Interview & Giveaway: Anika Arrington, Author of The Accidental Apprentice

ArringtonAccidentalApprenticeFolks, please give Anika Arrington a warm welcome. She’s here to chat about her book, The Accidental Apprentice, and plenty of amusing things, such as Firefly, great food, Sherlock Holmes, Harry Potter, and the need for sleep.If you’re interested in the giveaway, scroll to the bottom.

From your own writings, are there any characters you would like to cosplay?

Madame Falstead would be fun, with her wicked cane and crazy red hair. I’m even the perfect build if a bit taller than she is. There are aspects of her character that are slightly autobiographical as well, so I think slipping into her shoes for a day would be rather comfortable.

What reboots (or retellings) of classics have you enjoyed? Are there ones that haven’t worked for you?

Well, I’ve loved both of the Sherlock Holmes reboots. Downey Jr. and Cumberbatch both do incredible things with the character, and their Watsons are equally brilliant. Honestly, I now want to go watch the first episode of Sherlock season 3 just thinking about it. So stinking hilarious!

As far as remixes not working, while nothing specific jumps to mind besides Disney’s Maleficent (which wasn’t awful or anything), I’m not thrilled with the modern trend of bringing a story back around to make the bad guys merely misunderstood. I think every writer who has studied at least a little understands the value of having an antagonist that people relate to or sympathize with, but that doesn’t make them the good guy. If you are willing/capable of killing people or destroying civilizations to get what you want, then you are a bad person. And I like stories where the good guys win. Maybe not in the way you expect and not without loss and sacrifice, but the bad guy is the bad guy and the good guys (while not necessarily perfect) need to win in the end.

If you couldn’t be a writer, what would you chose to do?

I am a mom of 6, so if I wasn’t writing I know my time would fill up quickly, and that would be just fine with me. I toyed with the idea of going to culinary school to become a pastry chef, but I don’t think the hectic world of the professional kitchen is for me. And I love physics, but my brain doesn’t hold onto formulae in the way that’s required to play with the cosmos. My list of interests goes on for miles, actually, but the only thing I have ever been able to stick with and play with is the written word. Although I was rather good at charcoal drawing. . . .

As a published author, what non-writing/reading activities would you recommend to aspiring authors?

That is a trick question as all activity relates to writing or reading in some way. But in the spirit of the question: Cook!! Or at the very least, Eat!! Make it a truly visceral experience every time you sit down to a meal. Take in the scents and pick them apart in your head. Savor the mouth-feel of every bite. Let the flavors move you. And then when you sit down to the page let that same act of observation permeate every scene. A huge part of the “show-don’t-tell” aspect of writing is just taking observation to the next level. I am still learning and struggling to apply the concept, but all close observation feeds creative endeavors. Walk in a natural setting, and notice the smallest details of the life around you. Watching cloud shapes. Go to museums: art, historical, natural history, science. Listen to music., with a careful ear for melody, harmony, and lyrics. And love people. Engage with your family, co-workers, neighbors, and friends as often as possible, and I don’t mean on social media. Listen to people. Listen to the way they talk as well as what they say. Learn how to read between the lines so that your characters will never have to say insipid things.

FreemanMechanizedWhat were you like as a kid? Did your kid-self see you being a writer?

Ha, if anything my kid self knew it better than my adolescent and early adult self did. I memorized stories at the age of three and one of my parents favorite party tricks was to hand me a book and let their friends stare in awe as their three year old “read” herself a story. I would draw pictures and make up the stories that went with them. And I have always told myself stories in my head at night to put myself to sleep. I was pretty nerdy from the get go, but in a fairly out-going way. I was 6th grade student council president, lead (or at least I tended to have the most lines) in the school plays, and I spent my recesses in the library’s non-fiction section reading books about sharks, spiders, how to draw horses, whatever struck my fancy. And my kid self really wanted to be a doctor until I realized I am one of those people that can’t handle blood.

If you could sit down and have tea (or a beer) with 5 fictional characters, who would you invite to the table?

Root beers and hot chocolate all around for Samwise Gamgee, Charlotte Doyle, Meg and Jo March, Neville Longbottom and The Weasleys, and Anne Elliot from Jane Austen’s Persuasion. (Hey, I’m a writer. I never said I could count.)

What do you do when you are not writing?

Did I mention my six children? The oldest is 8 years old this month, so yeah. . . . I love to be in the kitchen if my previous response didn’t make that evident. I love listening to baseball on the radio during the season (Go D-backs!). Watching it on tv makes me mad, no idea why. And I do like going to the movies. I don’t get to the theater as often as I would like, but that’s what Redbox is for, right? There are even things that I don’t do with my time that I miss, like going to art museums, concerts, practicing the piano and Japanese. As a parent (mom or dad) you give up things to make sure the family runs smooth. Oh and sleep, I miss sleep.

Side characters can make or break a story. What side characters have you enjoyed in other works? What side characters in your own work have caught more attention than you expected?

I’ve always been of the mind that the side characters are where it’s at. Wash from Joss Whedon’s “Firefly” series was my favorite. In fact, nearly every time Alan Tudyk appears on screen his character ends up stealing the show for me. Neville Longbottom is my favorite character from the Harry Potter series, particularly the way Matthew Lewis played him in the films. He grows so much and develops as a character in really great ways, you just can’t help cheering for him in the end.

As far as The Accidental Apprentice goes, Crispin stands out as a sneaky B-character who runs off with most of the scenes he’s in. He’s so funny and tenacious and I just want to ruffle his blonde curls. I’m looking forward to making him a point of view character in the sequel.

Finally, what upcoming events and works would you like to share with the readers?

Barring anything unforeseen, I will be at the Chandler Author Walk in Chandler, Arizona on November 21st. I’ll be selling and signing copies of The Accidental Apprentice and Mechanized Masterpieces: A Steampunk Anthology. I’d like to add a few more, but we’ll see. I’m hoping to start work on Accidental’s sequel in January. And of course, any events I am attending can be found on my website, www.anikasantics.com.

The Accidental Apprentice by Anika Arrington

The Accidental Apprentice by Anika Arrington

The Accidental Apprentice by Anika Arrington

Find Arrington on the web: Website | Facebook | Twitter

The Accidental Apprentice by Anika Arrington

a Rafflecopter giveaway

New Spring, Part III

JordanNewSpringBannerWelcome everyone to Book 0 of The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan which is a prequel to the series set several years before Book 1. You can find the schedule to New Spring over HERE. Everyone is welcome to join us!

This week, Liesel at Musings on Fantasia is the host. You can catch Eivind, our WoT encyclopedia, in the comments.  Stop by Sue’s at Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers, a place for deft reasoning.

This week, we covered Chapters 17-END. Spoilers run rampant for this section and all previous books below!

1. What do you think of the fact that Moiraine met Cadsuane. I don’t think we knew that before. What’s Cadsuane up to? Do you think Moiraine’s eventual conclusion that she’s Black Ajah is valid? Logical?

I think that most of the Sisters eventually meet Cadsuane, so it was a nice touch that Jordan tossed her in this book. As usual, I think Cadsuane is searching for false Dragons, and perhaps even searching for the real Dragon.

No, I don’t think Cadsuane is Black Ajah and I think Moiraine’s reasoning is faulty. She and Siuan are both real new to the Shawl, but also to the reality of the Black Ajah. I think that both of them are still in ‘aghast, reaction’ mode and haven’t had time and opportunity to collect enough facts about the Black Ajah at this point.

Though to call Cadsuane blunt is to be kind. So I can see how Moiraine, who is still attached to being treated with the deference due a high born lady, would find Cadsuane rude and crude and may think vile thoughts about her.

2. Do you think Tamra was killed by a Darkfriend? Do you think the new amyrlin, Sierin, is Black Ajah? If so, why, and what do you think will happen next?

Since we don’t know how Tamra was killed (did she die of a fall or illness or a knife to the chest?), I waver between Darkfriend and Black Ajah offing her. If it looks like she died peacefully in her bed, then I would be inclined to say someone with the power killed her.

I don’t think Sierin is Black Ajah simply because the Blacks seem to use nitwits in power and control things from the shadows. Also, we learned from Eivind last week that Sierin doesn’t last many years before suddenly dieing. And we all know that eventually Siuan is raised to the Amyrlin Seat.

3. We saw the scene with Lan, Moiraine, and the lake that was mentioned briefly clear back in book 2. What was your reaction to it? Did it play out the way you’d imagined?

This was a great scene! I was laughing out loud. Of course, Moiraine is suspicious of the three men for her own reasons, but then so obviously following them, and then Lan alone, into the woods – I wanted to slap her upside the head! But then she tried to take Lan’s sword away, the simpleton! So I was quite happy to see her flying through the air and splashing down into the lake. But then she tries to pull Lan in! This is one of those times where Moiraine’s tenacity was not working in her favor. I loved the imagery of Moiraine dangling in the air from Lan’s arm.

4. Someone tried to assassinate Lan. He was an idiot who was told to kill Moiraine first, but didn’t. Who do you think the attack was aimed at and who was responsible for it?

This scene confused me a little bit. Lan, Bukama, and Rhyne recognized the dying would-be assassin. But this man also had been told that Moiraine was an Aes Sedai. Now Moiraine is still new to traveling the world and new to keeping her identity secret. So I am sure she did reveal her Aes Sedai nature 101 ways to the observant person. So this means that at least some of those asses trying to kill Lan could have ordered their minions to kill the Aes Sedai first.

At least, that is what sense I could make out of it.

5. What did you think of the Lan-Edeyn relationship, and all of Edeyn’s plans for Lan?

Fucked up. But I shall elaborate. Lan is bound by custom (because he is an idiot) and Edeyn is taking great advantage of that custom. If the roles were reversed and Lan was taking such advantage of his position over Edeyn, we would be cheering on those would-be assassins. But Lan is a full-grown man and has a lot of choice about where he puts his penis. I can see custom dictating that he show Edeyn some affection. But later on, we see him without his shirt and will all sorts of crazy monkey sex love marks on his back. So if he isn’t into Edeyn, and seems actually repulsed by her plans for him to marry her daughter, than why would he put on such a stunning performance in her bed? Does he have such pride in his sexual prowess that even in such a situation he feels he must perform to the utmost of his ability?

I was not looking forward to Lan marrying Edeyn’s daughter. I feared we would see one of those most awkward threesomes down the road consisting of Lan, Edeyn, and her daughter. *shudder*

6. In the end, a Black sister is revealed, and several innocents die. The fight scene was pretty epic. Thoughts? Feelings? Regrets?

Wow! I wasn’t expecting such death in this book. I think New Spring may be my favorite Jordan book just because there are so many intense scenes. It was hard to lose Bukama, and so suddenly. Then to have the Black sister tossing hosts over the railing was pretty awful. While Moiraine says she is just as guilty of Edyen’s daughter’s death as Meren (spelling?), I think she is wrong. Moiraine needs to realize that her actions, while they failed, were noble.

7. What did you think of final scene that led to Moiraine bonding Lan? Did you like it? Want more? Think it was legit?

I am very, very glad that Lan did not run away from a stupid marriage via the Warder way. Instead, Moiraine had to humble herself by chasing after him, and then had to be genuine by telling Lan the entire truth. I was very satisfied with how this all came about.

Other Tidbits:

I think, from numerous hints tossed around in this section (especially by Cadsuane), that Moiraine and Siuan were casual lovers while in training.

Moiraine used her super secret Blue Ajah powers to coax ants into Lan’s small clothes! If I was Blue Ajah, I would be in constant trouble from pulling such pranks.

Is Lan a minor ta’veren? Moiraine & Siuan speak of the Black Ajah systematically taking out any male who shows any hint of being able to Channel. But I don’t think Lan is a Channeler.

That evil inn keeper with her special spiced wine got a harsh kind of justice indeed.

Interview & Giveaway: Deirdra Eden, Author of The Watchers Series

EdenKnightOfLightHello All, please slap your eyes together and enjoy the following interview with the charming Deirdra Eden, author of Knight of Light, Book 1 in The Watchers series. Scroll to the bottom for the giveaway, which includes chances to win copies of the book as well as a $100 Amazon gift card.

Myths and beliefs that we would consider fiction or fantasy in modern literature once upon a time shaped history (think of all the hunts for unicorns & dragons). Do you see modern fantasy fiction affecting human cultures today and how?

YES! Fantasy has actually become a subculture that is pretty magical and inspirational to creative people. Fantasy is also a genre being used to explore and expose many of the world’s problems today, without being overly political.

Are minions/sidekicks just throwaway devices in a tale? Can they become more? Do they need to become more?

They are the spice in the soup. They enhance your main character, plots and overall story.

Over the years, are the changes in society reflected in today’s villains and heroes?

Perhaps, but there will always be the age old story of good vs. evil.

Given the opportunity, what fantastical beast of fiction would you like to encounter in the wild? Which would you avoid at all costs?

I would love to see a unicorn. Don’t ever want to see a Shadow Wolf.

What book should be made into a game (card, PC, board, etc.) and why? Is there a specific character who you would want to play in this game?

Twilight. I’d be a vampire hunter.

What nonfiction works have you found useful in building fictional worlds, cultures, and plots?

Family history and the Atlas.

Who are your non-writer influences?

Queen Rania and Niecy Nash – Love those ladies!

Is there a book to movie/TV adaptation that you found excellent? Is there a PC game to book adaptation that worked for you?

The Chronicles of Narnia! Not sure about PC. I do like World of Warcraft though.

Care to share an awkward fangirl/fanboy moment, either one where someone was gushing over your work…..or one where you were gushing over another author’s work?

Okay, so this one time, at a writer’s conference, I met this man, he said he was an author. Everyone is an author. He asked me what I wrote, I told him fantasy. Then he got all excited and told me he wrote fantasy too. He was pitching to a publisher that is REALLY hard to get into and I was like, Yeah, every fantasy writer wants to publish through them. Some time later, I was doing some research on famous fantasy authors and SAW HIM. Tracy Hickman, the author who started Dragonlance. GAH! It’s probably best I didn’t know or I would have fan girled. My husband wants to meet him sooo bad. I could have totally tried to see if he wanted to do a double date since he doesn’t live too far from me. BTW he did get accepted by the publisher.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMVJ6btZLFA&feature=youtu.be

The Watchers Book 1: Knight of Light

In England, 1270 A.D., Auriella (pronounced yurr-ee-ella) flees her village after being accused of witchcraft. Pursued by nightmarish creatures, she struggles to accept the truth about her humanity. Filled with fairies, dwarves, pixies, dragons, and monsters, Knight of Light is an enthralling tale that will capture the imaginations of readers young and old.

The Watchers Series has been described as Braveheart meets Supernatural.

The mythology for the series is based on many theological texts from dozens of sects with correlating themes. Ancient writings include The Dead Sea Scrolls, The Traditional Apocrypha, The Pearl of Great Price, and The Kabbalah.

“The Watchers” are supernatural beings in human form whose duty it is to protect and guard mankind from the armies of darkness.
Unfortunately, as the Book of Enoch mentions, some of these Watchers go bad. Although the mythology is based on these texts, Deirdra Eden’s The Watchers Series is written in a traditional fairytale style with a young girl’s discovery of incredible, but dangerous powers within herself, a cast of humorous side-kicks, a quest for greater self-discovery and purpose, and villains of epic proportions.

About the Author

 



“My goal in writing is to saturate my books with intrigue, mystery, romance, and plot twists that will keep my readers in suspense. I want to see fingerprints on the front and back covers where readers have gripped the novel with white knuckles!

Aside from writing, I enjoy jousting in arenas, planning invasions, horseback riding through open meadows, swimming in the ocean, hiking up mountains, camping in cool shady woods, climbing trees barefoot, and going on adventures.”

-Deirdra Eden

Find Deirdra Eden and The Watchers Series online on AmazonDeirdra’s websiteFacebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Wattpad, and Pinterest.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Gathering Storm Read Along – The Schedule

Squatch being cute.

Squatch being cute.

Hello folks, we are about to embark on the final 3 books of The Wheel of Time series, written by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson. Below is the schedule. Anyone is welcome to join us at any time. If you want to be on the weekly email list for the discussion questions, just leave me a comment with a way to contact you.

Enjoy!

Week 1: Oct. 5th, Prologue-Chpt.6 (103 pages), Hosted by Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers (CCCP)
Week 2: Oct. 12th, Chpts7-13 (105 pages), hosted by Eivind (our Nordic WOT encyclopedia)
Week 3: Oct. 19th, Chpts. 14-21 (110 pages), hosted by Dab of Darkness (DoD)
Week 4: Oct. 26th, Chpts. 22-28 (105 pages), hosted by Musings on Fantasia (MoF)
Week 5: Nov. 2nd, Chpts. 29-35 (105 pages), hosted by CCCP
Week 6: Nov. 9th, Chpts. 36-42 (113 pages), hosted by DoD
Week 7: Nov. 16th, Chapt. 42-End (103 pages), hosted by Eivind

New Spring, Part II

JordanNewSpringBannerWelcome everyone to Book 0 of The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan which is a prequel to the series set several years before Book 1. You can find the schedule to New Spring over HERE. Everyone is welcome to join us!

This week, I am the host. You can catch Eivind, our WoT, in the comments.  Stop by Sue’s at Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers, a place for deft reasoning. Make sure to check out Liesel’s at Musings on Fantasia, home of the cool non-spoilery fan art.

This week, we covered Chapters 7-16. Spoilers run rampant for this section and all previous books below!

1) Throughout this section, we see that Moiraine is still having dreams about the babe born on Dragon Mount. Since we know dreams can have deeper meanings in this series, do you think it is just an anxiety nightmare? Or do you think it is something more?

I think it is something more. Sure, part of it is anxiety. After all, Randland is steeped in folklore, prophecies, religion about the next Breaking of the World (Tarmon Gai’don) and the Dragon Reborn. I guess it could be akin to worrying about the Devil or the Anti-Christ for those of Christian faiths. If you knew that a person of such legend/religion/spiritual belief had indeed been born, I guess your anxiety and/or enthusiasm would manifest in one way or another.

But in this world, we also know dreams can have deeper meanings. I don’t think Moiriaine is Dream Walking, but I wouldn’t be surprised if someone could be influencing her dreams just a touch (like Egwene with her Dream Walking and happening to stride into a Gawyn dream and take control of it) to give her that extra push to go out and find Rand.

2) There were several side characters/minions from the series in this section too. Who do you wish we got to see a bit more of? Is there anyone you wanted to snuff out here and now?

Elyas!!!! I definitely want to see more of Elyas and his time as a Warder and then the change – how and when he became a Wolf Brother.

Of course, I wouldn’t mind Elaida being removed at this juncture, but that would probably screw things up later instead of making them easier. Can you imagine a competent Dark Friend/Black Ajah becoming Amyrlin Seat and denying Egwene her cozy rainbow stole and den? That would suck. So better to stay with Elaida.

3) Moiraine and Siuan are raised to the shawl. Do you think the ter’angreal used in the testing was created for that purpose? Or do you think it has another, long lost purpose, and the Aes Sedai of old found it and put it to this use?

Having seen how opportunistic and often twisted the Aes Sedai can be, I wouldn’t be surprised if this ter’angreal was originally created for another purpose (such as ascertaining info from a captured foe by running him/her through various scenarios) and then was repurposed to test the Accepted for the shawl. Perhaps for a while it was used for both and then perhaps such creative torture went out of fashion, so it all had to be kept hush-hush for several decades, etc. I wonder if the Amyrlin secret histories say anything about the origin of this particular ter’angreal?

4) The Amyrlin Seat, Tamra Ospenya, died. How, do you think? What do you make of the new Amyrlin Seat, Sierin Vayu?

We had no word that Tamra was ill, so I am guessing that she had a rather sudden and unnatural death. Perhaps there were Black Ajah in the Tower even back then and this was one of their deeds. After all, if Rand had been brought up in the White Tower, or even under the Tower’s watchful eye on a designated farm, the Dragon Reborn would be an entirely different beast. And for an as-yet unknown reason, the Dark One wants the Dragon Reborn at Tarmn Gai’don, in tact (largely) and with his powers. I don’t think that would have been the case had Rand been raised by Aes Sedai.

The new Amyrlin, Sierin Vayu, seems to be a vicious thing indeed. She has kicked out all the men from the Tower (all the ones she can. legally) even if they are elderly or harmless. Is it just me, or do the Reds and women like Sierin have an inordinate fear of penises? Really, like 80% of the time, they are flaccid harmless things that aren’t particularly noticeable at all.

5) What do you think of Moiraine’s decision to leave the White Tower? Is she leaving for the right reasons? Do you think Siuan will be punished for Moiraine’s actions?

I think Moiraine is leaving for the wrong reasons. She’s use to getting her way and not having to ask permission to do or not do something, being royalty and all. But she is no longer the Lady Moiraine Damodred. She is Aes Sedai Moiraine. She swore the oaths, had a fair idea of what she was getting into, and ran when the first hint of being asked to do something she didn’t want to do wafted her way. She didn’t even try any other options before just taking off. So, I don’t think she has particular respect for the White Tower and definitely not for the new Amyrlin Seat. I don’t either, but I didn’t go through the lengthy training and then swear the oaths.

Yes, I completely expect Amyrlin Sierin to punish Siuan for Moiraine’s sudden departure. She is a nasty piece of work and I expect Elaida may be tasked with questioning Siuan about Moiraine’s absence.

6) We spent some time in Lan’s head in this section. How does young Lan compare to the Lan we know from the main series? What are your expectations of the possible forthcoming reunion between Lan and his first lover, Edeyn?

Lan as a young man seems to have a stick up his butt. Granted, he isn’t as well traveled as the Lan we know from the main series, but he certainly does seem to be concerned with receiving the proper amount of respect – lowered eyes and all. But he isn’t as bad as Bukama, who seems to want people to blink the correct number of times acknowledgement of his rank and superiority.

Edeyn definitely is a user and opportunist. She used Lan’s position in society when she claimed him as a lover all those years ago, parading him around court. And then she raises the flag when Lan is reported dead, gathering all sorts to her banner. I am not sure yet why she wants an army, and one without Lan leading it. I am sure Lan wants this question fully answered too. Obviously, Edeyn can’t control Lan and I expect that’s why she needs a dead, martyred Lan, instead of a live, feisty, heavily armed Lan.

Their little chat should be most amusing. I expect Lan, like all our male heroes in this series, would truly despise himself (needlessly) if he killed a woman (even if it was well deserved), so I expect that there shall be another way to neutralize her.

Other Tidbits:

Moiraine and Siuan had one final prank to play before becoming completely respectable and level-headed Aes Sedai. I approve. Though the mice probably didn’t.

As with Egwene & Nynaeve becoming Accepted, we only got to see one of our current Super Girls (Moiraine & Siuan) go through the testing to become full Aes Sedai. Even though it was expected, I still wish I had gotten to see a little of what Siuan went through.

I like the idea of the woman deciding when to get in and out of the romping bed. ;)

New Spring, Part I

JordanNewSpringBannerWelcome everyone to Book 0 of The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan which is a prequel to the series set several years before Book 1. You can find the schedule to New Spring over HERE. Everyone is welcome to join us!

This week, our host is Eivind, our WoT encyclopedia, and he can be found in the comments.  Stop by Sue’s at Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers, a place for deft reasoning. Make sure to check out Liesel’s at Musings on Fantasia, home of the cool non-spoilery fan art.

This week, we covered Chapters 1-6. Spoilers run rampant for this section and all previous books below!

1. We find ourselves back at the end of the Aiel war, with a long-lost friend. Are there any other time periods you would have liked to see instead? Other characters you would have liked to follow?

I’m not too sure when the Ogier pretty much stopped leaving their Steddings to do construction (was it before or after this Aiel war?) but I would have liked to see them at work, instead of just their handy work falling into disrepair over the ages.

For this book, I am really hoping we get to see Tam, maybe hang out in his head a bit, and see what he is like as a soldier.

2. Gitara Moroso foretells Rand’s birth. If you recall, she was also the one who told Tigraine (Rand’s mother) to leave and go to the waste. What do you think about one person having such an impact on history?

Maybe that is why Gitara had her heart attack. In her prophesy she saw Tigraine’s face and realized just what her impact on history was.

By now, we have had it repeated quite often that the Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills and there is no escaping that will. So someone somewhere had to tell Tigraine to leave for the Waste, or help her, or force her to. So if Gitara had not done so, some other person/mechanism would have done so. With that in mind, no it is not so surprising that Gitara’s actions set in motion other actions that lead to Rand’s birth meeting the specifics of more than one prophesy concerning the Dragon Reborn.

3. Tamra Ospenya hopes to catch the Dragon Reborn in a big list of names. What do you think of this idea? Knowing what we know about Rand, do you find it likely that he’ll be in the lists somewhere?

I’m trying to recall if Tam came back with a big pouch of coins, even if he just tucked them away with his sword…..and I can’t recall. But since Rand was born to a dying woman, and Tam meets up with Rand’s step-mom just before or just after Rand’s birth, I am guessing that Tam wouldn’t have taken Rand to a long list and waited for such sad details to be recorded.

So perhaps someone else on the battlefield witnessed the birth and the death of the mother and will report it to the Aes Sedai when they take their own babe to be recorded, since we saw Moiraine and Siuan asking some of the women if they knew of other babes not being carried in the line. But even then, it might be pretty vague – Aiel mother, son with red hair, etc.

4. Elaida has apparently never been nice in her entire life. Was she even at this point seeing herself as a future Amyrlin, or has she just gotten ambitious later?

Oh I have the distinct impression that Elaida has always had a stick up her ass and has always planned to use that stick to climb as high as she can. And we all know she pulled it off. I feel a little sorry for the stick.

I do find it interesting that she seems to have it in for Siuan and Moiraine at the very start of their Aes Sedai career. I think this makes it that much easier to hate Elaida for what she does to Siuan later.

5. Am I the only one who can’t help drawing comparisons with Hogwarts? Do you have any funny ones?

LOL! I was doing that too throughout this section. The Amyrlin giving Moiraine a smile when it came to using the Power to clean the ink stain out of her skirt made me think of Dumbledore reminding Hermione about time and then casually locking them in so they won’t be disturbed as they rewind time to carry off the rescue.

6. Both Moiraine and Siuan are close to being raised to the shawl. Will we see that in this book? What do you think the testing will be like, and what new thing might we learn about Moiraine and Siuan from it? Lan is around also… will we see a warder bonding?

I expect we will see at least Moiraine raised so that she can bond Lan. Siuan seems ready and prepared to be raised, but will she be tested this book? I am not sure. The senior Aes Sedai seem to enjoy tormenting the young by moving too slowly on such matters.

We’ve heard a little bit that the testers can do anything short of physical abuse/maiming to break an Accepted’s concentration during the test. So I expect anything from outright goofy to vicious words to pains and threats of pain. Perhaps they will even threaten to harm an Accepted’s friends. Aes Sedai can be pretty darn cruel. But I bet if oneof them did something completely out of character, like suddenly appear in a clown suit, that shock factor may very well be enough to break the Accepted’s concentration.

As with Nynaeve’s testing from Novice into the Accepted ranks, I expect we will see some of what makes up the core of Moiraine’s character (and Siuan’s too if she gets to test in this book). Perhaps we will see something that points to her chaotic good nature – basically her deep dedication to save this world, and yet not really beholden to any one authority.

Other Tidbits:

Lan starts off with some interesting ideas of Aes Sedai, considering where he ends up.

I love seeing Moiraine and Siuan as somewhat insecure students still learning what they can do and what roads are possible for them.

It is also fun to see that Moiraine and Siuan totally buy in to some of these Aes Sedai assumptions and lies – like the superiority assumption that the Sea Folk and Tinkers turn over any girls who show a spark of the Power. Then there is the lie that all those who run away from the Tower are caught eventually and brought back to finish out their training.

Green Ajah are one of two warrior Ajahs (the Red being the other)! That’s a new way of looking at it!

OK. I need a family tree again. Moiraine is a Damodred. Elayne’s step-brother, Galad, is a Damodred, right? And Galad is suppose to be Tigraine’s first son, right? So is Moiraine like Rand’s auntie?

Interview: Gabi Stevens, Author of The Wish List

StevensTheWishListEveryone, please welcome Gabi Stevens to the blog today. She is the author of the Time of Transition series. She also writes under the name Gabi Anderson (Destiny Coin series) and G. S. Anderson (Preternatural). Today we discuss Harry Potter and Cinderella, Star Wars I and backstory, game shows, reboots versus retellings, and plenty more!

Who are your non-writer influences?

Dare I be cliché and say my family? Okay, now that that’s behind us . . . I have to thank the teachers in my life who taught me how to think and dream, especially in high school. I went to boarding school and not only did those teachers see us in the classroom, but they also lived with us on campus. We ate meals with them, I babysat their children, etc. They introduced me to Sci Fi and Fantasy novels.

StevensAsYouWishWhich ancient or historical works have you not read and periodically kick yourself for not having made time for them yet?

Ooo, confession time. I haven’t read Dickens. I know. Shocking. But I will, one day. I’ve really never read Hemmingway, but I know the plots, and I just don’t want to. Okay, I have read The Old Man and the Sea, but none of the others. Steinbeck is another author I’ve never read. I tried to read The Red Pony once, but, well, no. I only kick myself for the Dickens. I haven’t read all of The Canterbury Tales or any of Beowulf, but I can claim to have read part of The Aeneid in Latin, as well as some Livy, Tacitus, and Palutus’s Menaechmi. And I can claim Faust, parts one and two in German. (Too much bragging?)

What reboots (or retellings) of classics have you enjoyed? Are there ones that haven’t worked for you?

If you subscribe to the Joseph Campbell school of thought, there is only one story, so essentially every story is a reboot. That said, I loved Harry Potter (books more than movies, although I loved the movies too), which is essentially Cinderella. I myself have written a couple of Beauty and the Beast stories (one of my favorites). If you can’t tell, I love fairy tales (must be my German Lit background). I enjoy most of the new retellings of them–although no one has ever tackled my favorite, King Thrushbeard (or Grislybeard, as some have translated it, although the point of Thrushbeard is that the king’s beard looks like the beak of a bird).

StevensWishfulThinkingI’m not as fond of reboots. If it was good before, why remake it? Psycho? Really? And not enough time has passed to reboot some of the series (Could be that I’m just old). Dare I confess I haven’t seen the new Spiderman reboots? Planet of the Apes? Mad Max, ignoring the modern incarnation of Mel Gibson, is pretty awesome already. So what if it’s dated. That’s part of its charm. And clearly, the new one is not out yet, but did we really need a new one? There are so many untouched stories out there, why remake something that’s already been done and done well? But of course there are exceptions. I can’t wait for a good Hulk movie. And (I know this is controversial) I do like the reboot of Star Trek (but I loved the old series). But if they have to reboot, why not pick the really old stuff, like the Thin Man series. But my favorite is the reboot of Sherlock Holmes in the BBC’s Sherlock (huge fan of this reboot).

There is this rumor that you have been on a few game shows – an experience worth repeating? What would your favorite characters from your own writing be like on a game show?

I have indeed. I was on the Family Feud with the women in my family when Richard Dawson was the host. We won twice then lost the third time, but only won the “Big Money” once. So many tales to tell from that experience, especially since two of our members had heavy Hungarian accents.

Then I appeared on Sale of the Century, and lost it in a tiebreaker because they said tiebreakers would be hard questions– it was easy, and by the time I thought, “But that’s easy,” the other guy had answered.

AndersonTemptation'sWarriorBut my favorite was on Jeopardy, where I came in third, but won the best set of pots and pans ever. No, seriously, they will be handed down to my children, the quality is that good. And I was doing great until Final Jeopardy. To myself I was chanting, “Don’t be US presidents, don’t be US Presidents”, and up pops the category: US Presidents. Man, the day before (because you watch several tapings while you wait) no one got the Final Jeopardy question right (What does Alice cross in “Through the Looking Glass?), and I was sitting in the audience screaming to myself because I knew it. My question: The last surviving president to have signed the US Constitution. Really?

So if my characters would be on game shows my characters, Tennyson Ritter, hero of THE WISH LIST, would do awesome on something like Jeopardy, but horrible on something like Family Feud. He’s got brains, but he just doesn’t have the exposure to the real world to answer questions about how other people would answer. Jonathan Bastion, hero of AS YOU WISH, is too savvy a businessman not to know how people respond to things, so Family Feud would be his game. And Hyacinth, one of the Fairy Godmothers who appear in the entire trilogy, couldn’t be bothered to do something like a game show. She would probably watch them and mock the contestants that appeared on them.

What is your favorite fictional holiday (from books, movies, or tv)?

Talk Like a Pirate Day (September 19th) is my favorite, closely followed by May the Fourth (Star Wars day!).

AndersonFalconAndWolfHow did you celebrate that first time experience of having a piece accepted for publication?

That was fun. I bought my daughters little tokens—one got a Pocket Dragon (porcelain figurine) reading a book, one got items for her Josefina doll, and I just can’t remember what I got the youngest. I bought my husband a ping pong table, which has since gone the way of the dinosaur. For myself, I bought a tiny Swarovski crystal inkwell with gold quill. When I got the call my husband was in the air, flying to Britain, so I had to leave a message at his hotel to call me as soon as he arrived with the words, “Good news” so he wouldn’t panic upon arrival. My two oldest daughters jumped up and down, and my youngest just looked up at me and said, “Chocolate milk.” Way to bring me down to reality quickly, but she was only four.

If you could sit down and have dinner with 5 dead authors, who would you invite to the table? What would they order?

Mark Twain, Isaac Asimov, Edgar Allan Poe, L. Frank Baum, and Agatha Christie. But I would order for them–tacos, enchiladas, burritos, chips and salsa, margaritas, green chile, and sopapillas. They need to be exposed to the food from where I’m from. Especially the margaritas. Can you imagine the conversation we could have after a couple?

AndersonEverYoursIf you were asked to create the syllabus for a college class in SFF literature, what books would be on there as required reading? As passing discussion?

How about for your 8th grade students?

I already did give my eighth graders SFF literature. Not only did we read a bunch of short stories—Bradbury’s “A Sound of Thunder,” “There Will Come Soft Rains”; Asimov’s Nightfall; Stephen Vincent Benet’s By the Waters of Babylon; but we also read the entire I, Robot by Isaac Asimov.

As for college, here is my list of must reads: Stranger in a Strange Land, The Stars My Destination, A Canticle for Leibowitz, The Martian Chronicles, The Foundation Series, The Lord of the Rings, Doomsday Book, Lord Foul’s Bane,…I know I’ve forgotten a ton.

Care to share an awkward fangirl/fanboy moment, either one where someone was gushing over your work…..or one where you were gushing over another author’s work?

When isn’t such a moment awkward? When I’m the one doing the gushing, I figure I’m bothering the author. I had a chance to meet Brent Weeks last year and his wife and their little girl and all I could talk about was child rearing. And when someone gushes to me, I always wonder why? I’m not that good (did you know that most writers are terribly insecure).

AndersonPreternaturalWhat is a recurring or the most memorable geeky argument or debate you have taken part in?

When my husband and I watched Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, we spent two hours discussing the movie at the end. We are both huge Star Wars fans (the original series, and Han shot first) and we didn’t like it. What it boiled down to for me was it was all backstory. As a writer you’re taught not to dump backstory on the reader. Yes, you give hints to what happened in the past, but unless it’s relevant, you don’t need backstory. SW I, II, and III are all backstory. I didn’t need to know why Anakin turned bad. I already knew he had and that he was redeemed. Funny, considering I usually like spoilers, but the difference between spoilers and backstory is huge.

Finally, what upcoming events and works would you like to share with the readers?

I am currently working on shopping around my first pure fantasy novel. I’ll keep you posted. In addition, I’ve got a story collection, Preternatural, on Kindle and Nook under the name GS Anderson, which is receiving some great reviews (Phew). Look for me and news about me at my web site: www.GabiStevens.com. You can also find me at Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.

Places to Stalk Gabi Stevens

Website

Blog

Goodreads

Facebook

Twitter

Tumblr

Pinterest