Blood Crystal Blog Tour

How exciting to be a part of the blog tour for new release Blood Crystal by Jeanette O’Hagan. I trust you’ve been following along and collecting your scavenger hunt clues (check below for details and today’s clue), along with prizes offered by host authors along the way.

Following on from David Rawling’s tour blog, today I have the privilege of interviewing secondary character from Blood Crystal, Lady Zara. Let’s make her feel welcome.

Lady Zara, thank you for agreeing to speak about the recent events below the mountain. It must be difficult living under the rule of Overseer Havilah, as the daughter of the conquered former leader, Uzza. If you don’t mind, I’d like to ask some questions. I’ll take your haughty nod as permission. No need to glare.

Question one. Overseer Havilah seems to have some ‘interesting’ family dynamics to manage with her sons. What do you think of her as a leader? Does she have the best intentions for the Earthbiter people, or is she swayed too much by the opinions of her boys, especially Putarn?

What do you mean ‘Earthbiter’? Such a strange and rude term. And don’t talk to me about Havilah, a common toolwun with ideas above her station and capabilities. Though you are right about those sons of hers, especially that Putarn – such an unimpressive fellow with a scrappy beard and unpleasant manner, always with an angry scowl. His ideas are simply ludicrous.

Apologies for seeming rude. I’d heard the Forest Folk use this term and thought … well … perhaps we’d best move onto question two. Scrybe Barekia, who repaired the Crystal Heart during your father’s … ah … strategic retreat, seems to have doubts about the crystal’s continued function. Now there are rumours of a sacrifice being required of the ‘true seed’. What do you make of this?

Well! I have no idea what this nonsense is about the ‘true seed’, but both my honoured father and grandfather made it clear that sacrifices are needed to appease the Dark Ones and keep the Crystal Heart functioning. Unpleasant as the thought is, it is surely better than the whole realm dying? I’m not at all surprised these upstarts are having difficulties. When my father puts them in their place, he’ll get the Heart working again.

Oooookay … that seems somewhat … alarming, I mean … Question three. The Prentice twins, Delvina and Retza, often seem to find themselves in the middle of trouble. In fact, I understand Retza’s been quite the hero as far as you’re concerned. What do you think of the twins and their quest to find answers from the Forest Folk?

So they are twins are they? They do seem common and rather blunt, but Retza did defend me and my little brother Jesson against that horrid Javot’s treachery. Excuse me a moment. It was rather distressing incident. Yes, a sip of water would be welcome. Mind you, I was getting the best of Javot. I am quite capable of defending myself and my brother. Still, Retza’s intervention was timely. Some might find him nice-looking and strong for a common prentice.

That wasn’t quite the version I heard from—

As for seeking help from the Forest Folk, going outside the mountain tunnels is unheard of. Even if it’s possible, it seems foolish and perilous. My grandfather warned of the dangers of the outsiders and their covetous eyes on our wealth, which is why he closed off our realm many years ago and forbade all talk of the outside.

I see. Question four. You might remember Forest dweller, Zadeki, from his brief time under the mountain when he was brought there by the twins after being injured. How do you feel about Zadeki and his capacity to shape-shift? Do you think his people will be able to offer answers to help repair the heart? Is this something that worries you?

Is that what that freakish, silver-skinned stranger was called? Zadeki? An outlandish name and so tall, but no chin hairs to speak of. I do remember him transforming into a horrid, big, furry creature with giant paws and great big teeth in the Sunken Temple. Jaguar, my father called it. It gives me nightmares to think of it.

Frankly, I am a little worried. I doubt such savage people could help us and what if they decide to come back to eat us all and steal our treasures? But then, such a foolhardy mission to the outside will surely fail. And, any day now, my father will come back and restore everything to how it should be.

I see. Well, thanks for your time, Lady Zara. I’ll let you get back to … whatever it is you do now you’re a guarded prisoner of the new order.

You are welcome, I suppose. I look after my poor injured brother and think of ways we can escape to my father. I’m not at all concerned with these petty people, certainly not young prentices like Retza.

Blood Crystal Scavenger Hunt (clue #7 below!) will run throughout the Blood Crystal Blog Tour. Each blog will have a reflection or memory related to themes within Blood Crystal – and a related question. The first person to answer all NINE questions correctly will win a $50 Amazon voucher. The runner up will receive copies of both Heart of the Mountain and the sequel Blood Crystal. Follow each post on the blog tour to find the questions & list your answers in the comments on the final blog post of the tour on 28 July.

Next tour blog stop is Adam Collings (Adam does cool stuff like video interviews). Don’t forget there’s also opportunity to win prizes at each blogspot, including this one!

Scavenger Hunt Clue #7: My current work in progress is a YA slipstream sci-fi fantasy novel, parallelling the lives of two young people from different centuries through a peculiar connection. A significant portion of the historical story revolves around mining in Queensland. Mining ventures must entail management of toxic by-products, which historically has not always been done well. An Australian example of an undesirable mining legacy is the pollution of Dee River. What is the name of the mine associated with this environmental disaster?

