Prism Book Alliance® would like to thank B R Sanders for stopping by today.
Author: B R Sanders
Publisher: 26 Letter Productions
Cover Artist: C. Bedford
Genre: Bisexual, Fantasy, Romance
Ariah’s magical training has been interrupted. Forced to rely on a mentor, Dirva, who is not who he claims to be, and a teacher who is foreign and powerful, Ariah is drawn into a culture wholly different from the elven one that raised him.
As his friendship with Dirva’s brother blossoms into a surprising romance, and he slowly learns how to control the dangerous magic in his blood, life finally appears to be coming together for Ariah—but love and security are cut short by a tyrannical military empire bent on expanding its borders.
War, betrayal, passion, and confusion follow Ariah as his perilous journey leads him beyond the walls of the Empire, and into unfamiliar territory within himself. Along the way, he’ll discover just how much he’s willing to give up to find his place in the world, and he’ll learn what it means to sacrifice himself for freedom—and for love.
Recent Release Spotlight with BR Sanders
We are here today to talk about Ariah. What can you tell us about it?
Thanks for having me! Ariah is a queer romance fantasy novel. It’s set in the world of Aerdh, which is where most of my fiction is set. I would say it’s sweeping. The book covers twenty-two years of Ariah’s life, and over the course of it he travels thousands of miles.
The heart of the book is Ariah, an elf who is a shaper. Shapers have a sort of empathic magical ability that gives them an immense amount of insight into the people around them. This magic deeply colors the way Ariah sees the world: it is so deeply wedded to his experience that he can’t understand what life is like for those who don’t have this ability. For much of the book he lacks full control over it, and he lacks full understanding of it. For Ariah, the gift manifests such that he doesn’t always know where the boundary is between himself and another person.
That was a tension I wanted to explore with this book. In western culture, at least, we like to pretend that we are fully bounded individuals, but how true is that, really? How much of me is really me? How much of me is truly discrete? We all know that we shift a little from context to context, and we all know that we are shaped–deeply and profoundly shaped–by the people in our lives. Sometimes for the better, and sometimes for the worse.
Tell us more about our main characters?
There’s Ariah, obviously. He’s a young elf, trying to find his way in the world. The book is structured much like a classic coming-of-age novel around his self-realizations, though his self-realizations are less than typical.
There’s also Sorcha, who is Ariah’s mentor’s younger brother. Sorcha is a wild thing–uneducated, willful, clever, handsome. He is raised in a much different milieu from Ariah, with very different expectations. They bring out the best in each other, but they have to manage these different expectations. Their romance is a long and tangled thing.
And then there’s Shayat. Shayat starts as Ariah’s student during a period of the book where Ariah and Sorcha are separated. I loved writing Shayat; she is so mouthy, so completely herself. Where Sorcha has a tendency to coddle Ariah, Shayat challenges him. Shayat was raised the same way Ariah was, so unlike with Sorcha, Ariah and Shayat have a shared starting place, shared experiences. But their relationship is no less complicated.
What about Ariah makes you the proudest?
The characters. Queer people need good representation, quality representation. That doesn’t mean perfect people; it means quality work. It means realistic portrayals. And, yes, these are elves, but they are still people–they have interior lives and emotional response that make sense.
If you could be one of your characters who would you be and why?
Oh, man. I would be…that’s hard! I think I would Halaavi. Halaavi is a character Ariah meets later in the book, a gold elf from a nomadic culture called the Droma. Ariah meets them in a time of great need–literally a time of life or death for him–and Halaavi and the others take him into their clan. Halaavi is an interesting character; very thoughtful, very independent, but reflective of the communalities that hold people to one another. And the interesting thing about the Droma is their conceptions of gender, or rather, their lack of conception of gender. They don’t have a binary gender system like we do. They just refer to each other as people, which I, as a genderqueer person, would find very refreshing.
If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?
I would like the ability to stop time, and I would use it to sleep as long I wanted, which would be like thirteen hours a day.
If you could give one piece of advice to aspiring writers, what would it be?
Finish things. When you’re starting to write, it’s really easy to get insecure and to hate your writing and to psych yourself out. It’s really easy to start things but not finish things. But you have to finish things. If you don’t finish the things you start, then you won’t learn how to craft a narrative. You won’t learn how to push through that crappy first draft and turn off that critical editor voice until the second draft. Remember, you can’t publish something that isn’t finished. You have to learn to finish things.
What are you reading right now and what is next on your to-be-read list?
I’ve just started reading Dervishes by Neal Starkman. I have no idea what I’ll be reading next–I have, like, 190 books on my to-read list! I tend to randomly choose what to read next. It’ll probably be nonfiction. Maybe Rabid: A Cultural History of the World’s Most Diabolical Virus? That one’s been in my queue for a while.
Rapid Fire Time
- Tardis or DeLorean? Tardis!
- Hawaii or Colorado? Ummm….Colorado. Less humidity.
- Country or City? Country.
- Flowers or Candy? Candy, definitely.
- Go Fish or Old Maid? Old Maid.
- Underwear and socks: folded in the drawer or tossed? God, I’m such a nerd: underwear,
- folded in the drawer.
- Pastel or neon (bright?)? Neon!
- Ketchup or Mustard? Mustard.
- Fire or Ice? Oh, neither. I prefer to play it safe.
- Jock or Thong? Jock.
What are you working on? What is next?
This is very exciting! So, next up is actually a sequel to Ariah! Or, not quite a sequel–I’m working on a related story that happens in parallel. I originally conceived of it as a novelette or novella, but it’s taken on a life of its own, and it’s developed into a full-fledged novel. It’s tentatively titled The Search, and it features Sorcha and Shayat. Stay posted for more news on that!
In the interim, if you read Ariah and desperately find yourself needing to read more fiction set in the world of Aerdh, there’s always my other novel, Resistance to tide you over!
About the Author
B R Sanders is a white, genderqueer writer who lives and works in Denver, CO, with their family and two cats. Outside of writing, B has worked as a research psychologist, a labor organizer and a K-12 public education data specialist.
Fill out this form for a chance to win a free ebook version of ARIAH! Two lucky entrants will win! http://goo.gl/forms/jt5u24HvU1
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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