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Review: Heartstone by Elle Katharine White


Heartstone
Author:  Elle Katharine White
Publisher:  Harper Voyager, January 17, 2017
Format:  Trade Paperback and eBook, 352 pages
List Price:  US$15.99  (print); US$9.99 (eBook)
ISBN: 9780062451941 (print); 9780062451958 (eBook)

Review: Heartstone by Elle Katharine White
A debut historical fantasy that recasts Jane Austen’s beloved Pride & Prejudice in an imaginative world of wyverns, dragons, and the warriors who fight alongside them against the monsters that threaten the kingdom: gryphons, direwolves, lamias, banshees, and lindworms.

They say a Rider in possession of a good blade must be in want of a monster to slay—and Merybourne Manor has plenty of monsters.

Passionate, headstrong Aliza Bentaine knows this all too well; she’s already lost one sister to the invading gryphons. So when Lord Merybourne hires a band of Riders to hunt down the horde, Aliza is relieved her home will soon be safe again.

Her relief is short-lived. With the arrival of the haughty and handsome dragonrider, Alastair Daired, Aliza expects a battle; what she doesn’t expect is a romantic clash of wills, pitting words and wit against the pride of an ancient house. Nor does she anticipate the mystery that follows them from Merybourne Manor, its roots running deep as the foundations of the kingdom itself, where something old and dreadful slumbers . . . something far more sinister than gryphons.

It’s a war Aliza is ill-prepared to wage, on a battlefield she’s never known before: one spanning kingdoms, class lines, and the curious nature of her own heart.

Elle Katharine White infuses elements of Austen’s beloved novel with her own brand of magic, crafting a modern epic fantasy that conjures a familiar yet wondrously unique new world.



Melanie's Thoughts

Elle Katharine White's debut novel, Heartstone, can only be described as an homage to Jane Austin's Pride and Prejudice. In place of Elizabeth Bennett Aliza Bentaine fulfills the role of the forthright and adventurous heroine. Initially excited about the dragon Riders arriving in Merybourne to slay a horde of gryphons that murdered her young sister Aliza isn't best pleased to spend time in the company of the haughty dragonrider Alastair Daired. In true Pride and Prejudice fashion Alastair sticks his upper crust nose up at the much lower class Aliza. His obvious disdain for her lack of 'connections' is short lived however, when a evil force threatens not just Aliza but the kingdom as well. Will true love prevail?

I am a huge fan of Jane Austin and have read all of her books. I especially love the BBC's adaptation of Pride and Prejudice with the well cast Colin Firth in the role of Mr. Darcy. I have to admit I am always a bit dubious about novels that try to re-tell this classic. I liked but did not love White's version in the form of Heartstone. Rather than adapting Austin's original in a fantasy setting complete with dragons and hobgoblins White rather slavishly followed the plot and merely modified the names (i.e. Aliza instead of Lizzie). This shouldn't be considered criticism but rather 'critique'. I thought that Heartstone was a welcome relief from the news and some of the other options on my TBR. I will be interested to see whether White can follow this debut with a truly original tale. For fans of Austin and dragons then please give this a read.

Interview with Elle Katharine White, author of Heartstone


Please welcome Elle Katharine White to The Qwillery as part of the 2017 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Heartstone is published on January 17th by Harper Voyager. Please join The Qwillery in wishing Elle a Happy Publication Day!



Interview with Elle Katharine White, author of Heartstone




TQWelcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

EKW:  Glad to be here! When I was in middle and high school I had terrible insomnia. Since staring at a dark ceiling gets old after the first hour, I began to make up stories to keep myself occupied. Pretty soon my stories got so big and complicated I couldn’t keep them in my head anymore, so I started to write them down. Bedtime stories turned to short stories, short stories into novels. I haven’t struggled with insomnia since.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

EKW:  Hybrid. I write like Dug in the movie Up; I’ll start as a plotter with a scene-by-scene outline, but as I get into it I’ll—SQUIRREL!—find new story threads within the larger plot that insist on pulling me through to the end. Sometimes those adventures make it to the finished work, sometimes not.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

EKW:  Finding time to write while working a full time job. It kind of makes me miss the insomnia. If I could have any one superpower, it would be the ability to function on one hour of sleep a night. I’d get so much done!



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

EKW:  My mom read to my brother and me every night when we were growing up—everything from the Hardy Boys to The Chronicles of Narnia. That was my first introduction to fantasy literature and I found I couldn’t get enough of it. My favorite books were anthologies of myths and legends from around the world. Reading those made me want to enter those beautiful, dangerous, magical worlds, first just as a reader, but eventually as a storyteller myself, making myths of my own.



TQDescribe Heartstone in 140 characters or less.

EKW:  Epic fantasy reimagining of Pride & Prejudice with a dragon-riding, monster-hunting Mr. Darcy and an Elizabeth too nosy for her own good.



TQTell us something about Heartstone that is not found in the book description.

EKW:  A bit of book mythology: A heartstone is the last drop of blood drawn from the heart of a living creature. It takes the form of a gem, usually about the size of a cherry or peach pit, and varies in color depending on the creature.



TQWhat inspired you to write Heartstone? What appealed to you about using Pride and Prejudice as the foundation for Heartstone?

EKWPride and Prejudice is one of my favorite books and I’ve loved fantasy since I was a kid, so somewhere in the back of my mind there’s always been the seed of the idea to combine the two, but it only sprouted after my housemate put on the movie How to Train Your Dragon while I was rereading P&P. I remember the exact scene when inspiration struck: as Hiccup is making his equipment, I had the sudden image of Mr. Darcy riding a dragon and my inner fangirl just about died of happiness. I couldn’t sleep until I’d outlined a world where that could happen.



TQIn your opinion, why do Austen's works lend themselves so well to retellings?

