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Cookie Break

Writer, stationery addict & occasional cat pillow. Adorer of all things cute. Tea and pasta fanatic.

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Shona Kinsella

WWW Wednesday 8th February 2017

www-08022017

This meme is hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. A similar meme, This Week in Books is hosted by Lipsyy Lost and Found.

Why not join in? Just answer the following three questions in a post and then put a link to that post in the comments over at Taking on a World of Words.

WWW Wednesday

This meme will be categorised together with my book reviews. All links will get you to the book’s Goodreads listing, as always 🙂

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What I’m currently reading

08022017-2Ashael Rising

I’m very nearly done with this now and should finish it on Thursday. It’s the only ARC I’ve got at the moment so I’ll be able to return to my tbr pile after this!

I’ve really enjoyed it, and should get my review written early next week. Since I only post one review a week here it’ll be a while before it’ll go live but it’ll be on Goodreads right away 🙂

Blurb:

Ashael is a hunter-gatherer woman, apprenticed to Bhearra, the healer and spiritual leader of their tribe.

The Zanthar are invaders from another world who extend their own lives by stealing the life-force of everything around them. They were last seen on KalaDene 200 years ago. They have returned, looking for The Vessel, a being prophesied to hold the life-force of the land.

Iwan is a slave to the Zanthar, descendant of the folk that were taken as slaves the last time the Zanthar visited this world. He is sent out as a spy, while his mother is held hostage to ensure his compliance.

When Iwan and Ashael meet and she invites him to stay in Oak Cam, neither of them realise that she is the one the Zanthar seek. The fate of KalaDene and all of its people rests on Ashael’s shoulders.

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What I recently finished reading

nano-reward-4Siege and Storm

I really liked Siege and Storm. I’d agree that it wasn’t as good as the first book, but I still flew through it and I love the Russian mythology weaving into it. I’m excited to read the final title in the series now and see how everything’s going to play out.

Blurb:

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land. She finds starting new is not easy while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. She can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her–or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.

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What I think I’ll read next

nano-reward-5Ruin and Rising

This is still my next read… It’s taken me a while to get through my ARC since I read two books parallel to each other for a while, but it won’t be long now! I’m hoping to start it on Friday, maybe even Thursday. I’m really looking forward to it now!

Blurb:

The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.

Now the nation’s fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova’s amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling’s secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.

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Have you read any of these and would like to chat about it? I look forward to hearing from you if you do – just leave a comment below and we can get this book club started!

Celebrating The Launch of Ashael Rising by Shona Kinsella

blog-tour-shona-kinsella-ashael-rising-launch

You might remember Shona Kinsella from when she stopped by for an interview last year July (and I applaud you if you do!). Back then she talked about her WIP Ashael Rising – and now it’s time to celebrate the release of the very same!

So what do I have for you today? Why, I’ve got a mini-interview, I’ve got the cover and the blurb for you, and a few of my favourite lines! And of course all important links, so you can follow Shona all over social media and buy her book baby ^-^

blog-tour-shona-kinsella-portrait

What inspired Ashael Rising?

A dream! I don’t remember all the details now but I had a dream around 9 years ago about warrior fairies that were at war with evil magicians. None of that made it into the book but the final image of the dream, flying over a desolate land where almost everything was dead, stuck with me all these years. That image formed the seed that became Ashael Rising.

Can you summarise your entire plot in one, brief sentence?

An apprentice medicine-woman must find out the truth of who she is in order to defend her people from soul-sucking invaders.

Who is your favourite character, and why?

I know I’m probably meant to say Ashael but in truth, it’s probably Bhearra. She’s funny and wise and steady. I would like to be like her.

What do you hope your readers will take away from Ashael Rising?

A desire to read the next book ;). More seriously, I hope that readers enjoy the book and fall in love with the characters the way that I did. And maybe think about life in a Cam…

What can we look forward to from you in the future?

I’m currently working on an anthology of stories by Unbound authors where the stories all centre around a library in one way or another. I’ll be contributing to and editing the book.

I’m also finishing up a novella called The Longest Night that I started in November. It’s about a tribe who live in the arctic of their world and the plight they face when the sun does not rise after mid-winter.

As soon as I’m finished with that I’ll be starting on the sequel to Ashael Rising.

blog-tour-shona-kinsella-cover

Blurb

Ashael is a hunter-gatherer woman, apprenticed to Bhearra, the healer and spiritual leader of their tribe.

The Zanthar are invaders from another world who extend their own lives by stealing the life-force of everything around them. They were last seen on KalaDene 200 years ago. They have returned, looking for The Vessel, a being prophesied to hold the life-force of the land.

Iwan is a slave to the Zanthar, descendant of the folk that were taken as slaves the last time the Zanthar visited this world. He is sent out as a spy, while his mother is held hostage to ensure his compliance.

When Iwan and Ashael meet and she invites him to stay in Oak Cam, neither of them realise that she is the one the Zanthar seek. The fate of KalaDene and all of its people rests on Ashael’s shoulders.

Miniview

Ashael Rising features two prominent POVs – Ashael, the heroine, and Iwan, a slave forced to spy on her people for his Master who craves world domination. Naturally. Ashael’s people are trusting and peace-loving, and so when Iwan comes to them and asks to stay with them for a while, they happily host the young stranger. Only, there are three problems: Iwan’s master is spying on him, Iwan begins to feel at home in the friendly village, and he falls in love with Ashael. Meanwhile, a mysterious power is beginning to stir in Ashael – and it’s this power Iwan’s master wants to destroy, before it destroys him.

