Sunday Spotlight: WR101 – Rose B. Fischer

sunday spotlightThis week at Writing Room 101 I shared a character interview with Aldra Malimore from Doubling Back – A story of Synn by Rose Fisher.

Doubling Back Part 1Doubling Back Part 2

Aldra Malimore’s hope for a career as a sorcery scholar is over. Now, she’s working as waitress in the capital city of Arcanion and trying to resist the strange pull she feels toward Sorrell DeGray. When she stumbles on a thief with advanced technology that mimics the behavior of Synn’s color magic, it’s Sorrell she must turn to. But will trusting Sorrell be a mistake or a new beginning?

Interview with Aldra Malimore (The Foxes of Synn)

Mel: You trained for several years as a sorceress, can you tell us about your experience?

Aldra: In the Northern Realms, you have to apply to one of the schools. There are seven.  If you’re wealthy, a teacher or mentor affiliated with one of the schools comes to you, or if you’re poor but really lucky, you can get a scholarship to live at the schools. I was fortunate because two of my parents are already sorcerers, so I had a mentor.   He taught me some things and helped me design a personal curriculum taking different classes at various schools.  I was also allowed to incorporate classes from Earth.  Sorcery is an interdisciplinary field.  You study magic and a variety of other things.  We know how the weather works, and chemical processes, and geology, and things like that. We can combine that knowledge with Colored magic to do things.  Lifespans are longer, especially among people who know magic, and that puts a different perspective on continuing education.  You have to be able to do a little bit of everything, including employable trade skills.  Magic doesn’t make money, though some well-known magicians have noble patrons. Most sorcerers have more learned skills than innate powers and abilities.

I guess we’re more “the people with special knowledge” than “the people with special powers” although we have powers that others don’t.  Witches have inborn powers to manipulate nature, so they don’t always need as much technical knowledge.

Magicians work in groups and there’s more of an academic emphasis than a standard “adventurer” one like your readers would probably expect.  The degree I have, called an Intermediate Holdership, typically takes between 8-10 years to acquire. It’s worth about as much career wise as an Associate’s Degree on Earth, and once you get it, you need a research grant and approval from one of the schools to go to the next level.

Mel: That’s quite an educational system. It has me all the more intrigued by the magic in Synn and the commitment to your craft. In Doubling Back you mentioned a few spells and, I’m curious, what’s your favourite?

Aldra: Synn has several different magic systems, so “spell” can mean a lot of different things. The main type of magic that’s really widespread is Color magic. That’s what you saw in Doubling Back. I have a hard time picking favorites, but in Color magic there are styles of spell more than stock phrases or rituals to perform.  A spell is like a painting or sculpture.  You learn the technical skills and history; you study memorable ones, but when you’re working with magic, you make your own.  I do have a few of my father’s spells that he let me modify for practice when I was younger.  I still use those because I’m sentimental, I guess. Usually that’s frowned upon, like plagiarism.   I like experimenting with combinations and incorporating woodworking.  One of my nephews does magic with words and runes.  It’s really interesting, older magic than the Color practices.

Mel: It does sound fascinating, but then, mastering Color magic must certainly have its challenges. You shared a little about the different ways to travel across worlds, one being by magic mirror. How does this work exactly, can you share anything about the fairies without giving too much away?

Aldra: Sure. The mirror fairies live in a transitional dimension that exists between Synn and other places. You can go in and out of Mirrorveld through a magic mirror, and once you’re there, you need to pay a guide to lead you to the right exit.  They don’t let very many humans in, and even foxes have to be vetted before we’re allowed to come and go freely.  My father, Thad, is friends with Nyx and Eos, the Queens of the Skies there, so we’re allowed more leeway, but the queens are not people you’d want to cross, so we’re always careful there.

Mel: In that case, I’d want you at my back if venturing to Mirrorveld! You’ve had various experiences in the past few years. What is the most memorable?