EKW:  Austen understood people. Regency England might’ve been her stage, but her characters transcend time. The young woman struggling to survive and stay true to herself in a society that does not default in her favor—the privileged man learning what it means to engage humbly with people outside his social sphere—the mother fighting for the wellbeing of her family regardless of what it costs her reputation . . . we’ve all met Lizzies and Darcys and Mrs. Bennets. And because we recognize them, because they are anchors to the world we understand, we love meeting these characters in new settings, whether it’s in an English parlor or New York City boardroom or a zombie-infested Hertfordshire or a fantasy kingdom inhabited by dragons and monsters.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for Heartstone?

EKW:  I had to look up a fair bit about medieval armor and weaponry, which began with binge-watching YouTube videos on the correct way to hold a dagger, and ended in borrowing a friend’s longsword for a few months. The latter may or may not have resulted in some irresponsible wielding in close quarters and the disemboweling of a couch cushion. Maybe.



TQPlease tell us about Heartstone's cover.

EKW:  Larry Rostant and Lex Maudlin did a fantastic job on the cover. They captured the colors, the ferocity, the scenery, everything. While it’s not a direct scene from the book, it’s almost exactly how I pictured Akarra and Aliza.



TQIn Heartstone, who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

EKW:  Tobble the lovable, mischievous hobgoblin is one of my favorite characters, probably because he was so easy to write. He’s a combination of every small child I’ve ever babysat plus all the getting-out-of-trouble skills I learned as the youngest sibling. Charis Brysney, my reimagined Caroline Bingley, was the hardest. I never liked Caroline in P&P, and that made translating the spirit of her character a challenge. Finding a balance for Charis between harsh, haughty, and endearing was the most difficult part.



TQWhich question about Heartstone do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

EKW

      Q:  Did you come up with the name Burrumburrem by imagining the sound a snoring cat would make if it took a nap on a kettle drum?

      A:  Yes. Yes I did.



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from Heartstone.

EKW:

      Aliza: “Give me earth and growing things; you can keep the wind.”

      Aliza, as she wonders why Daired keeps staring at her: “You have a dragon, and she’s dancing. Get your priorities sorted.”



TQWhat's next?

EKW:  What I’m working on right now: a cyberpunk heist novel full of scary new technology, sibling rivalries, and GIRL POWER.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

EKW:  Thanks for having me!





Heartstone
Harper Voyager, January 17, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 352 pages

Interview with Elle Katharine White, author of Heartstone
A debut historical fantasy that recasts Jane Austen’s beloved Pride & Prejudice in an imaginative world of wyverns, dragons, and the warriors who fight alongside them against the monsters that threaten the kingdom: gryphons, direwolves, lamias, banshees, and lindworms.

They say a Rider in possession of a good blade must be in want of a monster to slay—and Merybourne Manor has plenty of monsters.

Passionate, headstrong Aliza Bentaine knows this all too well; she’s already lost one sister to the invading gryphons. So when Lord Merybourne hires a band of Riders to hunt down the horde, Aliza is relieved her home will soon be safe again.

Her relief is short-lived. With the arrival of the haughty and handsome dragonrider, Alastair Daired, Aliza expects a battle; what she doesn’t expect is a romantic clash of wills, pitting words and wit against the pride of an ancient house. Nor does she anticipate the mystery that follows them from Merybourne Manor, its roots running deep as the foundations of the kingdom itself, where something old and dreadful slumbers . . . something far more sinister than gryphons.

It’s a war Aliza is ill-prepared to wage, on a battlefield she’s never known before: one spanning kingdoms, class lines, and the curious nature of her own heart.

Elle Katharine White infuses elements of Austen’s beloved novel with her own brand of magic, crafting a modern epic fantasy that conjures a familiar yet wondrously unique new world.





About the Author

Interview with Elle Katharine White, author of Heartstone
Light in the Dark Photography by Kira Spencer
Elle was born and raised in Buffalo, NY, where she learned valuable life skills like how to clear a snowy driveway in under twenty minutes (a lot easier than you think) and how to cheer for the perennial underdog (a lot harder than you think).

When she's not writing she spends her time reading, drinking absurd amounts of tea, having strong feelings about fictional characters, and doing her best to live with no regrets.

Connect with her on Facebook at @ellewhite.author, or witness the hilarious spectacle that is a writer contending with the 140-character limit on Twitter at @elle_k_writes.

Website


Guest Blog by Elizabeth Bonesteel, author of the Central Corps series


Please welcome Elizabeth Bonesteel to The Qwillery. Remnants of Trust (A Central Corps Novel 2)
was published on November 8th by Harper Voyager.



