Monday, 27 May 2013

Author Interview : with Jamie Marchant

The Goddess' Choice
 Jamie Marchant

Publication date:April 18th 2012
Publisher: Reliquary Press
Genre: YA Fantasy
Purchase from: AmazonB&N

Book Blurb

The crown princess Samantha fears she’s mad; no one but she sees colors glowing around people. The peasant Robrek Angusstamm believes he’s a demon; animals speak to him, and his healing powers far outstrip those of his village’s priests. Despite their fears, their combined powers make them the goddess’s choice to rule the kingdom of Korthlundia.

In my sword and sorcery novel, The Goddess’s Choice, Samantha’s ability enables her to discern a person’s character through their multi-colored aura, and Robrek’s makes him the strongest healer the kingdom has seen in centuries. But their gifts also endanger their lives. Royals scheme to usurp the throne by marrying or killing Samantha, and priests plot to burn Robrek at the stake. Robrek escapes the priests only to be captured by Samantha’s arch-enemy, Duke Argblutal; Argblutal intends to force the princess to marry him by exploiting Robrek’s powers. To save their own lives and stop the realm from sinking into civil war, Robrek and Samantha must consolidate their powers and unite the people behind them.

About the Author

Jamie Marchant lives in Auburn, Alabama, with her husband, son, and four cats, which (or so she’s been told) officially makes her a cat lady. She teaches writing and literature at Auburn University. Her first novel The Goddess's Choice was released in April 2012 from Reliquary Press. She is hard at work on the sequel, tentatively titled The Soul Stone. She also has published a novella, titled Demons in the Big Easy. Her short fiction has been published in Bards & Sages, The World of Myth, and

Interview with Jamie Marchant !

1.     When did you decide to become a writer?

I was about six when I started writing stories about the Man from Mars for my older sister, and I’ve wanted to be a writer ever since. I got sidetracked for awhile working on a Ph.D., but I’m back to what has always been my true love.

2.     Tell us about yourself—outside the world of writing.

I have a Ph.D. in American Literature, and I teach literature and writing at Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama. I’m married with a sixteen-year-old son and four cats. 

3.     Any quirky habits?

I write lying back on the couch with my laptop propped up on my legs.

4.     To what extent do you draw on your own experiences and personality to create your worlds and characters?

I know they say to write what you know, but what do “they” know. Very little of The Goddess’s Choice is taken from my experience unless you count listening to fairy tales as experience. King Solar’s thought about age are taken from my grandmother, and the bare bones of the plot are taken from a Norwegian fairy tale, but most of the story comes squarely from my imagination.

5.     Where do you get your inspiration?

The Goddess's Choice originates deep within my childhood. My sister Jalane--she is ten years older than me--told me stories, fairy tales mostly:  "Midas and His Golden Touch," "Little Red Riding Hood," "Hansel and Gretel." But my favorite was always "The Princess and the Glass Hill" or "The Glass Mountain" as my sister titled it. I had her tell that story over and over again. I was captivated by the bold hero on his magical horses of bronze, silver, and gold. 

When I had a child of my own, I wanted to pass that fairy tale on. My son, Jesse, loved it every bit as much as I had. One day after telling it to him, it came to me that the story could be so much more than five pages and sparse details. However, I didn’t want to write a children’s story but the type of epic fantasy I enjoy as an adult. I upped the dramatic tension, villainy, and sexuality of the piece to create something far different than the original fairy tale. The Goddess’s Choice is intended for an adult audience.

6.     Favourite character from this book and/or any other.

My favorite character is probably Robrek, the peasant sorcerer of the novel, although the Princess Samantha is a close second. I’ve always been a fan of the underdog, and Robrek faces a major uphill battle. His father blames him for his mother’s death and beats him regularly. He lives among people who think he’s cursed with demon blood because of his foreign appearance. The priest thinks he should have been exposed at birth. To top it all off, he learns that in order to access his full power he must truly forgive all those who treated him vilely.

Samantha is the woman I’d like to be: strong, confident, and powerful. She ends up with her share of problems, but she starts at the top while Robrek has to claw his way up, somewhat literally.

7.     Favourite books/authors as a child?

I don’t remember what I liked as a young child, but as a teenager, the novels of Piers Anthony, Roger Zelazny, and Stephen R. Donaldson introduced me to the realms of fantasy; that has affected the direction of my reading and writing since.

