Brad asked some great questions, so it was a fun interview:
BRAD: With the Prospero books, you have conjured a quasi-mystical reinterpretation of a classic story. Would you call yourself a classical fantasist, and to what degree do you “wax Shakespearean” in any of your books?
JAGI: I fear the only degree to which I “wax Shakespearean” is that I quote Shakespeare occasionally. Ariel, in particular, repeats some of his lines from the Tempest and then continues in like vein for a bit.
Truthfully, I stumbled into writing about Shakespeare almost accidentally. I have always been a fan of The Tempest, partially because I have a cousin named Ariel. When I had a chance to join an Amber roleplaying game, I decided to play a girl name Miranda who lives on an island amid airy spirits. I chose this because it struck me as amusing.
The game did not last very long, but I liked the character. So I started writing about her. Originally, there was very little Shakespeare in the story. Just a reference or two to characters from the original.
However, my many years experience moderating roleplaying games included weaving background material into the active plot. Automatically, as I continued to revise the Prospero’s Daughter series, I started going back to the original play and drawing more of it into the story. By the time I was finished, the series actually was a sequel to the Tempest, with the events of the novel building directly upon the events of the play.
So, no. I don’t think of myself as a classical fantasists. It happened more by accident.
On the other hand, I did choose to attend St. John’s College—the Great Books program, where I steeped in the Classics the way a teabag steeps in hot water. So, I may be more of a classical fantasy writer than I think!