Aldra: Ummmmmmm…Honestly, the most memorable was getting mugged, because I didn’t even know I was being mugged until I was halfway on the ground.  But that’s probably not what you’re asking about.  I lived with a merchant family in the city for a while and learned their trade.  Worked on a riverboat.  I’ll go back to that someday.  Semi-dated a princess, memorable because it was horrid…

Mel: I get the feeling the less said about that the better! I’m sure those experiences influenced you, and it’s clear you feel a great deal of responsibility – especially when it comes to protecting people. Did your fathers influence this desire to make the world a better place?

Aldra: *laughs* The less said the better, though I’m sure someone will decide to write that story eventually.  Did my fathers influence my social concerns? Indirectly, maybe. My fathers are thousands of years old. They were all victims of exploitation when they were younger, and I think they feel like they’ve paid their dues and done their time getting involved in world affairs. For most of my life, we just lived on our mountain, visited the city once in a while, went shopping on Earth, and didn’t get involved in causes, because that’s how my parents want to live.  Micah used to be involved in the world-literacy movement in the more recent past, but he retired from it to build their magic greenhouse and help manage the Rangers who keep the family forests safe. Diana represents us in the Royal court during the summer and fall months, but that’s just a game to her. The only goal is to keep the family in a position where we have leverage with minimum involvement in any conflicts.  It’s all about maintaining equilibrium so we can be as non-involved as possible, and I think it’s boring.   Everybody else says “it’s not important as long as the family’s safe.” I can accept it from my parents.  They’ve all lost their families before.  Their priorities are different.  From my sisters, it’s harder to relate to.  Anyway, that’s not how I feel about it.  I don’t want anybody to suffer the way my parents suffered. I want to be involved.  I grew up with all these priveliges.  If I can help somebody, why shouldn’t I?  I want to contribue something meaningful to the world.

Mel: You’re right. Why shouldn’t you. I agree with that philosophy, and admire your commitment. The ability to absorb energy is a wonderful gift. I know you battle against the draw of shadow magic – is this a unqiue gift within the family?

Aldra: Thank you. Yes and no. Foxes are… Well, the only way I can think of to explain it is “energy vampires,” but that’s an oversimplification. We gain sustenance from intimate relationships and contact. The energy most foxes need isn’t just the color magic you saw me absorb; it has to be personal energy from another being.   Young kits get what they need from cuddling with their parents, but as we get older, most of us can only get it from sex.  Micah is part of a plant species that  absorbs ambient energy of all kinds.  Sunlight, colors, whatever’s there.  Its autonomic, similar to photosynthesis; he can’t pick and choose.  On Thad’s side, there’s a family gift for being able to draw shadow magic out of people who’ve been possessed, or release ghosts, but I’m the only one who can ingest the shadows or pick what magic I take in.

Mel: That sounds like a great deal of responsibility, and dangerous too. You’re all unique, which is a good thing, but it must be difficult not being able to change into a fox as your father and some of your siblings do. Do you gain support from your family?

Aldra: Some foxes can change and some can’t.  Some only have two forms; some have three.  Some have the upper body of a werefox and a fish tail like mermaids. I shouldn’t let it upset me as much as I do. It’s really not a big deal if I’m thinking clearly. The problem is, once I get upset, I’m upset about everything, and I think the reason it bothers me is that I have so little in common with my family. That is one of the most obvious things, but it’s a lot more about how we think differently and have different interests and  values.  I  feel like an alien speaking some strange dialect that only has minor similarities to whatever language they’re speaking. They’re wonderful people and great about practical help if you want to learn something or there’s a problem. There’s always someone to spy for your back you up in an emergency, but for anything emotional, I’m more likely to go to my wife — I mean, my girlfriend — I mean…okay, spoiler.  Sorry.  >.<

Mel: Oops, let’s skip over that part! I can relate to those feelings, even if I’m not a fox; all families are challenging! But I’m glad to hear you have someone to rely on for emotional support.


Next week on WR101 Geoff Le Pard will be guest posting – a stop he kindly agreed to make on his two week tour – My Father and Other Liars. Below you will find details of his schedule, and I highly recommend visiting.

