Friday 30 May 2014

Blog Tour Author Interview & Giveaway - White Heart of Justice by Jill Archer

White Heart of Justice
Noon Onyx
Book 3
Jill Archer

Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Ace
Date of Publication: May 27, 2014
Number of pages: 304
Word Count: 95,000
Cover Artist: Jason Chan

Book Description:
Since Lucifer claimed victory at Armageddon, demons, angels, and humans have coexisted in uneasy harmony. Those with waning magic are trained to maintain peace and order. But hostilities are never far from erupting…

After years of denying her abilities, Noon Onyx, the first woman in history to wield waning magic, has embraced her power. She’s won the right to compete in the prestigious Laurel Crown Race—an event that will not only earn her the respect of her peers but also, if she wins, the right to control her future.

However, Noon’s task is nearly impossible: retrieve the White Heart of Justice, a mythical sword that disappeared hundreds of years ago. The sword is rumored to be hidden in a dangerous region of Halja that she is unlikely to return from. But Noon’s life isn’t the only thing hanging in the balance. The sword holds an awesome power that, in the wrong hands, could reboot the apocalypse—and Noon is the only one who can prevent Armageddon from starting again…

Book Links:

Author Interview

1. Tell us a bit about your writing background. How did you get started writing fantasy?
I’ve read fantasy all my life so it felt natural to attempt a fantasy story when I first started writing. Like most paranormal, fantasy, and speculative fiction writers, I’m drawn to “otherworlds” – make-believe places full of sinister creatures, supernatural threats, monsters and magic.

2. Who/What were your earliest influences?
My very first favorite book was Bears in the Night by Stan and Jan Berenstain. I loved the colors of the illustrations: midnight blue and inky black interspersed with glowing bits of yellow. I loved that it was a nighttime adventure story. I loved that it was a tiny bit scary. And I loved that everyone ended up okay in the end.

Of course, once I learned to read, I quickly moved on. Other favorites throughout the years have included: The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, Watership Down, C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia, every single Anne McCaffrey book I could find. I went through a horror phase and read a lot of Stephen King and John Saul. I started folding in the work of authors in all sorts of genres: epic historical sagas (James Michener, Colleen McCullough, Jean Auel, Isabel Allende, Ken Follett), mysteries (Elizabeth George, Elizabeth Peters, Arturo Perez-Reverte), romance (Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb, Diana Gabaldon), science fiction (Frank Herbert, Ursula K. Le Guin, William Gibson), and fantasy (Lois McMaster Bujold, Jacqueline Carey, Naomi Novik, Anne Rice).

3. Did you face any early challenges to finding success in writing?
There are challenges every step of the way. But one of the biggest challenges I faced early on in my path to publication was my main character’s age. In the first book, Noon is a student trying to survive a crushing course schedule. She has parents who don’t get along and boy troubles. The book is also written in first person. So, initially, we pitched it to some young adult editors.

But Noon’s twenty-one. She’s an adult. And, though she struggles with some of the things that YA protagonists often struggle with, many of the scenes and themes were written with an adult audience in mind. So I was happy when we sold the rights to Ace, an adult sf/f imprint.

4. What are some of the books you’ve read recently or are looking forward to reading? What qualities in them appeal to you?
Books I’ve read recently: Robin LaFevers’ Grave Mercy, Rachel Neumeier’s House of Shadows, M.L. Brennan’s Generation V, Elliott James’ Charming, J. Kathleen Cheney’s The Golden City, Emma Newman’s Between Two Thorns, K.B. Laugheed’s The Spirit Keeper, and Alethea Kontis’ Hero.

Looking at this list, a few things stand out: I love dark magic, fairytale retellings, wonderfully crafted otherworlds, adventure, romance… and vampires, so long as the character has a strong and entertaining voice.

Books I’m looking forward to reading: Ransom Riggs’ Hollow City (more creepy vintage photographs!) and J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst’s S. (a story within a story full of the neatest tangible extras: handwritten notes, newspaper clippings, telegrams, pictures, postcards, maps drawn on the backs of napkins…)

Also worth mentioning: I’m currently reading Marissa Meyer’s Cinder (cyborg Cinderella, what’s not to like?!) and two “older” novels that I adored are Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus (worldbuilding so real, you will feel like the Night Circus might arrive in your town tonight) and Maggie Stiefvater’s The Scorpio Races (magical realism at its best).

5. What do you do outside your writing life?
I love to read and watch movies. I also love day tripping and outdoor adventuring. I hike, bike, and go boating with my family. My husband’s passion is recreational aviation so I spend some of my weekends flying around the Chesapeake Bay area and up and down the Atlantic coast.

6. What encouragement and/or advice helped you along the way?
When my only goal was simply to finish a novel, the best encouragement I ever received was this: YOU are the only one standing in the way of your goal. YOU are the only one who can make it not happen. Don’t quit!

