Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Queen of Carleon (The Legends of Avalyne Book 1) by Linda Thackeray

The Queen of Carleon (The Legends of Avalyne Book 1) by Linda Thackeray
$1.99 or FREE for Prime Members

Avalyne is at peace.

The Shadow War has come and gone and the kingdom of Carleon is now restored. King Dare, a mortal man has finally wedded his elven love Arianne. As they prepare to usher in a new era of prosperity across the land, the Queen happily announces the impending arrival of an heir.

Arianne's joy is short-lived when she discovers that an ancient evil has emerged from the wreckage of war with a monstrous plan for her baby. Determined to protect her very mortal husband, Arianne embarks on a quest with her two companions, the warrior maid Celene of Angarad and Keira of the Green, to journey to the far corners of Avalyne before the enemy can plant a seed of evil in the heart of her unborn son.


You are silent,’ Keira stated as she joined the Queen at the bow. The wind was blowing northwards, allowing the sail to do most of the work and carry them up river. Celene had taken charge of the rudder, directing the boat to move against the current by weaving it from side to side along the river bank. It allowed Keira the freedom to join the Queen, who was sitting alone.
Both she and Celene had noticed the Queen’s melancholy though neither brought attention to it. It was understandable of course that Arianne should feel somewhat overwhelmed by everything that had taken place in the last day. Only yesterday she was celebrating the arrival of her child, and today she was off to face an enemy who had struck at the most intimate of places.
I am thinking,’ Arianne answered, looking up at Keira as the other woman sat down beside her.
Of what’s ahead?’ Keira ventured a guess.
Of what could happen if I fail,’ Arianne confessed with a sigh.
You mustn’t think like that,’ Keira reached for her hand and squeezed it gently. ‘I know it seems grim, but we will stop this.’
Arianne was trying not to let despair overtake her, but it was difficult when she considered the consequences for failure. ‘I do not know if I have it in me to stop this evil from taking my child. My mother thinks that I can stop Mael’s agent, but I wonder if she only thinks that because she has little faith in the ability to men to prevail. She forgets that until I met Dare, I had spent my life sheltered behind the Veil. He was the one who encouraged to explore the world outside, to see what lay beyond. That time when I came to take you to Eden Taryn, that was probably the first time I had really travelled alone.’
I remember,’ Keira nodded. ‘You saved my life.‘
You saved Dare’s,’ Arianne countered just as promptly.
Arianne knew how much pain Keira had experienced with the burrowers burning through her veins, and how much of her journey to Eden Taryn was seen through a stupor of pain and darkness. At Dare’s summons Arianne ridden to the edge of the Green and escorted Keira to Eden Taryn, while he, Aeron and Tully led the Disciples away. He had already been so grieved at the loss of Braedan, and so was not willing to sacrifice this stranger whose only sin was to give him shelter.
It was the right thing to do. As this is the right thing to do,’ she said firmly. ‘We can do this Arianne, and if we fail, at least we tried to stop the evil from returning to our world. Sometimes we have to suffer for the good things. Maybe that’s what makes it all worthwhile.‘
You don’t understand,’ Arianne whispered, caressing her belly protectively, as if will alone would shield the babe within from all harm. ‘If I fail and the Enemy is successful, I will have only two choices left to me. The first is to take my own life, because I will not give birth to a monster. I will not raise a vessel of Mael to watch him bring to ruin everyone I love. If I am not given the choice and somehow, the Enemy sees to it that I do give birth to the child, then neither Dare nor I can allow him to live long enough to reach adulthood. As a child of our flesh, I will not call him our son, he will be King. Imagine, if you will, what that means.’
Lylea’s vision coming to pass, Keira thought. A bloodthirsty king with an army of Berserkers, with the potential to be even worse than Balfure ever was.
Don’t you see?’ Arianne said with tears running down her cheeks. ‘If he is born, then we will have no recourse but to put him to the sword or risk the destruction of Avalyne. I know Dare would do it. For the good of his people he would make the sacrifice, and I know as surely as I breathe, it will destroy him.’
It is not the failure I fear Keira,’ Arianne whispered, It’s what we may to do after.’
And to that, Keira said nothing.

