Tag Archives: Epic Fantasy

Interview with an Author Featuring Sarah M. Cradit

The Literary Vixen presents…

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Joining us today is Sarah M. Cradit! Book two in her Kingdom of the White Sea series, The Broken Realm: Kingdom of the White Sea Book 2 is set to release on March 23rd 2021.

What inspired you to start writing?

I’ve been writing since I was seven, and it was something I did to satisfy a very vivid imagination that had been with me since I can remember. I don’t remember really thinking about writing, but rather, just doing it. It became something that I was known for as early as second grade, and from there it just took off. You could say it’s always been a part of me.

What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Probably my almost obsessive commitment to world-building. If I didn’t push myself to write, I could build worlds forever. I love coloring out new places and ideas and characters, and what you see on the page is very “tip of the iceberg,” but all the details that don’t make it in nonetheless help make the books what they are.

How do you deal with emotional impact of a book (on yourself) as you are writing the story?

The only way I know how is to lean into it. If I try and separate myself from the emotion, you’ll read that separation on the page. If I can feel what they’re feeling, and I allow myself to go there, then that’s where the magic happens, so to speak. When this does become hard is when it hits close to home. I once had to write a death scene for a major character, and the timing coincided with a death of someone very close to me. I had a choice between “phoning it in,” or tapping into my own grief, and I chose the latter. It’s still a scene I have trouble re-reading, but my readers tell me it’s one of the best of that series.

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

I’m working on my fortieth right now. That felt so strange to write. Forty! I often find that whatever I’m working on is my favorite, and right now I’m still immersed in my epic fantasy saga, Kingdom of the White Sea. The Kingless Crown, right now, feels like the best thing I’ve ever done. It feels like the culmination of all the hard work and polishing of craft that came before it. And that’s the hope, isn’t it? That everything that came before allows you to be where you are now.

How much ‘world building’ takes place before you start writing?

A LOT. Probably 50% of the total world building I’ll end up doing overall. The rest gets colored in as I write. And as I said above, a lot of this world building never makes it into the stories, not directly at least. But it lives in my notebooks, and in my head, and helps make the world feel like it’s real.

Do you hear from your readers much? What do they say?

I do, and I really really love talking to readers. They offer a perspective I can’t get anywhere else. As the writer, I will never know what it is to experience my books for the first time, and when readers tell me how a story or a character made them feel, I get to live vicariously through that, and to see a side of my world that is otherwise closed to me. Writing is about delivering an emotional experience to a reader, and if my readers are feeling anything at all about my books, then it’s a very satisfying thing for me.

What book is currently on your bedside table?

I don’t read a lot when I’m actively writing a project, unless it’s something I’ve read before. I always have the Lord of the Rings at the ready when I need a break from writing.

Describe yourself in three words.

Curious. Resourceful. Imaginative.

If your book was to be made into a movie, who are the celebrities that would star in it?

Kingdom of the White Sea has a ton of characters, and I’ve never been good at these exercises, but as a reader, when my favorite books come to life on the screen I prefer the actors to be people I don’t recognize. For casting, their physical appearance is less important to me than nailing the character’s motivations, beats, quirks.

Having said that- I would give my left arm to have Eva Green play ANY of my characters.

What advice would you give to other authors?

Comparison is the thief of joy. Whether you’re just starting out, or years in, no two author journeys are the same, and if you set your goals against what you see others achieving, you’ll find nothing but frustration and disappointment. Instead, set your goals according to what you can achieve, and let your best be the bar that you seek to achieve, and beat, consistently. When I see the progress in craft and process from my first book to my fortieth, that gives me a perspective I can’t get from just looking at my work in its current form. And most importantly, writer’s write. There’s no gatekeeping, no milestone you must hit to be called an author. You just have to write. That’s the one thing we all do. The more you do it, the better you’ll get at it. The easier it will feel, and the less time you’ll spend cleaning it up.

What is the one thing you want people to know about you and your books?

That I write what I love. I will always write what I love, even if it isn’t the most trendy, or popular. But it means the world to me that so many of you love what I write, and I can’t thank you enough for taking what can be a very solitary journey for authors and enriching it with your words, and fandoms, and time. It drives me to keep going even on the hard days.

Thank you Sarah M. Cradit for chatting with me! I will include her information down below. Check out her newest release, The Kingless Crown today!

