Hello all and welcome to my stop on the Escapist Book Tours book tour for Oil and Dust by Jami Fairleigh! I am so excited to kick things off by sharing a Q&A session I had with the author! We have a lot of good content planned for the tour, so be sure to follow along with our official tour schedule above.
You’ll find my Q&A with Jami down below, along with info about the book and author, and links to get yourself a copy! Also, be sure to stick around to the end of the post for a chance to enter our tour wide, international giveaway where the grand prize is a signed hardcover!
Oil and Dust by Jami Fairleigh
Series: The Elemental Artist #1
Intended Age Group: Adult
Pages: 494 (pb) 458 (hc)
Published: September 1, 2021
Publisher: Kitsune Publishing
When all has been lost, we find ourselves…
Out of the ashes of destruction, a new world has arisen. The plagues of the past—the worship of greed and pursuit of power—are gone. Now, the communities that remain in this post-apocalyptic world focus on creating connections, on forging futures filled with family and love. And all with the help of hard work, hope… and a little bit of magic.
Artist Matthew Sugiyama knows this well. Traveling the countryside in search of the family he lost as a child, he trades his art for supplies—and uses his honed magic to re-draw the boundaries of reality, to fashion a world that is better for those he meets.
Following glimpses of visions half-seen, Matthew—and the friends he encounters along the way—will travel a path from light to darkness and back again. A road where things lost in the past can only be found in the love of the present, and the hope for the future.
And he will travel this path wherever it leads. From joy to sorrow, from tears to laughter. Because Matthew is the Elemental Artist, and he knows that though dangers arise, humanity will always triumph… in a world he has painted in shades of Oil and Dust.
Author Jami Farleigh invites you to meet a rich tapestry of characters, and to travel through a world that blends fantasy, laughter, coming of age, and evocative literary stylings to create a perfect escape. Fans of The Goblin Emperor, The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, The Language of Flowers, and Quarter Share will delight in this tale of humor, humanity, and the power of hope.
Film Mashup: August Rush (2007) x Friends x Wall-E (2008)
Song Mashup: Empty Streets (Late Night Alumni) x You Can Do Magic (America) x Happy (Pharrell Williams)
Google Books: https://books.google.com/books/about/Oil_and_Dust.html
Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/us/book/id1575916896
Thank you so much for joining us for this short Q&A! I want to start things off by asking: what is a great book that you’ve read recently and why should we give it a go?
I’m currently reading The Silver Ship and the Sea by Brenda Cooper. It’s billed as hard science fiction, but at its heart, it’s a character-driven story on a familiar, yet alien world. A great pick for anyone who wants to read more science fiction, but are afraid of techy writing.
Do you have any hobbies or interests outside of reading/writing? Do you care to elaborate?
I’ve taken to saying my primary hobby is hobby collecting. A classic Gemini, I’m curious about everything. As such, I’m a licensed skydiver and I write, read, ski, snowboard, sea kayak, hike, backpack, sketch, paint, snowshoe, sculpt, horseback ride, cook, bake, garden, and travel. I ride a large Harley Davidson motorcycle (Road King) and I want to learn how to scuba dive and build furniture.
Tell us about your road to writing. What made you want to become an author?
I’ve written since I was a child. In third grade, I won a story contest and got to attend a Young Authors Conference, where Jane Yolen was the keynote speaker. I wanted to be her… but later bought into the narrative that authorship wasn’t a valid career path. However, I kept starting novels and joining writing forums, and found the 100 Day Book program via the Write Practice community in 2018.
Writing is a hard and lonely affair in the best of circumstances. How do you achieve a good work/life/writing balance?
Frankly, I don’t. I have a full-time job, so my writing consumes mornings, evenings, and weekends. My husband is extremely supportive and picks up my slack when I get sucked into a writing project. He’s also great about dragging me away from the desk when I’m in-between projects to go for a hike, motorcycle ride, or a backpacking trip.
Is this your first book? If so, what lessons have you learned from writing it? If not, what lessons did you learn from writing earlier books that you brought into this one?
Yes, Oil and Dust is my first full-length novel. I’d started and scrapped many, many stories before, but they always died around the 30% mark. The 100 Day Book program provided the structure I’d been missing; through it, I created a rough outline of the major beats, had a deadline, and made progress toward my deadline each week.
Do you usually write to background noise, music, etc. or do you prefer silence?
