Getting to know author Jamie Marchant
Please welcome author Jamie Marchant today to my blog.
What started your interest in writing?
It’s hard to say what started it because I don’t remember it ever not being there. From my earliest memories, I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I started writing stories about the Man from Mars for my older sister when I was about six. I then wrote a fairy tale for her, starring her and her husband. Throughout my adolescence, I continued writing and finished my first novel in high school (not that it was publishable). Still, I had it pounded into me how hard (next to impossible) it is to make a living as a writer, so I decided to get my PhD and teach college English. In doing so, I lost my way and neglected my muse. What I’d begun as a means to support myself while writing became an aim in and of itself. I focused on writing literary criticism in order to further my career as an academic. One day while I was working on a piece of literary criticism on Willa Cather, I realized not only did I have no interest in writing the piece, but also that I hadn’t written fiction in years. I abandoned the piece on Cather and started what was to become my first novel, The Goddess’s Choice. That was about fourteen years ago. I may not be rich, but I’m a much happier person since I returned to my first passion.
What is your book(s) about?
The Kronicles of Korthlundia, of which both my published novels—The Goddess’s Choice and The Soul Stone—are a part, tell the story of two very different characters from opposite class of society, the crown princess Samantha and the peasant sorcerer Robrek. The two characters meet at a horse fair in The Goddess’s Choice, and their lives become increasingly intertwined until they marry in The Soul Stone. Along the way they defeat terrible villains who threat the peace and eventually the life of everyone in the joined kingdoms of Korthlundia. The Soul Stone is the sequel to The Goddess’s Choice, although it is not necessary to have read the first book to understand the second.
What are you currently working on?
I’m working on two projects on at the moment. One is the third book in The Kronicles of Korthlundia series of which The Goddess’s Choice and The Soul Stone are a part. I don’t have a title for it yet, but let’s say it continues the adventures of Samantha and Robrek and involves dragons and a barbarian invasion. I’m also working on a novel, again unnamed, about Samantha’s true father, Darhour, and how he became the notorious assassin that he is.
How long did it take you to get your rough draft finished on your latest release?
About three years. I’m not a fast writer.
What genres do you write in?
Fantasy—both epic and urban.
Do you have a favorite quote from your book(s)?
As the crown princess Samantha tells us, “We all want many things we cannot have.”
What was the hardest part of writing your book(s)?
Fight scenes. I’ve never particularly enjoyed reading fight scenes and often skim through them. That’s made them hard to write. My writers’ group makes fun of me because in the rough draft of my work, I’ll often have “Insert fight scene here” instead of the actual fight scene. Although I’ve gotten better at fighting, I don’t think I’ll ever be an action master. Character development is more my forte.
Do you prefer to extensively plot your stories, or do you write them as they come to you?
I’m a more fly-by-the-seat-my-pants kind of writer. I never made a written outline or plotted a story arc. A lot of where the story goes depends on the characters. They tend to take on a life of their own.
Has there been any characters that started off as supporting characters, but then developed into a more prominent character?
Yes, Darhour, who is the crown princess Samantha’s chief body and biological father. I became so fascinated with him I had to write another novel with him as the star.
Who has been the biggest influence in your writing?
As far as other authors, I’d say my biggest influences are Mercedes Lackey and Jim Butcher. Both fashion the kind of vivid worlds and wonderful characters that I have tried to create in my own work. As far as people I know, my oldest sister. She read my work and encouraged me to pursue my passion since I was a child.
Blurb for The Soul Stone
The Crown Princess Samantha and peasant sorcerer, Robrek, struggle to solidify their rule in the aftermath of the king’s murder. They are opposed by those who seek power for themselves and desire to prevent their marriage. As if that wasn’t enough, a deadly curse begins to spread throughout Korthlundia. While Samantha fights against priests, enemies, and her closest advisers, Robrek sets off to discover the source of the curse. He learns the reason the goddess chose him as king: to defeat the Soul Stone, a stone capable of sucking the soul out of its victims. Their archenemy, the Bard Alvabane, awakens the Soul Stone and plans to use its power to reclaim Korthlundia for her people, a people driven out over a thousand years ago by the hero Armunn. Armunn had to sacrifice his life and soul to contain the Soul Stone. Will Robrek have to do the same?
Blurb for The Goddess’s Choice
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. 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.
