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Monday, 27 July 2015

The Sidhe by Charlotte Ashe

Author Name: Charlotte Ashe

Book Name: The Heart of All Words, Book One: The Sidhe

Release Date: July 21, 2015


Blurb:

Since his childhood, Brieden Lethiscir has admired The Sidhe, the beautiful and magical beings native to the Faerie world outside his homeland of Villalu. Though he grew up in a culture accepting of Sidhe enslavement by Villalu’s elite, Brieden finds that he can no longer tolerate the practice when he becomes a steward to Prince Dronyen, who is viciously abusive of his sidhe slave Sehrys. Captivated by the handsome and mysterious sidhe slave, Brieden vows to free and return Sehrys to his homeland.
As they escape the capital and navigate a treacherous path to the border, Breiden and Sehrys grow close. Breiden soon learns both the true power of The Sidhe, and that the world that he thought he knew is not what it once seemed. If they survive to reach the border, he will have to make a choice: the love of his life, or the fate of his world.

Excerpt:

The sidhe was tall, supple and lithe, as all sidhe tended to be, with milk-pale skin that glowed like moonlight over lean, taut muscles. Like all the others before him, he was naked, giving potential buyers a full picture of what they were bidding on.
And he was extraordinary, head to toe.

His chin-length hair was violet-red and it gleamed in the afternoon sun. His lips were pink and delicate with a pronounced bow, his nose had a narrow, smooth slope and his eyes...

His eyes.

It wasn't that they were the most incredible color imaginable: a storm of deep, contrasting, impossible greens unlike any Brieden had ever seen. And it wasn't that they were large and almond- shaped beneath a fan of plum-colored lashes.

It was that they were full to the brim with life.

Never before had Brieden seen a sidhe slave with such lively and expressive eyes, even as he stood for auction. Those eyes were not dull or defeated in the slightest. Wary, yes, and utterly devoid of trust, but also blazing.

Blazing like the eyes of that sidhe Brieden had seen at the riverbank when he was twelve years old— the only free sidhe Brieden had ever had the chance to behold.

The elf stood on that platform as if he owned it. As if he were judging every human man before him, and not the other way around.

He tucked a lock of hair behind a delicately pointed elfin ear, then jutted his chin to reveal a chiseled jaw that contrasted beautifully against his tender features.

And though he knew it was insane, Brieden was quite sure that he was in love.

Sales Links:

IP Web Store: store.interludepress.com

About the author:

Charlotte Ashe is a social worker by day and a writer of romantic fantasy by night.  A long-time fan of speculative fiction that skews feminist and features LGBTQ characters, Charlotte loves writing stories that are sexy, heartfelt, and full of magic and adventure. She has put her B.A. in literature and creative writing to use over the years as a writer of online fan-based fiction, and her most popular work has drawn more than one million readers worldwide, been translated into several languages, and been featured in online publications including The Backlot.

Charlotte lives in Portland, Maine and can be found sleeping at the beach all summer and clomping along the cobblestones in her Bean boots all winter, writing fairytales in her head to distract from the cold.

Interview

Let’s start by telling us, in twenty words, or less, what you’re book’s about.

It’s about an already-complicated love story that takes place amidst a storm of sociopolitical upheaval that complicates everything even more.

What was it that led you to write in the genre(s) you write?

An overactive imagination and a tendency to daydream. I love fantasy and the underlying mythologies that inspire much of the fantasy genre, and I love the fact that I can entirely write my own rules when I write fantasy. I also love writing about romance, relationships, and issues around gender and sexuality, and writing about those themes in a fantasy setting is a really enjoyable way to imagine what could be.

Are your books character led or plot led, or both?

Both, but perhaps more character driven when it comes down to it. I often find myself drawn to a minor character and wanting to know more about them, and writing their backstories is frequently what leads me to new story ideas. The character Tash in The Sidhe is an example of this. He was originally meant to play a much smaller role in the overall story arc, but I became fascinated with him, and now he is one of the main characters in book 2.

What is your favourite part of the writing process?

I love it when I come up with an idea that links previously unrelated things together and resolves a plot hole or weak spot in my worldbuilding, especially when I have the idea at a time when I can sit down and write. It’s quite exhilarating.

What is your least favourite part of the writing process?

There are times when I feel “bottlenecked”, which is not quite the same as feeling blocked, but it’s still very frustrating. It’s when my ideas and plans for the story are so extensive that they jam up the writing process, and the writing itself comes out at a slow, maddening trickle. When this happens I need to push through until I hit my stride even though it’s tempting to give up in exasperation.


Where do you get your inspiration for your characters?

I have a hard time answering this question, because it honestly does feel like the characters introduce themselves to me most of the time—I usually feel like I discovered them, not like I invented them. I like interesting people, so I develop people that I find interesting. That’s all I really understand of the process.

Tell us a little about the characters in your book and their story. You can use more than twenty words this time.

The story begins in Villalu, which is under human governance. The Sidhe are a powerful race of elves, some of whom live more or less invisibly amongst the humans in Villalu, but most of whom live in the Faerie Lands which is separated from Villalu by a border. There are methods by which humans can suppress a sidhe's power, however, and the wealthiest humans in Villalu like to own sidhe slaves as status symbols. Brieden is a young human man who serves as a steward to the royal family that controls Villalu. Brieden is kind and thoughtful and he has never liked the practice of enslaving

The Sidhe, but like many people who live in an unjust society, he has allowed himself to grow resigned to the practice. This ends when he meets Sehrys, Crown Prince Dronyen's sidhe slave. Brieden is instantly drawn to Sehrys, so much so that his desire to help him finally overrides Brieden's apathy, and he risks everything to save Sehrys and help him get home. Sehrys is more of a mystery for much of the book, and I don't want to give anything away, but I will say that he is from the Faerie Lands across the border from Villalu, his powers, once unleashed, are impressive, and falling in love with Brieden is most definitely not part of his plan.

