Book Spotlight: Sanyare: The Heir Apparent (The Sanyare Chronicles Book 2) by Megan Haskell

sanyare-the-heir-apparent-cover-book-2

Limited Time Launch Week Price Just $0.99 on Amazon!

Her secret is unraveling. One dangerous quest could end it all…



Rie thought she was an ordinary human. After she’s named heir to Sanyaro, the truthseeker and mediator of the nine faerie realms, life becomes a lot more complicated. As she struggles to control her magics, Rie nearly falls prey to a brutal assassination attempt during a public ceremony.

Blamed for the chaos, Rie’s escort, Prince Daenor, is taken prisoner. While Sanyaro tempers the political flames, Rie must once again chase after the truth. As if the threat of another great war and the impending death of her lover weren’t enough, Rie uncovers a dark secret that threatens to crack the very foundations of the faerie realms. When allies fall, can Rie overcome the odds… and the opposition?

Sanyare: The Heir Apparent is a captivating dark fantasy adventure novel. If you enjoy thrilling adventures across nine unique realms filled with wise-cracking carnivorous pixies, then you’ll love the second installment of The Sanyare Chronicles from Megan Haskell.

megan-haskell-brag

About Author:

Legend has it, I was born with a book in my hands. When I was a kid, my mom was forced to ground me from reading or I wouldn’t do my chores. To this day, I can readily ignore the real world in favor of the imaginary one lurking between the pages of my current addiction. My dad — also an avid reader — introduced me to Tolkien in my late elementary years, and I never looked back. I love escaping to worlds where magic and monsters are real, especially stories with kick-butt heroines and dangerously attractive heroes.

Despite my voracious book appetite, I didn’t start creative writing until I was working as a number cruncher in a big accounting firm. With an hour plus commute by train every day, and a demanding left-brain occupation, I needed a mobile creative outlet. A pen and paper are about as mobile as it gets! As the pages began to fill, I quickly moved onto a tiny laptop, and a writer was born. Now I get to create my own fantasies!

I currently live in Southern California with my wonderfully supportive husband, two daughters, and a ridiculously energetic dog.

B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree

Author Website

Interview with B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree Mirta Ines Trupp

mirta-ines-trupp-profile-picI’d like to welcome B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree Mirta Ines Trupp to Layered Pages today. She is here to talk with me about her book, Becoming Malka.

Mirta is a second generation Argentine; she was born in Buenos Aires in 1962 and immigrated to the United States that same year. Because of the unique fringe benefits provided by her father’s employer- Pan American Airlines- she returned to her native country frequently- growing up with “un pie acá, y un pie allá” (with one foot here and one foot there). Mirta’s self-proclaimed life’s career has been raising a family and creating a home, alongside her husband of over thirty years. She returned to the world of the gainfully employed late in life; currently in a position which doesn’t require one iota of dramatic flair – just common sense, organization and attention to detail. Rather than being self-deprecating, Mirta lightheartedly concedes that her paper pushing makes a number of people happy, as that bureaucratic busywork ensures that payroll is met and invoices are processed. Besides being an avid novel reader and a devoted Beatles fan, Mirta most enjoys singing choral music and researching family genealogy.

Hi, Mirta! Thank you for chatting with me today about your book, Becoming Malka and congrats on the B.R.A.G. Medallion! Please tell me about your story.

Thank you for inviting me. I am delighted to participate in this interview and am excited to answer your questions! Becoming Malka is a Historical Fiction/ Fantasy. In pursuit of her master’s degree in Imperial Russian history, we find 24 year-old Molly Abramovitz heading to Moscow for a week-long seminar. Never one to miss an opportunity for genealogical research- being methodical and meticulous- she plans a side trip to Ukraine. Molly’s trek to her ancestral home leads to the discovery of a mythical tarot card which transports her to the chaotic year of 1900. She finds herself in her great, great-grandmother’s presence. Surrounded by the history and culture she has studied her entire life and knowing, full well, the fate that awaits her ancestors, Molly is faced with a dilemma of extraordinary proportions.

becoming-malka-bragHow did you decide on the setting for your and what is the period your story is written in?