Guest Blog by Elizabeth Bonesteel, author of the Central Corps series




          Star Trek premiered in 1966 when I was two, less than three years after John Kennedy was assassinated, less than four years after the Cuban Missile Crisis, a short 21 years after the end of World War II. Right in the thick of the Vietnam War. The space race was a big deal, and was largely motivated by the Cold War; but Star Trek suggested that it might not be war that we got out of it. That maybe, just maybe, instead of war and threats, we could have a positive future.
          For me, largely oblivious to world politics, Star Trek was space stories. It shared our television with Mercury news and Apollo launches, fiction and reality taking turns. I grew up with the assumption that the Apollo program would someday give us warp drive and the starship Enterprise. All of the civil unrest would give us women and men working together, nationality and skin color dividing no one. Star Trek was fiction, but to Small Liz, it showed a universe that seemed perfectly attainable.
          It’s much easier to be optimistic when you’re a kid, and you blithely believe your parents will fix any wrong that enters your life. Of course we will have a Star Trek future, because we will do the Right Things.
          Not that the show was an egalitarian utopia. Science fiction and its predictions of the future were largely the purview of 1960s men, and they could only get so far on that point. But the existence of someone like Uhura—not just a bridge officer, but a kickass bridge officer who actually once got to slug Sulu (although be fair it was Mirror Universe Sulu and so not quite the same thing, but damn, this is not a woman you want to cross)—was massive, mostly because she wasn’t treated, on the show, as anything unusual. Of course women would be officers. Of course we’d carry weapons and know how to fight and defend ourselves. Logic. For a show that frequently extolled the virtues of human sentiment, it was often logical in exactly the right ways.
          Some of my favorite episodes as a kid were the ones that don’t hold up so well when viewed through an adult lens. “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield” is about the most unsubtle diatribe against racism you could possibly compose, but as a child I found its anger and sense of futility genuinely affecting. It’s a frequent trick of the show that has continued through all of its iterations: use an alien species to represent present-day Us in order to both make the point and suggest that Future Us will have been able to fix our mistakes. Hopelessness for today, but maybe some hope for tomorrow.
          “The Alternative Factor” doesn’t make a lick of sense if you think about it, but that was another I loved as a kid. The existential horror of being trapped with an insane version of yourself for eternity—wow. Fear of death? Feh. Everlasting life with yourself? Nightmares. It’s an oddly-paced, substantially less horrific version of “I Have No Mouth, And I Must Scream.” It evokes C.S. Lewis’s Voyage of the Dawn Treader and the island where dreams come true. It’s the original Grimm Fairy Tale, where the wicked stepmother dances in red-hot shoes until she drops dead.
          Okay, I was a weird kid.
          “The Galileo Seven” always scared me at the end, even when I knew they would be beamed out in time. (And wasn’t Spock’s characterization odd in that one? It always seemed like if they wanted to inject random conflict in an episode, they’d have Spock go extra-Vulcan and piss everybody off.) And to this day I leave the room when Decker dies in “The Doomsday Machine,” which is still, even by modern standards, one of the loveliest hours of television ever produced (and violates one of the show’s usual rules of making the threatening aliens at least partially sympathetic).
          And of course there were the humorous episodes, intentional and unintentional. “Spock’s Brain” is a brilliant piece of sexist camp, complete with what’s actually quite a nice performance from Marj Dusay (later an accomplished soap opera actress). And there were tribbles and hordes of beautiful twin androids, and oh, the cringing when I watch “I, Mudd” today, but it still makes me laugh.
          Even the grimmest of Star Trek episodes had shades of optimism. This is still true (although lately they’ve been pushing it, and seriously, people, stop blowing up my Enterprise), and it is, in some ways, cheating. It shows us the great distance we have yet to travel without giving us any clues about how we’re supposed to get there. But sometimes, when the world is unsettled, when you don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow…sometimes, a little blind optimism is exactly what you need.





Remnants of Trust
A Central Corps Novel 2
Harper Voyager, November 8, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 528 pages

Guest Blog by Elizabeth Bonesteel, author of the Central Corps series
In this follow-up to the acclaimed military science fiction thriller The Cold Between, a young soldier finds herself caught in the crosshairs of a deadly conspiracy in deep space.

Six weeks ago, Commander Elena Shaw and Captain Greg Foster were court-martialed for their role in an event Central Gov denies ever happened. Yet instead of a dishonorable discharge or time in a military prison, Shaw and Foster and are now back together on Galileo. As punishment, they’ve been assigned to patrol the nearly empty space of the Third Sector.

But their mundane mission quickly turns treacherous when the Galileo picks up a distress call: Exeter, a sister ship, is under attack from raiders. A PSI generation ship—the same one that recently broke off negotiations with Foster—is also in the sector and joins in the desperate battle that leaves ninety-seven of Exeter’s crew dead.

An investigation of the disaster points to sabotage. And Exeter is only the beginning. When the PSI ship and Galileo suffer their own "accidents," it becomes clear that someone is willing to set off a war in the Third Sector to keep their secrets, and the clues point to the highest echelons of power . . . and deep into Shaw’s past.





Previously

The Cold Between
A Central Corps Novel 1
Harper Voyager, March 8, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 528 pages

Guest Blog by Elizabeth Bonesteel, author of the Central Corps series
Deep in the stars, a young officer and her lover are plunged into a murder mystery and a deadly conspiracy in this first entry in a stellar military science-fiction series in the tradition of Lois McMaster Bujold.

When her crewmate, Danny, is murdered on the colony of Volhynia, Central Corps chief engineer, Commander Elena Shaw, is shocked to learn the main suspect is her lover, Treiko Zajec. She knows Trey is innocent—he was with her when Danny was killed. So who is the real killer and why are the cops framing an innocent man?

Retracing Danny’s last hours, they discover that his death may be tied to a mystery from the past: the explosion of a Central Corps starship at a wormhole near Volhynia. For twenty-five years, the Central Gov has been lying about the tragedy, even willing to go to war with the outlaw PSI to protect their secrets.

With the authorities closing in, Elena and Trey head to the wormhole, certain they’ll find answers on the other side. But the truth that awaits them is far more terrifying than they ever imagined . . . a conspiracy deep within Central Gov that threatens all of human civilization throughout the inhabited reaches of the galaxy—and beyond.





About Elizabeth

Guest Blog by Elizabeth Bonesteel, author of the Central Corps series
Elizabeth Bonesteel began making up stories at the age of five, in an attempt to battle insomnia. Thanks to a family connection to the space program, she has been reading science fiction since she was a child. She currently works as a software engineer and lives in central Massachusetts with her husband, daughter, and various cats.





Website  ~  Twitter @liz_monster  ~  Facebook

Interview with Amy S. Foster


Please welcome Amy S. Foster to The Qwillery. The Rift Uprising, the first novel in the The Rift Uprising Trilogy, was published on October 4th by Harper Voyager.



Interview with Amy S. Foster




TQWelcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?


