I’m co-hosting the Brain to Books Blog Tour for the month of August – 31 days of indie authors, presented by Angela B. Chrysler. Enjoy today’s authors!
Author: Aurelia Maria Casey
Genre: fantasy and science fiction, with occasional hints of romance and thriller
Books: Sorcerous & Beastly Season 1 from the Sorcerous & Beastly Series
When I’m not hanging out in my fairy court conversing with you, my readers, and occasionally my characters, I am a fashion designer and a biomedical engineer because I love transforming ideas from my imagination to reality. It’s the same thought process as storytelling, really. Just a different medium.
I write the stories that my imagination won’t let me forget about. These stories fall into many different genres and for many different age groups. (Don’t worry, I keep the forums and podcasts PG-13 and I rate my books the same way Hollywood rates movies, so you’ll always know what to expect). I love exploring story from many perspectives, so I started a book club where we can discover new authors in a breadth of genres.
Editor of an annual Domestic Violence Awareness short story and poetry anthology, the proceeds of which get donated to support victims and survivors.
A villain Death is afraid of. One girl left to die in the Enchanted Forest, the other ran away and got stuck there. A lord playing prince and a prince who breaks the law. Can they overcome impossible odds and find each other in time to do what Death won’t?
I’m Death, and this is a story about a time I failed.
But honestly, I had almost nothing to do with anything that happened. So it isn’t really my fault.
You see, there’s someone who terrifies me. He’s done some truly horrific things. Basically, he’s the cruelest man alive.
I’m going to start at the prophecy, because until then I was avoiding my job. The prophecy made me hope that someone else would save me from having to be a hero.
Heroism really isn’t my thing. I traverse the world of the living and collect souls who are ready to move on to the afterlife. Nothing heroic about that.
Anyway, after the prophecy I started paying attention to life again, just to keep track of things. It’s taken me a long time to gather all the pieces of this story. It’s about some real strong girls and boys, men and women, who managed to accomplish something I thought was impossible.
I’ll let you judge for yourself whether or not I’m a coward for staying mostly on the sidelines.
I suppose you might think that I’m only making excuses. You could be right. This story certainly wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t been scared. Cowardly, perhaps. But I’m not telling you this story for my benefit. I’m telling you this story because someone needs to remember. Someone needs to hold me accountable for all the lives I’ve ruined.
So. To begin:
Once upon a time, far, far away, there was an enchanted forest. To the east and west of this forest were impassable mountains. To the north and south were two kingdoms which had almost nothing to do with each other. Many generations ago there had been a large road through the enchanted forest which connected these two kingdoms, but when the Wolf Queen usurped control over the enchanted kingdom it became impassable. After years of traders entering the forest on that road and never returning, these two countries grew apart. There remained a small amount of diplomatic contact but the sea-voyage was treacherous and ships were nearly as unreliable as the trade road had become.
The kingdom in the north was called Manassa and it was the most dreary of rainy, foggy, damp countries. The Manassans were primarily interested in fighting the nomadic reindeer-herding barbarians in the far north. Having no good grazing land, the Manassans fought fiercely to survive in their stone fortresses, scraping by with what little wheat could be grown in the stony soil.
The kingdom in the south, known as Sacor, was vibrant and lush with the perfect balance of seasons. In fact, it was so lovely that the fairies caught in the Enchanted forest were jealous that mere humans could live in such a fairyland. As a collective of dukedoms, ruled over by one duke elected to the Governorship every twenty years, the Sacorans were a peace-loving and cultured society. They had little interest in warring with other countries, and luckily had nothing of value to other countries. The worst spat of violence Sacor had experienced in its history was a great duel between two young noblemen over who would marry the Governor’s daughter, fabled to be the most beautiful woman in all the world. Or so the fairies claimed.
But one day, all the magical creatures everywhere in the world disappeared. They vanished, and no-one could discover where they went or why they left. Fairies and elves became legend and hobgoblins and pixies became stories to frighten children. Sorcerers practiced their arts in secret, and witches were laughed at.
Still, nobody was brave enough to enter the Enchanted Forest.
