by Susan Leigh Noble
Lina wants an ordinary life in the Grasslands of Zena. But she isn’t ordinary at all. At the age of four, she discovered she could start fires with a mere thought - an ability believed to have died out long ago. Cautioned by her telepathic cat, Tosh, she keeps this Elemental power a secret in fear of how the outside world would react. There is something else different about Lina - she feels a strange force compelling her to go north.
Before she can decide whether to give into this mysterious urge, she is kidnapped by gypsies and wakes in a foreign land. The desire to travel north is as strong as ever. When a strange raging fire prevents her return home, Lina realizes she must find out once and for all what or who is summoning her.
On her journey, she befriends an odd assortment of allies including the son of a High Council member, a thief, a former guardsman and a large sarcastic black dragon. Together they battle mystical creatures and unnatural forces, although such magic had ceased to exist over 800 years ago. During each battle, Lina must use her innate Elemental power as she becomes more certain that someone is using magic against her. When she discovers the shocking truth, it will change her life in ways she could never imagine.
1. What or who inspired you to start writing?
I don’t recall one person necessarily inspiring me to write. Ever since I was little I have loved to read, and it just naturally followed that I love to write. I had a lot of encouragement from my mom at a young age and now that I am married my husband has always encouraged my writing.
2. How did you come up with ideas for your books?
I like the idea of a female protagonist in fantasy novels because so many fantasy stories center on a male protagonist. When I begin a story, I usually concentrate on the main character and understanding who she is and what she will be required to do.
3. As far as your writing goes, what are your future plans?
Currently, I am working on Book 3 of “The Elemental” trilogy which wraps up the story of Lina and Val. It features a darker antagonist and more battles and more magic than either of the first two books. After that I have some ideas for a stand-alone fantasy novel with another female protagonist.
4. If you could be one of the characters from any of your books, who would it be and why?
I would love to be my main character from Summoned. Lina has control over the elements, and I think that would be an awesome power to have. She can make plants grow, make it rain or start a fire with just a mere thought.
5. When did you first decide to submit your work? Please tell us what or who encouraged you to take this big step?
My first novel, Summoned, actually was started many years ago right after I finished college. Over the years, I attempted to publish it through traditional publishing houses at the encouragement of my husband. He has always been my biggest supporter and is actually the one who suggested I become an independent author and publish Summoned as an e-book.
6. What is the best and worst advice you ever received? (regarding writing or publishing)
The best advice is to keep writing and not to get discouraged. That holds true for the publishing world. You have to keep trying. You are going to get rejections, but that doesn’t mean your writing isn’t good.
7. Do you outline your books or just start writing?
Summoned was my first work and while I had an idea what I wanted for the end of the book, I never did an actual outline. I just wrote and rewrote and reworked until I had the story done. And then I edited it some more. It really was a lot of work. The second book in the series, Quietus, was written with a rough outline of the major events but I still like having the freedom to let the events in the story unfold in their own natural way.
8. Do you have any hobbies and does the knowledge you've gained from these carry over into your characters or the plot of your books?
I don’t really have time for hobbies now that I have kids as most of my free time is spent writing or sleeping. I use to take Aikido (martial art) classes with my husband before we had the kids, and that has helped with writing some of the fighting scenes.
9. Do you have an all-time favorite book?
I think it is hard to pick a “favorite” anything since my tastes change as I get older. I do like to go back and read books that I really liked such as Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series or David & Leigh Eddings’ Belgariad and Malloreon series.
10. What is your favorite reality show?
I don’t usually watch reality shows. The closest thing would be cooking shows like Top Chef or Cupcake Wars.
11. Can you tell us a little about the black moment in your book?
The black moment in Summoned happens when Lina is separated from the rest of the group. She is kidnapped during a battle scene and held in a tiny cell. She has no clue how she will get out of there or what happened to her friends.
12. Anything else you might want to add?
I have really enjoyed writing these novels and hope that readers enjoy reading them. Thank you so much for having me here today.
Stern Prison - 402 words
The cold surrounded her, chilling her bones. She woke slowly, rubbing the sand from her eyes. Only a thin sliver of light from the narrow window barely illuminated the small room. Lina sat up, her boots scraping across the stone floor. Where was she? She glanced around; her fingers reaching out to brush the damp stonewall. She wrinkled her nose at the musty odor. A scratching sound came from the far corner of the small room. She thought of rats and quickly pulled her feet back onto the narrow cot.
As her eyes grew accustomed to the darkness, she saw the door on the other side of the cell. She pushed the thoughts of rats out of her mind and stood up. The room spun. She grasped the wall. Her body felt weird as if it was not fully hers. She vaguely remembered a man knocking her to the ground and the sweet smell of the cloth over her face. She had a faint memory of being thrown on the back of a horse and being forced to drink something with a strange aftertaste.
She leaned against the wall until the room stopped moving and then hesitantly, Lina shuffled toward the door, her arms outstretched until she felt the cold metal door. She pushed and pulled at the handle but the door did not budge.
“Tosh?” she called. Her voice echoed in the stone cell. She pounded on the door. “Val? Anyone?” She pounded on the door again but no sounds came from the other side. “Tosh? Tosh where are you?”
There was no answer. She glanced around the tiny room. It was bare save the cot. She edged away from the dark corner where she had heard the scratching. The lone window was too high for her to reach, and even if she could, it was barely a slit. Her only exit was the door. But even as she turned to consider it, she knew that her Elemental powers couldn’t help her. Maybe if the door had been wood, then she could burn her way out, but not metal. She would incinerate herself before the door would begin to melt. The walls were made of thick stone. There was nothing she could do. Wearily, she climbed back onto the cot. Cold and hungry, she curled into a ball. She wondered where her friends were and if they had survived the battle.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Susan Leigh Noble has always loved dragons and magic so it is no wonder that she became an author of fantasy novels. As a cat lover, she also threw a telepathic cat into the mix for her The Elemental Series. The first two books, Summoned and Quietus, have already been released in e-book format. She is currently working on the third and final chapter of the trilogy.
When she isn’t writing, Susan is an active volunteer in her neighborhood and at her children’s schools. She lives with her husband, two children and three cats in Texas.
She loves to hear from readers: firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out her Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Susan-Leigh-Noble/200225396700412
Follow her on Twitter: @SusanLeighNoble
Author website: http://www.independentauthornetwork.com/susan-leigh-noble.html
Don't forget to leave a comment for Susan!
Susan will award a $15 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour and a $10 Amazon GC to the host with the most comments (excluding Susan's and the host's).