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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Re-Launch Blog Tour: ARTESANS OF ALBIA by Cas Peace [Author Interview + Giveaway]

 On a foolhardy foray into a foreign realm, Taran Elijah is attacked by a terrible weapon known as the Staff. Killing its wielder, he escapes into Albia, inadvertently carrying the Staff.

Concerned by the vicious raids that follow Taran's actions, Major Sullyan of the High King's forces crosses into Andaryon to seek diplomatic resolution to the crisis. She is captured and tortured by Lord Rykan, aspirant to the Andaryon throne.

Slowly dying, Sullyan escapes his clutches. She offers her skills to the Hierarch in defense of his throne, finally confronting Rykan on the field of battle.Her handsome Captain and lover, Robin Tamsen, embarks on a desperate quest to recover the Staff. But Rykan's greedy General, Sonten, is two steps ahead of him. If Robin cannot lay hold of the weapon before Sonten does, Sullyan's life and the lives of all Artesans are forfeit.

The race for the Staff has begun.

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Feel free to introduce yourself ...
Hi, my name is Cas Peace, and I'm the author of the triple-trilogy high fantasy series, Artesans of Albia. Many thanks for inviting me onto your blog!

Please can you tell us where you are from?
I'm from the UK. I live in North Hampshire, in southern UK, about an hour south-west of London.

How long have you been a writer?
I began writing my fantasy series in 2001, and carried on writing while I tried to get the first book, King's Envoy, accepted for publication. It wasn't until 2010 that I had success with a publisher.

Are you promoting a particular book?
Yes, I am - three, in fact! I have now published the entire first Artesans trilogy, but I have also recently had to become a self-published author. Therefore, I am promoting all three books that make up this first trilogy. They are King's Envoy, King's Champion, and King's Artesan.

What genre do you write in or do you write across the board?
My main focus is epic fantasy, but I also have a non-fiction book out there. Published in 2008, For the Love of Daisy is the life story of a beautiful, mischeivous Dalmatian I used to own. She developed spinal problems and became disabled, and the book documents the therapies and treatments we used to help her. It's a book of hope.

Can you give us the plot, characters and theme of your story or if this is a poetry book, can you give us the feel of it?
The overall plot is that a mysterious Albian Baron is determined to rid the realms of anyone who possesses the Artesan gift. One of my main male characters, Taran, accidentally uncovers the beginning of this plot, and pays the price. The books follow Taran as he deals with the consequences of his actions, and thus introduces those who will oppose the Baron - Major Sullyan and the other members of the Albian military forces.

Where did the idea come from?
It came from a kid's TV program that aired in the 1970s (I know, I'm showing my age!) The main character in the TV show was a magician who solved crimes, and the show was called Tarot, Ace of Wands. A tiny idea stuck in my mind, which was, if you were someone born with a certain power, but no knowledge of how to use it, what would you do? If there was no one else like you, who could you turn to? This germ of an idea stayed with me for 40 years until I finally got round to exploring it!

Did you have to do a lot of research for your latest work?
I have done some research into English medieval history, because that is the setting for my books. I also researched the details of sword-fighting. It was great fun!

Do you think your writing is improving the more you write?
Definitely. But the biggest influence on my writing style is my US editor. She constantly shows me how to tighten my writing, and where I tend to over-describe. I can fully recommend getting a professional editor if you can afford one!

Did you have any problems during the writing process of your latest work?
Not problems, exactly. There were a few scenes where I had to do some more research, and there were others I felt reluctant to write, mainly because I didn't feel I was informed enough to make them credible. But other than that, the story flowed very freely.

What is it about writing that you enjoy so much?
I love becoming so absorbed in what I'm doing that I forget what's going on around me. I often forget to eat, and my two dogs have to come and nudge me when it's time for their walk! I also love creating new worlds, and experiencing the thrill of having a complete stranger connects strongly to my work. It's a wonderful and humbling feeling.

