2020 Snapshot: Nicole Lenoir-Jourdan

Nicole Lenoir-Jourdan lives in Sydney, Australia. Somehow she has completed a BA (Communications), MA (Creative Writing) and is a doctoral student in Creative Writing at Deakin University. She has been a columnist and journalist in Australian newspapers and magazines. She is a prize winning short story writer and is currently working on an urban fantasy novel. Her journalistic and communications career continues as managing editor of a travel magazine and as the founding owner of a PR and communications agency now in its twentieth year.

She has a penchant for dragons, all things Irish and was born on the same day as Bilbo and Frodo Baggins. And yes she does have hairy feet.

  1. Tell us about your recent publications/projects?

Right now I am working on an urban fantasy for my PhD about an Australian witch who becomes a pawn in the Warlock Whiskey Wars between Ireland and Scotland.

Other projects I am working on include the novel Dragons on Drugs which I’ve recently finished. It will be published early 2021. I am currently doing a plan for the sequel.

What’s it about? Pass the brie (room temperature), dump that backpack and hoik up your tail to meet the new ‘Odd Couple’ combined with a ‘Hitch Hikers Guide’ style and a dash of Potter magic.  Ferdinand, a rather upper-class dragon from the Scottish Highlands must flee his forever home after Dave the backpacking kiwi dragon from the South Island turns up with his ganja.

  1. What has been the best publishing or SF community experience of your career so far?

Completing an MA in Creative Writing at UTS was incredible. Meeting and studying with some excellent SF writers including Jo Anderton and Sydney Khoo, although we were in the minority, was a definite highlight. I read one of my short stories at the Sydney Writers’ Festival and edited the UTS Anthology and thought nothing could top studying at UTS. However being accepted to do a PhD under Jodi McAlister at Deakin has been the icing on the cake in terms of continual growth in my writing. I’m only in my first year and as I’m studying part time, I’m looking forward to the next four years or more. Already I’ve completed a peer review for Esharp at Glasgow University who have an amazing M Litt in Fantasy Literature, submitted two abstracts to give papers at conferences and been commissioned to write an article on James Bond for the conversation.

My thesis topic is titled ‘The spell to break the glass ceiling.’ It is an analysis of the power structures of female witches in 21st century literature using Foucauldian discourse analysis. The main theoretical context of this project will be Foucauldian Discourse Analysis and interpretations of this in a feminist framework. Twenty-first century fictional texts portraying witches will be examined in terms of the Foucauldian concepts of power; social relationships; and power-knowledge such as discourse controlling ritual, where and how one may speak and who may speak.

Feminist scholars who subscribe to the power as domination paradigm  will be discussed in relation to direct domination of witches by men and male magical beings showing whether there still exists the subtle structure of male privilege in 21st century fantasy.

Primary texts include

Chupeco, Rin, The Bone Witch (Illinois: Source Books, 2017)

Cordova, Zoraida, Labyrinth Lost (Illinois: Source Books, 2016)

Harkness, Debra, A Discovery of Witches (New York: Penguin, 2011)

Lewis, Maria, The Witch who Courted Death (Great Britain: Piatkus, 2018)

Moreno-Garcia, Silvia, Signal to the Noise (Canada: Solaris, 2015)

Rowling, JK Harry Potter the Complete Collection seven book box set  (Great Britain, Bloomsbury Children’s Books; 1st edition 2014) The Goblet of Fire (2000);  The Order of the Phoenix (2003); The Half Blood Prince (2005); The Deathly Hallows (2007)

Rowling, JK; Tiffany, John; Thorne, Jack: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts I and II (Special Rehearsal Edition) (Australia, Hachette, 2016)

Schwab, VE, the Near Witch (Hyperion Books 2011)

  1. Which recent Australian/NZ work would you recommend to international fans interested in expanding their Antipodean spec fic knowledge? 

I thought I’d better buy Jodi McAlister’s first book, Valentine after I started my PhD because she did happen to be my supervisor and wow what a read. Valentine is the first book in her trilogy about psycho fairies and evil kelpies who murder teenagers but it’s not horror! McAlister totally nails the voice of the protagonist, high school student Pearl Linford who has to deal with murderous fairies in an Australian setting. She has an awesome Indigenous character who is a departure from the stereotype. He is one of the four teenagers who were all born on the same Valentine’s day. As the blurb goes, “One is a Seelie fairy changeling swapped for a human child at birth. The Unseelie have come to kill the Valentine – except they don’t know who it is.”

Thank goodness the third book Misrule had come out (November 2019) before I’d discovered Jodi otherwise I’d have been ripping her lap top from her to find the manuscript to devour. Penguin describes it as “Sarah J Maas meets Holly Black with an OzYA twist.” I’d describe it as foot-to-the-floor-stay-up-until-4 am reading stuff

I’m studying Maria Lewis’ The Witch who Courted Death. This is another excellent urban fantasy with an Australian Indigenous witch living in the UK. Lots of magic, supes, charms covens and romance make this a racy read.

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