Welcome to my tour stop for Restless Earth and Blessing Sky by Emily Mah! This is a YA/NA high fantasy series. This is book 1 and 2 of The Sky Chariots Saga. The tour runs July 20 - 31 with reviews, author interviews, guest posts and excerpts. Check out the tour page for the full schedule.
Author: Emily Mah
For over a thousand years, the Tanoa have relied on their Earth Shamen to bring rich harvests, temper stone tools and weapons, and imbue pottery with strength like metal. Now, though, the bloodline has dwindled to one Shaman, Tuwa, who is trapped high in the mountains, holding bedrock together to prevent a volcanic eruption while the rest of her people flee to safety. The only way to save the village is for her to sacrifice herself and buy them the time they need to evacuate.But her grandson, Ahote, refuses to abandon her to die. Rather than do as she asks—marry and bear daughters who might inherit her gift—he sets out to find the one person who might be able to save Tuwa’s life.Kasha is a Tanoa girl in who lives in Solace, a city of the pale-skinned Andalanos. If the Engineers Guild ever discovers her gender or race, they could order her execution—for in violation of the King’s law, Master Engineer Seamus trained Kasha as his apprentice. She is a genius in all things mechanical and earned her master certification when only fourteen years old. Since Seamus’s death, she has been discreetly working his job as the City Engineer.She knows there is no machine or technology that can save Tuwa. In order to complete this task, Kasha must invent a vehicle unlike anything the world has ever seen, and risk exposure and death in the process.
Author: Emily Mah
Master Engineer Kasha lives in hiding. As a Tanoa and a woman, she has no legal right to her title, and risks expulsion or even execution if the Guild discovers her identity. For over a year she has served as the City Engineer of the Andalano city of Solace, home to the Winged Riders and their pegasus mounts.Now, though, her people need her. The last of their Earth Shamen is trapped in the mountains, holding back a volcanic eruption so that the rest of her people can escape. It is a job for only the greatest of all engineers, and that happens to be Kasha.But when her kinsman, Ahote, breaks the most sacred law of the Winged Riders, an alliance with him means certain death. Kasha must work alone to solve the most difficult engineering problem of all time before the summer months are done and winter comes to claim the life of the Shaman and the hope of her people.
1. What inspired you to write your first book?
I’m one of those people who’s always wanted to be a writer, since I found out where books come from, so I wrote my first book in crayon decades ago. I’m not from an artistic family, so I put my writing on the back burner as I went through school. I still wrote, of course, and produced a couple of really bad novels, but I didn’t get serious about selling my writing until after I finished law school. That’s when I went to Clarion West Writers Workshop and started shopping my work around.
That was fifteen years ago, and I’ve been working on my writing and producing novels ever since. My dream has always been to write science fiction and fantasy, but when indie publishing started to gain traction, I decided to try my hand at it. I published some romances I had sitting on my hard drive, and after a few years at it, make a living from those novels. Now I’m going to see if I can come home to the type of books I really want to write.
As for what inspired me to write the first book of this series, the honest truth is that it was my best friend’s PhD dissertation, which was on the recent shifts in the Navajo language. She’s a linguistic anthropologist, and we can geek out for hours about language and how it changes and what that means for the cultures associated with it. Now, the book is not a treatise on language shift, but going on in the background is a race war. Two different peoples have to occupy the same space, and figure out how to do with without annihilating the other. The main storyline, though, is all about cool gadgets and flying horses. It’s a good ride, I hope!
2. Do you have a specific writing style?
I’m not sure I’m the best person to answer that! Going off what others have said, I gather my style tends to be very conversational. I work hard to make dialogue sound authentic, which drives grammar-obsessed people crazy, I know.
What I want most is for my writing to be accessible, without being dumbed down. It’s a matter of using economy of language, not simplifying everything. How well I do that, though, is not for me to say!