7. What advice do you have for beginning writers?
Read in the genre you want to write in – and outside of it. Read non-fiction. Sign up for workshops, take classes, and get involved with a writer’s group. Keep writing! Don’t be afraid to submit your work, but make sure it’s truly ready to submit (or as ready as you can make it at the time). Explore self-publishing as an option, but make sure you’re prepared to publish high quality work. Don’t give up or get frustrated. Learn from constructive criticism, mistakes, and rejection. Celebrate small accomplishments and enjoy the process as much as the product.

8. What's up next for your fans?
I have a short story called “Dream, Interrupted” coming out in the Mammoth Book of Southern Gothic Romance in the fall. The story features another singularly unique heroine, Corelei Neverest. Set in Moonlight, Georgia or thereabouts, the story is full of all the things I adore: dark, creepy hallways; bright, sunlit gardens; mysterious happenings; stories-within-stories; supernatural threats; and swoon-worthy kisses.

9. What has been your biggest compliment?
I cherish each and every word of praise I receive, especially if it’s from a reader who takes the time to contact me after they’ve read a book of mine. There have been many complimentary comments from readers and reviewers, such as Publishers Weekly saying that Noon’s voice is “wry and genuine” and that White Heart of Justice is “an emotional journey” with “excellent worldbuilding” and RT Book Reviews giving me kudos “for creating such a compelling heroine and mythos.”

But, by far, the biggest compliment is when a reader says they can’t wait for the next book. Because that means I’ve done my job. I’ve entertained and moved them enough for them to look forward to whatever’s coming out next.

10. Is there anything you'd like to say to your fans and readers?
For those of you who like to discuss books after you’ve read them, there are discussion questions for each of the books in the Noon Onyx series. (White Heart of Justice’s questions will be available the week of June 9th):

Thank you to CBY Book Club for interviewing me today! I’m very grateful to all of the readers, reviewers, and bloggers that support me, other authors, bookstores, and books in general. Booklovers, keep up the great work! :-D

Excerpt from White Heart of Justice


I can’t be with you anymore. That’s what she’d said. Six words that had become sixty then six hundred then six thousand . . . sixty thousand . . . six million . . . reverberating in his head, bouncing around inside his brain, driving him absolutely mad. There were no other words. No other memories. Only that last one of her. Standing at the edge of the oozy stew of the destroyed keep’s moat, flanked by two Angels, one preternaturally beautiful, the other full of purpose. The same purpose he’d had until those six words stripped him of it.
Flying out, he’d barely cleared the wreckage of the keep. His heart beat against the walls of his massive chest, and his monstrous wings beat against the infinite, empty sky, but the beats were slow and grew slower still. Slower. Until finally . . .
He made it across the river and then dropped like a ten-ton stone, crashing into the brush, breaking tree limbs and a wing. He lay there amongst the blackening scrub refusing to shift back into human form.
Man’s thoughts were unwelcome.
In time, the rogares came. Water wraiths. He killed them all. And then sickened by the smell of blood and meat he couldn’t—wouldn’t—consume, he left his nesting place. By then, the wing had healed, but unnaturally, so that flying straight was impossible. For days, he traveled in circles, never getting far. It wasn’t just the wing. The yearning to return to her was nearly unbearable. The emptiness inside of him an abyss.
Was she still in the Shallows? If he could just . . .
But then he remembered the Angels. And the look on her face when she’d said the six words. And the feelings in her signature. She’d need more than mere weeks for them to abate. She might need months. Hopefully, not years. Years meant nothing to him, but they did to her. And then the reminder that her time was more precious than his drove his yearning to a new level of ferocity. Ruthlessly, he tamped it down. He realized then that it might be best to return to man’s thoughts. After all, she was a woman.
And he wanted her back.

Chapter 1

“Glashia calls Noon the ballista.” Waldron Seknecus’ low voice rumbled through the Gridiron, a deep, cavernous underground space used by the upper years at St. Lucifer’s for sparring. “Because of how she fights now. Watch.”

He was speaking to three other spectators: my father, Karanos Onyx, executive of the Demon Council and the man who would ultimately employ all of the magic users who trained here at St. Luck’s; Friedrich Vanderlin, an Archangel who was the dean of Guardians over at the Joshua School, the Angel academy we shared a campus with; and a woman who looked unsettlingly familiar to me, though I couldn’t remember when we’d met or who she was. I cleared my mind and concentrated on my opponent, Ludovicus Mischmetal, who preferred the moniker “Vicious” for short. He was a second year Maegester-in-Training at Euryale University. We were competing against one another in the New Babylon MIT rank matches, which St. Luck’s was hosting this year.

All second-year MITs were required to compete. The top-ranked MITs from each school would then be eligible to compete in the Laurel Crown Race. The object of the race was to bring back an assigned target. Targets were either rogare demons or priceless artifacts that needed to be recovered. Participation in the Laurel Crown Race was voluntary, but the MIT who returned to New Babylon with his (or in my case, her) target before any of the others, won the coveted Laurel Crown. Winning the Laurel Crown often set a future Maegester up for life because winners could choose where they wanted to spend their fourth-semester residency. And ofttimes, those residencies turned into permanent positions. Everyone else would receive offers, but it would be the Council that decided which of those residency positions they accepted.

