Wednesday, October 30, 2013

"Becoming the Chateran" blog tour and COVER REVEAL!

So, today I want to take the time out and tell you all about a book (and its author) that I've been following for quite a while now. We at YAWA are honored to be a part of this awesome blog tour!

The book, Becoming the Chateran. The author, S. J. Aisling.
The story: When Princess Rhea’s actions inadvertently condemn two innocent knights to death, she wakes to the hard reality that not even nobility is above the law. All her attempts to remedy the situation only complicate it, until she finds herself a fugitive in her own kingdom, having dragged her best friend into the trouble as well. Their only hope for pardon? To accompany Sir Paladin and Sir Zephen in serving their sentence:
Slay, or be slain by, the Dragons of Sama-Ael-Fen.
Travelling incognito, they meet with more malicious Phoenixes than could be coincidental, discover the mysterious disappearance of numerous citizens, and come face to face with a reawakened evil power. With the kingdom of Gemworthy oblivious to the connection of these dangers, it’s up to Rhea and her outlaw companions to stop the rising threat and redeem their names – if they can survive their quest.
As the rest of The Chateran Series progresses, the affect of Rhea’s actions and the battle with the Dragons of Sama-Ael-Fen reaches beyond Gemworthy’s borders. The Dragons’ mistress seeks revenge for the damage done to her plans of conquest. Amidst the chaos, Rhea and her companions join forces with a motley troop of other brave men and women, all united by their call to protect their countries and their loved ones. They must learn to overcome their differences, pasts, and fears, and take up the quest of the Scintillatearian Swords to answer the challenge of evil as the Order of the Chateran.
An encouraging tale of friendship, true nobility, and coming of age that young adult readers can relate to, Becoming the Chateran also features over forty illustrations created by the author. 
Becoming the Chateran is a fantasy novel, the first book of The Chateran Series, and a good fit for teen through young adult readers. 
And now? for the official cover reveal!
Isn't that cover simply amazing? :D The author did it all herself too! I am also very pleased to share with you the interview portion of the blog tour! I got to ask Aisling some questions, so I'll let you see how that went. ;)
When will Becoming the Chateran be available for purchase, and where can I get it?
Becoming the Chateran will be available this December as an ebook and a paperback, and you can buy it via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and the website of my publisher, Life Sentence/Aniko Press. In fact, you can preorder your own paperback copy now from the latter location - preordering it will up your chances of getting it in time for Christmas! 
Where did you find inspiration to write Becoming the Chateran?
Years ago while studying medieval history in school, a friend of mine and I pretended we were knightesses (prince/princess, knight/knightess, right?). I was Rhea, and my friend was Hiylienea. We had so much fun with our fantastical adventures that I decided to write everything down so we could remember it all, and so doing created the first draft of Becoming the Chateran. The story has expanded and matured a lot since then, but all the major elements and characters of the original make-believe are still there.
Any hints as to what awaits in the rest of The Chateran Series?
~ Most of the characters from Becoming the Chateran will reappear throughout the rest of the series, as well as many new ones. I'm personally really excited for this second book of the series to come out, as it will tie up a several loose ends/foreshadowed events from Becoming the Chateran… as well as introducing new conundrums to tease you with. This second book features a shy minstrel girl, an awkward archer, a talking White Stag, revengeful SĂ­dhe, enchained jewelry, and a civil war.
The Chateran Series is medieval fantasy. Have you been doing much research for writing it?
~ For the past seven years and counting I have lived half in this world, and half in that of this series. I've been walking around with a notebook all but attached to me, stuffed with notes about food, geography, clothing, character sketches, scene descriptions, and snatches of poetry and ballads. Tailoring myself costumes based off those my characters wear was one of the most amusing and insightful things I did, as I'd dress up in full rig to act scenes out in my back yard or parks before I wrote them, to make the action and descriptions as accurate as possible. I also tried my hand at archery and horseback riding, proudly became the owner of several encyclopedias on world costume and armor, and studied heraldry and the cultures of multiple medieval cultures. My father is a research scientist. I think it rubbed off on me. 
Do you have any tips for fellow writers on staying focused on a story?
