Erin Rhew Interview About The Outlanders Plus Book Reviews

I have one of my favorite virtual friends back today. This time we talk about her newest release, The Outlanders (The Fulfillment Series Book 2), her future writing plans, and for more fun, I throw in my review of the book. I also never got around to giving her a review for the first book in The Fulfillment Series, The Prophecy, and I know how important reviews are to authors, so I’ll put that in here as well. So sit back, learn about the first two thirds (plus a little extra) of an enjoyable young adult fantasy series, and help me welcome Erin Rhew. Oh, and if you hurry, there’s a giveaway happening.

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So we have a “love triangle” with Layla, Nash, and Wil (Though I’ve always considered them more of a “Love V.” Think about it.) Do you have any favorite or least favorite love triangles from fiction?

I wouldn’t consider it a traditional love triangle (maybe I’ll say love “V” instead…heehee) since supernatural powers are at play and affect the feelings/beliefs of the characters. If I did have a love triangle, I wanted it to be well done (I hope I succeeded—LOL!). I wanted both men to be wholly worthy instead of one good guy and one traditional bad boy.
My favorite love triangle in fiction is the one from the Infernal Devices series. Tess, Will, and Jem…happy sigh. And thanks to the world Cassandra Clare created, the outcome could not have been happier for the reader.
I don’t like love triangles where one guy won’t accept his fate and tries to bend the girl toward his will.

I can’t say I’m a fan of Samson, though I give Elder Werrick an easier time than you. Who are some of your favorite and least favorite characters, not counting the big three?

LOL!! I actually like Samson. His snark is my homage to Percy Jackson. 😉 I like King Rex a lot. I love how he’s strong but gentle. My fiancé, Deek, likes Queen Cataleen, but he always likes the villain because he finds them so layered. 😉 And I like the Voltons. Their calm, cool, collected attitudes appeal to me—particularly Mars and Holt.

I really don’t care for Werrick. He’s an example of “absolute power corrupts absolutely.” And though I tried to make her sympathetic because of her life, I have trouble liking Mia. I feel like I should like Mia, but I just don’t.

Well, you’re the author, so I guess you’d know. But sometimes characters surprise even the author. One day you may learn Samson has a bit of a back stabbing personality, and Werrick has some separation anxiety issues he’s trying to work through. If he keeps meeting with his counselor, he’ll handle it.

Chapters 21 through 25 were my favorite of the series so far. Give us a hint of one thing well get in Book Three: The Fulfillment.

Wow, thank you!! Parts of those scenes were definitely difficult to write.

Hmmmm…here are two hints: One of the three kingdoms will fall in The Fulfillment. And an important character will behave rashly with serious consequences.

Do you have an approximate release date for The Fulfillment?

It’s written, but I’m still matching it up consistency-wise to changes made in The Prophecy and The Outlanders. I hope to submit to my publisher early next year. So, I’m hoping for a later summer/early fall release date.

Have you given any thought to your writing life after The Fulfillment Series?

I already have several projects in the works—a young adult futuristic thriller and another fantasy novel, with a twist.

What writer’s style do you most admire?

Rick Riordan. I absolutely, positively love his style. I want to BE Rick Riordan! LOL!

Oh! I knew this one. I should have asked a better question. Here, I’ll ask one of myself instead:

Team Wil or Tem Nash? Wil’s all right, but if I have to pick one I’ll take Nash.

Rapid Fire Randomness:

Volton Mars/Veronica Mars—any correlation? Nope, I never thought of it until you said it. I actually would have gone for Vulcan with Volton. 😉

Alterations reminded me a bit of Compulsion in the Vampire Academy series. Agree or disagree? I don’t think they’re exactly alike, but the difference is negligible. Compulsion is more related to forcing people to do things. The Alterations implant images. I think it’s a little different.

Layla—is she named after the Derrick and the Dominos song? No. Her name appeared in my head out of nowhere. I found out after I named her that it meant “Dark Beauty.” Perfect and random.

