Virtual Book Tour ~ The King and the Criminal by Charlotte Ashe ~ (Excerpt, Author Interview + Giveaway)
The Heart of All Worlds series continues with Sehrys and Brieden living in Khryslee. But when King Firae is trapped by an ancient pact and Sehrys is forced to rule in his absence, Firae relys on an exiled criminal to get home. Meanwhile, a more urgent truth confronts them: Their world is in grave danger and they all play a part in its fate.
It came back to Firae like a cold fist slowly squeezing his heart, so slowly that he didn’t realize it was happening until the pain was overwhelming. He swallowed. The
y couldn’t avoid the truth. And he couldn’t bear another dishonest moment between them.
“Five months,” Firae said.
Tash made an inquisitive noise; his eyes never left Firae’s.
“I have five months to complete my mission. I promised to help Brissa, and I intend to keep that promise, but…”
“But we don’t know if we will fulfill the prophecy in time,” Tash supplied.
“The Doctrine has been compromised. The Border is unstable.”
Tash nodded. “I know.” His voice had grown very soft.
“If I don’t return with the elf responsible…” Firae forced himself to maintain eye contact rather than close his eyes and cower in the face of reality. For, whatever Tash might think, Firae was king of Yestralekrezerche, and The Border and its surrounding lands were his responsibility. “I can sacrifice tens of thousands of lives or I can sacrifice you, Tash. I—I don’t want to, but—”
Tash closed his eyes. “I know,” he said, his voice barely more than a whisper. He swallowed thickly. “I know.”
Firae searched for anything else he could say, but everything that came to mind sounded hollow. It was true that the Council might show Tash mercy for his pure intent, but the amount of blood and essence they would need from him to restabilize The Border would likely be more than his body could withstand, even if they did wish to spare him. So Firae just watched Tash until he opened his eyes again.
“I know,” Tash said one final time, looking at Firae with such resignation that it was painful to witness. And then Tash turned to face the wall with his arms wrapped tightly around himself. Firae moved to fit behind him and wrapped an arm tentatively around Tash’s waist.
“I would like you to go back to your own quarters now,” Tash said firmly.
“Tash—” Firae began to protest.
“Just go, Firae. Please.”
Firae swallowed around a lump that had found its way into his throat and slowly removed his arm. “Of course. I…” There was nothing left to say. “Goodnight, Tash.”
Today we're very lucky to be interviewing Charlotte Ashe, author of The Heart of All Worlds Book 2: The King and the Criminal.
Hi Charlotte, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.
Hello, and thank you so much for having me! I’m thrilled to be here!
I have been writing for as long as I can remember, and it has always been a passion of mine. In recent years, I decided it was time to seriously pursue it. My first novel, The Heart of All Worlds, Book 1: The Sidhe was published in 2015, and The King and the Criminal is the second book in the series. It is a love story at its heart, about an elfin king, and his uneasy alliance with a criminal he was supposed to bring to justice, but instead ends up caring about in a way he never anticipated.
I write books for publication because I have stories that I want to share, and that I think are worth sharing, but I write, first and foremost, because I can’t not write. Even when I am not writing books for publication, I need to write in order to maintain my mental and emotional well being, and I notice the negative impact it has on me when I neglect to write. I write because it feeds my soul.
Definitely The King and the Criminal. I had a very clear picture of where I was going when I wrote The Sidhe, and though I had a clear picture of many aspects of where I was going with The King and the Criminal, it took a lot of work to organize the story effectively. Having fantastic editors helped a lot.
There are more than one main characters in the book, but I will focus on one of them, a sidhe by the name of Tash. Tash is a criminal who has been exiled from the sidhe lands and has been surviving amongst humans, many of whom believe that The Sidhe should all be slaves, for fifty years. He does not have much in the way of magical ability, but he is uncommonly intelligent and incredibly skilled with languages. After deciding that he wanted to redeem himself for many of his past actions in The Sidhe, he is now helping Brissa Keshell in her quest to take the throne of the human nation of Villalu away from the oppressive, slave-owning House of Panloch. He guards his secrets fiercely, and believes that, no matter how much good he does in the world, he will never truly be a good person. Until, that is, he meets Firae.
4) How much research do you do for your books?
That is a very good question! I research quite a bit as I go. Since I am writing fantasy, set in a world of my own creation, the amount that I need to research for any particular scene or chapter varies significantly. I have tons of books on faerie lore, and I research various mythologies (Celtic mythology in particular) before putting my own spin on them. There are also other things that come up from time to time--a couple of chapters in The King and the Criminal are set on a ship, for example, and I had to do a fair amount of research on the history of ships, the parts of a ship, nautical terms and so forth.
The incredibly gifted artist Sarah Sanderson does my cover art, assisted by the design skills of C.B. Messer, Interlude Press’s incredibly talented art director. I can’t imagine my books without the cover art--or the map, which Sarah also did. I couldn’t ask for a more gorgeous visual representation of my characters and world.
About the Author
Charlotte Ashe works in the nonprofit world by day and writes romantic fantasy by night. A long-time fan of speculative fiction that skews feminist and features LGBT characters, Charlotte loves writing stories that are sexy, heartfelt, and full of magic and adventure. She has put her BA in literature and creative writing to use over the years as a writer of fan fiction, and her most popular work has drawn more than one million readers worldwide, been translated into several languages, and been featured in online publications including The Backlot. Her first novel, The Sidhe, was published in 2015 by Interlude Press and named a finalist for a Foreword Reviews’ INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award.
The King & The Criminal will be published by Interlude Press on December 8, 2016. Connect with author Charlotte Ashe at CharlotteAshe.com, on Facebook at facebook.com/charlotteashewrites and on Twitter at @CobwebsandAshes