Amy:  I’ve always been a writer, even before I could actually write or read, I was telling myself bedtime stories.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?


Amy:  A plotter for sure. Sometimes a character will surprise me on the page and it makes sense in the plot for them to do something I hadn’t thought about. Generally, though each scene and chapter is outlined pretty thoroughly.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Amy:  Time. Time is my greatest enemy! I have three kids. Although, now that I’ve started treating my writing like an actual 9-5 job where I leave the house and go to my office, it has gotten better. When I worked from home, it was just so difficult to get the kids to understand that I wasn’t just on the computer but that I was actually working.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing? How does being a songwriter influence (or not) your novel writing? And do you have a play list for The Rift Uprising?

Amy:  My teenagers are a particular influence for this novel because I wanted the characters, despite their extraordinary circumstances to sound like actual teens. Songwriting has been a huge influence. Its helped teach me brevity and how to be concise. You don’t get any time really in a song for exposition. I have a playlist, it’s on my website. I also wrote and performed 3 songs for this book with my songwriting partner Micah Wilshire. Our band is called QOINS. You should check it out! 




TQDescribe The Rift Uprising in 140 characters or less.

Amy:  Cybernetically altered teenage super soldiers guard a doorway to the Multiverse. Hijinx ensue.



TQTell us something about The Rift Uprising that is not found in the book description.

Amy:  Well, there are some pretty heavy themes in the book. Everyone who ends up on our Earth is called an Immigrant. They are processed by The Allied Rift Coalition and sent to a place called The Village where they are forced to ‘humanize’ regardless of species. There are no aliens in my novel but evolutionary biology dictates that given infinite Earths, there would be infinite variations of a dominate species. When Ryn sees this place for the first time it jolts her. She knows it’s wrong. She finally starts asking questions.



TQWhat inspired you to write The Rift Uprising? What appeals to you about writing Science Fiction?

Amy:  I was really inspired like I said, by my teenage daughter. I wanted a book where she could recognize herself in the characters. I imagined if she and her friends were Citadels, how would they sound? How would they act or react? I love SciFi. Star Trek is and always has been one of my favorite shows. There is something so appealing about the idea of anything being possible. 




TQYour first novel, When Autumn Leaves, was set in the magical town of Avening. Do When Autumn Leaves and The Rift Uprising share anything thematically?


Amy:  Well again, I’m drawn to the notion of anything being possible. There’s a reason that SciFi and Fantasy are often lumped together. Thematically, I suppose I am kind of obsessed with the idea of powerful women, not just metaphorically, but well and truly powerful. Women who can handle pretty much any situation either with magic or a chip implanted in their heads that gives them super powers.



TQIn The Rift Uprising who was the easiest character to write and why?

Amy:  Boone. He’s a smartass. He’s the Deadpool of the group. I love being quippy.




TQWhy have you chosen to include or not chosen to include social issues in The Rift Uprising?

Amy:  As I mentioned before, there is a clear link to Immigration, racism, xenophobia and there’s also a section where a girl is very close to being sexually violated. Ryn steps in and shuts it down pretty violently. I would never shy away from the tough issues in a YA book. From my view, that’s the BEST place to tackle social issues, before kids have had years and years to form a concrete opinion that can’t be changed. I’m not looking for anyone to take my ideology on board, I’d be happy if they just sort of think about things from another perspective.



TQWhich question about your The Rift Uprising do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!


Amy:  I wish more people would ask about Battle Ground, Washington and Camp Bonneville. They are real places! If you’re a fan of the book you can go and visit a lot of the locations I write about.



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from The Rift Uprising.

Amy:  ”Guilt is what you feel when you’ve done something bad. Shame is what you feel when you know that you are bad.” 




TQWhat's next?

Amy:  The hustle. All I can think about is selling this book and getting it into as many people’s hands as I can. That being said, I have to edit book two and finish book 3 in the Trilogy.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.





The Rift Uprising
The Rift Uprising Trilogy 1
Harper Voyager, October 4, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 400 pages

Interview with Amy S. Foster
An alternate reality that feels all-too-real, The Rift Uprising is the explosive start to a new trilogy that combines the fast paced action of Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games, the lyrical tone of Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and the emotional stakes of Pierce Brown’s Red Rising from acclaimed lyricist and storyteller Amy S. Foster.

Normal seventeen-year-old girls go to high school, binge watch TV shows all weekend, and flirt with everyone on the face of the Earth. But Ryn Whitaker is trying to save it.

Ryn is a Citadel. A soldier. A liar. Ryn and her fellow Citadels were specially chosen and trained to guard a Rift—one of fourteen unpredictable tears in the fabric of the universe that serve as doorways to alternate Earths. Unbeknownst to her family, Ryn leaves for school each day and then reports for duty as an elite, cybernetically-altered soldier who can run faster, jump farther, and fight better than a Navy SEAL—which comes in handy when she’s not sure if axe-wielding Vikings or any number of other scared and often dangerous beings come through the Rift. A fine-tuned weapon, Ryn is a picture-perfect Citadel.

But that’s all about to change.

When a young man named Ezra is pulled through the Rift, Ryn finds herself immediately drawn to him, despite her training. What starts as a physical attraction quickly grows deeper, and Ezra’s curiosity throws Ryn off balance when he starts questioning the Rifts, the mysterious organization that oversees them, and the Citadels themselves—questions that lead Ryn to wonder if the lies she’s been telling her family are just the surface of a much bigger lie told to her. As Ryn and Ezra desperately try to get to that truth, they discover that each revelation blurs the line between the villains and the heroes even more.