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~Synopsis~

From the USA Today & International Bestselling author of the Saga of Crimson & Clover comes a gripping new epic fantasy world that will leave you breathless to the very last page.

A crown woven together by lies.
A kingdom with the power to unravel them.

Four Reaches. Four brides. Only a fortnight separates the young women from becoming reluctant queens of the usurper king, Eoghan Rhiagain.

Twenty years earlier, King Eoghan’s father cunningly devised marriages between the highborn sons and daughters of the oft-warring Reaches, sealing the unions before they could protest, shattering existing betrothals in place of forced alliances.

Now, Eoghan, the cruel boy king who stole his crown through murder, demands the eldest daughters of these unions. To accept is unfathomable. To refuse is treason.

The lords and ladies of the kingdom have no choice but to prepare their beloved daughters for the horrors ahead. But they’ll soon discover there are no longer any daughters left to present. All four have disappeared, painting the world with their rebellion.

Theirs is not the only rebellion. Across the kingdom, little fires light within. From the enigmatic sorcerers in the northern mountains, to the magi who both wield and regulate the kingdom’s magic, and beyond… to a place where two prisoners are not what they seem.

As the Reaches ready themselves to face the king, the kingdom hovers on the edge of chaos.

And there are many who recall, in candlelit secrecy, tales of a time before…

Sarah is the USA Today and International Bestselling Author of contemporary and epic fantasy.

An unabashed geek, Sarah enjoys studying subjects like the Plantagenet and Ptolemaic dynasties, and settling debates on provocative Tolkien topics such as why the Great Eagles are not Gandalf’s personal taxi service. Passionate about travel, Sarah has visited over twenty countries collecting sparks of inspiration (though New Orleans is where her heart rests). She’s a self-professed expert at crafting original songs to sing to her very patient pets, and a seasoned professional at finding ways to humiliate herself (bonus points if it happens in public). When at home in Pennsylvania, her husband and best friend, James, is very kind about indulging her love of fast German cars and expensive lattes.

 


Interview with an Author Featuring Angelina J. Steffort

The Literary Vixen presents…

Joining us today is Angelina J. Steffort! Her latest release, Shadow Rule (Shattered Kingdom Book 3) released on February 28th 2021.

How long have you been writing?

It has been over ten years since I started that first book. Honestly, back then I had no idea what I was doing. I only knew that I had needed to get it out. White (Wings Book 1) was never meant to be published. But when I reached out to readers almost seven years later, feedback was great, so I took a leap of faith and published. Since then, I have completed fifteen more novels in four different series and am working on number seventeen (Lost Towers, book 4 in my Shattered Kingdom series) at the moment.  I can’t imagine one day waking up and not wanting to write.

Describe a typical writing day.

There is no such thing as a typical writing day for me, even though things have become more routine since that first book ten years ago. I write whenever I get the chance; between meals, when my son is at kindergarten, at night, when my son is asleep. In coffee houses, on trains and busses, and basically everywhere I can fit a laptop for a couple of minutes.

Where do you get your inspiration for your books?

My first book came from a dream. As for the rest, I am not sure where it comes from. When I start a new series I often have no clue what I’m going to write until I start. The words just flow and it never ceases to surprise me that it actually works. I do have a great team of alpha readers who give direct and unfiltered feedback, as well as a wonderful editor who has my back. That helps immensely to polish things once the initial creative phase is over.

Do you have a favorite character that you have written? If so, who? And what makes them so special.

That’s a mean question, because there are so many. Let me try to narrow it down. The first character I loved was Jaden in my Wings series. He isn’t the lead character there, and most of the characteristics why I love him so much only come out in book three of the trilogy, and some of them will remain hidden until I write that prequel to Wings that I have been promising. Then, of course, I love Heck and Jemin in Two Worlds; their friendship, the way they are like two opposite ends on the scale of coping mechanisms. Sunshine and brooding clouds. Gandrett in Shattered Kingdom is my favorite female character so far. She has endured so much in her short life and still hasn’t turned bitter. Her journey and the way she discovers who she truly is (because she couldn’t during those most important years of her life when she was held at the Order of Vala) is a thrilling ride for me as a writer. And her chemistry with Nehelon–who is another favorite of mine, of course–is something that keeps hitting me in the gut. Then, there is Cas in my Breath of Fate series who sometimes makes it hard to find sleep, that’s how upset he makes me.