Pick a fantasy series: Song of Ice and Fire, Sword of Truth, or Wheel of Time.
100% Song of Fire and Ice. 😉

I hear winter IS coming. No seriously. The next book is titled The Winds of Winter. That, amongst other things, leads us to believe it may happen.

Here’s an excerpt from The Outlanders:

Everything about Mia felt wrong. The girl, who looked so much like Layla, just happened to be where Samson could find her and came with him to the home of her enemy without any resistance? Whole generations of Ecclesiastics searched for entire lifetimes and never found the Fulfillment, yet Samson encountered two potentials in short succession. She couldn’t pinpoint the reason for her unease, but something tickled the back of her mind, inching toward the surface with painstaking sluggishness.

“I don’t understand why she would just come with you to Etherea.” Layla struggled to keep her voice level and calm to avoid raising Samson’s hackles.

“She didn’t have anywhere else to go. Vance killed her family in Vanguard.”

Layla made a mental note to confirm Samson’s version of the story with the information Nash managed to extract from Mia. “If she’s a Vanguard, why would she come with you to Etherea?”

“You came here,” Samson shot back, his inexplicable protectiveness for the mystery girl heightening her concern.

She treaded with care. “Well, some insane man in a black and purple robe stole my brother, so I didn’t really have a choice.”

Mia stared at the young man before her with a mixture of curiosity and weariness. She understood why others found him so handsome—rich, dark hair and those shocking green eyes. If she succeeded, he would be her…she stopped herself, determined to keep her mind clear. She had to give off an air of mystery, to lure the Ethereals into her web so they followed her plan. More than anything, she needed them to follow her plan, so much depended on it. She could not slip up. She could not make a mistake.

Taking a steadying breath, she refocused her thoughts and slid her amethyst colored eyes across the prince in front her. She wouldn’t even think his name or give any indication she already knew about him. She had to forget how much she’d been told about him…how much she’d been told about them all. Feigning ignorance factored into her plan.

“Who are you?” he asked, after spending an inordinate amount of time regarding her.

She noted how his gaze bounced from her eyes to her hair and back again. As planned, her appearance intrigued him. Though he’d asked a different question, she heard the real one layered beneath it. He wanted to know why she resembled the proclaimed Fulfillment. That question would then lead him to an inevitable one…could Mia be the Fulfillment instead of Layla? And if she were the Fulfillment, what did that mean for him? For Wil? For Layla?

“I’m Mia.” She almost grinned, pleased she’d answered his question but given him nothing more. When his lips twisted, her grin broke into a full smile at his evident irritation. “And you are?”

He hesitated. “Nash, brother of the king.”

“The injured king?” He flinched, a subtle movement most might miss, but she caught it.

“According to our friend, Samson, you’re an Outlander.”

“He found me in the Outlands.” The less Nash knew, the better.

Frustration flickered across his face, marring his otherwise handsome features. She smiled to herself, not trusting his patience should her lips turn up yet again.

“Sooo,” he dragged out the word. “Are you an Outlander?”

“No. I’m a Vanguard.”

Nash cocked his head to the right. “Why were you in the Outlands then?”

“I went to escape Vance’s oppression.” Mia stared at the wall behind him until her vision blurred. She willed tears to form. Given the pressure she’d been under, summoning them proved easier than she expected. When the familiar tight burning started near her lids, she blinked at the prince. He shifted in his seat. Mia wanted to snort at his reaction. Tears always made men uncomfortable. “Vance killed my family.” She paused and swallowed, hoping he believed she needed a moment to collect herself. “I ran as far as I could and ended up in the Outlands. Samson found me.”

Nash cleared his throat and shifted again; she increased the flow of her tears in reply.           “What do you know about the Outlands?”