Blog Tour 2 poster 2


Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

Character Interview: Aldra Malimore from Doubling Back by Rose Fishcher

I recently had the pleasure of reading Doubling BackA Story of Synn (The Foxes of Synn, Book 3) by Rose Fischer. Needless to say I loved the story, and fell for the charming and talented fox, Aldra Malimore. So imagine my excitement when I got to interview Aldra! Now I get to share that with you.

RBF_08-27-2015_3023RBF_08-27-2015_3024Aldra Malimore’s hope for a career as a sorcery scholar is over. Now, she’s working as waitress in the capital city of Arcanion and trying to resist the strange pull she feels toward Sorrell DeGray. When she stumbles on a thief with advanced technology that mimics the behavior of Synn’s color magic, it’s Sorrell she must turn to. But will trusting Sorrell be a mistake or a new beginning?

 

Interview with Aldra Malimore (The Foxes of Synn)

 Mel: You trained for several years as a sorceress, can you tell us about your experience?

Aldra: In the Northern Realms, you have to apply to one of the schools. There are seven.  If you’re wealthy, a teacher or mentor affiliated with one of the schools comes to you, or if you’re poor but really lucky, you can get a scholarship to live at the schools. I was fortunate because two of my parents are already sorcerers, so I had a mentor.   He taught me some things and helped me design a personal curriculum taking different classes at various schools.  I was also allowed to incorporate classes from Earth.  Sorcery is an interdisciplinary field.  You study magic and a variety of other things.  We know how the weather works, and chemical processes, and geology, and things like that. We can combine that knowledge with Colored magic to do things.  Lifespans are longer, especially among people who know magic, and that puts a different perspective on continuing education.  You have to be able to do a little bit of everything, including employable trade skills.  Magic doesn’t make money, though some well-known magicians have noble patrons. Most sorcerers have more learned skills than innate powers and abilities.

I guess we’re more “the people with special knowledge” than “the people with special powers” although we have powers that others don’t.  Witches have inborn powers to manipulate nature, so they don’t always need as much technical knowledge.

Magicians work in groups and there’s more of an academic emphasis than a standard “adventurer” one like your readers would probably expect.  The degree I have, called an Intermediate Holdership, typically takes between 8-10 years to acquire. It’s worth about as much career wise as an Associate’s Degree on Earth, and once you get it, you need a research grant and approval from one of the schools to go to the next level.

Mel: That’s quite an educational system. It has me all the more intrigued by the magic in Synn and the commitment to your craft. In Doubling Back you mentioned a few spells and, I’m curious, what’s your favourite?

Aldra: Synn has several different magic systems, so “spell” can mean a lot of different things. The main type of magic that’s really widespread is Color magic. That’s what you saw in Doubling Back. I have a hard time picking favorites, but in Color magic there are styles of spell more than stock phrases or rituals to perform.  A spell is like a painting or sculpture.  You learn the technical skills and history; you study memorable ones, but when you’re working with magic, you make your own.  I do have a few of my father’s spells that he let me modify for practice when I was younger.  I still use those because I’m sentimental, I guess. Usually that’s frowned upon, like plagiarism.   I like experimenting with combinations and incorporating woodworking.  One of my nephews does magic with words and runes.  It’s really interesting, older magic than the Color practices.

Mel: It does sound fascinating, but then, mastering Color magic must certainly have its challenges. You shared a little about the different ways to travel across worlds, one being by magic mirror. How does this work exactly, can you share anything about the fairies without giving too much away?

Aldra: Sure. The mirror fairies live in a transitional dimension that exists between Synn and other places. You can go in and out of Mirrorveld through a magic mirror, and once you’re there, you need to pay a guide to lead you to the right exit.  They don’t let very many humans in, and even foxes have to be vetted before we’re allowed to come and go freely.  My father, Thad, is friends with Nyx and Eos, the Queens of the Skies there, so we’re allowed more leeway, but the queens are not people you’d want to cross, so we’re always careful there.