So, you can see, there is no one single answer. It’s probably like trying to determine who your favorite friend is. There are many, and each of them for a different reason, each of them with their own unique strengths and flaws, and you need each of them in your life. Don’t make me choose 😉

When you’re writing an emotionally draining (or sexy, or sad, etc) scene, how do you get in the mood?

Music. Music. And more Music. I have a playlist for almost every book I write and listening to certain songs brings the mood right on. Also, I studied acting when I was still in high school, so I learned to step into different roles. If all of that fails me, those characters all have a mind of their own and simply bring in their opinions on how things should go, no matter what I have in store for them.

If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?

Daydreamer, multidimensional, enthusiastic.

When writing a series how do you keep things fresh, for both your readers and also yourself?

Things never get boring. Since I hardly ever plot out what I’m going to write, I rely solely on the characters’ ideas of how the story should be going. Even though I have a story to tell, it is not mine, it is theirs. So writing is like watching and documenting a TV show where characters pop up out of nowhere and introduce themselves, love and fight and do all the things I never planned for them. It is like drawing my sword with them to defend them on a battlefield. Like being hung over when they party at the solstice celebrations. It simply never gets boring.

However, it can get draining. Sometimes those characters are faster than my fingers can type and I need to hit pause in order to catch up. But no matter how difficult it gets, in the end it is always worth it. Even with the seven books series I am working on right now. It has never occurred to me to write a stand alone.

Are you working on anything at the present you would like to share with me?

After the release of Shadow Rule at the end of February, I am right in the middle of writing Lost Towers. This will be midpoint for my Shattered Kingdom series, and I can’t wait to reveal some of the tangled political and personal relationships in Neredyn. Also, I am editing Unraveled, book two in my Breath of Fate series, the one with said Cas, who sometimes won’t let me sleep. Release date April 30, 2021.

What advice would you give to other authors?

Write what you love. Read. A lot. And all kinds of genres. Then, read some more. Write some more. Never cease to be curious. Write because you have a story to tell. Listen to your characters. Listen to your readers. Understand that a story idea doesn’t make a book, that there is so much more to the process until you hold the finished product in your hands. And yes, it is a product. Treat it as such. Be kind to those who criticize you–there might be truth to what they have to say. Don’t let one opinion change the direction you are headed. You may be the one who comes up with the story, but what it becomes in the end happens in the reader’s mind. That’s where your story comes to life.

What is the one thing you want people to know about you and your books?

I am grateful for how my work has been perceived over the past years and humbled by the countless emails and messages I get from readers and fans. Thank you for your incredible support.

Thank you Angelina J. Steffort for chatting with me! I will include her information down below. Check out her newest release, Shadow Rule today!

~Synopsis~

Breaking the curse will break her heart

Gandrett can no longer hope that she has a dying chance to save the Prince of Ulfray nor the friend the Dragon King has taken from her. But she won’t give up—even if it means she has to travel to the forests of Ulfray first to help the Prince of Fae to wake his people.

Gandrett leaves behind the ruins of the future of Sives and embarks on an adventure of her own—where she gets more than she bargained for.

Venturing into Ulfray with brooding Nehelon is a challenge in itself, now that she has seen what lies beneath the harsh and cold shell he so very much likes to wear. But waking up the Fae is a whole different thing—especially when the path to lifting the curse is woven from secrets.

Gandrett can only pray to Vala, the goddess she no longer serves, that she look over her friends and brother until she can get out of Ulfray. And she needs to act fast. Because in Neredyn, forces are brewing that will change the course of history.

In this third installment in Angelina J. Steffort’s Shattered Kingdom series, Gandrett must fight the yet biggest battle of her life—the battle of her heart.

“Chocolate fanatic, milk-foam enthusiast and huge friend of the southern sting-ray. Writing is an unexpected career-path for me.” 

Angelina J. Steffort is an Austrian novelist, best known for her Wings series, a young adult paranormal romance about the impossible love between a girl and an angel. The bestselling Wings series has been ranked among calibers such as the Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer, The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare, and Lauren Kate’s Fallen, and has been top listed among angel books for teens by bloggers and readers. Her young adult fantasy series Shattered Kingdom is already being compared to Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass series by readers and fans. 