“Very little.” She sniffed. Looking as pathetic as she could manage, she attempted to wipe her eyes, an impossible feat given her bound hands. Nash frowned as his gaze landed on her restraints. She bid him to unbind her hands, and for a moment, she believed he might. To her disappointment, he gripped the side of his chair until his knuckles turned white and left her tied up. Mia ground her teeth.

“Do you believe you are the Fulfillment?” Nash kept his voice steady despite the turmoil she read upon his face.

Mia waited a moment to respond, both to further escalate his frustration and to collect herself. In this moment, she needed to be most convincing, to begin what she’d been tasked to set in motion. She gestured with her chin, drawing Nash’s attention to the blazing “F” upon her upper arm. The dark purple birthmark matched the shade of her eyes.

“The First Ones speak for themselves.”

Nash shook his head. “It’s too obvious.”

Mia’s head jerked back. She struggled to maintain her composure as his reaction, so unexpected, derailed her careful planning. Her mind racing, she grappled for a response.

“Too obvious?”

“Yes. See, Mia—” His clear distaste tainted the sound of her own name. “I know about the First Ones.”

“Who do you think you are? An Ecclesiastic?” She smirked at him, acting like she retained complete control, but her insides knotted. She couldn’t lose her ability to direct the conversation.

To her surprise, Nash laughed, though she noted no pleasure in it. “The Prophecy states, ‘In a time of war, when the land is divided amongst the two, she, with raven black hair, purple eyes, and a special blessing from the First Ones shall bring peace.’”

“I think everyone in the three kingdoms and in the Borderlands is familiar with The Prophecy.” Mia rolled her eyes for effect. “What’s your point?”

“My point is, the special blessing wouldn’t be something as simple as a birthmark. If it were, the First Ones would have just said raven black hair, purple eyes, and an ugly purple ‘F’ on the upper arm.” He flicked his hand toward her arm. “Special blessing is vague, indicating something mysterious. There is nothing mysterious about your birthmark.”

Mia’s heart pounded as she felt the tables turn and the conversation slip away. “And there is something mysterious about her?”

The word her hung between them for a moment. Mia took another deep breath, worrying she’d pushed him too far. Beneath his shirt, she saw Nash’s muscles ripple and hoped she’d managed to touch a new nerve.

Mia clenched her teeth. She hated acting this way, so out of character, but she had to press on. No one could know the truth. She had to win this game…

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Erin Rhew is an editor, a running coach, and the author of The Fulfillment Series. Since she picked up Morris the Moose Goes to School at age four, she has been infatuated with the written word. She went on to work as a grammar and writing tutor in college and is still teased by her family and friends for being a member of the “Grammar Police.” A Southern girl by blood and birth, Erin now lives in a rainy pocket of the Pacific Northwest with the amazingly talented (and totally handsome) writer Deek Rhew and their “overly fluffy,” patient-as-a-saint writing assistant, a tabby cat named Trinity. She and Deek enjoy reading aloud to one another, running, lifting, boxing, eating chocolate, and writing side-by-side.

Find me online:

 

Twitter: @ErinRhewBooks

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Erin-Rhew-Books/182769448541270

Website: www.erinrhewbooks.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23265671-the-prophecy

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23302633-the-outlanders

Buy The Prophecy: http://www.amazon.com/Prophecy-Fulfillment-Book-1-ebook/dp/B00O1IVMPO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1412178669&sr=8-1&keywords=the+prophecy+erin+rhew

Buy The Outlanders: http://www.amazon.com/Outlanders-Fulfillment-Book-2-ebook/dp/B00O2I8X50/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1412178701&sr=8-1&keywords=the+outlanders+erin+rhew

OK. That turned into quite a post. If you’re still with me, you either really like Erin’s books, or you want the reviews . . . or both. So here they are.

