Friday, December 5, 2014

AUTHOR INTERVIEW + GIVEAWAY: The Challenge by @CasPeace1

‘Circle of Conspiracy Book One: The Challenge; fourth book in the triple-trilogy Artesans of Albia fantasy series.’

Friend against friend, lover against lover, ally against ally. Conflict is coming …

Nine months have passed since Brynne Sullyan helped forge an alliance between the realms of Albia and Andaryon. A fragile peace reigns as both sides recover from the events of the previous year. Then mysterious raiders strike Andaryon villages. Attempts are made on the life of Albia’s High King. As Sullyan scrambles to find those responsible, unseen enemies threaten to pull apart everything she has worked for, including her marriage.

The alliance begins to crumble, and Sullyan finds herself caught between two monarchs: the king she’s sworn allegiance to, and the man she loves as a father. To betray either one would break her heart, but if conflict is inevitable, she must make a choice …

Let us Start With the Basics
First may I say a huge thank you for inviting me to answer these questions. I really enjoyed doing so and I hope your readers enjoy them too. Thank you for helping me get the word out about my fantasy novels, I really appreciate it.
o   Who are you? I’m Cas Peace, a fantasy and non-fiction author and also freelance editor, from Southern England, UK
o   Tell us (briefly) about you... I’m currently 57; I’ve been married for 24 years to my lovely husband, Dave; we have two rescue Lurchers, Milly and Milo; I originally trained as a horse-riding teacher and I both ride and carriage-drive; I sing folk songs and also write songs, and both Dave and I sing in our local church choir; I play the bodhran (Irish drum); I love gardening and I have a large collection of cacti.
o   A bit about what you have written… My fantasy series, Artesans of Albia, consists of nine novels arranged into three trilogies. It’s aimed mainly at adults, but I’ve had kids as young as 12 read and enjoy the books. Artesans are people born with a special ability to influence and control elemental forces, but the Artesan craft is looked on with suspicion by most ‘ordinary’ people. The premise for the series is that a mysterious enemy of Artesans is trying to eradicate the Artesan craft from the world. He will stop at nothing, setting friend against friend, lover against lover, and ally against ally.
o   What you are working on right now? Although all nine of the books in my series are already written, they are not all publication-ready. I’m still working my way through them to get them polished and ready in time for their publication dates. Once the whole series has been published, I have the idea for a YA prequel in mind. I also have editing clients, so I’m usually pretty busy.
o   What are your earliest book-related memories? My earliest book-related memory is of walking through winter snow to the local library with my Mum, returning with my chosen books, and curling up by the fire in a huge armchair and some chocolate to read them. Even after all these years, this is still my favorite way to relax. In my mind, chocolate is inextricably linked to reading good books!
o   What are your three favorite books? Oh,that’s a hard one. I don’t often think about havinga “favorite” anything, because there are so many things I love. But I have read The Lord of the Rings countless times, and I also adore Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series. In more recent times, Stephen Donaldson’s Chronicles of Thomas Covenant have been unmissable novels.
o   How many books to do you read at any given time? If I’m reading for pleasure, I only read one book at a time. I only get time for pleasure-reading just before going to sleep, so one book is plenty! But I almost always have editing clients, so I’m also “reading” their books during the day.
o   What are you reading now? Right now I’m reading “I, the Sun” by Janet E. Morris. I love Janet’s books, especially her Sacred Band of Stepsons novels, and I was thrilled when she read and loved my series so much, she endorsed them.
o   Finish this sentence; when I curl up with a book, I ___ I guess I’ve already answered this one! When I curl up with a book, I like to have some chocolate handy!
o   To re-read or not to re-read that is the question. I have re-read my favorite books many, many times. I keep print copies of the best ones and revisit them like old friends. You can almost always notice something you missed the first time you read a book.
o   How likely are you to read a book that has been recommended to you? Fairly likely. As long as it’s been recommended by someone who knows my tastes, I will read it.
o   How likely are you to recommend a book (that is not yours)? Very likely. I do it all the time!
o   What do you look for in a good book? Good writing that flows well. Complex characters I can really believe in. Plots that make sense, even when they twist. If the author uses cliffhangers, they must be gasp-worthy, and endings must leave me wanting more.
o   Why do you write? I love it! It makes me feel complete. I love the way I can connect with total strangers on a deep and meaningful level. It makes me feel humble.
o   If you weren’t a writer, what would you be? On leaving school I trained as a teacher of horse-riding and my goal was to become a show-jumper. Unfortunately, my back isn’t very good and my balance suffers because if it, so I wasn’t as good as I’d have liked to be at riding. That’s why I write horses into my novels! If I wasn’t a writer, I’d love to go back to teaching horse-riding.
o   Where do you draw your inspiration? From everywhere. Sometimes ideas just pop into my head. Sometimes they are suggested by listening to and watching other people. Sometimes a TV program will provide a piece of a puzzle or give me the idea for a story. And sometimes I simply want to explore how a character might react to a certain situation. Life lends inspiration all the time.
o   What has writing taught you about yourself? It’s made me delve further into my own emotions and nature than I might otherwise have done. It’s taught me to be humble, and it’s taught me that I enjoy helping other writers. It’s given me a measure of confidence I didn’t have before. It might sound trite, but writing has filled a small hole in my soul I never knew existed.
o   How do the people in your life seem to view your writing career? I’m so lucky to have a very supportive family. My husband, who hadn’t read fantasy before reading my books, is extremely complimentary about my work, and my mother, who had also never read a fantasy book in her life, is a firm fan. My brother helps with the folk-type songs and music I write for the books, and he also loves the novels. And I have many friends among my neighbors who demand each new books as it’s published.
o   Are there any stereotypes about writers that you don't think are true? As stereotypes are generalizations, there will always be people to whom they apply and to whom they don’t. Writers are as diverse a group of people as any other. I know reclusive writers, writers who put off their tasks, writers who forget to eat while they’re writing, and writers who never get “blocked”. And, conversely, I know many writers who are the direct opposite of the types I just mentioned. Writers are people, and people come in every type you can imagine!
o   What do you see as the biggest challenge today for writers starting out? In many ways, I think it’s now much easier for writers who are just starting out. I didn’t have the internet when I started, and it was so difficult finding answers to questions about the industry. Now, that difficulty no longer exists, although you still have to filter out the good answers from the bad! It’s also much easier to get published now, and agents and the traditional publishers are having to change the way they work - no bad thing, in my opinion! But that ease in getting books “out there” can work both ways, for it means that writers have to compete harder against more books to get decent sales. Standing out from the crowd is perhaps harder now than it’s ever been.
o   Have you made any writing mistakes that seem obvious in retrospect but not at the time? My biggest mistake was to pay a “reading fee” to an agent. I’d heard all the advice against it, and I knew I was taking a risk, but I’d spoken to the agent on the phone and they sounded sincere. And I was desperate to get someone to read my novel. So I paid the fee (it was £300, about $480 at today’s rates), only to have the agent disappear with my money. My only consolation was that I wasn’t the only naive writer to get duped by that fraudulent person. A lesson learned!
o   Is there a particular project you would love to be involved with? Like every writer, I’d love a film director to come knocking with a film proposal! I’m always being told how “visual” my books are and how wonderfully they’d work as a film. All I need is for a director to think that way too!
o   How do you deal with your fan base? I do my best to interact as much as possible with fans. I do have to apportion my time carefully, else I’d get no editing or writing done, but if someone likes my work enough to want to talk  or ask about it, I feel honored and don’t want to ignore them. I like talking about my novels too!
o   Finish this sentence; my fans would be surprised to know ___ about me. Well, it’s a bit embarrassing really. I’m not frightened of the usual things - spiders, snakes, or bugs - but rainbows can freak me out. Yes, I know, it’s weird! I’m terrified of thunderstorms, too.
o   Anything else we should know? All the folk-style songs and music associated with my fantasy books can be heard and downloaded for free from my website. I’m also on Reverbnation:
o   and Soundcloud: Once all the books have been published, I will collate the songs into an accompanying CD that people can buy.