About Amy

Interview with Amy S. Foster
Amy S. Foster is a celebrated songwriter, best known as Michael Bublé’s writing partner. You might recognize her work in his four hit singles, including "Home" and "Haven't Met You Yet.” She has also collaborated with Destiny’s Child, Diana Krall, Andrea Bocelli, Josh Groban and a host of other artists. She is also the author of the novel When Autumn Leaves. When she's not in a studio in Nashville, Amy lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family. Amy is the daughter of singer B.J. Cook and the legendary music producer, David Foster. Fun fact about Amy: Her extended family tree includes Bella and Gigi Hadid, Sara and Erin Foster and Brody and Brandon Jenner, and Clay Aiken! The Rift Uprising, her YA debut, will be released on October 4, 2016.


Website  ~  Twitter @AmyFosterHere  ~  Facebook

2016 Debut Author Challenge Update - In the Shadow of the Gods by Rachel Dunne


2016 Debut Author Challenge Update - In the Shadow of the Gods by Rachel Dunne


The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2016 Debut Author Challenge.


Rachel Dunne

In the Shadow of the Gods
A Bound Gods Novel 1
Harper Voyager, June 21, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook 400 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge Update - In the Shadow of the Gods by Rachel Dunne
A breathtaking talent makes her debut with this first book in a dark epic fantasy trilogy, in which a mismatched band of mortals led by a violent, secretive man must stand against a pair of resentful gods to save their world.

Eons ago, a pair of gods known as the Twins grew powerful in the world of Fiatera, until the Divine Mother and Almighty Father exiled them, binding them deep in the earth. But the price of keeping the fire lands safe is steep. To prevent these young gods from rising again, all twins in the land must be killed at birth, a safeguard that has worked until now.

Trapped for centuries, the Twins are gathering their latent powers to break free and destroy the Parents for their tyranny—to set off a fight between two generations of gods for control of the world and the mortals who dwell in it.

When the gods make war, only one side can be victorious. Joros, a mysterious and cunning priest, has devised a dangerous plan to win. Over eight years, he gathers a team of disparate fighters—Scal, a lost and damaged swordsman from the North; Vatri, a scarred priestess who claims to see the future in her fires; Anddyr, a drug-addled mage wandering between sanity and madness; and Rora and Aro, a pair of twins who have secretly survived beyond the reach of the law.

These warriors must learn to stand together against the unfathomable power of vengeful gods, to stop them from tearing down the sun . . . and plunging their world into darkness.

Interview with Patrick Hemstreet, author of The God Wave


Please welcome Patrick Hemstreet to The Qwillery as part of the 2016 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The God Wave is published on May 17th by Harper Voyager. Please join The Qwillery in wishing Patrick a Happy Publication Day! Look for Qwill's review later this week.



Interview with Patrick Hemstreet, author of The God Wave




TQWelcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

Patrick:  Thank you, the pleasure is all mine.

I started writing as a young adult. I have a very (overly) active imagination, and at times, I am bombarded by ideas. If I don’t write them down and give them an outlet, they linger; constantly reminding me of their presence in the back seat. It’s not quite like Lisa and Bart repeating “are we there yet?” but it’s close.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Patrick:  Definitely a hybrid; I find both approaches have their merits and should be applied as needed. I would say the initial creation of the story is more suited to pantsing, and implementing that story into written word is definitely more suited to plotting.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Patrick:  Editing. Re-reading a first draft can be very…um…enlightening. Particularly when you hear yourself say aloud, “I wrote that sentence?!”



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Patrick:  With regard to The God Wave, it was mountains of neurodiagnostic texts and articles, tons of material from my own collection of comparative religion/occult tomes, and an enthusiast’s level of knowledge of quantum physics. There are also the books (which cannot be named) contained in my special library, accessible only via secret passage.



TQDescribe The God Wave in 140 characters or less.

Patrick:  Humanity will cross a threshold with a mighty leap.



TQTell us something about The God Wave that is not found in the book description.

Patrick:  Like Chuck and Matt, my first experience as a neurology convention guest exhibitor was at the San Antonio River Walk. And, like the characters, I did not have time to see the Alamo.



TQWhat inspired you to write The God Wave? How much of The God Wave is grounded in hard science? Is it really true that we only use 10% of our brains?

Patrick:  No, we use 11.345678% of our brains—kidding!

A good deal of it is grounded in science. There is research being conducted world-wide on EEG-driven apparati. The EEG rhythms in the book are all recognizable in neurodiagnostic circles (with the exception of the zeta wave of course). I dressed up some of the tech to make it more colorful, but the essence of the material is grounded in real neurodiagnostic technique.

As far as the percentage of brain use, I’m not certain it’s a hard number. I do think there are latent abilities we have yet to tap into.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for The God Wave?

Patrick:  Well, I would say The God Wave was a product of my professional research and hobbies. During my career as a neuro-diagnostician, I spent hours poring over professional articles and studies on PubMed. In my own time, I devour metaphysical, occult, and comparative religion materials. These two themes came together in my mind and The God Wave was born. I wanted to approach what could be construed as a metaphysical or mystical story device through science.



TQWho was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Patrick:  The easiest was Chuck, the hardest was Matt. These two characters are essentially me, sliced down the middle. Chuck is me staring into a mirror brightly; he is my “feel-good” character. Matt is me staring into a mirror darkly and the inverse is true. This is not to say that Matt is a villain, I think the traits both Matt and Chuck embody are needed in good leadership and entrepreneurial endeavors.



TQ:  Which question about The God Wave do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Patrick:

Big time Hollywood mogul: “Patrick how soon can we make a movie based on The God Wave?”

Me: “You got a pen?”



TQ Give us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from The God Wave.

Patrick:  Non-spoilery?! Ah, come on!

“What if the brain waves a person generates to screw in a lightbulb could actually screw in the lightbulb?”

Eugene, sitting at his chaotic desk, looked up and gawped at Chuck. “Is this a lightbulb joke?”