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The Prophecy:

Let’s start off with this whole love triangle thing because it bothers me–in fiction in general, but not in The Prophecy by Erin Rhew, and that’s why it works, and it’s one of the things that makes this book so good. Every time you turn around in modern fiction, one female gets in the room with two males and you’ve got a love triangle . . . and they don’t even have to all belong to the same species. Erin Rhew wrote a compelling, plot driven, fantasy novel, and the so called ‘love triangle’ is just one element of the plot. And instead of getting thrown in because it’s almost expected in YA fiction, it’s necessary to move the plot. Not only does Layla not know if she loves Wil or Nash, she’s not sure if she’s supposed to love Wil or Nash to make the prophecy come true. And yes, guys, if I haven’t made my point clear, this isn’t some sappy romance.

Now that we’ve cleared that up, The Prophecy has action, adventure, humor, and yes, even a little love. If I have anything negative to say, it’s just that the story seemed to jump ahead a time or two, which I found distracting because I wanted to know what happened in the lapse.

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The Outlanders:

I started out thinking I was going to like this book less than The Prophecy. It started slower, and I could tell by the general tone, it wasn’t going to have as much action as its predecessor. I was right about everything . . . except the part about liking it less. I thought it was great! The deepening of the plot more than made up for the lack of action. And the ending, watch out! The Prophecy ended on a major cliffhanger. Not only does The Outlanders end on a cliffhanger, but all the loose ends you think are getting tied up toward the end of the story, well, they all come untied.

Now if you’re still with me, you’re just looking for something free, so here’s a Rafflecopter giveaway. A $50 gift cards, signed copies of The Prophecy and The Outlanders. That sort of thing. But hurry, it ends at the end of the day November 1.

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Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud wins Best First Novel Award

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The Literary Classics Awards are in. Unveiling the Wizards’ shroud has won Best First Novel. This is a great honor, compounded by the fact that Literary Classics posted on their website:

“2014 was a record year for entries in the Literary Classics International Book Awards. With entrants from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and many more places around the globe, competition was tremendous. The extraordinary selection of books for young readers gave our reviewers and judges quite a lot to consider as they worked their way through impressive piles of books (and eBooks) for deliberation in this year’s awards.”

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About Literary Classics:

Literary Classics, an organization dedicated to furthering excellence in literature, takes great pride in its role to help promote classic literature which appeals to youth, while educating and encouraging positive values in the impressionable young minds of future generations. Judging is based upon the criteria set forth by Literary Classics’ highly selective awards committee which honors books promoting character, vision, creativity and learning, through content which possesses key elements found in well-crafted literature. Click here for a complete list of the 2014 Literary Classics Award Recipients.

Literary Classics International Book Awards - Young Adult Award Winning Book

About Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud:

As the only son to King Kendrick, Owen despises the idea of being king one day. Magician may be the only career he’d like less. He has dreaded the days leading up to his fifteenth birthday, when his father will certainly declare Owen heir to the throne. But at the birthday celebration, his father falls ill. The only person in the kingdom that may be able to save him is a magician–the very same magician Owen holds responsible for the death of his mother.

Owen and his companions will have to travel the continent of Wittatun in search of the cure for King Kendrick. On the journey, they will battle strange beasts and harsh climates, befriend extraordinary magicians, and meet a dragon before returning to Innes Castle–where much has happened in the days since he departed.

Buy Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud:

Also available at many other online bookstores.

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About the Author:

Eric Price lives with his wife and two sons in northwest Iowa. He began publishing in 2008 when he started writing a quarterly column for a local newspaper. Later that same year he published his first work of fiction, a spooky children’s story called Ghost Bed and Ghoul Breakfast. Since then, he has written stories for children, young adults, and adults. Three of his science fiction stories have won honorable mention from the CrossTime Annual Science Fiction Contest. His first YA fantasy novel, Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud, received the Children’s Literary Classics Seal of Approval and the Literary Classics Award for Best First Novel.

Find Eric Price online:
 

School of Deaths: Interview and Review

I read and reviewed School of Deaths by Christopher Mannino, then, as an added bonus, I sent some questions to Christopher. Here are his responses (spoiler alert: you get to hear about some cool travels in Wales and England), and read on for a review of his book.