The Soul Stone: http://www.amazon.com/Soul-Stone-Kronicles-Korthlundia/dp/1612965466/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1435314904&sr=8-2&keywords=jamie+marchant
The Goddess’s Choice: http://www.amazon.com/Goddesss-Choice-Jamie-Marchant-ebook/dp/B007VPA9R6/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8
Excerpt from The Soul Stone:
At bedtime, Alvabane sat at her dressing table brushing her long hair. It had once been a bright, rich red, but it had dulled with age and was now mostly grey with only a few strands of color to remind her of what once had been. It seemed a metaphor for her life—small flashes of color to remind her of her once bright purpose.
One of those flashes, Erick, set her nightly goblet of fortified wine next to her hand. She needed the strong alcohol to dull the pain of her joints so she could sleep. Erick had served her for ten years. When her former servant had died, he’d been sent by her people, despite the fact that she’d only been a disappointment to them.
She turned to thank him, but the words died on her lips as she saw the reproach in his eyes. Alvabane turned back to her mirror. Tonight was the night of the new moon. She should have been preparing to perform the rites of the dark gods, not preparing for bed. “They have forgotten us,” Alvabane said. “The Soul Stone does not live.”
In the mirror, she saw Erick’s eyes narrow. He was not yet twenty and still had the optimism of youth. He still believed the Stone would come to life again when the gods willed it. He believed it would again be the weapon it had once been. Created in the far past by magic which had since been lost, it had been used by her people to protect themselves from the barbarians that now ran free over Korth and Lundia.
“I will perform the rites next month,” she promised, but so had she promised last month and the month before that. The stairs to the bottom of the East Tower were agony to her knees. Erick made a mewing sound, reminding her what he’d sacrificed to serve her and the dark gods. She herself had cut his tongue from his mouth when he came to her as a ten-year-old child. He had surrendered it stoically. Only the Bards were allowed to sing the rites of the gods. All others who heard them had to be rendered mute so they couldn’t repeat music not meant for their tongues.
“Do you think you have sacrificed more than I?” She turned to face him. “I submitted to the brutish duke’s bed for years. I gave birth to a child of rape. All so I could remain near the Stone. I performed the rites faithfully every new moon for decades. And for what, I ask you? The power of the Stone remains trapped behind the shield the demon Armunn created from his own soul. That shield can’t be destroyed. I have dedicated my life to trying, but it is impossible. The Soul Stone won’t live again!”
Erick mewed again and looked toward the tapestry on the wall. It showed the map of the desert of Sehra, to the south of Korthlundia, where her people had lived in exile since Armunn and his hordes had trapped the Stone and then driven them from their homeland. Blinking back tears of despair, she turned from him. “Do you think I have forgotten? Every generation fewer of our children are born. Only by returning to the land of our birthright can we be strong again.”
She got up and went to the tapestry, touching it lovingly. “Do you not understand? The dark gods have found me unworthy to be their messenger. I once thought I was the child of the prophecy, the one who would drive the descendants of Armunn’s hordes back across the mountains into Korth and reclaim the land they call Lundia as our own. But I was wrong. I’m an unprofitable servant, an unfit vessel.”
From early childhood, Jamie has been immersed in books. Her mother, an avid reader, read to her, and her older sister filled her head with fairy tales. Taking into consideration her love for literature and the challenges of supporting herself as a writer, she pursued a Ph.D. in American literature, which she received in 1998. She started teaching writing and literature at Auburn University. But in doing so, she put her true passion on the backburner and neglected her muse. Then one day, in the midst of writing a piece of literary criticism, she realized that what she wanted to be doing was writing fantasy novels. Her muse thus revived, she began the book that was to become The Goddess’s Choice, which was published in April 2012. The second volume in the series, The Soul Stone, was released this June.
She 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 still teaches writing and literature at Auburn University. Her short fiction has been published on Short-Story.Me, and my story was chosen for inclusion in their annual anthology. It has also appeared in the anthologies—Urban Fantasy (KY Story, 2013) and Of Dragon and Magic: Tales of the Lost Worlds (Witty Bard Publishing, 2014)—The World of Myth, A Writer’s Haven, and Bards & Sages.
Both The Goddess’s Choice and The Soul Stone are epic fantasy from The Kronicles of Korthlundia series. The Goddess’s Choice was published by Reliquary Press and The Soul Stone by Black Rose Writing.