Mel: In that case, I’d want you at my back if venturing to Mirrorveld! You’ve had various experiences in the past few years. What is the most memorable?

Aldra: Ummmmmmm…Honestly, the most memorable was getting mugged, because I didn’t even know I was being mugged until I was halfway on the ground.  But that’s probably not what you’re asking about.  I lived with a merchant family in the city for a while and learned their trade.  Worked on a riverboat.  I’ll go back to that someday.  Semi-dated a princess, memorable because it was horrid…

Mel: I get the feeling the less said about that the better! I’m sure those experiences influenced you, and it’s clear you feel a great deal of responsibility – especially when it comes to protecting people. Did your fathers influence this desire to make the world a better place?

Aldra: *laughs* The less said the better, though I’m sure someone will decide to write that story eventually.  Did my fathers influence my social concerns? Indirectly, maybe. My fathers are thousands of years old. They were all victims of exploitation when they were younger, and I think they feel like they’ve paid their dues and done their time getting involved in world affairs. For most of my life, we just lived on our mountain, visited the city once in a while, went shopping on Earth, and didn’t get involved in causes, because that’s how my parents want to live.  Micah used to be involved in the world-literacy movement in the more recent past, but he retired from it to build their magic greenhouse and help manage the Rangers who keep the family forests safe. Diana represents us in the Royal court during the summer and fall months, but that’s just a game to her. The only goal is to keep the family in a position where we have leverage with minimum involvement in any conflicts.  It’s all about maintaining equilibrium so we can be as non-involved as possible, and I think it’s boring.   Everybody else says “it’s not important as long as the family’s safe.” I can accept it from my parents.  They’ve all lost their families before.  Their priorities are different.  From my sisters, it’s harder to relate to.  Anyway, that’s not how I feel about it.  I don’t want anybody to suffer the way my parents suffered. I want to be involved.  I grew up with all these priveliges.  If I can help somebody, why shouldn’t I?  I want to contribue something meaningful to the world.

Mel: You’re right. Why shouldn’t you. I agree with that philosophy, and admire your commitment. The ability to absorb energy is a wonderful gift. I know you battle against the draw of shadow magic – is this a unqiue gift within the family?

Aldra: Thank you. Yes and no. Foxes are… Well, the only way I can think of to explain it is “energy vampires,” but that’s an oversimplification. We gain sustenance from intimate relationships and contact. The energy most foxes need isn’t just the color magic you saw me absorb; it has to be personal energy from another being.   Young kits get what they need from cuddling with their parents, but as we get older, most of us can only get it from sex.  Micah is part of a plant species that  absorbs ambient energy of all kinds.  Sunlight, colors, whatever’s there.  Its autonomic, similar to photosynthesis; he can’t pick and choose.  On Thad’s side, there’s a family gift for being able to draw shadow magic out of people who’ve been possessed, or release ghosts, but I’m the only one who can ingest the shadows or pick what magic I take in.

Mel: That sounds like a great deal of responsibility, and dangerous too. You’re all unique, which is a good thing, but it must be difficult not being able to change into a fox as your father and some of your siblings do. Do you gain support from your family?

Aldra: Some foxes can change and some can’t.  Some only have two forms; some have three.  Some have the upper body of a werefox and a fish tail like mermaids. I shouldn’t let it upset me as much as I do. It’s really not a big deal if I’m thinking clearly. The problem is, once I get upset, I’m upset about everything, and I think the reason it bothers me is that I have so little in common with my family. That is one of the most obvious things, but it’s a lot more about how we think differently and have different interests and  values.  I  feel like an alien speaking some strange dialect that only has minor similarities to whatever language they’re speaking. They’re wonderful people and great about practical help if you want to learn something or there’s a problem. There’s always someone to spy for your back you up in an emergency, but for anything emotional, I’m more likely to go to my wife — I mean, my girlfriend — I mean…okay, spoiler.  Sorry.  >.<

Mel: Oops, let’s skip over that part! I can relate to those feelings, even if I’m not a fox; all families are challenging! But I’m glad to hear you have someone to rely on for emotional support.