About the Author - Cas Peace:

Cas Peace was born in Hampshire UK, in 1957, and has lived there most of her life. Her first career was as a horse-riding instructor, and horses remain very close to her heart. She then spent 13 years working for the British Civil Service before leaving the UK to live in Italy for three years, 1991-1994. She speaks passable but by no means perfect Italian, and loves to return to Italy whenever she can.

Cas's other great loves are anything to do with animals, especially dogs and horses, (she supports many animal charities) and also singing.

Cas loves folk songs and along with her husband, who plays guitar, has performed in many a Southern England folk club. Sometimes they even asked her back! She writes folk songs to accompany her fantasy novels, and offers them as free downloads from her website.

ARTESANS Series Book Trailer:

Review Quotes:

“Cas Peace has a most beguiling method of pulling you into this very well thought out world she has created. You simply fall in love with her characters, and then you cannot put the book down.” -P C Dodge, Amazon Reviewer.

“If you enjoy being whisked away to the realm of fantasy, I strongly suggest this unique, special read! Hands down, one of the best fantasy series I have ever read!” -Ashley L. Knight, author of FALWYN

“I have just loved this entire series. Cas Peace is a master storyteller, providing a depth and breadth of information about her worlds and their people that is just staggering. Her characters are complex and multi-dimensional, and I have very much enjoyed reading this series. I am also looking forward with great anticipation to her next novel in this series. I heartily recommend this series to anyone who enjoys epic fantasy, strong world-building and beautiful storytelling. Highly recommended!” -K. Sozaeva, Amazon Vine Voice and Top 1000 Reviewer.

Cas Peace's Artesans of Albia trilogy immediately sweeps you away:  the drama starts with King's Envoy, continues unabated in King's Champion, and climaxes in King's Artesan, yet each volume is complete, satisfying.  The Artesan series propels you into a world so deftly written that you see, feel, touch, and even smell each twist and turn. These nesting novels are evocative, hauntingly real.  Smart.  Powerful.  Compelling.  The trilogy teems with finely drawn characters, heroes and villains and societies worth knowing; with stories so organic and yet iconic you know you've found another home—in Albia.

Now there's a fourth book on Albia's horizon:  The Challenge, also Book One in Peace's forthcoming sub-series, the Circle of Conspiracy trilogy, proof of more Albian tales on the way.  So start reading now.  I, for one, can't wait to find out what will happen next. -Janet Morris: The Sacred Band of Stepsons; the Dream Dancer series; I, the Sun; Outpassage

THE CHALLENGE Tour Giveaway:

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  1. Thanks so much for hosting me and asking such great interview questions. And for helping me promote my work. I really appreciate it!

  2. You are simply the best. I can't thank you enough for your continued support and participation. I love you madly. xx