Being rather a newbie at this scribbling business, I tend to stick to what I know. I have plenty of material in my family background, being a descendant of Russian immigrants and having been born in Argentina therefore; choosing a setting was a no-brainer! The story begins in modern times, in California 2015 to be exact, and we end up in Ukraine just prior to the Russian Revolution.

Please tell me about Molly Abramovitz and her strengths and weaknesses.

Molly is a brilliant young woman, loving and family- oriented, but she is a bit of a control freak. She favor’s her father’s obsession with facts and spreadsheets and looks upon her mother’s love of all things spiritual and esoteric with more than just a bit of skepticism. She is loyal and determined, with a strong sense of right and wrong. Her weakness stems from fear, which unquestionably is the motivating factor behind her need for control. And while she can see heroic or noble characteristics in others, Molly is unable to recognize her own inherent value. She’s afraid that she doesn’t measure up!

What was the inspiration for your story?

I was inspired to write the book I wanted to read! Does that make sense? Here I was, an avid fan of Period Drama and all things Judaic, but I couldn’t find anything to satisfy my cravings for a fusion of these two worlds. There are a few “mash ups” out there- if you look hard enough- but I found most of them to be filled with stereotypical characterizations of the Jewish community. When I did find something of merit, the material was intense, heavy reading… Daniel Deronda comes to mind as a good example. There is a wealth of dark Fiction and Nonfiction that speaks to the atrocity of anti-Semitism throughout the ages, but I was inspired to shine the light on a period of time just prior to the Russian Revolution and to bring attention to the heroic steps taken by Baron Maurice Hirsch and the Jewish Colonization Association. Rather than being a tragic narrative, I depict an upper, middle class, Jewish community in the 19th century. My favorite reads- my period dramas- speak of the landed gentry, aristocrats and high society; I was inspired to create educated, successful, philanthropic, characters. The Brodskys- the famed Sugar Kings of the South-were a prime example and I based the Abramovitz family on their history. This fictional ‘meshpucha’ (Yiddish for family) lived among the upper echelon and I was excited to bring them to life! I wanted to write about Jewish ladies, fashionably dressed, taking tea in the drawing room of a well-appointed estate. I wanted to present a cultured, well-established family living “Jewishly” in Mother Russia. And of course, I wanted to write about their emigration to the “New Jerusalem” in Argentina, as it speaks to the courage of my own ancestors and countless others who risked everything for the sake of future generations. I added the fantasy element, with the discovery of a mythical tarot card and some discussion of Jewish mysticism, to add another dimension to the story. Who wouldn’t want to travel back in time to meet their ancestors? I know I would! Becoming Malka is a light, entertaining read, but it is not lightweight, by any means. The actual idea for the story came to me in a dream- in a feverish dream! I left work early one day feeling a bit sluggish- dreading the sensation of an oncoming cold. I headed for home and went straight to bed, but as I closed my eyes, the name Malka came to mind. When I awoke, I had the entire concept for the book. As I sketched out the storyline, I incorporated elements of history and genealogy, subjects of great interest to me. As I mentioned previously, I am the granddaughter of Jewish Russian immigrants, so I was greatly inspired to create an enchanting story that incorporated some of their background.

What are some of the emotional triggers for Molly and how does she act on them?

Our dear Molly, with all her education and comfortable home life, suffers from insecurity. Her fear of instability causes her to over plan and strategies. Unlike Queen Elsa, she can’t “let it go!” Being the daughter of immigrants, she is torn by the separation of her extended family and it causes her to question her parents’ decisions, as well as her own. Molly is at times, quick to judge. She needs an explanation for everything; she likes things neatly squared away- wrapped up nicely with a bow, if you please.

What is the mood or tone your characters portray and how does this affect the story?