I always listen to music, and often the same music on repeat. I like to sing along with the songs as I write; it helps keep me focused. For drafting Oil and Dust, I asked the Google Assistant for “Carole King Radio”. For the sequel, Graphite and Turbulence, I listened to the Rent and Hamilton soundtracks on a loop.
What made you want to write in the fantasy genre? Do you write (or plan to write) in any other genres?
Until I was about eleven, I’d wander down woodland trails FULLY expecting to find a door or a portal to another world. Seriously, with every step, my nerves tingled as my gaze darted around, because I was so sure. Side note, I also thought I could manifest invisibility. I have to work a lot harder now to find that portals-exist-certainty, but I always stop to take pictures of strange doors, just in case. I write fantasy because I’m still looking for those doors.
What is one thing that you love about the current state of fantasy and what is one thing that you wish you saw more of?
I love the rise of indie fantasy. While some indie writers still write the epic, swords-n-sorcery stories (the ones that non-fantasy readers assume all fantasy includes), there are so many terrific indie published stories that don’t rehash the tired old tropes. I’m loving the current trends toward cozy fantasy, queer love and romance, and inclusivity.
Who are your favorite current writers and who are your greatest influences?
I was reading adult fiction by the time I was ten, and tore through everything—historical fiction, horror, thrillers, mysteries, memoir. My favorites included James Clavell, Michael Crichton, Anne Rice, Dean Koontz, James Harriot, Dick Francis, Brendan O’Carroll, Alice Hoffman, and Robert R McCammon.
Currently, I’m enamored with Alix E Harrow, Jasper Fforde, Gail Carriger, and Ursala Vernon (writing as T Kingfisher). If you give me a gorgeous sensory experience, poke at life’s absurdity, and take nothing too seriously, I’ll read everything you’ve got.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I’m a chaotic plotter. I like to storyboard my stories and write a sentence about what happens in each chapter. I use these sentences as a writing prompt… but because I discovery write, I often veer away from my plan.
What are your favorite types of characters?
I like a character with a good dash of sass and had a ball writing Sally Park.
How much of yourself do you write into your stories?
I’m sure its impossible not to leave a piece of yourself in each character, but I don’t purposefully add myself into the story.
For those who haven’t read Oil and Dust, give us the elevator pitch.
An artist who can alter reality sets off across post-technology North America to search for answers about his birth family.
Describe your book in 3 adjectives.
Colorful, heartwarming, and humorous.
What do you think is the overarching theme?
Were there any specific challenges with writing Oil and Dust? Or, did you find anything to be easier?
The first draft, written in third person, sprawled everywhere. Luckily, I had a dev edit done, and the editor helped me understand the more genres I mashed together, the harder the book would be to market. So, I dropped a ton of side quests, a central mystery, and made the (painful) decision to shrink the POV to a single character’s experience.
If you had to do so in just one or two sentences, how would you describe the plot of Oil and Dust?
A privileged, naïve young man sets off on a quest to find answers. But when he uncovers a plan to harm the people he’s come to care for, he must decide what is more important—his found family or answers about his past.
They say to never judge a book by its cover and maybe that’s true in the philosophical sense, but it certainly happens with books. Can you tell us about the idea behind the cover of Oil and Dust?
There will be four books in the Elemental Artist series. The first book, Oil and Dust, is the “Earth” book. The upside down triangle crossed by a single line is the alchemical symbol for earth, and the book is “Earth” colors. My cover designer was dismayed when I told him the palette I wanted to use, but I think he did a beautiful job.
One of my favorite things is highlighting quotes that really resonate with me and sharing them in my reviews. Do you have a favorite quote from Oil and Dust that you can share with us?
Sally cracked me up. Here’s one of her gems:
“Ben, if I have to endure another fish stew, I will roll a dead tramp over you while you sleep. Where’s supper?”
What can you tell us about what’s coming up next for you?
I’m currently working on the third book in the series, Charcoal and Smoke, due out Spring 2023.
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer a few questions for us! I always enjoy this little peek behind the curtain.
About the Author
Jami Fairleigh is a writer, urban planner, and hobby collector from Washington. She shares her life with a husband, a trio of well-mannered horses, a pair of dubiously behaved parrots, and one neurotic dog. Her writing has been published by Terror House Magazine, Horror Tree, Defenestration, and Amsterdam Quarterly, and she is currently working on the third novel in the Elemental Artist fantasy series. You can find her and more information about her writing at https://jamifairleigh.com.
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJamiFairleigh and https://www.facebook.com/je.fairleigh.3/
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