If you could have one wish what would it be?

Honestly? To be a full-time writer, working from home in a little cottage on a lake. If that’s cheating and counts as two wishes, I’d take the dayjobless writing career without the cottage. But I really want that damn cottage.

What's your deepest fear?

Losing everyone I love. Or anyone I love, really, which sucks because it’s inevitable. Losing my parents someday is not something I like to think about.

If I came to dinner what would you feed me?

I would most likely feed you a stiry-fry or curry with homemade sauce. Tasty stir-fry sauces are my specialty. I usually serve it over quinoa instead of rice, and depending upon the flavor profile of the dish I’d probably throw some naan or spring rolls onto your plate as well.

Which of your characters would you like to be sharing the dinner table with us?

I don’t know if I could ever really decide between Sehrys and Brieden--they’re a package deal in my mind--but I’d love to share a table with Brissa of Ryovni. There is a side plot in the first book that focuses on her, and I’m really enjoying the process figuring her out even more as I write book 2.

Tell us in the character’s own words, what he/she would have to say about you.

Charlotte may work our strings in the manner of a god, but she is not like any god I have heard of. She involves herselves in our affairs in fits and bursts, changing our fates sometimes five times a day as she wrestles with how to entertain herself by manipulating our very lives. She warps the very words that come out of my mouth, and then changes the past so that I have in fact said something altogether different. She adds and subtracts pieces of me, and presumably those around me, to no identifiable end. If she in fact does have a plan or a purpose for us, it is unfathomable. She seems does not seem to shy away from our suffering, and yet I have the overwhelming sense that she does care about us.

Charlotte Ashe may indeed be a god. Or she may be nothing more than the next power-hungry fiend that I must overthrow. I have not yet decided where my loyalties lie when it comes to this strange creature.

What would they say (again in their own words) about themselves, and their story that will make us want to read about it?

There are many who call me a Lady of the House of Ryovni. I have been addressed this way for as long as I can remember, received in such a manner at dinner parties and balls. Ryovni is a strange place, they say, but few bother to worry over it; all the islands are strange. Everyone knows that. But what few know, what almost no one outside of Ryovni knows, is that there is much more to it than that. Ryovni isn’t just strange. It is different. We know where we come from. We know the gods we have lost. We know of the truth beyond the border. And we know that it is nearly time.

What those who call me a Lady of Ryovni do not know is that they have been wrong all along. I am not a Lady of Ryovni, I am Queen.


Which other fictional character(s) would you like to be present at the dinner party?

You know, if Brissa and Buffy the Vampire Slayer sat down together at the same table, I think that would be one incredibly fascinating meal for everyone present.

What other authors would you say have either influenced your writing or you would like to emulate?

My influences straddle a few genres Those I can think of most immediately are:  Ursula K. LeGuin, Kurt Vonnegut, J.R.R. Tolkien,  Joan Slonczewski, Tamora Pierce, Kristin Cashore, Sheri Tepper, Octavia Butler, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Douglas Adams, just to name a few. As far as my influences for the romance and erotica in my writing, I’m going to be honest and say that most of the romantic and erotic content that has really resonated for me has been fanfiction. This is definitely changing, especially with publishers like Interlude who are signing some great creative minds in the world of fan culture, but I think a lot of the best queer romance can still be found in the form of fanfiction.

Which character from literature would you most like to have invented?

Pippi Longstocking. I don’t know if Pippi counts as “literature”, but she’s one of my all-time favorite characters ever. Strong, feisty, complicated, kind, sweet, strange, unconventional, and with nothing whatsoever to prove. Pippi Longstocking is my hero.

What do you prefer writing. A one off novel, a series or short stories?

A series, definitely! The Heart of All Worlds is my first series, and I absolutely love the process. After putting so much time, thought and energy into building a world, it’s a shame to only give it one book. Plus, I love seeing how characters develop over a series, and learning more about both the world and the characters over the course of several books.

What kind of books do you read (if you have time to read)?

Queer romance, science fiction, fantasy, and YA that fits at least two of the aforementioned categories. I like the things I read to be escapist, but I also like reading things that make me think. Good fantasy and sci fi fit that bill extremely well, but romance can as well. Quality books about romantic relationships are very satisfying to me on both an emotional and pyschological level, and it’s a shame that so many people are dismissive of the romance genre. A book I read recently that I really loved was Chef’s Table by Lynn Charles. I think she writes about relationships better than almost anyone else I’ve read. Not just the getting together, not just the dealing with problems, not just the happily ever after. She writes about relationships in a way that is sweet and heartwarming but also convincingly real and never boring. And the hot sex scenes don’t hurt either. They really don’t.

Where do you see yourself personally and professionally in 5 years time?

Hopefully with a full-time writing career, living in that little cottage on a lake.


Do you have any other projects in the offing we should look out for?

Right now I’m working on the second book in The Heart of All Worlds trilogy, and it will be released next year.

Where to find the author:

Email Charlotteashewrites.com 

Publisher: Interlude Press

Cover Artist: Sarah Sanderson


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