The wonderful Matt Staggs interviews me on Suvudu today.

9780062383426Sarah Remy is the author of Stonehill Downs: A “forensic fantasy” about an investigative mage and his partner Avani, a refugee from The Sunken Lands. I recently spoke with Sarah about her book and why having a protagonist who can speak to the dead doesn’t necessarily ruin a murder mystery.

I have to admit that the description “forensic fantasy” was the thing that caught my attention about your book. What is a forensic fantasy?

Think a daub of Sherlock Holmes sprinkled with scattering of CSI and poured into a mixing bowl of your expected epic fantasy. And add a twist of cultural diversity for good measure.

I’m a fan of the mystery genre as much as I am the fantasy. My magus, Mal, relies as much on medieval science as he does his sometimes-wild magic. In fact, I’d say his forensic skills are more reliable than his sorceries.

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AUTHOR INTERVIEW – THE QWILLERY

Today I’m interviewed on The Qwillery, one of my favorite book blogs. Go, go. Read the interview, vote for STONEHILL as world’s best cover (DAC Cover Competition), and if you haven’t already, pick up a copy of STONEHILL DOWNS. It costs less than a slice of pumpkin pie at your favorite street bakery, and it’s just as tasty.

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Please welcome Sarah Remy to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Stonehill Downs was published in digital format on December 2nd by Harper Voyager Impulse. The Mass Market Paperback edition will be published on December 30th. more..

DRAGONFLIGHT DREAMS reviews Stonehill Downs

by Sarah Remy.

Stonehill DownsI’ve been on a bit of a non-fiction kick lately (thanks, book club) and let me just say that it was so good to get back to my regular fantasy wheelhouse. And this book in particular was a good step back into it. Stonehill Downs is the story of Malachi, the king’s vocent (talks to spirits) and last magus in the kingdom, sent to the remote village of Stonehill Downs to investigate the very weird and bloody murders of a local lord and some Kingsmen. It is also the story of Avani, a foreign weaver, who has settled in Stonehill Downs and is the one to find the bodies. Unfortunately, soon after he arrives to investigate, things escalate, and Malachi and Avani are thrown together for survival. He’s haunted by his dead wife, she has a raven familiar and gets sporadic visions, and together they have to work to solve the mystery of what is happening on the Downs, before whatever-it-is spreads and destroys the kingdom.

I liked this book. It had a good mix of elements: magic, mystery, good characters with layers, a good pace, enjoyable writing. The central mystery of the book is handled well – Remy keeps it interesting enough to hold up as the main plot line, while not making the solution to the puzzle super obvious, and still leaving room for other side things to be going on. That’s a fine balance to walk. The relationship between Malachi and Avani is intriguing; you can see it change and grow through the book. I do wish the author had gone a bit more into the history of the world. I feel like I know the characters, but not that I really know too much about the world, especially in regards to Avani’s original home and certain legends that come up whose significance I feel like I’m missing because we don’t have that history.

However, the author has said this is book #1 of a 2-book series, so I’m excited to see what she has in store for book #2 – it might address some of those points. Overall, definitely a good read, and I will be picking up that second book. :)

I give it 4/5 stars.

I wish more fantasy, especially the dominant fantasy that draws heavily on British and Christian lore, would wrestle with its own ethnospecific nature and what that means when the story is set somewhere where more than one belief system is in operation. If all you do is pay lip service to it, you can get the kind of thing where the writer has thrown one Hindu god into a Christianist fantasy (rendering said god by default a demon or otherwise inferior to the dominant religious system of the story, which is such an insult), and the hero is able to vanquish it by chanting a spell in church Latin.

- Nalo Hopkinson, in “Write Your Heart Out”: An Interview with Nalo Hopkinson on Strange Horizons

RED PIN CHARACTERS

It’s the Meet My Main Character Blog Hop – and I’m up! I was tagged by the very talented Lexie Dunne. Thank you, Lexie. If you haven’t had a chance to already, hop back over there and check out her enigmatic protagonist, Gail Godwin.

Those of you who have been following me for a while know I write everything from contemporary romance to LGBTQA adventure to NA paranormal. I may stretch across several genres, but the story-telling foundation never changes: my tales are always, at their heart, about character relationships. Plot is central, but character interaction is essential, especially in an epic fantasy like STONEHILL DOWNS.

So it’s very difficult for me to stick a red pin on the map and say: This, here, this ONE is my main character. Unknown

 I do, however, play favorites. Characters upon whom the entire adventure hinges, whose genesis and development I particularly enjoy writing. STONEHILL DOWNS has three Red Pin Characters. Two of the three are very much tangled in spoilers, and will have to wait until next time around.

The third Red Pin Character, my displaced shepherd, artisan, and hedge-witch, is also my strong, stubborn, and innately solid moral compass. She knows right from wrong and good from evil. Until, of course, she doesn’t.

I give you Avani, through the eyes of her soon-to-be traveling companion, Malachi Doyle.

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“My lord,” the Widow repeated, more quietly. “Avani is here.”

“Thank you,” Mal replied. “Please bring us more cider.”

“Aye,” the Widow said. She bustled quickly away.

“Well, then, you have a way about you, no doubt. What did you do to frighten her so?”

The voice was sweet and liquid as the cider. Mal turned his head, picking a silhouette from the swirl of smoke.

Broken, he thought at first. Horribly malformed, a crooked spine, one shoulder noticeably higher than the other. Mal felt a shock of sorrow and pity, a shiver of sympathy in the pit of his stomach.

When she stepped from the smoke, the flash of relief was so strong he choked on a breath of thick air.

The woman was straight as his sword, keen edged and beautiful. She was small and very lean, and Mal recognized the whittling of hard work and too little to eat.

Her skin was brown, her hair long and black and loose. She wore an ugly cape of patchwork fur above an overlong tunic and torn trousers. In the firelight the lump on her shoulder became a large crow, a bird as dark as the woman’s skin, and as sleek and graceful as her hands.

She moved those hands as she spoke, weaving a constant and gentle dance in the air with her fingers. Bangles of beaten gold chimed on both of her wrists, their glimmer almost hidden by the loose sleeves of the tunic she wore.

“I am told the vocent is more powerful than the king himself,” she said, smiling slightly. Her voice was lightly accented, syllables fluid. “But I didn’t believe a man existed who might cow the Widow.”

STONEHILL DOWNS debuts on December 2nd.

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Preorder now on Amazon, Amazon UK and B&N.

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And now I get to pass the ball to the next players in this blog roll. I’ve got three lovely authors on my tag list, each eager to introduce their main character:

  • INGRID SEYMOUR, author of the excellent MORPHID CHRONICLES, as well as the upcoming Harper Voyager release, IGNITE THE SHADOWS
  • SAM HARDY, author of BEAUTIFUL NIGHTMARE, an elegantly written short appearing in the recently released FAIRLY TWISTED TALES
  • JESSICA DALL, author of the BROKEN LINE SERIES, and BETWEEN THE LINES, coming soon from REUTS Publications.

Find SAM, JESSICA and myself in the fantastically creepy FAIRLY TWISTED TALES FOR THE HORRIBLY EVER AFTER.

Find it on Amazon and  B&N

and  in hardcover at  REUTS.

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