TQWhat's next?

PatrickThe God Wave is a trilogy, so the sequel is coming next spring. I am hard at work on books two and three.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Patrick:  Right back at ya!

Well, that is to say thank you for allowing me to join you. You are Qwillery after all; you really wouldn’t be joining yourself. Unless of course, you had some kind of super-power.

TQWe have no comment... .





The God Wave
The God Wave Trilogy 1
Harper Voyager, May 17, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 400 pages

Interview with Patrick Hemstreet, author of The God Wave
A team of neuroscientists uncover amazing new capabilities in the brain that may steer human evolution toward miraculous and deadly frontiers in this spectacular debut work of speculative science fiction—Limitless meets James Rollins—that combines spirituality and science in an inventive, mind-blowing fashion.

For decades, scientists have speculated about the untapped potential of the human brain. Now, neuroscientist Chuck Brenton has made an astonishing breakthrough. He has discovered the key—the crucial combination of practice and conditioning—to access the incredible power dormant in ninety percent of our brains. Applying his methods to test subjects, he has stimulated abilities that elevate brain function to seemingly “godlike” levels.

These extraordinary abilities can transform the world, replacing fear and suffering with tranquility and stability. But in an age of increasing militarization, corporate exploitation, and explosive technological discovery, a group of influential power brokers are determined to control Brenton’s new superbeings for their own manipulative ends—and their motives may be far from peaceful.





About Patrick

Interview with Patrick Hemstreet, author of The God Wave
© Tanya Radoff Photography
Patrick Hemstreet is a novelist, neuroengineer, entrepreneur, patent-pending inventor, special-warfare-trained Navy medic, stand-up comic, and actor. He lives in Houston, Texas, with his wife and sons. The God Wave is his first novel.










Website  ~  Twitter @Hemstreetauthor

Facebook



2016 Debut Author Challenge Update - The God Wave by Patrick Hemstreet


2016 Debut Author Challenge Update - The God Wave by Patrick Hemstreet


The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2016 Debut Author Challenge.


Patrick Hemstreet

The God Wave
The God Wave Trilogy 1
Harper Voyager, May 17, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 400 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge Update - The God Wave by Patrick Hemstreet
A team of neuroscientists uncover amazing new capabilities in the brain that may steer human evolution toward miraculous and deadly frontiers in this spectacular debut work of speculative science fiction—Limitless meets James Rollins—that combines spirituality and science in an inventive, mind-blowing fashion.

For decades, scientists have speculated about the untapped potential of the human brain. Now, neuroscientist Chuck Brenton has made an astonishing breakthrough. He has discovered the key—the crucial combination of practice and conditioning—to access the incredible power dormant in ninety percent of our brains. Applying his methods to test subjects, he has stimulated abilities that elevate brain function to seemingly “godlike” levels.

These extraordinary abilities can transform the world, replacing fear and suffering with tranquility and stability. But in an age of increasing militarization, corporate exploitation, and explosive technological discovery, a group of influential power brokers are determined to control Brenton’s new superbeings for their own manipulative ends—and their motives may be far from peaceful.

Guest Blog by Beth Cato


Pleas welcome Beth Cato to The Qwillery. Final Flight, the third Clockwork Dagger story, is published on April 26th by Harper Voyager Impulse. Please join The Qwillery in wishing Beth a Happy Publication Day!



Guest Blog by Beth Cato




Final Flight: A Father and Son Story in the World of Clockwork Dagger

by Beth Cato


There are many ways to tell a love story, and in "Final Flight," I explore the bond of a father and son.

Captain Hue commands the airship Argus, a passenger vessel that suffered tremendous strife in my first book, The Clockwork Dagger. While my heroine was on board, the ship became a battleground. In the thick of the action, Captain Hue's son, a crewman, was held hostage to force Hue to stand down.

Weeks later, Captain Hue is haunted by what happened. He was badly beaten during the attack aboard his ship, and now he moves and feels like an old man. Every time he looks at his gawky teenage son, Sheridan, he sees the healing cut across the boy's throat. His airship smells of fresh carpet and new paint, but the vessel is not the cozy home it once was.

All Hue wants to do is to run his ship and keep his boy safe, and the rest of his crew as well. That isn't to be.

The story begins with the Argus under siege yet again, this time by soldiers from Hue's own corrupt kingdom. They are led by a Clockwork Dagger, an agent of the Queen. A Dagger is either a valiant hero for the crown or a ruthless spy, depending on who is telling the tale, and Hue is certain that his ship in now being commanded by the latter.

As the Argus is forced to fly a dangerous covert mission, Captain Hue faces terrible choices about the fate of his ship and his crew, and realizes that countless civilians will live or die by his actions, too. For him, though, the central concern is the life of his son Sheridan. He needs his boy safe and alive, no matter the cost... and the cost might be quite high indeed.





Final Flight
A Clockwork Dagger Story
Harper Voyager Impulse, April 26, 2016
eBook, 48 pages

Guest Blog by Beth Cato
Another breathtaking short story from the author of The Clockwork Dagger and The Clockwork Crown, set in the same world…

Captain Hue hoped he was rid of his troubles once Octavia Leander and Alonzo Garrett disembarked from his airship Argus. But he was quickly proved wrong when his ship was commandeered by Caskentian soldiers. He is ordered on a covert and deadly mission by the smarmy Julius Corrado, an elite Clockwork Dagger.

Now Captain Hue must start a mutiny to regain control of his airship, which means putting his entire crew at risk—including his teenage son Sheridan. As the weather worsens and time runs out, it’ll take incredible bravery to bring the Argus down….perhaps for good.





Previously

The Clockwork Dagger
Clockwork Dagger 1
Harper Voyager, September 16, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 368 pages

Guest Blog by Beth Cato
Full of magic, mystery, and romance, an enchanting steampunk fantasy debut in the bestselling vein of Trudi Canavan and Gail Carriger.

