Every so often I come across a book that resonates deep in my soul – I’m sure that’s happened to you too! One of those books was Tower of Bones by Connie J Jasperson. Most of you know I love fantasy books more than any other genre and this book certainly didn’t disappoint!
I started getting to know Connie through a mutual friend and was delighted when she asked me to edit book two in the series, Forbidden Road. This was truly a labour of love for me; having enjoyed Tower of Bones so much I read it twice back-to-back, it gave me enormous joy to be able to read and work on the follow up. This has been the most comprehensive editing job I’ve had and it took a while to reach the finish line, but what made it all the more enjoyable was working with a consummate professional who I have come to respect and consider a dear friend.
Tomorrow this fabulous book is being launched and I can honestly say I’m almost as excited as Connie! Of course, being the editor has a few perks, one of which is being able to give you, my wonderful followers, an exclusive cover and trailer reveal PLUS an interview with the lovely lady! I’ve also managed to twist her arm to allow me to share an excerpt from Forbidden Road with you. So without further rambling from me . . . here is the amazing cover, which was designed by Ceri Clark.
Now for the trailer:
Intrigued yet??? Here’s the blurb:
A ray of light shone on Edwin. Of its own volition the sword Leviathan raised itself aloft to the Goddess. A bell tolled deep and clear, ringing through Edwin’s bones, ringing to his heels and resonating to his very soul, sealing him, binding him. Fervently he swore to wield Leviathan in service to the Goddess and Neveyah. He was alive with the sound of the bell. The beauty of it was almost unbearable.
As every fiber of his being resonated, a voice proclaimed “Now begins the quest in earnest. Send now the heroes four to the Shadowed Land. Beware! Beloved, the true task for which you were born begins. The storm rages, the door opens upon the field of battle. In grief recall the Forbidden Road. The Beloved Hero will rise on the day of redemption. Mist and shadows shroud the truth, but the Hero Foretold shall one day set them free.”
Tears coursed down his cheeks and falling to his knees, Edwin’s eyes were blinded by the radiance of the bell’s tolling through his heart, mind and soul. The knowledge he was loved, overwhelming in its intensity, flooded his being.
Thus begins the Quest of a lifetime. Sorrow, peril and magic await in the Valley of Mal Evol.
I’m going to keep you waiting a bit for the excerpt and tease you with the interview – especially as it talks a little more about Forbidden Road!
Me: Hi and welcome, Connie. Congratulations on the launch of Forbidden Road – are you as excited as I am?
CJJ: Yes, it’s been a long time coming and I’m glad the day is finally here.
Me: So am I!! Can you tell us a little about your new book?
CJJ: Forbidden Road takes up six years after the end of Tower of Bones, and continues Edwin’s story. Many changes have occurred and many more loom on the horizon. They are all family men, and they have careers—things that are all affected by this quest. Joining Edwin, Friedr and Christoph on their quest to shield the heart of Neveyah and heal the land is Zan, Christoph’s adopted son.
Me: Do you have a favourite character? If so, who and why?
CJJ: I’m in love with all four of them, especially now they are settled men. They each have their own strengths and that is what makes this series so much fun to write.
Me: I know what you mean – I love all of them too! How many more books are you planning for this series?
CJJ: One more in the Tower of Bones Series, working title is ‘Valley of Sorrows’. There is a prequel in the works currently about 75% done. Once all of these are complete I will begin working on the ‘Hero’ series, of which the final book is outlined.
Me: Ooo, exciting! How did writing Forbidden Road compare with writing Tower of Bones, the first book in the series?
CJJ: Both books fell out of my head faster than I could write them down. With Forbidden Road I had an editor as soon as the first draft was finished (gosh, you may know her!) and that made the whole process so much easier.
Me: I can’t think who you’re referring to, *tries to look innocent*. Are any of the characters based, however loosely, on anyone you know?
CJJ: I doubt it—so far as I know they are based on people I would LIKE to know, and began life as characters for a an old-school computer game that was planned to proceed along the lines of the early Final Fantasy games, and like the modern Aveyond games. That fell through, but I had fallen in love with the story and it became Tower of Bones.
Me: It’s a shame the game fell through, but think what we would have missed if the book had never been written . . . Anyway, what are you working on at the moment?
CJJ: I am working on Mountains of the Moon. This is Edwin’s grandfather’s story and is a bit of a comedy; it’s being written as a stand-alone novel, as Tower of Bones was. I am trying to get that one finished, because John Farmer’s flashbacks in Valley of Sorrows concern events surrounding the fates of several characters from that book. I have the basic story of Valley of Sorrows all done, but in order to flesh it out I need to finish Mountains of the Moon.
Me: I can’t wait to get my hands on these two! I know you’re a big music lover; who are your favourite artists to have playing when you write?
CJJ: In truth, I am obsessed with Ritchie Blackmore in all his incarnations, such as Rainbow and Deep Purple. I love his current band Blackmore’s Night. My other obsession is Robert Plant in all his various incarnations too! But besides Ritchie and Robert, my iPod has everything from Adele to the Zombies in it, and I have seventeen days’ worth of music, which if I began playing it end to end would never repeat itself. My daughter, Meg Clear’s music is very high on my faves list!