Angelina has multiple educational backgrounds including engineering, business, music, and acting, and lives in Vienna, Austria with her husband and her son.

www.ajsteffort.com 

https://www.instagram.com/ajsteffort/ 

https://www.facebook.com/ajsteffort/

https://www.pinterest.com/ajsteffort/ 

https://www.twitter.com/ajsteffort/ 

https://www.amazon.com/Angelina-J-Steffort/e/B071Y9LNLL/ 

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/angelina-j-steffort 

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16604778.Angelina_J_Steffort


Interview with an Author Featuring Rebecca L. Garcia

The Literary Vixen presents…

Joining us today is Rebecca L. Garcia! Her newest release, The Fate of Crowns released on January 5th 2020.

What inspired you to start writing?

I’ve always loved reading since I was a little girl, so I always felt a calling to books. I never thought I’d write one, however, until 2014 when I was working in a phone store and I felt like I wasn’t really happy with my career. I had a story in my head and wanted to get it down. So I did.

What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

I’m not sure I have one (I’m a little disappointed in myself). I guess the only thing I do that * could* be considered quirky is sometimes I say the sentences aloud as I’m writing them.

How do you deal with emotional impact of a book (on yourself) as you are writing the story.

I probably have a weird reaction, but I usually end up smiling, knowing that if I could feel that much emotion from a scene, then those reading my book could feel the same. If it’s a really strong scene and it hurts my heart then I will step away for a while, have a cup of tea, and feel those feels.

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

Under Rebecca L. Garcia, I’ve published two and a half (the half being a novella), and am currently writing The Court of Secrets and a secret project releasing in September. I think I loved The Princess of Nothing the most.

What books or authors have most influenced your own writing?

When I first started writing, J. K. Rowling was a huge inspiration to me, but in recent years it’s been all the indie authors who’ve succeeded and worked hard and shown me that we can do it! I feel inspired by all of them and by reading their books, it has of course influenced my writing. I try harder. I read more. The more I read, the better writer I become 😊

Do you hear from your readers much? What do they say?

I do and I love talking to them. Some of them just like discussing certain characters or scenes from my books and those conversations are my favorite. I enjoy talking about the world I created and get all gushy when they’re just as excited as me! Some have messaged me telling me how their books helped them through a tough period or quotes they related too which is really warming to hear.

What book is currently on your bedside table?

The Queen of Nothing.

Do you have any new series planned?

I have a new release coming this September. The title and cover haven’t been released yet but I am in love with this world. It’s very different to my current series, but still falls under the YA Fantasy genre.

If your book was to be made into a movie, who are the celebrities that would star in it?

I actually posted a recent casting to who I’d want for each character. I’d love for Kaya Scodelario to play Winter and Wade Poezyn to play Blaise.

What advice would you give to other authors?

It’s age old advice, I’m sure, but simply it is to keep writing. Every book you write is more and more practice. Don’t get so stuck on the details of publishing so much that you forget to write the damn book.

What is the one thing you want people to know about you and your books?

I also enjoy writing the darker side of things. Whether it is really flawed characters or complex villains. I love getting in their heads and understanding the gray area between simply good and bad. I like to look through the lenses of the morally gray.

 

Thank you Rebecca L. Garcia for chatting with me! I will include her information down below. Check out her newest release, The Fate of Crowns today!

~Synopsis~

With my brother’s death came the crown and all the trappings that accompany it. Now, my father–the most dangerous man in Magaelor–seeks to control my future.

But fate has other plans.

Thrown into mer-filled waters, I’m dragged into the rival kingdom of Berovia. Surrounded by those who murdered my brother and wished my entire family dead, I must find my way back to my kingdom. There, a marriage could bring peace to a century’s old division between the fae and sorcerers. But dark revelations and deadly lies threaten to destroy my destiny.

I must make the choice between my duty, family, and truth before it’s too late.

Will I allow myself to become the Queen of everything? Or be reduced to a cautionary tale as the princess of nothing?

The Fate of Crowns is a fast-paced YA epic fantasy about a sheltered princess who travels between magical kingdoms, discovering a world vastly different to what she’d been led to believe.

Get book one now. The anticipated sequel releases February 2nd 2021.

Rebecca lives in San Antonio, Texas, with her husband and son. Originally from England, you can find her drinking tea, writing new worlds, and designing covers. She writes young adult fantasy. She devoured every book she was given and fell in love with magical worlds, and when she got older, her imagination grew with her. She implements royalty into her books because she adores historical monarchies.

When she’s not writing or spending time with her family, you can find her traveling, and hosting book signings with Spellbinding Events.