How much planning goes into a book?  Do you spend a long time planning or do you just start writing and see where it leads you?
I'm not a planner, not with fiction, anyway. I begin with an idea, and as I think about it, I usually end up with a beginning, a middle, and an end. That's as far as I go before I start writing. I like my characters to take me over and dictate what has to happen. As their natures develop, and they have experiences, so my writing and plot develop too.

Do your fans encourage you to keep writing and do they give you ideas?
I certainly have fans who keep asking for the next book in the series! I find that really exciting. I can't say any have given me ideas, but that's probably because they know all nine novels have already been written.

What is your experience of the Publishing industry?
Pretty positive, for someone who recently lost their publisher! When I began submitting, I knew nothing about publishing. I learned as I went on, and I was fortunate to receive much personal and encouraging feedback from agents and publishers. When I finally got an offer from indie publisher Rhemalda Publishing, I knew a little more about what I was doing. I learned still more from Rhemalda, about the actual process of publishing and about marketing, so when they were recently sadly forced to close their doors, I felt able to take on the mantle of a self-published author.

Have you had some good reviews for your book?
I'm thrilled to say that all of my reviews so far have been positive. I have a range of 5, 4, and 3 stars, which I'm very pleased with. Some have been glowing - one reviewer even said my series was "better than A Game of Thrones"! I was elated by that one, I can tell you!

If you couldn’t be a writer what would you do instead?
I am actually a qualified horse-riding instructor, and I have a deep love of horses, so I could go back to that, I suppose. But if I'd known about it when I left school, I might well have trained as an archaeologist. I'm fascinated by ruins and ancient sites.

Your favourite Author is…
That's a tricky one. It's a toss-up between J R R Tolkien, Stephen Donaldson, and Anne McCaffrey. Don't make me pick one!

Have you got a book trailer?

What do you do to wind down?
I have two dogs, so walking and playing with them helps me unwind. I also love gardening, and I grow cacti, so looking after my plants is fun. My husband owns a 35' sailing yacht, and although I'm no great sailor, and sometimes get seasick, a sunny day on the waves is a pleasant way to spend a day. That, or visiting with family.

Do you belong to a friendly writers group and does it help?
I don't actually belong to a writers' group, although I have given talks to a local one. But I am still in touch with some of my fellow ex-Rhemalda authors, and we often help each other. I think writers' groups are very valuable.

What is your experience of editing and polishing your manuscripts?
Being a freelance editor myself, I do as much as I can to make my work polished and error free. Yet I believe that no writer can effectively edit their own work - we are all too close to it. I use the same editor I had at Rhemalda - she is thankfully available as a freelance. She keeps the editing of my books consistent, and frequently amazes me by what she finds in my thousand-times checked manuscript!

Any tips for all our budding authors out there wondering how to get started?
The best tip I can give is to write! You can plan, and research, and write notes, and make character profiles as much as you like, but you can't call yourself a writer until you actually write. And when you do write, write with passion, emotion. Write from the heart. Above all - enjoy it!

Link city – as many as you need to guide us round your internet trail…
Original Songs:

Cas Peace was born in Hampshire UK, in 1957, and has lived there most of her life. Her first career was as a horse-riding instructor, and horses remain very close to her heart. She then spent 13 years working for the British Civil Service before leaving the UK to live in Italy for three years, 1991-1994. She speaks passable but by no means perfect Italian, and loves to return to Italy whenever she can.

 Cas's other great loves are anything to do with animals, especially dogs and horses, (she supports many animal charities) and also singing. Cas loves folk songs and along with her husband, who plays guitar, has performed in many a Southern England folk club. Sometimes they even asked her back! She writes folk songs to accompany her fantasy novels, and offers them as free downloads from her website.

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  1. I actually haven't heard of this series up until now.
    It sounds really good though! And the covers are lovely. :D
    Can't wait to read this one!

    -Samantha Harlow