Me: I love Meg’s music too! Is there any one author who has influenced your writing?
CJJ: I think the late Anne McCaffrey has had the greatest influence on me, but all the great fantasy and early sci-fi writers are alive and well in my subconscious mind.
Me: What made you pick fantasy as your genre to write?
CJJ: I’ve never been fond of reality, truthfully. I guess that since I live in the real world, I don’t need to vacation here!
Me: I can SO relate to that and what a great way to explain it! What is the most important thing you’ve learned in the last 12 months?
CJJ: You may laugh, but I finally figured out how to make the brushes rotate on my carpet shampooer, and that has helped me immensely! I clean house when I hit the wall on my writing and need to organize my thoughts. I’ve always found cleaning to be conducive to daydreaming, and all my books begin as daydreams. SO—having the shampooer that’s working properly has been awesome for my creative genius!
Me: May laugh? Only a huge amount of side-splitting guffaws echoing around the room right now! That’s certainly not what I was expecting, but I think it’s brilliant. Anything which helps the creative juices to flow is a good thing, right? Okay, a couple of fun ones to finish off . . .
You’re throwing a dinner party and can invite any three people, living, dead or fictional to join you and your guests. Who would they be and why?
CJJ: Roger Zelazney, L.E. Modesitt Jr. and Fritz Lieber. Three great fantasy authors, all of whom have awesome male heroes. Only Modesitt is still alive, and of the three, only his characters are not misogynists. Nevertheless, I would love to hear them discuss the craft of writing from their viewpoints. Can you imagine the dinner conversation?
Me: OMG it would be awesome! Finally, if you could be a fictional character for a day, who would you be and why?
CJJ: I would be Uhura from the original Star Trek, because she got to play with the boys and she could talk to every species they met.
Me: Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to visit me today. I’ve loved having you here! I wish you every success with your wonderful new book!
CJJ: Thank you for inviting me!
Okay, okay, I’ve teased you long enough and can’t hold it back any longer. Here is the EXCLUSIVE excerpt from Forbidden Road, just for you:
“Why does the land change so radically here?” Zan finally asked Edwin. “This is the worst road I’ve ever seen!”
“Tauron’s poison is nearly at the door,” replied Edwin, wondering what was bothering Zan. “It’s a mere fifty leagues away from the gap now. I thought you understood. We’ll be in Tauron’s Mal Evol in three days.”
“I knew it on one level, but I guess I didn’t understand what it meant,” replied Zan, feeling temporarily dismayed by the grim reality of the landscape. “I guess I was thinking of the adventure, not the reality. I was thinking it’d be like Aelfrid Firesword, all fun and adventure, with no worry.”
“Actually, Aelfrid Firesword’s life must’ve been terribly difficult,” said Edwin, walking next to Zan. “Think about it. He was forced to kill his closest friend who’d become a rogue mage and gone over to Tauron. Can you imagine how you’d feel if, say, I went over to Tauron? How would you protect the people of Neveyah from me? What would you do?”
“I never thought about that aspect of the story,” Zan admitted. “Making those sorts of decisions, having to kill someone you love in order to protect others you love, I can’t imagine what that was like for Aelfrid.” He sighed. “But I’d do it, if I was forced to. I think it’d kill me, though.”
“I know.” Edwin clasped Zan’s shoulder. “Daryk was the most famous of the Dark-Mages, but most people don’t know he fought desperately against Tauron’s minions at Aelfrid’s side when the two of them first came into their powers. He worshipped Aeos, and loved Neveyah with all his heart. It never occurred to either Aelfrid or Daryk he would ever fall to Tauron, but there was no Temple, and no vows to protect him from Tauron’s blandishments. There was no college to teach young mages how to use their magic, so they had to learn how to control the build-up of chi and avoid the madness by gaining apprenticeships to older mages. Daryk was lured away from their kind master by a mindbender who was under Tauron’s spell. It was because of Aelfrid’s grief over the loss of the man who’d been closer than a brother, and his struggle to save the other mages still loyal to Aeos that Aeoven and the Temple exist today. Without Aelfrid we wouldn’t have the augmentations allowing us access to greater chi reserves, nor would we bind ourselves to the Goddess with the vows. It must’ve been a terribly hard time to live through.”
“I see what you mean,” admitted Zan. “As a kid I read all the stories, and just thought it was all good against evil, romance and happy endings. But maybe it’s just the way the bards tell it.”
Edwin laughed. “It wouldn’t be a good story if it was all dirt, bug bites and poor sanitary conditions now, would it?”
Forbidden Road will be available on Kindle from Amazon tomorrow (on both sides of the pond), with the paperback following soon.
Tower of Bones Series – Planned for release in February 2013 is the second book in the series, Forbidden Road, the sequel to the best-selling epic-fantasy, Tower of Bones.
Billy’s Revenge Series – Book 1 The Last Good Knight is a medieval fantasy. Book 2, Huw, the Bard is planned for release in 2013.
A collection of fairy tales and short-stories, Tales from the Dreamtime is also scheduled to be released in 2013.
Catch Connie on her blog at http://conniejjasperson.wordpress.com