Orphaned as a child, Octavia Leander was doomed to grow up on the streets until Miss Percival saved her and taught her to become a medician. Gifted with incredible powers, the young healer is about to embark on her first mission, visiting suffering cities in the far reaches of the war-scarred realm. But the airship on which she is traveling is plagued by a series of strange and disturbing occurrences, including murder, and Octavia herself is threatened.

Suddenly, she is caught up in a flurry of intrigue: the dashingly attractive steward may be one of the infamous Clockwork Daggers—the Queen’s spies and assassins—and her cabin-mate harbors disturbing secrets. But the danger is only beginning, for Octavia discovers that the deadly conspiracy aboard the airship may reach the crown itself.





The Deepest Poison
A Clockwork Dagger Story
Harper Voyager Impulse, April 28, 2015
eBook, 48 pages

Guest Blog by Beth Cato
Octavia Leander, a young healer with incredible powers, has found her place among Miss Percival's medicians-in-training. Called to the frontlines of a never-ending war between Caskentia and the immoral Wasters, the two women must uncover the source of a devastating illness that is killing thousands of soldiers. But when Octavia's natural talents far outshine her teacher's, jealousy threatens to destroy their relationship—as time runs out to save the encampment.

Fans of Beth Cato's debut, The Clockwork Dagger, will love this journey into Octavia's past—as well as an exclusive excerpt from the sequel, The Clockwork Crown!











The Clockwork Crown
Clockwork Dagger 2
Harper Voyager, June 9, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 352 pages

Guest Blog by Beth Cato
Rich in atmosphere, imagination, and fun, the action-packed, magic-filled sequel to The Clockwork Dagger is an enchanting steampunk fantasy, evocative of the works of Trudi Canavan and Gail Carriger.

Narrowly surviving assassination and capture, Octavia Leander, a powerful magical healer, is on the run with handsome Alonzo Garrett, the Clockwork Dagger who forfeited his career with the Queen’s secret society of spies and killers—and possibly his life—to save her. Now, they are on a dangerous quest to find safety and answers: Why is Octavia so powerful? Why does she seem to be undergoing a transformation unlike any witnessed for hundreds of years?

The truth may rest with the source of her mysterious healing power—the Lady’s Tree. But the tree lies somewhere in a rough, inhospitable territory known as the Waste. Eons ago, this land was made barren and uninhabitable by an evil spell, until a few hardy souls dared to return over the last century. For years, the Waste has waged a bloody battle against the royal court to win its independence—and they need Octavia’s powers to succeed.

Joined by unlikely allies, including a menagerie of gremlin companions, she must evade killers and Clockwork Daggers on a dangerous journey through a world on the brink of deadly civil war.





Wings of Sorrow and Bone
A Clockwork Dagger Story
Harper Voyager Impulse, November 10, 2015
eBook, 149 pages

Guest Blog by Beth Cato
From the author of The Clockwork Dagger comes an exciting novella set in the same world…

After being rescued by Octavia Leander from the slums of Caskentia, Rivka Stout is adjusting to her new life in Tamarania. But it’s hard for a blossoming machinist like herself to fit in with proper society, and she’d much rather be tinkering with her tools than at a hoity-toity party any day.

When Rivka stumbles into a laboratory run by the powerful Balthazar Cody, she also discovers a sinister plot involving chimera gremlins and the violent Arena game Warriors. The innocent creatures will end up hurt, or worse, if Rivka doesn’t find a way to stop Mr. Cody. And to do that means she will have to rely on some unexpected new friends.








About Beth

Guest Blog by Beth Cato
Beth Cato is the author of the fantasy dulogy The Clockwork Dagger and The Clockwork Crown; the former was nominated for Best First Novel by Locus. Beth hails from Hanford, California, but currently writes and bakes cookies in a lair outside of Phoenix, Arizona. She shares the household with a hockey-loving husband, a numbers-obsessed son, and a cat the size of a canned ham


Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @BethCato  ~  Pinterest

Spotlight on Grim Tidings by Caitlin Kittredge


Grim Tidings, the 2nd novel in the Hellhound Chronicles by Caitlin Kittredge, is published today by Harper Voyager. Check out this series!



Grim Tidings
Hellhound Chronicles 2
Harper Voyager, April 19, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 272 pages

Spotlight on Grim Tidings by Caitlin Kittredge
In this thrilling sequel to Black Dog—the first volume of award-winning Caitlin Kittredge’s dark urban fantasy series, Hellhound Chronicles—a soul catcher must stop demonic monsters from her past from infecting the world.

After winning her freedom from a reaper and facing off against a fearsome demon boss, Ava is now a masterless hellhound. Her friend, Leo, has found a new life after death: He’s returned as the Grim Reaper—the first in centuries. As both try to adjust to their new circumstances, Ava’s dark past comes back to wreak havoc on her . . . and the entire world.

A breed of monsters as smart as vampires—but who behave like zombies—has been sighted in Kansas. Ava can’t believe these “zompires” are back. She thought she’d kicked their asses for good when she first battled them in a Nazi death camp. Now, they’re spreading their infection across America’s heartland thanks to a nasty piece of business named Cain.

Free at last after being locked up in Hell for millennia, Cain has some scores to settle. To stop him, Ava must form an unholy alliance with some old foes . . . a bargain that will lead her to uncover deeply buried truths about her past—and Leo’s future.




Previously

Black Dog
Hellhound Chronicles 1
Harper Voyager, October 28, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 368 pages

Spotlight on Grim Tidings by Caitlin Kittredge
The first installment in a fabulous dark urban fantasy series—think Kill Bill with demons and gangsters instead of martial arts—from the award-winning author of the Iron Codex trilogy and Vertigo comic Coffin Hill.