Blog Post Prize Opportunity: Comment on this post for your chance to receive a copy of one of my YA techno-thriller Blaine Colton trilogy novels, either Integrate, Replicate or Activate – winner (one person who comments who will be randomly selected) gets to choose which novel they receive.

Bio: Jeanette O’Hagan has published fantasy novellas, including Heart of the Mountain and Blood Crystal, short stories and poems published in various Anthologies, including Tied in Pink Romance Anthology (profits from the anthology go towards Breast Cancer research); Poetica Christi’s Inner Child; Brio anthology, Another Time Another Place, Let the Sea Roar, Glimpses of Light and Plan Australia’s Like a Girl. She has practiced medicine, studied communication, history and theology and has taught theology. She cares for her Family, has a Masters of Arts (Writing) from Swinburne University and is writing her Akrad’s fantasy fiction series. You can read some of her short fiction here
connect with her on Facebook or Twitter or Goodreads or amazon or at or Jeanette O’Hagan Writes.

Twice Stolen – Susanne Timpani Blog Hop

SusanneTToday I have the pleasure of introducing debut author, Susanne Timpani. Susanne is married, has four beautiful children and works as a community nurse with families. (So, she’s a busy lady!) Themes of her work and her faith appear in her writing. She’s also the author of the blog, 10 Minute Daily Retreat, twice weekly reflections on scripture. And she’s kindly agreed to chat about her new novel, Twice Stolen:

‘After the death of his grandmother, Dimitri finds he’s been lied to most of his life. His journey into the Outback to unravel the mystery of his identity leads to an encounter with Leah, a nurse with a tragic secret.’

Twice Stolen broaches issues of identity, loss, love and betrayal, and is woven around the theme of Australia’s Indigenous Stolen Generation. You can find out more on this aspect of the novel in Susanne’s interview yesterday on the CWD blog.Twice Stolen cover high resolution

Whilst prompting deeper reflection on the generational impact of the policy effecting widespread removal of Indigenous children from their families, this novel also emulates the traditional storytelling of Indigenous Australians, entwining the Biblical Song of Songs (Song of Solomon) through this element. In Q&A format, Susanne’s going to tell us a little more about this aspect of her story.

Q. What sparked the idea of incorporating the Biblical Song of Songs as a framework for your novel?
A. The Song is considered by some as one of the greatest love songs in history. Its fame in the ancient world parallels our Romeo and Juliet or Pride and Prejudice. Given that Twice stolen is written in the genre of Inspirational Fiction, I decided its themes provided a strong foundation on which to build the plot.

Q. Twice Stolen draws on the emotional awakenings depicted in Song of Songs. How is this significant in the novel?
A. The Song of Songs is like any love story. The characters experience an ebb and flow of emotion in their relationship. They face obstacles and resolutions appear almost impossible. The reader wonders if the characters’ love is strong enough to endure.

Q. The young adult protagonists both carry vulnerabilities because of their situations. Do you feel there are similarities between your characters and the lovers in Song of Songs?
A. My characters, Dimitri and Leah, like to think so.

Q. Okay, I think Dimitri and Leah might be a little biased. 🙂 What do you think?
A. Absolutely. The Song of Songs describes the love between King Solomon, named the ‘Lover’, and a local girl, the ‘Beloved’. The Beloved finds it difficult to comprehend how a king could possibly love her, a mere keeper of a vineyard. Despite returning his feelings, she spends a great proportion of the Song denying them and rejecting his love. The Lover never wavers in his feelings, believing that in the end she’ll come around.

Q. This makes it sound like Dimitri’s love is not reciprocated as ardently by Leah. Is it really so one sided?
A. Not at all. The Song of Songs is thought to appear in the Bible because it reflects the relationship of love which exists between God and ourselves. God is our steadfast Lover, and we, His recalcitrant Beloved. It doesn’t take Leah and Dimitri too long to realize that they are both similar to the Beloved, and in the end, God alone is the true Lover.

Q. Lastly, is there a verse from Song of Songs you feel best captures the heart of this story?
A. Definitely.

for love is as strong as death,
its jealousy[a] unyielding as the grave.
It burns like blazing fire,
like a mighty flame.[b]
7 Many waters cannot quench love;
rivers cannot sweep it away. Song of Songs 8:6-7

Throughout the hurdles Dimitri and Leah must face in Twice Stolen, they constantly question the strength of their love. They each face a major life challenge and something innate must change within or their romance doesn’t stand a chance. They question whether it is even possible to have love as strong as this verse describes.

Thanks so much for sharing with us today, Susanne. I enjoyed reading Twice Stolen and found myself drawn by Dimitri’s and Leah’s stories – as I’m sure your future readers will, too. Twice Stolen won the 2012 CALEB prize for an unpublished manuscript and is due for release on Valentine’s Day weekend (Feb 12-14) in South Australia, and will be launched in the company of Susanne’s publisher, Anne Hamilton, founder and director of Armour Books. For more about Susanne visit her website and 10 Minute Daily Retreat. To connect you can also find her on Facebook and Goodreads.