Prism Book Alliance® would like to thank Lou Hoffmann for stopping by today. Please give them a warm welcome.
Title: Wraith Queen’s Veil
Author: Lou Hoffmann
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Cover Artist: Catt Ford
Genre: Young Adult
Release Date: 10/06/2016
When Lucky arrives in Ethra, the world of his birth and destiny, he expects a joyful reunion, but the first thing he notices when he reaches the Sisterhold—his home—is something false behind his mother’s smile. In a matter of weeks, the Sisterhold becomes agitated with worries and war plans. People he trusts—like the wizard Thurlock—frequently can’t be found. His mother seems angry, especially with Lucky. Even Han Shieth, the warrior uncle he has come to rely on and love above all others, maintains a sullen silence toward him.
When Lucky’s resentment builds to the breaking point, his bad decisions put him and his friends, L’Aria and Zhevi, in unthinkable danger. Han arrives to help, but he can’t claim invulnerability to the hazards and evils that threaten at every turn. Events launch Lucky, alone, on a quest for he knows not what, but every step brings him closer to his identity and full strength. Self-knowledge, trust, and strength lead to smarter choices, but even his best efforts might not render his world truly safe, now or for the future.
Recent Release Spotlight with Lou Hoffmann
We are here today to talk about Wraith Queen’s Veil. What can you tell us about it?
This is book two in The Sun Child Chronicles, and it follows fifteen-year-old Lucky from Earth—which is a lot like the one we live in—to a world called Ethra, or more properly, Behlis Ethra. He was born there, but he forgot everything but part of his name (Luccan) when an evil person banished him to Earth on his twelfth birthday. At the beginning of Wraith Queen’s Veil, he’s just succeeded in using latent magic to win a very tough battle with that same witch, and returned to Ethra via portal, in the company of a cranky thousand-year-old Wizard. His troubles aren’t over. His home world is becoming a mess, with wars and strange things going on, and even though Lucky is supposed to become someone very important, people are ignoring him. As might be the case for a lot of people his age, he has trouble accepting that, and he rebels. For him though, rebellion is more than a phase, because it launches him on a quest that at any turn, might kill him or those he cares about.
Please tell us more about our main characters.
Well, you’ve heard about Lucky, but here’s a little more about his qualities. He’s smart, fast, capable, kind of whiny at times, a bit of a worrier, timid or hesitant by nature but courageous when true need arises. He’s from a world where most things that aren’t powered by natural cycles are powered by magic, and most people have magic innately, but he’s an oddity in that respect.
Thurlock is the ancient wizard I mentioned, and he’s… well, ancient. And a wizard. And usually pretty grumpy. He’d like to retire, actually.
Lucky’s Uncle Han is a real badass warrior, an unusually humble military bigwig, a telepath, and a gay man—so he’s the guy Lucky depends on a lot for everything from “save me from the nasty creatures” to “I think I’m in love with my best friend.”
In this book, the primary antagonist is really Lucky’s own need to grow, his separation from those he depends on, and the natural hardships of the quest, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t people out there trying to hurt him. One of his fears is that one of those people might actually be his own mother.
What do you want to tell those who may be new to the series (if applicable)?
If you can, read Key of Behliseth first, because it will enrich your experience of Wraith Queen’s Veil. You could, however pick up the second book and not be totally lost.
Expect the series to cross some genre boundaries. It’s fantasy—with swords and dragons and sorcery aplenty—but it has a basis in sci-fi, and especially in book one has a bit of an urban component.
What about Wraith Queen’s Veil makes you the proudest?
Oh, I’m proud of the characters, but that’s like being proud of your child. Other than that, what I’m most proud of is that, as complex as the plot is, I don’t think it ever becomes dense or hard to read or follow. It flows, start to end.
What is next for these characters? Is there more to this series? If so who will we hear from next?
Yes, there are three more books planned. Next is Ciarrah’s Light. In that book the sci-fi piece will become much more prominent, and some of the worst troubles found but not resolved in Wraith Queen’s Veil—particularly the abduction and imprisonment of children from both Earth and Ethra—will require the dedicated skills of all the series heroes so far introduced, as well as some new ones. After that, Triad of Kayne, and then Suth Chiell’s Conquest. (Suth Chiell is Sun Child in the language of Lucky’s home country, the Sunlands.)
If you could give one piece of advice to aspiring writers, what would it be?
Oh, always, I say write. Just write. Don’t spend too much time planning a story before you start writing it. If you can’t think of a story, start writing anyway. Once you start writing, keep it up, even if you don’t like what you’re writing, or if others discourage you. Just. Keep. Writing. And then, submit your work. Be brave.
What one story made you lose sleep as a kid?
I read Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast books when I was in my early or mid-teens, and found it disturbing—at least in part because I didn’t fully understand it. I also read LOTR around the same time. It didn’t bother me in the same way, but I didn’t understand it either. Later I realized I’d actually somehow mixed the two stories together in my mind.
What was your inspiration for this story?
