Author Interview: Hazel West
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Title: An Earthly King
(Modern Tales of Na Fianna #2)
by Hazel West
Genre: YA, urban fantasy, alternate history
Six months after Ciran defeated King Lorcan and instigated a peace treaty between the High Court of Ireland the Goblin realm, things have been slowly getting back to normal in the kingdoms. That is, until the council decides that it's time for High King Eamon to find a queen.
On top of that, there seem to be stirrings of rebellion in the Faelands, as not all the Fair Folk like the High Court's treaty with the Goblins. So it's up to Ciran Mac Cool and his company to stop the rebellion before it goes too far, while also trying to keep Eamon safe from potential assassins. And with all the prospective brides rubbing elbows with the High King, that's easier said than done.
With the help of their friends and a spunky agent from the Bureau of Protection Against Fair Folk, Ciran's Company attempts to stop the Faery plots before Ireland is thrown into all out war. Again.
An Earthly King is another action-packed book in this Celtic urban fantasy series with lots of friendship, humor, angst, and even traces of the Ballad of Tam Lin.
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Want to start at the beginning? You're in luck! Check out this promotional chance to get a FREE Kindle Edition of Book #1: Blood Ties and begin the Modern Tales of Na Fianna now!
We at The Reading Hedgehog are super thrilled to once again host a stop on author Hazel West's latest blog tour! And we're also thrilled to be interviewing her again!
MP: So obviously An Earthly King is a sequel to Blood Ties - the first book in the Modern Tales of Na Fianna. What was some of the inspiration for this sequel?
HW: Well, I had known this was going to be a series, so I had already been thinking of sequels by the time I was halfway through writing the first one. I think my first idea for this one was, ‘what if Eamon was pressured into having to marry so they had a huge event where all the eligible ladies were presented to him and he was forced to mingle with them?’—which he would be very bad at. From there it turned into a story about faeries, and evil faeries, and rebel faeries who may not be evil. Obviously, another inspiration for this one was the Ballad of Tam Lin (from which the title is derived). I’ve wanted to write a Tam Lin retelling for a while, and while this isn’t a heavy retelling, nor probably the only one I’ll ever write, I kind of wanted to craft something more subtle for the people who knew the story.
MP: Since An Earthly King is a sequel, how did the writing experience differ from writing Blood Ties?
HW: I kind of have a bad track record with sequels, actually, haha. But this one amazingly flowed pretty well. I wrote the first half for NaNoWriMo and then put it away for a while, then wrote the next half several months later. This story is a little more light-hearted than the first one too, not that there isn’t plenty of angst and mangst, but I think there’s more opportunities for humor. The plot for this one made me think more too, haha. But overall, it actually, surprisingly, took me less time to write it than the first one. But I think that’s mainly because I had dealth with all the world building in Blood Ties so this one was just a matter of building on top of that.
MP: Who is your favorite character in An Earthly King? Why?
HW: In this one, definitely Oberon, the rebel faerie prince. (Writer confession: he actually wasn’t even in the original idea for this story, but lo and behold he popped up one day and insisted he was going to be there, and certainly NOT in the capacity I had first thought he should be :P)
MP: Assuming you can talk about the villain in An Earthly King: how did working with this villain live up to Blood Ties's villain?
HW: Well, in this one, we get to see the Unseelie Queen Eolande as a main baddie. In reality I’m not sure who is worse, her or King Lorcan in Blood Ties but I enjoyed writing them both. There’s something to be said for a wicked queen. I think overall, I liked Lorcan better, but either way, I always enjoy writing baddies.
MP: Throughout the writing process, which character did you get along with the best, and who gave you the most trouble?
HW: Unlike in Blood Ties, which was all told from Ciran’s perspective, you get three character perspectives in this one, Ciran, Eamon and a new character, Bree. Eamon and I get along very well as a rule, we share a lot of the same traits; he’s actually rather introverted and likes his quiet and his library. While Ciran was never a difficult character to write, I think I enjoyed writing Eamon’s perspective more, and actually found out a few things about his character I didn’t know before like his dry, rather sarcastic sense of humor which he keeps mostly in his head—unless he’s sharing it with his Captain of the Guard.
Bree was the most difficult. I’m not good at writing from a female perspective, I think it’s some psychological thing about it being ‘too close to home’ or something but Bree gave me difficulty for a while, but after several drafts I was finally able to really crack her down.
MP: What was your first reaction upon writing THE END on your final draft of An Earthly King?
HW: I was thrilled. This one gave me a lot of issues ESPECIALLY in the editing process, but overall I was happy with how it turned out.
MP: What can Readers expect next? Do you have a new book in the works? Tell us a bit about it.
HW: Well, Book Three will be coming out (hopefully) in the summer of 2017! This one will be dealing with a couple minor characters you get to meet in An Earthly King as well as other issues back in Tara. You’ll get to see how BPAFF (Bureau of Investigation Against Fair Folk) works on a regular basis and there will be a lot more faeries. (Fun fact: if you buy the paperback copy of An Earthly King you can read the first two chapters of Book Three in the back!)
Also, depending on how well my NaNo project goes this year, you guys may get a novel that I will be posting as an online serial, which I’m not quite in the discussion stages as of yet—unless you want to join me in NaNo, then we can chat!
About the Author
Hazel West lives in Purgatory, er, Florida, with her books and her hedgehog Horatio. When she's not writing, she's reading other people's books, studying folklore, or binge-watching something on Netflix - drinking coffee is also a given.
Stalk Hazel Here!
Main Blog: http://hazelwest.blogspot.com
Writing Blog: http://talesfromamodernbard.blogspot.com
Read an Except from An Earthly King!
Everything happened at once. Eamon had bent over to unlock the passenger side door for me, turning, likely to ask why I was standing so far away, when a dark shape came hurtling out of the shadows and bowled him over before I could shout a warning.
A wicked blade came into the attacker’s hand and I threw my knife as soon as I saw it, catching the figure’s wrist and causing him to fall back with snarl. Before I could do anything else, Killian had come up from behind the creature and swung his sword, decapitating it in one swift movement. He reached down to help Eamon up while I went to inspect the attacker.
“Redcap,” I told them grimly, seeing the distinctive red cap on the decapitated head as well as the pointed ears and lean figure. I stepped on the thing’s arm and bent to pull my knife from its wrist, wiping it on the sleeve of the Fae’s coat. I turned back around to see Killian cleaning his own blade.
“Are you all right, Eamon?” I asked.
He nodded, as Killian turned to me with a glare. “Oh, it’s Eamon is it? By the bloody fae, this really is getting into the gossip rags.”
“She saved my life, Killie, I think she deserves to call me by name; and is this really the time?” he said, still looking at the dead Faerie. “So, what exactly am I supposed to make of that?”
I shuddered slightly despite myself, and it had nothing to do with the cold wind. “I’m afraid this might mean we have quite a bit to worry about after all.”