Thank you for talking to me today, Aldra. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed learning more about you, your family, and how things work in Synn. Taking the journey with you (in a manner of speaking) in Doubling Back was a pleasure.

So now it’s over to my readers, who I’m sure are as charmed by you as I am.

If you have any questions for Aldra, or indeed the talented Rose Fischer, please leave them in the comments below.

Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

Shadow Stalker Double Feature Tour – Spotlighting Episode 5

SSE5 Cover JPGToday is all about Shadow Stalker: Episode 5. I’ll begin with a review, and lead into a special character interview. Kathryn Jenkins from DKC pinned Drevin down for us, though I’m told he was reluctant!

Destiny Reconciled Part One: Review

I enjoy two-part episodes because it’s a sure thing there will plenty of tension and an ending that will make you want to shake your fist at the screen (it still works – I read the book on my computer!).

In the end it was the emotions evoked in this episode that had me by the throat. It opened with Auren and Etan being led back to the village to face their punishment. In Episode 4 the pair were found in a compromising position, by Kado no less! Since they were forbidden to see each other, and Etan had been banished, you can imagine that didn’t go down too well. The worst part, I think, and the part which held the biggest emotional impact, was the fact Auren broke her connection to Kado in the process. His sense of betrayal was heart-breaking, and Renee conveyed this really well.

Following Auren’s punishment, Kado led her from the village to continue her training. The ensuing scenes were intense, and as they worked out their differences, the sorrow and regret all but leapt from the page. As if that wasn’t enough, Auren’s training kicked up a gear and she found herself face to face with the deadly Igwangala tree in all its carnivorous glory. I shudder just thinking about it – the descriptions were superb.

The cliff-hanger was totally unexpected, and after such a fraught episode, I think I need the time to recover until Part 2!

***

Purchase links: Destiny Reconciled: Part One

Character Interview with Drevin from the Shadow Stalker Series:

Hello Drevin. Thank you for stopping by!

*Drevin nods*

I’m sure Renee’s readers are looking forward to getting to know you.

*wry grin* I’m sure.

Why don’t we get started then?

 Lets.

Where were you born, and what was it like growing up there?

I was born on the Dark Isle. My life there was great until I found out the Foramar had done a horrible thing to my parents. I had grown up believing they were dead, but it turned out they had been forced apart because they had mated against the will of the shadow people.

Is it true that the Foramar spared your life when it was well within his rights to kill you when you were born?

It was the only sane thing he’d done as the Foramar.

I see. So is that why you keep him prisoner?

I keep him prisoner because he would unleash an unspeakable horror on our world just to spare his child.

But sparing you was okay.

*icy glare*

Okay, moving on. Did you have many friends growing up?

I did, and they are still my friends today.

Oh? Who are they?

*laughs* Kado could tell you. He watches them like criminals and believes they don’t know.

What is the most important thing you’ve learned in your life?

Trust no one.

That seems to be a pretty lonely view. Haven’t you ever been in love?

I do not need to get tangled in emotional affairs to have women. As the emperor of a great nation, they flock to me.

I see. And it doesn’t bother them that you do not love them?

They feel honored just to be with me.

You are very driven to capture and kill the delohi-saqu. What are your plans for the Serpent Isles once you’ve achieved that goal?

I have many plans that I will not speak openly about. You never know who is listening.

Of course, but wouldn’t you like to be able to just relax and maybe go on vacation?

There is no time for such trivial things.

Well Drevin, that’s all we have time for. Thank you for joining us. It’s been…interesting.

I’m sure it has. Be sure your readers understand that siding with the delohi-saqu is dangerous. Don’t be fooled by her innocent appearance or one day she may enslave your world too.

Of course, I’ll let them know.

See that you do.

***

Renee ScattergoodRenee Scattergood, author of the high fantasy series, Shadow Stalker, lives in Australia with her husband and daughter. Aside from writing, she loves reading (Fantasy, of course), watching movies with her family, and doing crafts and science experiments with her daughter.