The Fate of Crowns, Book one, releases January 5th 2021 with the following four books releasing between February and June.

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Heir to Koloso (Rise of the Temple Gods Book 2) by K.L. Bone – My Review

Title: Heir to Koloso (Rise of the Temple Gods Book 2) *Audiobook*

Author: K.L. Bone

Release Date: July 26th 2016

Genre: Epic Fantasy

“Fear to the fearless. Hope to the hopeless. Mercy to those who hate you. Death to those who love you. That is your destiny, Princess of Kale, Princess of Koloso, heir to both.” – Prophecy of the Kalian Twins

The struggle for the throne intensifies as twin Princesses Ameria and Mariana are forced to contend with their bitter rivalry and haunted past. In this sequel to Heir to Kale, the sisters learn that they must first expose the secrets of their past before they can begin to unveil their shadowed destiny.

Awaiting the Temple bout which will determine her fate, Princess Mariana struggles to unite a Kingdom long bereft of leadership. She must navigate a labyrinth of rival families, powerful lords, and the ever-widening rift between those who serve the Temples and those who do not. Unprepared and still grieving the loss of her mentor, Mariana must decide for herself what is right for the kingdom and who, if anyone, can be trusted.

Meanwhile, Princess Ameria is more determined than ever to discover the true identity of her father’s killer and is willing to risk everything in order to find the answers she seeks. Embarking upon a quest which takes her from gleaming Temples to darkened castles, she endeavors to learn the truth about her family, the Prophecy, and the future of the Kingdom. Eventually turning to her estranged grandfather, the powerful and dangerous Lord Riccard, Ameria uncovers a truth about her family’s past from which will threaten to challenge the very foundations of her beliefs.

However, as the sisters come closer to revealing their past and the prophecy which haunts their future, the wraiths watch from the shadows, an ever-present reminder that time is running out and that the fight for the throne looms upon the horizon.

The saga continues in Heir to Koloso! Even more twists and turns! More action. That jaw dropping revelation had my head spinning! An ending I didn’t see coming. Well done Miss Bone! A marvelous and adventurous read! The pleasant voice of Cassandra Nuss, brings the story to life. I need the next one ASAP! I have to know how it all ends. I give this 5 stars.

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion*


Heir to Kale: Rise of the Temple Gods, Book 1 by K.L.Bone – My Review

Title: Heir to Kale: Rise of the Temple Gods, Book 1 *Audiobook*

Author: K.L. Bone

Release Date: May 4th 2016

Genre: Epic Fantasy

Fear to the fearless. Hope to the hopeless. Mercy to those who hate you. Death to those who love you. – Prophesy of the Kalian Twins.

In the land of Kale there lies a delicate balance between the powerful temples and the rulers from an ancient, royal bloodline. The Temples are ruled through combat, determined by a series of tournaments. Of these tournament champions, 60 are chosen to become Defendants, an elite team charged with protecting the realm from all enemies. Selection to this team is considered the highest of honours and leadership of the team is decided only once every 13 years.

Princesses Mariana and Ameria, twin daughters of two such champions, are taken as children to separate, yet equally powerful Temples. Through years of rigorous training both are educated in the arts of combat, swordplay, and the ancient traditions of the Temple Gods. Both eventually obtain the rank of Kalian Champions with the expectation of one day serving upon the coveted Defendant Team.

Then, not long after their 17th birthday, the childless King declares that one of the sisters must succeed him as the future Queen. As the race for the throne begins, the sister’s long standing rivalry intensifies, leading both upon a dangerous path that threatens not only their lives, but the fate of the very kingdom.

Unbeknownst to the twins, this treacherous path to the throne is the elaborate collaboration of an ancient prophecy and two creatures charged by the Gods themselves ensure it comes to pass. As primeval powers awaken, the two sisters must struggle to learn the truth behind the prophesy and search for a way to change their inevitable fate.

Wow….this story blew me away. Fantastic world building! It’s adventurous and action packed and also heart wrenching. Several times throughout the story I was either shouting out loud or I had tears coming down my face. Ah good times. The characters are very well written. I really like Ameria! I just felt myself leaning more towards her. The puppies were a nice touch and totally unexpected! The narrator had a nice voice and I dig her wraith voice! I NEED the next one ASAP!! I am now fully hooked and invested in this series. I give it 5 stars!

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion*