Monday, August 31, 2015

Interview with AshleyRose Sullivan author of Silver Tongue

Silver Tongue is an alternate history story. Where did that idea come from?

I’ve always been interested in history. I love going deeper into the big stories and learning about how everything lined up to give us the present we have today. At some point I was reading about the American Revolutionary War and how Washington’s crossing of the Delaware was such a pivotal moment. I remember looking at Leutze’s famous painting of the crossing and thinking, “What if the very next moment, Washington fell off the boat and drowned? What might have happened?” It sort of spun out from there.
I’d been wanting to write a supernatural YA novel—a novel for my teenage self—and the idea of these three best friends facing a crazy, mixed up world together all snapped together.

What makes Claire such a strong character?
Her determination, I think. When the book opens Claire has a lot of potential and a great foundation but she’s not really sure of anything in her life because everything around her seems to be changing. Still, when tragedy strikes and something needs to be done, Claire’s right there, in the thick of it. She’s not afraid to act. Whether she’s ready for something or not, she just jumps in. She’ll do anything to protect her friends.

If you were Claire how would you reacted differently?

If I were Claire I’d probably be using my super powers for nefarious purposes.

How do you feel bringing characters like Frankenstein will change the way the reader will look at the story?

I love it when fiction and reality blend together and I hope my readers will too. I hope it might encourage readers to pick up these old books. Modern genre fiction owes so much to classic gothic literature and, even after all these years, it still has so much to teach us.

Bringing in the character of Sam who is a descendant of George Washington brings about some secrets. How did you feel about this character when writing him, was it hard, easy?

Sam is struck from the byronic hero mold in that he’s handsome and broody and secretive. So, in that way, he was easy. But, I also wanted to make my own mark on this character type. Sam is a teenage guy with more secrets and responsibility than anyone his age should have to deal with. Because of that, he’s often at odds with himself and I tried to convey that and make him a fuller character.

The one thing you hope readers will get out of Silver Tongue after reading it?

Life gets better, fuller, richer the more you live it. Don’t give up.

Any current projects you are working on you can share with our readers?

I’m currently working on the next Silver Tongue and Awesome Jones books!

Where can people find out more about you?

I have a website where you can learn a little about the different stuff I do. I also have a (somewhat) daily blog.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Author Chris Garrison Guest Post

How Faeries have influence the Fantasy genre today

Once upon a time, all fantasy was fairy tales. Long before the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, and the 1001 Nights, fairy stories were passed down through oral tradition in many cultures. These tales were told and retold, with elements recurring: the big bad wolf, magic rings, magical tricksters, fairy spirits both helpful and harmful. Our modern fantasy genre borrows from that rich history of symbols and tropes, building upon a base that extends into the mists of the past. J.R.R. Tolkien himself was a staunch defender of the fairy tale as a genre, and his Middle-Earth is built from many different myths and fairy tale elements. And Tolkien's work is a major part of the foundation upon which modern fantasy has been built. Elves and Dwarfs, Dragons and sorcerers, magic swords and rings of power, all of these come from fairy tales.

Today, we mash things up, we take old tired tropes and breathe new life into them by putting them into new situations or by combining them with new ideas to bring about something new. Fantasy has reached for its roots, pulling up old stories and replanting them in our modern world. Addie King presents a young woman in law school who is plagued by her birthright, as a descendant of the Grimms. There are even steampunk retellings of fairy tales, such as Katina French's Blowhard, in which the Hamm brothers stake a land claim on the prairie, only to be besieged by a steam-powered wind machine. On television, Grimm and Once Upon a Time cross old familiar tales with the world we live in, making the stories play out differently than we'd expect.

Fairies represent another world to us, creatures that live outside of what we can see and hear and touch and taste in our everyday lives. They're what's just around the corner, what lurks in the woods, the things that go bump in the night. Fairies are so much more than Tinker Bell, though even she's an example of wonder, a tiny luminous being with magical powers. Fairies appear in Jim Butcher's Dresden Files as anything from tiny amusing sprites like Ms. Bell, all the way up to human-sized, semi-godlike beings like Mab, who's the very essence of Winter, powerful and cruel. Butcher provides another dimension for the fae, “the Never Never”, which touches our world in ways that only wizards and powerful fae can predict.

Still other takes on fairies in recent fantasy include part-fae humans. On television, there are many examples of this in the Canadian TV show “Lost Girl”. Fae look a lot like regular people in that show, they just have aspects of their otherworldly selves that most won't be able to detect.

In my own Blue Spirit, the fairy world is right alongside our own, but it's a different shape, so a small space could be large in the spirit realm, or you could travel fast along certain paths in our world because they're shorter in the fairy realm. Fairy creatures may pass between the worlds, but will generally fool mundane humans into seeing them as something that belongs in our world, or remain beyond our senses entirely. Skye is the main character of Blue Spirit, and she can perceive both worlds when she's indulged in alcohol. She has a bit of her soul that was separated from her that has become its own spirit-world entity named Minnie. Skye treads the border between worlds, seeing the true nature of fairy creatures superimposed upon them, where everyone else sees what they expect to see. Skye is befriended and guided by the gnome-like Transit King, who helps her protect her friends and herself against a power-hungry Fairy Queen, but in exchange, expects a favor, any favor he asks.

Fairies lurk just under the surface of modern fantasy, and many storytellers reach for the roots of the genre to weave primal symbols and stories into their own.