3. How did you come up with the title for your book?
These first three Sky Chariots novels will be bound as one paperback called Earth, Sky, and Fire, so it was a matter of finding titles that related to each of those three elements. Since the inciting event of the story is a volcano almost-erupting, I think Restless Earth is appropriate. The second title is actually a little bit of a play on words, and I can’t reveal it without spoiling part of the Book 1 story, so I’ll stay mum ;-)
4. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
That I understand them is what I always hope to achieve. There are a lot of life experiences I haven’t had, and part of what is interesting about fiction is the chance to live other lives and be different people. However, I don’t know if I’m doing that very well until I hear back from readers. Kasha, my main character, is very different from your average middle class American, so a lot of people will find her foreign, but not everyone. Also, many people know what it’s like to live on the cusp of two cultures and have to find your place in the world.
5. How much of the book is realistic?
Well… it has flying horses in it and takes place in a world different form ours, so not much. Having said that, the engineering that Kasha does is all as accurate as I could make it. My husband’s an engineer, as is my father, all my uncles on one side of the family, all of my male cousins, etc. I’m not a black sheep in my family because I’m a writer. I’m a black sheep because I went into the liberal arts at all.
6. What book are you reading now?
Nemesis Games by James SA Corey, who is actually two guys, old friends of mine. I introduced them to each other, and their series has been hitting the New York Times bestseller list and is being made into a television show by SyFy. It’s been very exciting to watch. They even let me visit the set of the show, which was beyond cool. I also just read a yet to be published fantasy novelette by Stephanie Burgis, which I loved. I adore her writing, so I’m very excited to see this one get published.
7. Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Since I’m in a writers group and spent most of my time around other writers, the way I tend to find new writers is by meeting them. It’s very rare that I get the chance to pick up an already published book by someone I don’t know. I’ve got a bunch of bestsellers on my shelf that I’m slowly working my way through, in between my usual reading. My writers group meets once a month, and so I always need to be keeping up with what they’re writing so that I can offer my critiques of it.
Given that, I’m very excited to see where the careers of Lauren Teffeau and Sarena Ulibarri and MT Reiten go. I’ve read enough of their rough drafts to know how good they are, and I hope they go far.
8. What are your current projects?
I also write chick lit as E.M. Tippetts, and I’m writing Book 4 in my Someone Else’s Fairytale series. This one’s called My Wicked Half-Sister, and it’s about the relationship between my main character and her half-sister, and how it grows when their felon brother is released from prison.
9. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
This time around I learned how high the word counts need to be in fantasy – it’s been a while since I’ve done any high fantasy. The setting needs to be evocative and that requires tons of description.
10. What were the challenges (research, psychological etc) in bringing your story to life?
I originally planned for these books to be 25,000 words each, so when they turned out to be 40,000, I was in a real bind trying to make deadlines and such. I made myself write 4,000 words a day on top of being a full time mom and running my company. It was necessary, though, so that I would still have time for edits and feedback and all of that. Now I have a better idea of the time it’ll take for each book after these!
About the Author:
Emily writes as both Emily Mah (for science fiction and fantasy) and E.M. Tippetts (for chick lit). Her short stories have appeared in Analog Science Fiction and Fact, The Black Gate, and anthologies like The Dragon and the Stars, Shanghai Steam, and The Change: Tales of Downfall and Rebirth. Her E.M. Tippetts novels have been on the Amazon Top 100 numerous times, and her novel, Someone Else's Fairytale was semi-finalist for the Best Indie Book of the Year - Kindle Book Review, and a runner up in Romance for the Best of the Independent Book Awards - eFestival of Words.
She is a graduate of the Clarion West Writer's Workshop for Science Fiction and Fantasy and Viable Paradise Writers Workshop, and she often teaches the unit on self-publishing at the Taos Toolbox Writers Workshop.When she is not writing or chasing small children, she manages E.M. Tippetts Book Designs, her company which offers formatting, cover design, and editing services to authors and publishers.
Three (3) winners will receive signed ebooks of Restless Earth and Blessing Sky by Emily Mah
Ends Aug. 5th.
Prizing provided by the author, hosts are not responsible in any way.
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