I hope that I’ve created several interesting and diverse characters; each one bringing their own individual gifts and talents to the story. Bobe Malka, the matriarch, is the epitome of elegance, wisdom. I hope she imparts a sense of constancy and respectability. Her son, Abraham provides some tension: he fears change and clings to the old ways. Josef, Molly’s great grandfather, is full of energy, ready to take on the world and claim his stake in the future. The youngest daughter, Leah, reminded me of Lydia Bennett at times. With lighthearted, teenage humor, Leah throws caution to the wind, and yet, there is a glimpse of the woman she is to become. Molly, although unquestionably knowledgeable and responsible, is the ingénue. Call her a late bloomer; it is her coming of age story. David, young, yet brave, is ready to believe his grandmother when she says that inexplicable is not the same as unexplainable. He represents that part of us that wants to believe in miracles- that senses we don’t need to understand everything. “There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.” Citing Albert Einstein isn’t necessarily in keeping with this Indie-author, but while researching the topic of time travel and the introduction of a mythical tarot card, I found this quote quite set the tone for the narrative.

How much time did you spend writing this story and what was your process?

As much as I would have loved to dedicate myself to writing, I am a wife, a mom and a full-time employee. I’m not quite sure how I managed; I jotted down notes throughout the day and eventually would find time in the evenings and on weekends to settle down and write. In between the mundane and humdrum, I allowed the thoughts that I had been collecting to somehow spill out on paper…or rather, on my P.C. I began with a rough draft and a sketchy outline. I named the entire family and provided birthdates for each one before I wrote the first paragraph. I had to get the genealogy just right! I spent some time researching facts on fashion, architecture, and notable Jewish community leaders of the era. In addition, I explored the fascinating world of Jewish mysticism, the Kabbalistic Tree of Life and even discovered an amazing story about “barajas”- playing cards used by Jews hiding from the Inquisition. All in all, the writing took close to a year to complete… then of course, came the “fun” part: Editing.

Where can readers buy your book?

Becoming Malka is available in both paperback and EBook formats on Amazon. My first book, With Love, The Argentina Family~ Memories of Tango and Kugel; Mate with Knishes can also be purchased via this website.

What are your personal motivations in story-telling?

The inspiration for both my books actually stem from the same base. I wanted to honor my family- this sturdy, loving, enduring stock made up of Jewish values, Russian ancestry, and Argentine culture. As an immigrant, having the good fortune of growing up in the United States of America, I wanted to honor the sense of history, pride and gratitude, as well.

What do you find most rewarding about writing?

I’ve written a Creative Non-Fiction and a Historical Fiction/Fantasy. Both books speak to Argentine and Russian history, Jewish culture and mysticism. Some people might think that a book about a particular culture or faith would only attract a specific group. But on a deeper level, of course, we are all human beings; we can relate to various universal themes such as tradition, assimilation, acceptance and personal growth. When readers can see beyond the label and see themselves, that’s when the author has truly accomplished something of worth. Once you peel away the labels, whether they are self-inflicted or imposed by society, you end up with the human experience and that makes for interesting reading. And it follows, that the most rewarding aspect of writing for me, is making that connection with others.

How often do you write and is there a particular time during the day your best ideas come to you?

It is my long term goal to write away the hours, but for now- and until I retire-I am a full time employee. During the day, I manage to scribble a few lines here and there during breaks and my lunch hour. I usually keep paper and pen on hand for when I am inspired and suddenly come up with a great line. I was caught unprepared once while traveling on a plane. I had an urge to write a thought- a conversation between two characters- but I didn’t have my tablet or even a scrap of paper. Tired of waiting for the overwrought flight attendant, I reached into the back pocket of the seat directly in front of me and pulled out the handy-dandy airsick bag and wrote an entire scene on the slick cardboard. It just goes to show, if you really want to write, you will find the time! Night time is the best, actually…the house is quiet.

What are you currently working on?

Currently, I’m playing with the idea of a sequel to Becoming Malka. Many readers have expressed an interest in finding out what happened to Malka and the family, so unless I experience another inspirational “fever,” I have some work cut out for me!

I enjoyed our talk very much, Mirta! Please visit with me again sometime.