Until one day a Sacoran father-to-be, desperate for a remedy for his pregnant wife, wandered over the edge of his garden and into the forest. He was chasing after snowdonia hawkweed, which is a real plant although it is extremely rare and difficult to find, because the midwife told him its healing properties would ease the birthing.
Fortunately for him, before he could go far enough to be noticed by the Wolf Queen’s spies, the last mamitu stopped him. She was bony-thin from hunger, her black hair hanging thin and stringy down her back. Despite this, her black ridged horns twisted delicately from her temples crowning her with dignity.
She sent him home, saying his wife would come through her labor safely and his firstborn would become the greatest queen in all the world. Before he could thank her, she loped away, drawing the wolf spies after her. The mamitu had stopped him before he could cross the inner ward and he returned unscathed from the forest’s edge to find all as the mamitu had decreed
Almost exactly ten years later, Viola was almost to the stone wall at the very back of the gardens. She could see the ward crystals glittering when the breeze moved the foliage to let the sunlight through. The ward crystals were superstitious nonsense: everyone knew that, but everyone used them anyway, which was a good thing, because they did work only nobody remembered that because the magical creatures had disappeared centuries before. Viola and Robbie, the stable boy, had been sneaking out to play just past the wall, where none of the servants would think to look for her.
A bumble bee buzzed around the blooming roses, and she smiled. Soon she would have the freedom to stop and smell the roses too.
Viola was running away. She thought the stories her nurse told her of the monsters in the forest were scary, but she felt that her upcoming tenth birthday celebration was more terrifying than pixies and wolves and enchantresses. Dresses were inconvenient, hot, and itchy. She hated cakes and icing and fruit punch. But most of all, she hated how everyone would be expecting her to look the part of a future queen and would see her awkward, clumsy, shy, self. Somehow whenever she had to speak to anyone important she started stuttering and couldn’t remember anything she was supposed to know. Of course, this included her parents who consequently thought her to be stupid and lazy. But they couldn’t entirely ignore her because of the Mamitu’s prediction when she was born: that she would grow up to become a queen. Viola had no desire to be a queen. All she wanted was to be left alone. So far as she could tell, queens had to do everything she hated: studying boring books, planning parties, talking to strangers. Math and genealogies. Ugh! She shuddered at the thought and ran the rest of the way to the wall.
She was about to clamber up and over it when she heard a crash-clatter-thump behind her.
Interview with Aurelia
Angela B. Chrysler: I want to take a moment to welcome Aurelia Maria Casey. Thank you so much for speaking with me, Ms. Casey. Please take a moment to tell us about your book.
ABC: How did you come up with the idea for your book?
AMC: Well, unlike most of my stories, the story spark for Sorcerous & Beastly was actually a variation of Cinderella and Ella Enchanted that I came up with when I was about twelve. It wasn’t the first story spark I had that was worth pursuing, but it’s the first one that’s finished.
ABC: Stories always require some form of research. What kind of research did you do for your book?
AMC: I’ve read a lot. I think most of my research was understanding fairy tale and fantasy novel tropes, so I could pick which elements would work and which were too cliche and boring. There are a few cliche things that I kept on purpose because I wanted readers aware that there may be some fairy tale elements to watch out for. Sorcerous & Beastly definitely isn’t pure fantasy. There are hints of mythological influences, most notably the fact that Death is a character: the narrator, in fact.
ABC: Which scene or chapter was the hardest for you to write?
AMC: The scenes without dialog are always the hardest for me, because I worry that the narrative isn’t engaging enough without conversation. However, there are a couple characters who have more of an internal journey than an external one, so that was definitely a challenge.
ABC: Please describe your favorite scene or chapter in your book and tell us why it’s your favorite?
AMC: I love the part(s) where Death forgets he’s a narrator and takes action within the story itself. Also, I like when he interjects into his own narrative with asides and commentary. That’s always fun.
ABC: Which of your characters, do you relate to the most (or) who is your favorite character and why?
AMC: In Sorcerous & Beastly I definitely relate to Viola most because she is based on my seven-year-old self even though she’s ten. But my favorite character ever is Elethiere. She’s an elf and I’ve been working hard on her story since before I had the idea for Sorcerous & Beastly. Elethiere’s story is the one that propelled me to become a writer rather than merely someone with an active imagination.