Last semester, we’d been given our first field assignment. It was an assignment that had been full of rogare demon attacks and other lethal situations. That assignment had lasted a mere three months and I’d barely survived it. My residency would last for twice as long, so I was well aware of how important the residency venue would be. Winning the right to choose where I spent next semester, not to mention who I would be working for, would go far in preserving not just my happiness, but also my life. The Maegester who was judging the match, a middle-aged man with thinning, ginger-colored hair and a near permanent frown, called out for us to begin.

I’d watched Vicious spar with other MITs. He was smart. His infliction of pain would be very calculated, very precise. There was nothing personal about his desire to beat me. He just wanted to win the match so that he could retain his current Primoris ranking at Euryale and compete for the Laurel Crown. Of course, I was similarly motivated.

Vicious gave me a curt bow, his long, black, razor-cut bangs briefly falling forward before he shook them back and used his waning magic to fire up a weapon, a flaming broadsword. It hissed and spit with fury in the damp air of the Gridiron as Vicious raised it toward me in an opening invitation to spar.

As a sparring partner, Vicious looked fairly intimidating. His front teeth were shiny, silver, and sharply pointed (likely, his real ones had been knocked out in fights) and he was much larger than me. He wore the usual black leather training pants and vest, but he’d elected to go shirtless underneath the vest. I guessed it was an intentional show of muscle, literally. He flexed his forearms and grinned at me, his message clear: I might be a woman playing a man’s game, but he wasn’t going to spare me any blows.

That suited me fine. Sparing me blows wouldn’t win me the match.

About the Author
Jill Archer writes dark, genre-bending fantasy from rural Maryland. Her novels include Dark Light of Day, Fiery Edge of Steel, and White Heart of Justice. She loves cats, coffee, books, movies, day tripping, and outdoor adventuring.

Author Links:


$50 Amazon eGift Certificate (or bookseller of winner’s choice) (international).

5 copies of White Heart of Justice (or an earlier book in the series, winner’s choice) (international so long as Book Depository ships to your address).

Dark Light of Day themed SWAG pack (incudes signed copy of book and other awesome goodies) (US only).

Fiery Edge of Steel themed SWAG pack (incudes signed copy of book and other awesome goodies) (US only).

White Heart of Justice themed SWAG pack (incudes signed copy of book and other awesome goodies) (US only).


Anyone who tweets one of these will be entered to win ANY fantasy book of their choice from Book Depository (so long as Book Depository ships to your address) (up to $10.00). Contest ends on June 3, 2014. Feel free to share the list with your followers!

Finally! I’m looking forward to seeing Noon embrace her fiery magic. @archer_jill #WHITEHEARTOFJUSTICE

Ari Carmine is smokin’ hot. I wanna see if Noon can forgive him for that nasty surprise at the end of B2. @archer_jill #WHITEHEARTOFJUSTICE

I heard a rumor that Rafe Sinclair makes a wish and I wanna know if it’s granted. @archer_jill #WHITEHEARTOFJUSTICE

Nocturo. Tall dark handsome. Heard his scalpel’s put to good use. Is he gonna threaten Brunus w it again? @archer_jill #WHITEHEARTOFJUSTICE

I love the characters, but I’m really just in it for the monsters and magic. Bring on the ice demons! @archer_jill #WHITEHEARTOFJUSTICE

Armageddon is over. The demons won. But it’s not as dark as all that. Parts of it are romantic and sweet. @archer_jill #WHITEHEARTOFJUSTICE

I hope everyone enjoys the book! Thanks so much to all of the BBT bloggers, hosts, and reviewers for helping to spread the word about the series!

Blog Tour Organised by:


  1. Hello and Happy Friday, CBY Book Club! Thanks, Alecia, for the interview and post. I'll stop in later to check for any comments or questions. In the meantime, hope everyone has a great day!

    1. You're welcome. The book sounds like a great read :)

  2. Hi Jill! Just wanted to let you know that I am a big fan of the dark, genre-bending fantasies you write about! Thank you so much!

  3. Best of luck with the book's success. Looks like a good one.

  4. Hi Jill! your books looks amazing!! thanks for the oportunity :)

  5. What a great collection of relevant gifts to promote your books! Good luck to you!

  6. Hi, book looks great and i love all the prizes so my fingers are crossed and thank you so much!! I no i will love your books so i can't wait to read them.

  7. Hi, everyone--wanted to stop by on the last day of my WHOJ tour to say thanks again for all the tweets and support the past few weeks. The tour has been a lot of fun!

    Melinda--thanks so much for your comment. Always great to hear from a fellow fantasy fan!

    Gef Fox, Celeste, and Cyndi--thank you. I appreciate the kind words.

    Jody--since WHOJ is the third book, I wanted to do something different with my prize packs. I had a great time picking out one scene from each book to use as inspiration and then looking around Etsy for prizes to include.

    Best wishes to each of you for the summer. Hope it's full of books and all the things you love!