Author Links:

LINKS: 

Amazon

Facebook

A message from indieBRAG:

We are delighted that Stephanie has chosen to interview Mirta Ines Trupp who is the author of, Becoming Malka, our medallion honoree at indieBRAG. To be awarded a B.R.A.G. Medallion ®, a book must receive unanimous approval by a group of our readers. It is a daunting hurdle and it serves to reaffirm that a book such as, Becoming Malka, merits the investment of a reader’s time and money.

 indiebrag team member

 

 

 

Interview with Author Kate Forsyth

02_Bitter Greens

Publication Date: September 23, 2014 Thomas Dunne Books Hardcover; 496p ISBN-10: 1250047536

Genre: Historical/Fantasy/Fairy-Tale Retellings

The amazing power and truth of the Rapunzel fairy tale comes alive for the first time in this breathtaking tale of desire, black magic and the redemptive power of love

French novelist Charlotte-Rose de la Force has been banished from the court of Versailles by the Sun King, Louis XIV, after a series of scandalous love affairs. At the convent, she is comforted by an old nun, Sœur Seraphina, who tells her the tale of a young girl who, a hundred years earlier, is sold by her parents for a handful of bitter greens…

After Margherita’s father steals parsley from the walled garden of the courtesan Selena Leonelli, he is threatened with having both hands cut off, unless he and his wife relinquish their precious little girl. Selena is the famous red-haired muse of the artist Tiziano, first painted by him in 1512 and still inspiring him at the time of his death. She is at the center of Renaissance life in Venice, a world of beauty and danger, seduction and betrayal, love and superstition.

Locked away in a tower, Margherita sings in the hope that someone will hear her. One day, a young man does.

Award-winning author Kate Forsyth braids together the stories of Margherita, Selena, and Charlotte-Rose, the woman who penned Rapunzel as we now know it, to create what is a sumptuous historical novel, an enchanting fairy tale retelling, and a loving tribute to the imagination of one remarkable woman.

Hello, Kate! It is a pleasure to chat with you today about your story, Bitter Greens. What a beautiful and creative premise. Rapunzel is a tale I have known since childhood…what inspires you about Rapunzel to begin with?

I have been fascinated with the Rapunzel fairy tale since I first read it as a little girl. I was always puzzled by the mysteries in the tale: why did the witch lock up the girl? Why did she have to climb up her hair to get into the tower? How did the girl’s hair get so long? Questions like that niggled at me, and so I began to think up possible explanations for them.

Shamefully, I have to admit I have never paid much attention to the writer (s) of the story and had no idea it was penned by women. What is it that fascinates you about their lives the most?

I am a storyteller as well as a writer, and so I’ve always been interested in the ways stories endure over time, told and retold and retold again. I became interested in finding out the origin of the tale in the early stages of planning my novel, and was hugely excited when I stumbled across the life story of Charlotte-Rose de Caumont de la Force, who wrote the version of the tale as it was first told while she was locked up in a convent after scandalizing the royal court at Versailles with her love affairs and refusal to bow to societal norms. She was such a fascinating woman and the parallels between her story and the fairy tale she wrote struck me at once.

What were some of the historical events that took place in the setting of this story?

BITTER GREENS moves between two historical settings. The first is Renaissance Venice, and takes in 16th witchcraft hunts, the devastation of the plague, and the extraordinary art of Tiziano Vercelli, best known in English as Titian. The second setting is the sumptuous royal court of 17th century France, ruled over by Louis XIV, the Sun King. Charlotte-Rose de la Force was his second cousin and a maid-of-honour serving the queen. During her life, she saw the cruel persecution of the French Protestants, c alled Huguenots, and the scandal of the Affair of the Poisons, which saw hundreds of people arrested and tortured on suspicion of Satanism and murder.

Selena stands out to me the most. What are her strengths and weaknesses? And in what way does she inspire-if she inspires that is…?

