Today I’m so excited to share an interview with Becky Wallace, the author of the upcoming book The Storyspinner. Immediately upon seeing the cover and that wonderful archery image I needed this book in my life. Beyond the lovely cover there are also so many elements I adore- magic, a fantasy realm and unexpected romance . I can’t wait to read this one and wanted to give you a chance to learn a bit more about the book and an opportunity to win a pre-order.
About the book
In a world where dukes plot their way to the throne, a Performer’s life can get tricky. And in Johanna Von Arlo’s case, it can be fatal. Expelled from her troupe after her father’s death, Johanna is forced to work for the handsome Lord Rafael DeSilva. Too bad they don’t get along. But while Johanna’s father’s death was deemed an accident, the Keepers aren’t so sure.
The Keepers, a race of people with magical abilities, are on a quest to find the princess—the same princess who is supposed to be dead and whose throne the dukes are fighting over. But they aren’t the only ones looking for her. And in the wake of their search, murdered girls keep turning up—girls who look exactly like the princess, and exactly like Johanna.
With dukes, Keepers, and a killer all after the princess, Johanna finds herself caught up in political machinations for the throne, threats on her life, and an unexpected romance that could change everything
I read from the bio on your website that you’ve been a fantasy fan since you were young. What are some influential books for you?
I am the one of the original fantasy fangirls! I remember seeing Lloyd Alexander’s THE BLACK CAULDRON in my elementary school’s library and squealing like, well, a school girl. It wasn’t long after that I found THE LORD OF THE RINGS and THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE. And then of course, there is my undying affection for Greek Mythology! One of my earliest forays into writing a “book” was creating my own mythology in sixth grade. It’s a good thing my mother is not a hoarder, or there would be some embarrassing early manuscripts for the world to poke fun at!
What came first with constructing your novel, the characters or story?
The characters and the story of THE STORYSPINNER developed hand in hand. There was one scene from very early on in the book (chapter 2, if you want to get specific), that played in my head over and over. I kept wondering what kind of girl it would take to make that specific interaction believable. What would her background look like? What skills would she need to have? How in the world could she have gained those skills? The entire novel started with one scene and spread out from there.
The cover is absolutely beautiful and I love that it features a woman shooting an arrow. Is it safe to assume this is a representation of the main character, Johanna? Can we hope for her to excel in archery?
Johanna is an archer, but she is also an acrobat, a singer, and rather tricky with a blade. She excels in a lot of things—as a well-rounded entertainer should—but in THE STORYSPINNER archery only gets her into trouble.
When incorporating political intrigue into your book did you use historical reference and research to help flesh out your own character’s motivation and actions?
Santarem, the country the book is set in, is significantly different than anything I’ve studied in history. It is essentially a defunct kingdom with four independently operating states. It had once been united under a king, but after he was murdered and the capital city destroyed, the remaining dukes battled for power to a stalemate. The story starts six years into the treaty, but it isn’t a very stable—and for some characters, agreeable—situation. Trade routes are uneasy, old hatreds burn fiercely. When the characters’ motivations are clear, even if they’re not necessarily reasonable, it makes them easy (and fun!) to manipulate.
What other type of research did you do to help create your world and characters?The group of people Johanna belongs to are called Performers. They are gypsy-like nomads who travel from place to place in ornate wagons, carefully designed to make the best use of every bit of space. (I totally want one!! Maybe for a little writer’s hideaway?) It was fascinating to look at blueprints and pictures online and imagine keeping my entire life in something that’s roughly 6 feet by 12 feet!
I also did a lot of research into subtropical climates, trying to stay true to the types of trees, animals, and nasty little creatures that might inhabit a world like that. There are lots of pictures on my Pinterest board that really help illustrate the vibrant world of Santarem!
You introduce a group of people with magical powers, The Keepers. Can you tell us anything further about them? Perhaps what type of magic they can harness?
There are four Keepers in THE STORYSPINNER and they are soldier-mages. Their powers are elemental in nature, but each Keeper has an ‘affinity’ for something very specific. For a better explanation, Pira (one of my favorite characters…who am I kidding! They’re all my favorite!), has an affinity for metal. She’s a wicked blacksmith and almost impossible to fight because she can sense where metal is. Did I mention that I love her?
The Storyspinner is part of a series—how many do you have planned total?
I’m contracted for two books in this series, and I just turned in the edits on the second book, but I’m definitely not done with the world of Santarem. I guess we’ll just have to see!
This is an international giveaway for a pre-order of The Storyspinner.