First of all I would like to introduce Sandy Hunter to Novel Moments.
Tell us a bit about yourself
I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a B.A. in English Literature. After my daughter came along, I chose to work close to home and indulge my love of animals by working for an amiable, if thrifty, veterinarian. I believe in promoting the right of all creatures to live the existence that Nature intended. This value is strongly evoked in my novel.
I’ve always lived at the edges of ocean and forest, so it came naturally to have a sentient forest as a major character in Elanraigh: The Vow. I love kayaking the scenic Island coastline, swimming and walking. I’ve got a ready sense of humor and an optimistic outlook (a good thing when you’re a writer). I’m enjoying retirement now…and if I were only more disciplined, I’d get even more writing done J
My publications include Dark Fantasy short stories in pro magazines and she is currently working on a sequel to Elanraigh: The Vow.
What keeps you writing?
I just don’t feel right if I don’t have a project on the go. There’s something so special about creating characters and then seeing them through their cycle of growth or crisis. When words get flowing, it’s such an exhilarating experience.
Can you tell us a little more about your novel?
Elanraigh: The Vow is set in an alternative, quasi-medieval world. Elanraigh, is Thera’s story; the sheltered daughter of a noble house who is forcefully awakened to the danger her land and her people will soon face from fierce seafaring invaders known as the Memteth. She learns she has a destiny, according to Prophesy, to restore the bond between her people and an ancient guardian of Allenholme, the Elanraigh forest.
Though the people of Allenholme have lost the ability to directly commune with the Elanraigh, forest-mind has been “teaching” Thera since her infancy. Her particular gift manifests at the story’s opening as the ability to project her spirit into a “joining” with a young raptor.
Duke Leon, Thera’s father, invites a northern tribe known as Ttamarini, to ally themselves with Allenholm to defeat the Memteth invasion that Thera has foreseen in her dreams of Black Sails. Both the Ttamarini Dream-Speaker, and the Elanraigh Forest-Mind understand that the destinies of the young Ttamarini heir and Thera of Allenholme are intertwined. As Thera awakens to her gifts of bonding with raptor birds and reading hearts, the knowing; she also awakens to love. Will she choose Chamakin the young Ttamarini warrior who is a kindred in spirit to her, or the polished young nobleman who covets her beauty even more than her estate? Forest-mind is aware she is yet too young for such power and responsibility. It has no choice—the lives of all Thera’s people and the existence of the Elanraigh Forest itself, depend on Thera fulfilling her destiny. Can she learn what she must of gift, and heart, to survive what comes their way…
What inspired you to write this novel?
In 1995 I read an intriguing article in the Vancouver Sun, titled “Lumber firm wails the blues over “singing forest”. Apparently a local tree planter had a spiritual experience in a forest near Tenise Creek; she says, “something akin to the voice of angels rose from the landscape.” I tucked the though provoking article away and some years later, was sorting through my tattered old file full of various newspaper and magazine articles, the “Story Ideas File”, and read the “singing forest” article again. I began to type and wrote, ““The Elanraigh forest quivered with deep unease. Forest-mind sifted the westerly wind and breathed its warning.” And so a sentient forest came to be both a major character and the setting for my YA fantasy, Elanraigh: The Vow.
How did you come up with the Title?
Hmm. As is often the case with fantasy genre, I was simply looking at a name for the forest that evoked its beauty with a certain Celtic flavor. This particular volume features that Thera has a vow to make to the Elanraigh forest…and she must first understand the desires of her own heart.
How long did it take you to research and write the novel?
I’m almost embarrassed to admit that it took me about six years…I was working full time as a property manager at an airport, had a lot of night meetings too, so Sundays were about the only day I had to work on Elanraigh.
Is there a certain message you would like readers to get out of this novel?
I have written primarily to entertain my readers; however, I do express certain values I hold dear, through Thera, Chamakin and other characters; respect for all life…to tread gently on this earth.
Do you experience writer’s block? How do you deal with it?
Oh yes—blank page syndrome happens. Sometimes I grab a notebook and pen and push myself just to get words down; or I will just pick up a book I love and read that for a while (I’m currently reading the Song of Fire and Ice series). Music and poetry can help there too.
Are you a full time writer? If not, how do you make time to write?
