Monday, July 14, 2014

Aerenden Series by Kristen Taber - Interview and Giveaway

Kristen Taber is joining us at the Pavilion today as part of her virtual book tour. Kristen will be awarding a $25 Amazon GC and 10 copies of The Gildonae Alliance (Aerenden #2) Audible Book. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


Tell us a little about how you got started as an author and how you came up with the idea for this book?

I’ve been writing since I was a child, but I started writing novels around seven years ago and began publishing them in 2012 after repeated requests from friends. The Ærenden series (the third novel, The Zeiihbu Master, is my most recent release) developed from a joke that a friend and I shared in high school. We pretended we were twins from another world (an idea stemming from a short story assignment we never finished), though we both forgot about the joke after a few weeks. Many years later, the idea came back to me in a dream and I fostered it from there. The twins became one young woman, Meaghan, who discovers her true identity after she witnesses monsters murdering her parents. Although I’m sure my friend would find Ærenden unrecognizable to our twin story, it’s still the reason my fantasy books exist today.

Where do you get your ideas for characters? In particular, did you steal some characteristics from yourself or people you know for the main characters?

None of the Ærenden characters are inspired by real people, though I have borrowed characters from people in the past. One example that comes to mind is a detective from the second book of my unreleased Molly’s Tears romance series. When I lived in Florida, I served on jury duty for an attempted murder case. The case lasted a little over a week, so my fellow jury members and I got to know a lot about the bailiffs on duty in the court house. One of them, an older gentleman with a great sense of humor, became a particularly good friend of ours. He loosely influenced my detective character and I can’t help but think of him every time I read the book.

Which author/authors or particular books have inspired you?

There are four authors who come to mind when I think of my writing inspirations. Stephen King, of course, since I grew up not far from his house in Bangor. I’ve aspired to his brilliance from the moment I first picked up one of his books in third grade (though I know I’ll likely never reach that bar; few people could). JRR Tolkien is second. After reading The Lord of the Rings, I fell in love with fantasy and knew I wanted to invent worlds with the same rich detail and inventive creatures as Middle-earth. David and Leigh Eddings are my third and fourth inspirations. The Elenium series is still one of my favorite reads, and I credit it with drawing me onto the epic fantasy path I currently walk.

What were some of your favorite reads of the past year?

I’ve been on a nonfiction kick lately, so my list leans more toward books like The Rough Guide to the Titanic by Greg Ward than mainstream stories, though two novels have really stood out to me over the past year: The Room by Emma Donoghue and The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Although I had some gripes about The Room, I found Ms. Donoghue’s story both haunting and brilliant. I don’t think many people could handle such a disturbing subject matter and pull it off as well as she did. Similarly disturbing, but for different reasons, The Book Thief is one of those rare novels that left me in complete awe when it was over. Mr. Zusak’s writing style can be described as nothing less than incredible. I would put The Book Thief as one of my top twenty reads of all time.

For the aspiring writers out there, can you tell us something about how you develop your plot?

I’m probably not the best example to follow when it comes to plotting. Although I start out with a general outline—I know where the book will end and what milestones I have to meet along the way—I tend to sit down and begin typing, trusting my characters to lead me as we take the journey together. Initially, I had outlined the entire Æerenden series as one book, but learned the hard way that my characters (and subconscious) would not tolerate the outline I’d worked so hard to construct. As I fought to keep the book on track, more characters and deeper plots surfaced, and I realized my outline belonged as a road map for a series instead of a limited plot. It’s not really the most advisable way to write if you don’t want to spend twice as long editing (following characters means significant time tightening a manuscript after the first draft is complete), but it works for me. I should add that I’m not completely willy-nilly about the whole process, though. Every plot and sub-plot in the series has a line item on a white board in my office, and I know how it all needs to be tied together. I do have some control over my characters, after all. Or at least, they’re letting me think so!

Tell us about your future? Next book?

I’m working the last two books in the Ærenden series and I want to release a book of short stories as a tie-in for the series. When that’s complete (or alongside it, if I can manage the time), I intend to launch my romance series, which focuses on the members of a popular rock band. Afterwards, who knows? Life has a way of presenting opportunities where I least expect them.

Book One: The Child Returns

Seventeen-year-old Meaghan has no idea her perfect life has been a lie — until she witnesses her parents’ brutal murders at the hands of red-eyed creatures.

After nearly sharing their fate, she escapes with her best friend, Nick, who tells her the creatures are called Mardróch. They come from another world, and so does she. Now that the Mardróch have found her, she must return to her homeland of Ærenden or face death.

Left with little choice, she follows Nick into a strange world both similar to Earth and drastically different. Vines have the ability to attack. Monkeys freeze their victims with a glare. Men create bombs from thin air. Even Meaghan’s newly discovered empath power turns into a danger she cannot control.

But control becomes the least of her worries once the Mardróch begin targeting her. When Nick confesses he knows the reason they want her, she learns the truth behind the kingdom's fifteen-year civil war — a long-buried secret that could cost Meaghan her life.


Book Two: The Gildonae Alliance

Several months after Meaghan’s return to Ærenden, the kingdom’s war has taken a turn for the worse. The Mardróch army hunts the new King and Queen, destroying villages in its wake. And Meaghan and Nick, training for battle in their remote section of wilderness, are far from safe. Danger hides in shadows and behind innocent faces. Allies become foes. Each day is a fight to survive. But in the end, only one threat matters. And it’s a threat they never see coming.


Book Three: The Zeiihbu Master

Separated and on opposite sides of the kingdom, Nick and Meaghan face different pursuits which could change the balance of power in Ærenden forever.

While Nick trains the villagers to be soldiers, Meaghan and a small rescue party venture into Zeiihbu to find Faillen's young son, before Garon can use the boy's power to destroy those still fighting against his rule.

Everyone knows Meaghan could be on a suicide mission, but when Nick stumbles upon a secret concealed in one of the southern villages, he realizes that Garon might not be Meaghan's greatest foe. The enemy most likely to kill her is someone who has also promised to keep her safe.

About the Author:
Kristen spent her childhood at the feet of an Irish storytelling grandfather, learning to blend fact with fiction and imagination with reality. She lived within the realm of the tales that captivated her, breathing life into characters and crafting stories even before she could read. Those stories have since turned into over a hundred poems, several short tales, and five manuscripts in both the Young Adult and Adult genres. Currently, Kristen is completing the five-part Ærenden series from her home office in the suburbs of Washington D.C.

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Buy Links for Book 1

Barnes and Noble

Buy Links for Book 2

Barnes and Noble

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Melanie Borhi said...

Great giveaway!

Kristen said...

Thanks for hosting me!
I will be on travel through Wednesday this week with limited internet availability, but I'll be able to check back in at the end of each day to answer any questions :).

Rita said...

I enjoyed the interview, thank you.

Elena said...

thank you for the giveaway!

Mary Preston said...

It does seem that a lot of writers were also writing as children. A great post thank you.