We're thrilled to welcome Sharon Rose to Lands Uncharted today to celebrate her new book! A Castle Awakened is the first novel in her Castle in the Wilde series and just released on December 23rd! I'll share more about A Castle Awakened below, but first the author took the time to answer some questions for us - enjoy!
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m a word-nerd who finds people to be endlessly fascinating. I’m intrigued by personality, culture, and all the ways we communicate—or fail to communicate. Much as I love people, I prefer to enjoy them in small groups, preferably in a coffee shop or a garden.
What prompted you to start writing? Are you one of those authors who knew you were meant to write since childhood, or did it come as a discovery later in life?
I suppose I should have known early. After all, I wrote my first story when I was seven. The spelling was atrocious, but the story was a hit in my second-grade classroom.
Stories have always revolved within me, but that was viewed as daydreaming. I got a real job instead. In my mid-thirties I decided to make my vague dream a reality and write a novel. I did finish that saga, but I also learned that successful publishing would consume way more time than I had available. Writing remained a hobby.
In 2016, I was blessed to be able to leave my familiar career and focus on what I loved—writing fiction. Finally, I can sell my daydreams.
Sell your daydreams! I love that :) You write both fantasy and science fiction! What are the most fun and challenging aspects of each?
Creating people and worlds is loads of fun. (I suspect God agrees.) Delving into make-believe settings and people allows us to step back from problems and see them in a different light. I think that helps us find new solutions and inspires change. That is deeply satisfying to me.
The challenging part of writing in these genres is to make it believable. That is especially true in science fiction, where the setting needs to seem scientifically plausible while it is also bizarre or unfamiliar. Getting that across to a reader, without weighing down the story, is difficult.
What a great perspective on world-building! We’re all about exploring new worlds here at Lands Uncharted—if you could choose one place to visit, real or fictional, where would you go?
Eden. Yes, time travel back to the original garden. I would like my stories to point people (including me) to what we truly ought to be. Eden was a place where evil needed to be kept out, where daily work needed to be done, and where humankind walked with God in the cool of the day. I would love to see that and write about it.
That would be amazing!! What advice would you share with an aspiring author?
· Value your hobby writing and early attempts. They are crucial practice.
· Learn the skills of this craft, but do not let rules tie your writing in knots.
· Go to conferences, local writer groups, or any place where you can find some writer friends. You need friends who speak your language.
Congratulations on your new release, A Castle Awakened! What inspired you to write it?
Thank you! There is just something about release day. My cheeks hurt from all the smiling.
The story grew out of the human tendency to focus so much on what is wrong that we don’t see or make use of all that is good. These characters need to overcome challenges within the constraints of their cultures, despite the flaws they cannot fix. Perfect culture is a myth. Succeed anyway.
Ooh, now I'm even more excited to read it! Did any of the events in the book surprise you as you were writing?
This always happens. Thomas is a minor character in the first novel of the trilogy. I only intended him to reveal how awful things are in Tower Woods. The next thing I know, that impoverished, hunted seventeen-year-old stands up with as much strength of character as noble Tristan. Thomas has more to say in novel two, and novel three will be his story.
I love it when characters take on a life of their own! Can you give us any insights into your next project?
I’m currently editing A Castle Contended, which is novel 2 of the Castle in the Wilde trilogy. This one is Beth’s story. She gets past her fine self, which allows her to play a much bigger role in her own life than she ever thought possible. Of course, some of her peers infinitely prefer her in the role of pawn. All the more reason to get that foreign usurper out of the way.
I also have a prequel novella, A Castle Sealed, releasing next month. It tells the story of how Tristan, Cotrell and James discovered the castle—and vixicats. Close call there.
Sounds exciting! Thank you so much for visiting us today, and congratulations again on your new release!! Here's the back cover blurb for A Castle Awakened:
A foreign usurper. A lady who longs for freedom. Vicious beasts who want to rip them all to shreds. Who wins?
Never one to shy from a challenge, Lord Tristan Petram took possession of a forsaken castle. His search uncovered no hint of who built it or why they abandoned such a gem. What treachery would strike the founding family from history? Still, it seems a small matter, since the generations have passed. If he and his followers can forge a life here—and hold out against ravenous vixicats—the castle and this land will be theirs. As for the nearest kingdom, they never venture beyond their border or the mysterious forest of tower trees. Except...
Beth dons a disguise and takes a forbidden ride in Tower Woods—a last fling before she bows to the dictates of her noble birth. Her fun adventure turns into a nightmare of kidnap and rescue—of sorts. Now she’s trapped in a nameless castle held by a foreign usurper who calls himself Lord Petram. Who could he be, and what will he do with her if he finds out who she really is?
Thus, Lord Petram finds himself the unwilling guardian of an injured lady who won’t give her full name. A crime he didn’t commit may bring retribution from an unknown kingdom. Do they have a claim to this castle that he now calls home? If he survives the vixicats, will an army slaughter him and his followers?
A Castle Awakened is the first novel in the Castle in the Wilde trilogy. If you like fantasy with mystery, intrigue, and romance, come and explore this secondary world with medieval undertones and the turmoil of clashing cultures.