about Lenna; she witnessed the parting and the loss of my relationship.

Freewoman is a little bit darker than the previous two books, mainly because it is the conclusion of the trilogy, and the end of Lenna’s story.

Brian Fence

Your previous two books, Librarian and Apprentice, were released in 2013 and 2014, respectively. What was the process of writing and releasing this third book like for you, especially considering the time lapse between the previous two releases?

In regards to the time lapse, I came back from England and Japan to help out my family business, as my parents were both sick.

I had a bit of a gap between my writing as I took on the role of being their caregiver, in addition to working at the financial firm that my family owned. My writing didn't flourish as much as I wanted it to during that period.

I lost my parents last year; with their passing, I have committed myself to writing professionally. I'm cranking out Book Three like it's nobody's business.

What can readers expect from this conclusion to the trilogy?

By reading Freewoman, hopefully readers will be tantalized and want to read more of what I'm writing next.

I have another novel that I am currently working on, which is called The Janet Project. This novel is a queerization of the Scottish ballad Tam Lin. Different from the original story, this rendition will take place in the 1990s; instead of the girl saving the boy, it's about the boy saving the boy.

Since I was young, I've always had an entire universe in my head. All of my works are connected to each other, usually through fantasy; everyone has a unique sense of magic, paired with a unique scent that their magic evokes.

For example, Lenna’s magic smells of lavender; in The Janet Project, details such as this will give readers the sense that Lenna is still around, even though her story has concluded.

What did you want readers to take away from your series?

I’m a big My Little Pony fan. Drawing on that, you can't guarantee a happy ending in life, but love and friendship really do win out in the end.

I want my readers to take away the fact that you should be kind and loving, and you should trust who you love.

This series is a cross between alternate reality, militaristic empires, politics, and magic. How do you feel your books find their place in the chaotic state of the world that we are in today?

The world is very chaotic at the moment, definitely. In Lenna’s Arc, there is an evil empire that seeks to take possession of the entire continent that she lives on, which feels very similar to what is happening in the world today.

When I released Librarian in 2013, the world was not in quite the state that it is in now, which is reflected within the tone of the book.

Now, as I have written and am releasing Freewoman, I find that I am leaning a bit more into the political themes that are currently shifting the world around us.

What other projects would you like to branch into next?

I am currently working on a chapbook of poetry, drawing on themes of loss and heartache.

I love to play with form; I recently went to a writer's retreat, and I presented a villanelle, a sestina, and a pantoum.

All of these are three different forms of poetry, but written with my own little quirk on them, and they were very well received.

To stay updated on Fence’s future work, please visit www.BrianFence.com.



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