The idea for the Sun Child Chronicles as a whole was sparked by a book by physicist Fred Wolfe called Parallel Universes, one by Michiu Kaku called Parallel Worlds, a book called Breaking the Time Barrier by Jenny Randles, and a TV documentary about string theory—I think Neil DeGrasse Tyson narrated it. But the overall story didn’t begin to breathe life until some of my main characters came into being in my mind, so really, they were the inspiration. Lucky, L’Aria, Thurlock, Han, Liliana, and Isa, to be specific. For Wraith Queen’s Veil itself, I had a loose plan for the story, but much of what I actually wrote was inspired by what the characters did and discovered in the first book, Key of Behliseth. I like writing responsively like that—it feels organic.
Do you ever abandon a draft partly written and just move on? Do you keep a file of plot ideas?
In answer to the first part, yes and no. I have stopped writing a story well into the draft, but it’s been more circumstantial than because I didn’t want to or didn’t think I could finish it. I have those partial manuscripts all stored either in paper copies or digitally, and I will (I hope) finish them all someday, with one possible exception. I used to keep a file of ideas and I still have it. Lots of stuff in there I still want to write. More recently I’m less organized, and find myself making quick notes on scraps of paper (and yes I lose them), or make a quick Word document (less likely to be lost). Actually that is one habit I hope to pick up again.
Do you take a break from a first draft to get distance from it, or dive right into editing, or edit heavily as you write?
I sometimes end up taking breaks during or after the first draft, but it’s again because of circumstances—other commitments—rather than any desire for distance. I prefer to write from start to final draft in a focused manner, and anyway I invariably get some distance while waiting during the submission process or waiting for the editing stage to begin. I do also edit heavily while I’m completing the first draft, because new writing on a story reveals to me stuff that needs to be added, deleted, or changed earlier on, and if I don’t do it then it will nag at me, because I’m worried I’ll either forget, or won’t be able to pull it off.
If you could have a conversation with any famous author, who would you want to get writing tips from and what skill of theirs would you like to emulate?
Well, that would certainly change from time to time, but at the moment I’m going to choose Sherilynn Kenyon. The skills I’d like to emulate is her ability to writer her characters very deep, bring layers and layers of back story and emotion and experience and growth to the page without ever sinking into bald exposition.
If you had to be a cat, dog, or a rat, which would you choose and why?
A cat. Definitely a cat. Because, they’re cats. Right?
- Pickup Truck or Sedan? Pickup Truck
- Mr. Bean or Leslie Nielsen? Leslie Nielsen
- Light saber or a Sonic screwdriver? Light Saber
- roller skates or ice skates? Ice skates
- Rock or Country? Rock
- Handcuffs or Rope? Rope
- Harry Potter or Lord of The Rings? Lord of the Rings
- Shifters or Vampires? Vamps
- Red Heads or Blondes? Redheads
- Kirk or Picard? Picard
- Favorite flower? Wild rose
About the Author
Lou Hoffmann has carried on her love affair with books for decades, yet she hasn’t even made a dent in the list of books she’d love to read—at least partly because the list keeps growing. She reads factual things—books about physics and history and fractal chaos, but when she wants truth, she looks for it in quality fiction. She loves all sorts of wonderful things: music and silence, laughter and tears, youth and age, sunshine and storms, forests and fields, flora and fauna, rivers and seas. Even good movies and popcorn! Those things help her breathe, and everyone she knows helps her write. (Special mention goes to (1) George the Lady Cat and (2) readers.) Proud to be a bisexual, biracial woman, Lou considers every person a treasure not to be taken for granted. In her life, she’s seen the world’s willingness to embrace differences change, change back, and change again in dozens of ways, but she has great hope for the world the youth of today will create. She writes for readers who find themselves anywhere on the spectrums of age and gender, aiming to create characters that live not only in their stories, but always in your imagination and your heart.
MM Good Book Reviews”: “Interview, Excerpt, and Giveaway”
Queer Sci-Fi—Sci Fi, Fantasy & Paranormal With a Bent Attitude: “Humans + Magic=Wonderful Mayhem”
Divine Magazine: An exclusive excerpt!
My Fiction Nook: “Familiar and Unfamiliar Places in Strange Worlds”
Prism Book Alliance: An author interview
C. Kennedy, Author blogspot: “The Beasts in Lucky’s Worlds: A loving look at the horrible, wonderful, treacherous, loyal, extraordinary non-humanoids in Lou Hoffmann’s The Sun Child Chronicles”
The Novel Approach “An interview with Han Shieth and Henry George (a couple of badass characters)”
Drops of Ink: A different author interview.
C. Descoteaux Writes: “Why Bad Things Happen to Good Characters”
Emotion in Motion: “Character interview: Lucky and Rio (Yes, Virginia, there is a little romance in this fantasy)”
Rhys Ford: “How to Play the Game of Stars”
Rainbow Gold Reviews: “Blog Tour Finale: Why Magic? And Win a Signed Paperback Wraith Queen’s Veil!”
One random commenter with thoughtful, relevant comments will win a $25 gift certificate each month in 2016.
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