Ava has spent the last hundred years as a hellhound, the indentured servant of a reaper who hunts errant souls and sends them to Hell. When a human necromancer convinces her to steal her reaper’s scythe, Ava incurs the wrath of the demon Lilith, her reaper’s boss.

As punishment for her transgression, Lilith orders Ava to track down the last soul in her reaper’s ledger . . . or die trying.

But after a hundred years of servitude, it’s time for payback. And Hell hath no fury like an avenging Ava. . . .

Review: Jericho by Alex Gordon


Jericho
Author:  Alex Gordon
Publisher:  Harper Voyager, April 5, 2016
Format:  Trade Paperback and eBook, 464 pages
List Price:  $14.99 (print); $10.99 (digital)
ISBN:  9780061687389 (print); 9780062102331 (digital)

Review: Jericho by Alex Gordon
In this follow-up to the masterful debut Gideon, a young witch must risk death and damnation to defeat a powerful ancient evil.

In unearthing her father’s secret past, Lauren Reardon discovered a shocking truth about herself. She is a Child of Endor, a sect of witches who believe they are the guardians of the “thin places”—areas across the globe where evil can seep through the divide between the worlds separating the living and the restless dead. At any time, she can be called upon to close one of these breaches and prevent demons from infiltrating our realm. When Lauren has a disturbing vision of an Oregon forest, she is drawn back to the familiar woods of the misty Pacific Northwest to investigate.

Locals had long whispered about an abandoned logging camp known as Jericho—of the strange disappearances and eerie sounds heard in the woods deep in the night. But these ghost stories only hint at the true evil lurking within the camp’s dilapidated buildings, a primeval malevolence far more terrifying than Lauren’s darkest imaginings. And now, Lauren must face this evil, even if it takes her life . . . even if it costs her soul.



Tracey's/Trinitwo's Point of View

The residents of Gideon, Illinois are witches who follow the teachings of the Lady of Endor. They are entrusted to guard the thin places where supernatural evil seeks to gain entrance into our world. Newcomer Lauren Reardon has been acknowledged as their most powerful practitioner since her victory over the demons that assailed the town six months earlier.

Lauren begins hearing voices beckoning her to a thin place somewhere in the Pacific Northwest. She reluctantly agrees to travel to the secluded woods of Portland Oregon to a gathering of people with similar talents sponsored by business mogul Andrew Carmody.

Upon arrival, Lauren recognizes that her host has ulterior motives for inviting her and the others to his home. Carmody's Peak is said to be cursed and at the nearby abandoned logging town of Jericho, Lauren senses an otherworldly malevolence lurking in its many shadows. As events unfold, Lauren realizes that the abandoned town of Jericho may not be as empty as she was led to believe.

Jericho, Alex Gordon's second book featuring Lauren Reardon, is fraught with tense action and page turning mystery. Due to the setting of Andrew Carmody's high powered world, Jericho has a more modern feel than its predecessor Gideon. This changes the tone of the series slightly which is worth noting because readers looking for the same type of glimpses into the past provided in Gideon may be disappointed. Unlike Gideon, Jericho and its enigmas are as much a puzzle to the protagonist as they are to the reader.

Lauren is a very sympathetic character. Although she's still reeling from the events in Gideon and the secret past her father kept hidden from his family, she continues to persevere. She is appealing because despite her flaws, she's a strong hero that is both compassionate and courageous.

Jericho weaves a web of thrills and chills that is filled with startling plot twists and nail biting action. The woods and their mysterious inhabitants are tangibly ominous, and Jericho's repugnant evil is the stuff of nightmares. However, the plot is somewhat convoluted and I was left feeling both partially disappointed that some of the mysteries remained unanswered, and partially relieved that the graphic details were not disclosed.

I enjoyed Jericho's fast pace, its strong female protagonist and its supernatural elements. Overall, Jericho is engaging and eerie and I would recommend this story to readers who delight in things that go bump in the night. Alex Gordon's series featuring Lauren Reardon is a winner. There's a new witch in town so evil beware!


Jericho can be read as a standalone but I recommend readers start with Gideon, because that's where the story really begins.





Previously

Gideon
Harper Voyager, January 6, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 432 pages

Review: Jericho by Alex Gordon
Preston & Child meets Kim Harrison in this edge-of-your-seat debut thriller—a superb blend of mystery, urban fantasy, horror, romance, and the supernatural.

When Lauren’s father dies, she makes a shocking discovery. The man she knew as John Reardon was once a completely different person, with a different name. Now, she’s determined to find out who he really was, even though her only clues are an old photograph, some letters, and the name of a town—Gideon.

But someone—or something—doesn’t want her to discover the truth. A strange man is stalking her, appearing everywhere she turns, and those who try to help her end up dead. Neither a shadowy enemy nor her own fear are going to prevent her from solving the mystery of her father—and unlocking the secrets of her own life.

Making her way to Gideon, Lauren finds herself more confused than ever. Nothing in this small Midwestern town is what it seems, including time itself. Residents start going missing, and Lauren is threatened by almost every townsperson she encounters. Two hundred years ago, a witch was burned at the stake, but in Gideon, the past feels all too chillingly present . . .


See Tracey's Review here.

Review: Heartstone by Elle Katharine WhiteInterview with Elle Katharine White, author of HeartstoneGuest Blog by Elizabeth Bonesteel, author of the Central Corps seriesInterview with Amy S. Foster2016 Debut Author Challenge Update - In the Shadow of the Gods by Rachel DunneInterview with Patrick Hemstreet, author of The God Wave2016 Debut Author Challenge Update - The God Wave by Patrick HemstreetGuest Blog by Beth CatoSpotlight on Grim Tidings by Caitlin KittredgeReview: Jericho by Alex Gordon

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