ABC: I once read that every author is simply a compilation of his/her favorite authors. Which authors have done the most to influence your writing and why?
AMC: I think every author I read has an influence on my writing. Sherwood Smith is my favorite author of all time. However, there are many other authors I love: Ilona Andrews, Patrick Rothfuss, Mercedes Lackey, Anne Bishop, Tolkein, CS Lewis, JK Rowling, Devon Monk, Lisa Shearin, Ashley Capes, Rachael Ritchey, to name a few. I’m working on building a database in my Fairy Court where you can find the books I would recommend from all my favorite authors.
ABC: “Story” has always been the center of all human cultures. We need it. We seek it out. We invent it. What does “story” mean to you?
AMC: A story is something that entertains and teaches. Everything important about how people work and interact with each other and how to overcome seemingly impossible challenges I learned from reading fantasy and romance and science fiction and literature. It’s way more fun than a psychology class, in my opinion. It’s a way to dream collectively, and then we can collectively decide which dreams to transform into reality through innovation in tech, fashion, food, etc.
ABC: Tells us about your next project.
AMC: Well, I have several projects in the works. The Necromancer of Many Faces is the first novel in the Intrigue series. If you want a peek at that world, you can read my short story Assassin, which takes place in between books 3 and 4. I’m also working on another serial called The Exclusives which is science fiction and I’ll be reading that on my podcast Storytime starting in December. You can listen to all of Sorcerous & Beastly one episode at a time starting in September. And of course I’m working on Elethiere’s story. Chains of Destruction is a short story that I originaly intended as the proglogue to Elethiere’s Story.
ABC: Where can we find you and your book?
AMC: Join my Purple Court! You get access to all sorts of cool stuff including a forum where my characters sometimes drop by to say hi, and notifications and updates whenever I publish something new. I’m also entering everyone who joins in August into a drawing to get an e-book version of the complete first season of Sorcerous & Beastly. Go to amcasey.com/join and start reading the stories in your starter library!
ABC: Thank you again, so much for speaking with me.
A word with Death…
Q: Go ahead and introduce yourself. Tell the audience about yourself.
Death: I’m Death. I’m immortal and stuff, and I help souls transition from living to dead.
Q: Tell us where and when were you born.
Death: I guess I was born before the beginning of time. I don’t really know. Time isn’t the same for me as it is for you mortals.
Q: How would you describe yourself?
Death: I like to think I’m dedicated and hard working. But I know most people think I’m selfish and cruel. It’s hard to be popular when your job is to help people pass from Life to the Afterlife. The Living almost never understand.
Q: Tell us about where you grew up.
Death: It was wonderful. The world wasn’t overcrowded then, so I could take my time and explore the world of the living and the world of the dead. Now I’m overwhelmed with the vast number of souls I have to collect.
Q: Tell everyone what it is you do when you’re not [verb from previous question].
Death: It’s been a really long time since I’ve been able to take a long enough break from reaping to do this, but I love collecting the stories of the dead. I find it so fascinating how their motivations change between life and death, and it’s comforting for some of them when they first cross over to know that someone remembers what they were and cares.
Q: Are you serious with anyone?
Death: No. Unlike your Hades, I don’t have a Persephone yet. Maybe I’ll find someone, but for now I am alone.
Q: Tell us about your worst fear.
Death: He’s the cruelest man alive. I refuse to allow him into the afterlife because he’ll continue to cause problems for the dead if I do. That’s all I want to say.
amcasey.com/join Go to my site and join the purple court for a chance to win the complete Sorcerous & Beastly Season 1, open during August only. Winners will be congratulated on Storytime at the end of Sorceorus & Beastly Episode 1 and emailed.
Connect with Aurelia
For the month of august, anyone who joins the Purple Court (http://amcasey.com/join) will be entered to win an ebook copy of Sorcerous & Beastly the Complete First Season. Whether or not you win you’ll get access to the starter library, world building documents, forum, and more as soon as you join.