~ To me, staying driven to write a book depends on finding the happy medium between planning out what will happen and what they characters are like so you start out with good solid ground under you, and leaving enough out so that even you, the writer, is chaffing at the bit to find out what happens next. 
Also, I feel too many writers start out by trying to write what they don't know about, and their lack of knowledge and interest is crippling. But do more than simply write what you know. Write what you are passionate about – readers are smart people, and they'll notice the conviction ringing through your story, and it will touch them as only fervent honesty can. And as a side perk, you're more likely to actually WANT to write, as it will be something you feel/believe strongly about. This automatically makes the whole process a lot easier. 
When did you first fall in love with writing? 
~ Even though I'd always loved storytelling, I'd never given much thought to actually writing down the stories I made up until I was thirteen. That was when I started writing Becoming the Chateran, and there's been no looking back since.
What is your favorite genre to write?
~ Anything fantastical in any way; fantasy, science fantasy, science fiction, paranormal...  I'm the daughter of an artist and a research scientist, and I like to say I've inherited the happy medium of both of them: I love pushing the boundaries of my creativity, and yet I have a deep drive to keep everything as realistic and accurate as possible. 
On average, how long does it take you to complete a manuscript?
~ I've found it takes me about a year to get a story to a point where I'm fairly pleased with it. But now that I've got publication deadlines, I'm sure this will change. 
About your art: How long have you been sketching and drawing and whatnot?
~ I actually didn't take a real interest in art until I began writing Becoming the Chateran. So I've been drawing for about six or seven years. 
The author also kindly offered to share some of the artwork that was contained with the pages of her polished manuscript.
I just love looking at her artwork! You can pre-order Becoming the Chateran by clicking on the link provided in the following image.
(This is the link ^)
In the meantime, enjoy this blurb from the book! 
If Hiylienea had been dreaming, she would have woken up shivering. If she'd been reading one of her books, she would have clutched the volume tight and bit her lip until the scene was passed. But she couldn't wake up or skip ahead. It was awful. She was forced to watch with her heart bouncing around inside her and her breath quick, as Paladin fought for his life with the glittering, shrieking Firebird. 
A moment after the fire blazed up, however, Paladin appeared to be gaining the upper hand. But then the two rolled over again between the leaps in the firelight, and there came a horrible moment when Paladin was pinned underneath the Fallen, it's horny claws clutching his arms. Hiylienea glimpsed its darting, spearhead-shaped head jerk down, and there was an awful shriek. She closed her eyes and screamed, burying her head in her cloak. She couldn't see, but she could hear, and that alone was even worse.
   "Stop, wait, get back!"
  "Don't let it get away!"
  "Paladin, look out!"
   A second shriek tore the air, louder and more prickling than the first. Zephen gave an eruptive roar and then, after a sweep of wind and a snapping rustle, silence fell. 
Surely, some of you are wondering about this mysterious S.J. Aisling... ;) Well, lucky for you I have some information for ya!
Stacia Joy has always loved to tell stories and invent fictional lands and characters. But she never considered becoming a writer herself until age thirteen, when, inspired by a pretend play she invented with a friend, she wrote the first draft of Becoming the Chateran. The story has since expanded into what will become The Chateran Series. Stacia Joy also writes in several other genres, including steampunk and paranormal/science fiction, and occasionally writes poems about buffalo.
Wanting to show others what her imagined universe looks like, Stacia Joy taught herself to draw by studying the work of illustrators like Alphonse Mucha, Arthur Rackham, Kate Seredy, and Jan Brett. She also received training in illustration and graphic design at Madison Area Technical College, and plans to become a full-fledged freelance illustrator.
When not immersed in writing or art, Stacia Joy spends her time playing the piano and folk harp, composing music, Irish dancing, singing at the top of her lungs, and learning
 new things. She also enjoys helping with children's ministry at her church, and currently resides in the Madison, Wisconsin area with a kitten named Lord Peter Whimsey.
You can find the author in multiple places as she has scattered herself across the interwebs.
I do hope that you will all check out her debut novel! I know that I am anticipating its release!
Oh, and before I forget! Oh, yes, there was something else, wasn't there? Right. A contest! (See, I knew it was important)

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