As I mentioned, I’m retired, so you’d think I had all kinds of time. No. I do try to make myself commit to at least an hour a day—of course, if things get rolling along nicely, that can stretch out to three or four hours. My local writers group arrange “writer retreats” as well. We book rooms somewhere (on the shoulder season) and blitz at writing. We raise great energy and get lots done. If we can’t swing that, we’ll just do a workshop day.
What does your marketing schedule look like?/what avenues do you use to market your book
Chaos! Ach! This is my debut novel and the entire “marketing” concept is new to me. I have a blog, and participate in some face-book groups geared to writers. I’m on Goodreads as well. Opportunities such as this, to guest on a blog are invaluable to authors trying to introduce their work to readers. My publisher, Eternal Press, have a Yahoo page where their authors can discuss and promote their work to readers as well.
What books can we expect from you in the future?
I’m currently working on the sequel to Elanraigh: The Vow. I also continue to enjoy writing short stories for anthologies and have some dark fantasy published as well.
I’ll always write in the fantasy/paranormal genre as it’s what I love to read—it’s a joy to me.
What was your best ever moment as a published author?
It would take a lot to beat the moment I read the email from my publisher saying they were pleased to accept Elanraigh. Wow! I think I ran out of the house and danced around the yard…looking back, I’m sure I terrorized some local dog walkers who happened to be strolling by just then.
What other question are you dying to be asked? And the answer is?
I’d love to give a nod to some of the authors I’ve loved over the years. I could never list them all; however, there are some whose work have influenced me strongly in what I desire to achieve. Robin McKinley, especially Beauty and the Damar novels; Ursula LeGuin, especially the Earthsea novels, C.J. Cherryh, especially Pride of Chanur series and Hunter of Worlds, Elizabeth Moon, especially the Deed of Paksenarrion series, Mary Stewart especially her Arthurian Saga.
Do you have a message for your readers?
My most cherished wish as an author would be to know that my readers have felt totally immersed in my novel’s world in all its detail—you taste the food, smell the air and live the lives of the characters. You have been moved by their love, shaken by their terrors, and can shed tears of joy for their happiness. When the book closes, that you feel in some small way that your life has been enriched. I will not rest until I can achieve that.
Thank you so much for visiting Novel Moments and Good luck with the novel.
Elanraigh: The Vow
Only Thera of Allenholme hears the voice of forest-mind…and heeds its warning . Thera doesn’t know why the Elanraigh forest-mind chose her, of all the Allenholme folk, to hear its voice and to awaken her gifts of mind and spirit. The Elanraigh sends a warning dream; black sails swooping toward Allenholme from across the western sea—the Memteth, an ancient enemy, armed with blue fire that hungers to consume life. As Thera awakens to her gifts of bonding with raptor birds and reading hearts, the knowing; she also awakens to love. Will she choose Chamakin the young Ttamarini warrior who is a kindred in spirit to her, or the polished young nobleman who covets her beauty even more than her estate? Forest-mind is aware she is yet too young for such power and responsibility. It has no choice—the lives of all Thera’s people and the existence of the Elanraigh Forest itself, depend on Thera fulfilling her destiny. Can she learn what she must of gift, and heart, to survive what comes their way?
Bio – S. A. Hunter
Author – Elanraigh: The Vow
Sandra attended school in Victoria, B.C. and later graduated from the University of British Columbia with a B.A. in English Literature. After her daughter came along, she chose to work close to home and indulge her love of animals by working for an amiable, if thrifty, veterinarian. She believes in promoting the right of all creatures to live the existence that Nature intended. This value is strongly evoked in her novel.
Sandra’s always lived at the edges of ocean and forest, so it came naturally to have a sentient forest as a major character in Elanraigh: The Vow. She loves kayaking the scenic Island coastline, swimming and walking. She has a ready sense of humor and an optimistic outlook (a good thing when you’re a writer).
Her publications include Dark Fantasy short stories in pro magazines and she is currently working on a sequel to Elanraigh: The Vow.
The author is having a grand giveaway, one Print copy of the book (US) a signed bookmark (INT and US) and a $20 amazon gift card (INT and US)! Use the Rafflecopter for a chance to win. Also, if you would like a chance to win an ebook copy of the book and a signed bookmark, please leave a comment. Good luck.a Rafflecopter giveaway