8.     How did you come up with the title of your book?

I didn’t. I have a hard time with titles. I had a few tentative titles to The Goddess’s Choice—The Glass Mountain, Gloine Torr—but they didn’t seem to grab me or illustrate the essence of the story. A member of my writers’ group suggested The Goddess’s Choice, and it immediately seemed right. I hope it grabs readers as well.

9.     What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?

Write a review and tell their friends.

10.Give us an interesting fun fact or a few about your book.

It’s based on a Norwegian fairy tale. The names, holidays, and the goddess Sulis are all Celtic in origin. It includes three magical horses—bronze, silver, and gold—who teach the peasant hero, Robrek, the skills needed to be king.

11.What’s next for you?  What can we expect from you in the future?

I’m almost finished with the sequel to The Goddess’s Choice, titled The Soul Stone, in which Samantha struggles to solidify her rule, and Robrek must confront a bigger threat to the safety of the joined kingdoms. I’m also working on an urban fantasy novel, The Bull Riding Witch, which has a princess from a parallel realm switching bodies with a rodeo bull rider.

12.Do we get to see more of  Korthlundia ?

Yes, but when is in question. The sequel is basically finished, but my publisher is suffering from cancer and doesn’t know if or when he’ll be publishing it. I don’t find out from him until August, and if he isn’t going forward with the publishing business, I’ll have to decide whether to self-publish or look for another publisher.

13.And now, before you go, how about a snippet from your book that is meant to intrigue and tantalize us:

“Please, no!” Robbie Angusstamm screamed as his father’s heavy strap came whistling down on his bare back. He tried to yank his hands free, but his brother Boyden held them tightly against the dining room table. Sulis curse it! Why do I have to be such a worthless weakling? He promised himself he wouldn’t scream again, but he screamed just as loudly the next time the strap hit.

“Sleeping by the river in the middle of the goddess-cursed afternoon! How many times must I beat you before you learn responsibility, boy?” His father brought the strap down even harder.

“I didn’t mean to!” But Robbie’s explanation turned into screams of pain as the strap landed again and again.

Robbie let out a humiliating whimper when his father finally stepped away and Boyden let go of his wrists. Robbie clutched a chair for support and struggled to hold back his tears. By the goddess, don’t let them see me cry.

His father towered over him, red-faced and scowling. “Learned your lesson, boy?”
“Yes, sir,” Robbie said, ashamed of how pathetic he sounded.

“I’m not going to have to send your brother looking for you again, am I, boy?” Angus Camlinstamm loomed over Robbie, making him feel even shorter than he was.

“No, sir.”

“All right, then. Stop lazing around like a fool and get your chores done.” Angus hung the strap on its peg by the door. “If you finish before dinner’s over, I may consider letting you join us.”

Like that will ever happen! Robbie clutched at his empty stomach, knowing he’d get nothing to eat before breakfast. He pulled his shirt carefully over the welts on his back and stumbled toward the back door.

As he passed through the kitchen, one of the servants quickly drew the star of Sulis in the air to ward off his evil. He hated it when people did that, but how could he blame them? He caught his reflection in the shiny pots that hung from the kitchen wall. Dark black hair, the color of night and demons. Green eyes, unlike those of the children of the goddess. Skin, darker than natural. He was also so short his brother called him a worm.

Robbie stepped outside and drew two large buckets of water from the well. He staggered toward the barn, the weight of the buckets bending him forward and pressing his shirt against his back. Praying none of the servants or farmhands would see him, he set the buckets down and emptied some of the water. His father would beat him again if he knew, and Boyden would laugh at his weakness. Boyden could carry hundred-pound sacks of grain as if they contained feathers. Boyden was everything their father wanted in a son.

Boyden hadn’t killed their mother.

When he reached the barn door, he shouted for Allyn or Darien to open it, but no one came. The two farmhands were supposed to help him with the animals, but this wouldn’t be the first time they’d used Robbie getting in trouble as an excuse for taking the night off. They knew he wouldn’t risk another beating by telling on them.

Robbie sat the buckets down to open the door. The barn was large, with plenty of room for the dozen cows, ten horses, and four mules as well as for the large pig and her half-dozen piglets. When he entered, the cows mooed happily. The horses and mules neighed and stomped their feet in greeting. A bird whose wing he’d mended flew down from the rafters and landed on his shoulder. It nibbled his ear affectionately. The animals’ joy seeped into his body like a warm, living current, strengthening him against both exhaustion and pain. Animals couldn’t sense the evilness in his soul. Only here was he loved. 

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