Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Interview with fantasy author Jamie Marchant

Today’s special guest is Jamie Marchant. We’re chatting about her new epic fantasy, The Ghost in Exile.

During her virtual book tour, Jamie will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too.

Jamie Marchant is the author of the epic fantasy series, The Kronicles of Korthlundia. Her novels include The Goddess's Choice, The Soul Stone, and The Ghost in Exile. Her short fiction has been published in the anthologies--Urban Fantasy and Of Dragons & Magic: Tales of the Lost Worlds—and in Bards & Sages, The World of Myth, A Writer’s Haven, and Short-story.me.

She lives in Auburn, Alabama, with her husband and four cats, which (or so she’s been told) officially makes her a cat lady. She teaches writing and literature at Auburn University. She is the mother of a grown son.

Welcome, Jamie. Please share a little bit about your current release.
I write fantasy . . . and the tortured soul. The Ghost in Exile qualifies loudly in both categories. The reader enters a world with gods based on Norse and Greek mythology, but with my own perverse twist. The Ghost had once been the world’s most infamous assassin, but five years before the novel’s beginning, he’d taken an oath never to kill again. The novel opens just after he’s broken that oath. It then tells two parallel stories--a flashback to a simple stable groom’s road to becoming The Ghost and The Ghost’s struggle to find a new identity for himself now that he’s broken a sacred oath made at the goddess’s holy altar.

What inspired you to write this book?
The Ghost is a minor character in my first novel, The Goddess’s Choice. When I finished that novel, he let me know in no certain terms that he had a story of his own that needed to be told. Characters can sometimes be demanding, and The Ghost isn’t the kind of person you say no to. His scars and weapons are more than a little intimidating. Fortunately, he’s happy with me now his book is done, and I can sleep at night again. (Note: While The Ghost is introduced in The Goddess’s Choice, it isn’t necessary to have read that novel to understand and enjoy The Ghost in Exile.)

Excerpt from The Ghost in Exile:
As The Ghost entered Ares’s temple, an oppressive presence settled over him. He seemed to be alone in the huge sanctuary, but he knew the acolytes of Ares watched through hidden panels. Rumors claimed they waited for someone with signs of weakness to enter. Then they would pour forth, seize the unfortunate, and sacrifice him to their god. The Ghost had found no evidence to support such rumors, but he knew that animals and criminals were regularly sacrificed on Ares’s altar, bleeding out their lives into the bowl at the foot of his statue. It was a hard death, both the blood and the pain feeding the magic of Ares’s priests.
The Ghost knelt at Ares’s feet, where the stench of blood was nearly overpowering. The altar was stained with it, and the bowl at the god’s feet was full from a fresh sacrifice. The power present in this place was undeniable—dark and forbidding, far from the peace and serenity in Sulis’s temples. But he was no longer worthy of Sulis’s blessing. The Ghost drew his dagger, held his left forearm over the sacrificial bowl, and sliced a new cut alongside his numerous scars. As he bled into the bowl, he felt the magic of the place coalesce around him. His blood sizzled as it hit the bowl, and the wound on his arm healed instantly, signaling that The Ghost truly belonged to the Saloynan god.

A door opened behind him; he stood and faced the high priest. Zotico was completely bald and looked no older than he had when The Ghost had first met him ten long years ago. He had small, beady eyes and a typical Saloynan narrow nose. “Pandaros! How wonderful!” the priest beamed, calling The Ghost a name he’d decided he must take up again. He could no longer be either “Ahearn” or “Darhour”; they were both dead. “Rumors said you were no longer among the living. Come in, come in.” Zotico gestured toward the doorway. “I can’t tell you how happy I am to see you.”

Zotico’s enthusiasm seemed excessive even for him. Warily, The Ghost followed Zotico down the corridor to the high priest’s office. It was large, the walls covered with instruments of war—swords, shields, battle axes, and plaques ornamented with what looked suspiciously like human ears. The ears were new. Zotico caught The Ghost looking at them and swept his hand over a plaque that contained five ears nailed side by side. “Do you like the new decor? Sacrifices, all of them. I had them moved from our private sanctuary so I could better remember the devotion demanded by the god I serve.”

Zotico may not appear to age, but his ghoulishness grew with each passing year. The Ghost carefully schooled his features to avoid betraying any sign of revulsion.

What exciting story are you working on next?
The Bull Riding Witch is a significant departure from my previously published novels. It is urban rather than epic fantasy and has a much lighter tone. The crown princess Daulphina awakes to find herself trapped in the body of a rodeo bull rider with no idea where she is, how she got there, or how to get home. As the tag line says, “Walking up in a man’s body would ruin any princess’s morning.”

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I don’t remember ever not considering myself a writer. I start writing stories for my older sister when I was about six. I did lose my way for a short time. Since everybody told me I needed a backup plan, I pursued a PhD in English, and in the midst of getting it and job hunting afterward, I stopped writing fiction. I forgot the degree was supposed to be the backup plan. One day in the midst of writing a piece of literary criticism on Willa Cather, it hit me that I was no longer doing what I loved. I never finished that article and started The Goddess’s Choice instead. That was about fifteen years ago, and I’ve been a happier person ever since.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
Unfortunately, I still have a day job. I teach writing and literature at Auburn University. Fortunately, the life of a professor includes a flexible schedule and a lot of holidays.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I have an inexplicable (at least to me) disconnect between my brain and my fingers, causing me to type a word other than the one I meant. This often results in hilarious errors and happens so frequently a member of my writing group named this type of errors, Jamieisms. Her favorite to date contains two Jamieisms in the same sentence. She couldn’t stop laughing when The Ghost “whipped his mouth with the back of his head.”

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A writer. I always knew what I was meant to be. My only question was how was I going to get there.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Just a warning: “Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.”

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Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Jamie Marchant said...

Thanks for hosting me. I'd love to answer any questions about me or my books. I'll be checking back throughout the day, so let me know what's on your mind.

Victoria Alexander said...

Great cover & enjoyed reading your post. Thanks for sharing :)

Ally Swanson said...

Congrats on the new book and good luck on the book tour!

Lisa Brown said...

Congrats on the tour and thanks for the chance to win :)

MomJane said...

This book sounds wonderful.