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The training scythe, they remind me of the golf clubs that break if you don’t use a proper swing. Where did you get the idea for scythe that won’t work if you use them wrong?

I’m a teacher as my main career. In education, there’s almost always a “training” version of something. When creating the training scythes, I kept in mind that the scythes had an intelligence, and I figured they’d be able to tell if you used them correctly or not.

You created a sport in your book called boskery. Did you play any sports in school?

Not particularly. I played baseball for one year, and soccer for one year, but I was an arts kid in school- far more interested in drama and music than sports.

What real sports did you want boskery to be like, or which did you definitely want it not to be like?

 

I think my idea for boskery was loosely based on rugby and lacrosse- I see them spinning the scythes which reminds me a bit of cradling a lacrosse stick, and the game’s ultimately about physical endurance, which is best embodied by rugby. A few reviewers have compared it to quidditch and to the “games” of the Hunger Games. I definitely did NOT want it to be anything like quidditch, but I will admit the idea of children attacking each other, similar to the Hunger Games struggles, flitted through my mind several times while writing that scene. I did make an effort to keep it different from Collins’ dark “game”.

I love this kind of story, where kids are sent off for an “abnormal” education (see also Beware of the White by Kai Strand). What inspired you to write this?

The idea for SCHOOL OF DEATHS emerged when I was finishing my graduate degree at Oxford University. I spent four months abroad, far from everyone I knew. Every week, I traveled somewhere I had never been before. I would climb castle ruins in Wales and visit cathedrals in England. One of my favorite trips was to Tintagel Castle in Cornwall. After misjudging the time it’d take to get there, I became stranded. The tourist office was closed, and I couldn’t find a hostel. I walked from pub to pub asking if I could sleep above their bar.

The next morning, having slept none, since I’d found a room over a noisy pub, I crept to Barras Nose before dawn. Barras Nose is a stone peninsula, or rocky outcropping jutting into the Celtic Sea, just north of Tintagel. Tintagel itself is a small island with castle ruins on its cliffs. Some believe it to be the birthplace of King Arthur. When I reached Barras Nose, the winds howled so fiercely that I had to crawl on all fours to keep from being blown into the ocean below. Then dawn broke. No other humans were in sight. I struggled to keep my balance, but watched the sun rise on the ruins of the ancient castle, listening to the thunder of waves pounding the fifty foot cliffs I clung to. Wind battered me with ferocity, and I imagined a character being buffeted by winds, completely alone. I envisioned Suzie, alone in a world of men, buffeted by sexism.

I like the Reaper in Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey, and the Stephen King story The Reaper’s Image is downright frightening. What are some of your favorite Grim Reapers in fiction, excluding your own of course?

Favorite Grim Reaper would have to be Terry Pratchett’s character “Death” as mentioned in the Discworld series. I particularly liked “Reaper Man,” a novel where Death loses his job and is forced to try and live as a normal person. Pratchett’s Death is a parody of the stereoptyped Grim Reaper, but Pratchett does it in a very funny way, and I enjoy reading him.

A different version of Deaths that I enjoyed are the shinigami, or “Death gods” in the manga and anime series “Death Note.” The creatures are strange and dark, but it’s an interesting spin on the idea of a Reaper, especially since the shinigami such as the main character Ryuk, have to kill in order to stay alive themselves.

And here’s the Review:

Thirteen-year-old Suzie has to get used to a new school. Also, she’s the first girl at her school for a million years. . . oh, and did I mention she’s training to be a Death. Not welcome by classmates or teachers, Suzie has to survive if she wants to pass the end of year test to return to the Living World.

In School of Deaths, Christopher Mannino creates a believable world where kids have to train to be deaths. From struggling to make friends, learning to use a scythe, and ultimately trying to learn why no woman has been a Death for a million years, School of Deaths will captivate you and throw you into Suzie’s world. . . and maybe YOU won’t be able to leave.

Get it here:

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