Kate: Selena is a Venetian courtesan and the witch of the tale. Selena witnessed the terrible punishment of her mother, after she was unfaithful to her patron, and so sets herself to enact revenge on those who took part. She studies ‘stregheria’, the Italian art of witchcraft, in an attempt to shape her own life. She is afraid of the passing of time and the coming of death, and so hates clocks and watches, but is also passionate, sensual, and determined.  Although she is strong and clever, she also has a strong streak of cruelty in her and locks girls up in a tower for her own nefarious purposes, so I’m not sure she can be seen as an inspiration!

Could you please give me an example of Renaissance life in Venice? Something romantic, perhaps?

Venice in the 16th century was a place of great wealth, beauty and culture.  Its streets were full of merchants from all over the world, all speaking their own tongues and wearing the clothes of their nation. Women were gorgeously dressed in silks and satins and cloth-of-gold, and wore totteringly high wooden chopines to protect their delicate silk slippers from the water that often overflowed from the canals.  Artists such as Michelangelo, Titian and Bellini created works of startling beauty, and every palace and cathedral was painted and ornamented to within an inch of their life. At Carnevale, men and women dressed up in their finest clothes and hid their faces behind masks so that they could wander the narrow streets and plazas of the many islands, free to love anyone they pleased. Many people began to wear masks all year long, in order to enjoy the freedom of anonymity, until the practice was outlawed in 1797. Mask-makers were revered, and had their own rules and their own guild.

What compels the old nun to tell Charlotte-Rose the tale who is sold by her parents for a handful of bitter greens? Is there a particular message she wants her to grasp?

I think Seraphina wants to help Charlotte-Rose learn to accept her fate with grace, and to make the most of the life she has been given. We cannot always choose what happens to us in our lives, but we can choose how we deal with it.

What is Charlotte’s personality like?

She is strong-willed, quick-witted, passionate, and very stubborn. She does her best to live a self-determined life, and finds the strictures of the patriarchal society in which she lives very difficult to negotiate. All she wants is to live and love as she chooses, and to write – yet these things are constantly being denied to her, and so she is frustrated and angry, particularly in the beginning of the book. She is also afraid and determined not to show it, and this makes her seem proud and even arrogant. She is also, I’m afraid, rather vain, but then she lives in the royal court of Versailles where everything is about show.

Is there one thing you find remarkable about Venice in 1512?

Venice had always been a city remarkable for its religious and cultural toleration, yet this began to change around this time. The world’s first ghetto was established in Venice in 1516, and other races and religions began to find themselves having their freedom curtailed as well. This was partly as a result of a long-waged war against Constantinople, and partly because of religious fervor caused by terrible outbreaks of the bubonic plague.

What was your process for this story and how long did you work on it?

Bitter Greens was a complex and challenging novel to write, and took me a long time to research. All in all, it took me seven years to write! I began by learning everything I could about the two periods my story was set in, and by studying the history of the Rapunzel fairy tale (I ended up doing a doctorate on this.) I then wrote each of the three narrative threads independently from each other, and then wove them together. It was like writing three novels instead of one!

What do you love most about writing?

Everything! I love the first period, when my mind is alive with story possibilities and I’m reading and researching and thinking and daydreaming. I love the actual writing process, and all the amazing serendipitous discoveries I make. And I love to edit too – that’s when the story really begins to fall into shape.

Who are your influences?

I think every single book I have loved – and there are hundreds of thousands of those!

Praise for Bitter Greens

“Kate Forsyth’s Bitter Greens is an enthralling concoction of history and magic, an absorbing, richly detailed, and heart-wrenching reimagining of a timeless fairytale.” —Jennifer Chiaverini, New York Times bestselling author of Mrs. Lincoln’s Rival

“See how three vividly drawn women cope with injustice, loneliness, fear, longing. See how they survive—or perpetrate—treachery. Surrender yourself to a master storyteller, to delicious detail and spunky heroines. Bitter Greens is a complex, dazzling achievement.” —Susan Vreeland, New York Times bestselling author of Clara and Mr. Tiffany and Girl in Hyacinth Blue