There was something about the young man who had arrived a few days ago. He was full of secrets but also pain. She sensed a good man at his core, in the space beyond pretence.

Ashael Rising is out in three days on FEBRUARY 6TH! Mark it in your calenders and add it to Goodreads 😀

Until then, you can also catch up with Shona on Facebook, Twitter, and her blog.

A Chat with Shona Kinsella

ShonaKinsellaToday I’d like to introduce the lovely Shona Kinsella to you! Shona writes children’s books as well as fantasy novels, and today she’s here to talk about her devut novel, Ashael Rising – an epic fantasy story which will be released later this year ^-^

Hi Shona, and welcome to Cookie Break! I’m excited to hear more about your first novel, Ashael Rising!

Could you tell us a little about your book? No spoilers, please! 😉

Ashael is a hunter-gatherer woman, apprenticed to Bhearra, the healer and spiritual leader of their tribe.

The Zanthar are invaders from another world who extend their own lives by stealing the life-force of everything around them. They were last seen on Ashael’s world 200 years ago. They have returned, looking for The Vessel, a being prophesied to hold the life-force of the land.

Iwan is a slave to the Zanthar, descendant of the folk that were taken as slaves the last time the Zanthar visited this world. He is sent out as a spy, while his mother is held hostage to ensure his compliance.

Ashael begins to experience strange visions and magic that she cannot control. A group of foragers from her village go missing, forcing Ashael to explore the true nature of her powers.

Only when she is a prisoner of the Zanthar does she discover the true nature of their plan, the terrible danger facing her world and her own role in protecting it.

Ashael Rising is a story of finding our place in the world, a story of relationships, with each other and with the land we live on.

Would you mind sharing an excerpt with us, or a favourite quote?

“Muttering another quick prayer, this time to the All-Father, Sirion once more centered himself and sent out his mental vine. He imagined it anchored to the top of his head, rising into the sky, straight towards the sun. Energy flared in Sirion, driving him to his knees before he was able to regulate what he was channeling. This was like nothing he had ever done before. The power came in waves, crashing over him as if he lay on the sea shore. Panting, Sirion pictured a second vine, growing out of his chest, reaching towards Ezre. When it connected to Ezre, the Flores leader began to glow. He seemed to swell to twice his former size and when he released his next spell he roared.

Sirion’s vision was closing in, everything disappearing into a dazzling white light. He heard shouting, something about killing the slave. Then the energy was no longer just flowing through him, Ezre was actively drawing on it, pulling the power of the sun through Sirion. The filidh felt the flare and a searing heat when Ezre cast his next spell and he collapsed to the ground. The last thing he saw was Daven, engulfed in a ball of flame, then his eyes fluttered shut.”

Do you remember what sparked the idea for Ashael Rising?

It was a dream that I had, around nine years ago. The details are hazy now but the final image of that dream has never left me and it was that image that was in my mind when I first sat down to start writing Ashael Rising. The book diverged a lot from the dream but the image will still come. I can’t tell you what it is though because *spoilers*

What are you working on right now?

At the moment, I’m getting Ashael Rising ready to send to my editor at the end of the funding period but my mind is impatient to get started on the sequel so it’s percolating away in the background while I edit.

What draws you to the genre you write in? Have you always been drawn to it?

I have always loved fantasy. One of the earliest things I remember reading is Puddle Lane, a UK TV show and book series about a magician with a pet dragon! Magic is a big draw but I also think that fantasy gives us the opportunity to explore real-world issues in a way that is somehow less threatening, allowing us to look at situations without the same level of judgement and defensiveness that we might otherwise have.

Who/what is your writing inspiration?

Hmmm that’s a tough one. Many details of the setting in Ashael Rising are inspired by my interest in ancient history and my love of nature. If we’re talking about which writers inspire me, well we would be here all day but I would have to mention Stephen King, Raymond E Feist, Stephen Donaldson, Janny Wurts, LE Modesitt Jr and Brandon Sanderson. Listening to the Writing Excuses podcast often inspires me to look at my work from different angles and has led to some really interesting changes.

What do you do if inspiration just won’t come?

At first, I’ll usually try working on something else, writing a short story or creative non-fiction piece that day. If I’m really struggling, I might take a day or two away from my computer, read some fiction and go for a lot of walks. I always find my groove again, sometimes at really inopportune moments, like while I’m cooking dinner, or settling down to sleep.

Which part of the writing process is your favourite, and which part do you dread?

My favourite part is the initial discovery of the story; the joy that comes when it’s all flowing well. I don’t really have any parts that I dread, though cutting words can be tricky. I am nervous about getting my first professional edits, does that count?

What is your number one distraction?

My kids. I have two daughters, aged ten and two, and they like to keep me busy and away from my computer. Occasionally Twitter.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Pantser.

Tea or coffee?

Coffee.

What are the most important three things you’ve learned about writing, editing or publishing (or all of the above!) since you started your journey?

1 – I don’t need external validation. I am a writer because I write, not because anyone else says I am.
2 – It’s important to have a publisher who’s excited about your work.
3 – There are always extra words to cut

What’s your favourite quote on writing?
“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.”

-Stephen King, On Writing

What is the best piece of advice you’ve received?

It’s your story. Listen, take advice if you like, but remember that it’s your story. Tell it how you like.

Thank you, Shona, for stopping by! You can connect with Shona and find out more about her book on Twitter, Facebook and her blog. Ashael Rising will be published by Unbound later this year.

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