Interview With Linda Thackeray

When did you begin writing?
I began writing a few years after I saw Star Wars. I was seven years old when that film came out and it was like a religious experience. This was it for me. I loved the wonder of that movie, the characters, the worlds and the whole package. Of course at seven, I had a vivid imagination but no outlet. Eventually I started writing down some of the scenarios I kept dreaming up on paper. There was a 100 page exercise book where I wrote my first Star Wars story and it was awful. However, I learned from that experience that I love to write and as I was a prolific reader so it seemed like an almost organic transition.

Who do you imagine you're telling a story to as you write?
Myself. To begin with, I need to like the story I am writing if not I don’t feel I can recommend it to someone else. I prefer being referred to as a storyteller as opposed to a writer. I want to entertain, give my audience something to think about and for a few hours, give them some enjoyment from the world I am crafting.

What genres do you write?
Well I started out with space opera and science fiction of course and to be fair, most of my output was in that genre for a long time. Fantasy is something I've only started writing in the last decade or so and every now and then I dabble in erotica but those will never be published. I’m not brave enough! I'm not averse to writing others. If a particular genre interests me, I am willing to write about it but my first love is science fiction.

Which authors inspire you?
My favorite authors are Stephen King, Frank Herbert, Marian Bradley Zimmer, JRR Tolkien, Neil Gaiman, Colleen McCullough and Arthur C Clark to name a few. King’s work in particular inspires me because his books have wonderful examples of characterization. Each of his characters are given a fully fleshed background and you care about them as plot progresses. Frank Herbert's Dune showed me that science fiction was not just about a space battles while The Mists of Avalon should be required reading for any female fantasy author

What's your latest book about?
My latest book is called The Queen of Carleon. About a decade ago, when Lord of the Rings mania was at its height, I found that the main problem for me was the lack of a female perspective. Therefore I wanted to write an epic fantasy where the females were the primary characters but I didn’t want them to be stereotypical. The difficulty in writing female characters I think is that if they are written as warriors, they come across as almost Amazonian. I wanted to write female characters who were strong women but also driven out of their comfort zone a little.

In the case of Arianne, she is an elf who has led a very sheltered life. She married a human she fell madly in love with and decided to live in the world with him. She’s accustomed to taking a back seat to all the epic things that place in Carleon but the threat to her unborn baby means that the Enemy needs her alive for his plans to unfold. In that sense, Arianne has a distinct advantage because the Enemy can’t harm her until the baby is born. Accompanied by her friends, some of whom have their own reasons for joining her, Arianne leaves her beloved Dare and sets off to save her baby.
What's your favorite book?
Oh this is a tough one. If I had to pick on, I would say Stephen King’s IT. It may come off as a horror story but there are some wonderful themes in it. It’s an exploration of friendship, childhood insecurities and terror and filled with characters that you don’t want to say goodbye to when the book is done. It also has the quote is my inspiration. It’s a line spoken by one of the characters, Bill Denbrough who asks in a writing class ‘why can’t a story be just as story?’

To me, that’s how I approach my writing. Stories sometimes just want to be told for no other reason than that.

Why did you choose independent publishing?
I’ve heard of Indie Publishing for years now but I have to admit I didn’t really understand the medium. My first two efforts, Children of the White Star and The Guardian were written a long time ago and I wasn’t really expecting miracles. Honestly, it was just to get a book out there to learn how to deal with marketing, Createspace.

I had tried mainstream publishing years ago but to be fair I really didn’t try too hard. The horror stories I heard about how hard it was to even get someone to look at the book was enough to deter me. I am giving it more of an effort now but I wouldn’t be crushed if my work is never picked up by a mainstream publisher. I do what I do because I love to write and that’s enough for me.

What one piece of advice would you offer other indie authors?
An editor is your friend. The first two books I put out there were not edited even though I work with a publishing company that deals in Standards development. I proofread my books and was confident they were structurally sound but the feedback I received about The Guardian was that it was a good book but it needs editing. So as soon as I’m financially able, I’m going to be putting my first two books through to the editing process again. I have since read some books by Indie authors who have the same problem so I appreciated the feedback I received. Great stories marred by irritating errors.

The Queen of Carleon however, has been professionally edited and its sequel, The Easterling is with an editor now.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...