“A magical blend of myth and history, truth and legend, Bitter Greens is one of those rare books that keeps you reading long after the lights have gone out, that carries you effortlessly to another place and time, that makes you weep and laugh and wish you could flip forward to make sure it all ends happily ever after—but for the fact that if you did so, you might miss a line, and no line of this book should be missed.” —Lauren Willig, New York Times bestselling author of The Ashford Affair

“Kate Forsyth wields her pen with all the grace and finesse of a master swordsman. In Bitter Greens she conjures a lyrical fairytale that is by turns breathtaking, inspiring, poetic, and heartbreakingly lovely. Set like a jewel within the events of history, it is pure, peerless enchantment.”—New York Times bestselling author Deanna Raybourn

“Bitter Greens is pure enchantment–gripping and lyrical. From the high convent walls where a 17th century noblewoman is exiled, to a hidden tower which imprisons an innocent girl with very long hair, to the bitter deeds of a beautiful witch who cannot grow old–Kate Forsyth weaves an engrossing, gorgeously written tale of three women in search of love and freedom. A truly original writer, Forsyth has crafted an often terrifying but ultimately redemptive dark fairy tale of the heart.”—Stephanie Cowell, American Book Award-winning author of Claude & Camille

“Kate Forsyth’s Bitter Greens is not only a magnificent achievement that would make any novelist jealous, it’s one of the most beautiful paeans to the magic of storytelling that I’ve ever read.”—C.W. Gortner, author of The Queen’s Vow and The Confessions of Catherine de Medici

“Threads of history and folklore are richly intertwined to form this spellbinding story. Kate Forsyth has excelled herself with Bitter Greens. Compulsively unputtdownable.”—Juliet Marillier, national bestselling author of Flame of Sevenwaters and Heart’s Blood

Buy the Book

Amazon US Barnes & Noble IndieBound

About the Author

Kate Forsyth 1

Kate Forsyth wrote her first novel at the age of seven, and is now the internationally bestselling & award-winning author of thirty books, ranging from picture books to poetry to novels for both adults and children. She was recently voted one of Australia’s Favourite 20 Novelists, and has been called ‘one of the finest writers of this generation. She is also an accredited master storyteller with the Australian Guild of Storytellers, and has told stories to both children and adults all over the world.

Her most recent book for adults is a historical novel called ‘The Wild Girl’, which tells the true, untold love story of Wilhelm Grimm and Dortchen Wild, the young woman who told him many of the world’s most famous fairy tales. Set during the Napoleonic Wars, ‘The Wild Girl’ is a story of love, war, heartbreak, and the redemptive power of storytelling, and was named the Most Memorable Love Story of 2013.

She is probably most famous for ‘Bitter Greens’, a retelling of the Rapunzel fairy tale interwoven with the dramatic life story of the woman who first told the tale, the 17th century French writer, Charlotte-Rose de la Force. ‘Bitter Greens’ has been called ‘the best fairy tale retelling since Angela Carter’, and has been nominated for a Norma K. Hemming Award, the Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Fiction, and a Ditmar Award.

Her most recent book for children is ‘Grumpy Grandpa’, a charming picture book that shows people are not always what they seem.

Since ‘The Witches of Eileanan’ was named a Best First Novel of 1998 by Locus Magazine, Kate has won or been nominated for numerous awards, including a CYBIL Award in the US. She’s also the only author to win five Aurealis awards in a single year, for her Chain of Charms series – beginning with ‘The Gypsy Crown’ – which tells of the adventures of two Romany children in the time of the English Civil War. Book 5 of the series, ‘The Lightning Bolt’, was also a CBCA Notable Book.

Kate’s books have been published in 14 countries around the world, including the UK, the US, Russia, Germany, Japan, Turkey, Spain, Italy, Poland and Slovenia. She is currently undertaking a doctorate in fairytale retellings at the University of Technology, having already completed a BA in Literature and a MA in Creative Writing.

Kate is a direct descendant of Charlotte Waring, the author of the first book for children ever published in Australia, ‘A Mother’s Offering to her Children’. She lives by the sea in Sydney, Australia, with her husband, three children, and many thousands of books.

For more information please visit Kate Forsyth’s website and blog. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.