Character Interview: Calista (Cali) from Shadow Stalker – Forbidden Love

Following yesterday’s review, today I have a special character interview for you – during this round we get to spend time with Calista. Tomorrow I have a guest post for you, in which Renee shares with us her views on constructive criticism.

SSE4 Cover JPGCharacter Interview with Calista (a.k.a Cali)

Hi Calista, thanks for agreeing to do this interview. It’s nice to meet you.

Nice to meet you too, and please call me Cali.

Okay Cali. You were born on the Dark Isle. What was it like growing up there?

Very hot. It’s a tropical island in the middle of nowhere. Seriously, though. It has been a great place to grow up. The people in our village all know each other and it’s like have a really large family. There are some I’d rather not know, but we don’t have to talk about that now. And it’s beautiful. It’s like living in a perpetual summer and it’s always green and colourful. There are flowers everywhere. It’s probably not a great place if you’re allergic to pollen.

If someone were to visit the Dark Isle, is there any place you’d recommend they avoid?

Anywhere that is not in a village. The forests are full of venomous man-eating plants. You wouldn’t want to run into one of those. It would be the last thing you do, unless you’re lucky enough to have someone along who can rescue you and give you the antivenom.

Have you ever encountered any of them?

Once, when I was about ten. I got angry at my foster father, Cathnor, over something. I can’t even remember what it was, but I decided it was horrible enough to warrant running away. It was the worst experience of my life. Thankfully, Cathnor was there to get me away from it. I never thought it was possible to feel so much pain.

Who has been the greatest influence in your life?

It would definitely have to be Cathnor. He’s not only my foster father, but my mentor as well.

How has he influenced you?

Well he’s raised me since I was little and has taught me everything I need to know about being a shadow stalker.

Do you have a secret you’ve never told anyone?

Well, I have lots of secrets, but Cathnor knows them all. He’s the only one I’ve shared all my secrets with.

Would you tell us one?

Ummmm, if I did that, it wouldn’t be a secret. 😉

Do you have any regrets about anything in your life?

I regret not getting to know my family. Most of them were killed when the Galvadi Empire invaded the Dark Isle. My only living relatives are my uncle, Kado, and my cousin, Shai, Kado’s daughter.

If you had one day left to live, what would you do with your last day?

I would try to rescue our Foramar, Zain. If I was going to die anyway, it would be worth trying to bring him back so our people would have a leader again, who could take the corrupt Council of Elders down a notch.

***

Renee Scattergood

Renee Scattergood, author of the high fantasy series, Shadow Stalker, lives in Australia with her husband and daughter. Aside from writing, she loves reading (Fantasy, of course), watching movies with her family, and doing crafts and science experiments with her daughter.

Blitz Tour Feature – Angelic Confessions: Character Interview

Angelic ConfessionsJan Marie, author of Angelic Confessions has provided us with a character interview – courtesy of the tour host, Kathryn Jenkins at Dragon Knight Chronicles.

Character Interview: Aye

You were a very confused child and spent much of your childhood sheltered by Father. Did you ever feel true resentment towards him?

I confess I did. I never understood why he sheltered me so much. In the end though I did learn why he did, but I still question why he didn’t have more faith that I could control the darkness inside me.

There was a strong connection between you and Father. Did you ever question his intentions towards you? With how he behaved towards you?

I wondered, but he was Father. It was incomprehensible for me to question him. I loved him dearly.

Aye, you went through a big change after meeting Pio. Did you ever question his motives towards you? Or did you always know he cared?

I didn’t even recognize he cared. I just thought it was his duty to protect me. I was totally oblivious to how he felt…to how I felt. I didn’t want to address those feelings at first.

There was gossip among the angels about you. Did you ever let it truly bother you? Or did the gossip just get brushed off without a care?

I tried to brush it off without a care, but in truth it did bother me. I told no one though, for I often wondered were they right?

Why do you think you had such a draw to the humans?

They were free to roam, and I was not. I think that was part of the allure.