Clariel, the Lost Abhorsen

When I was in seventh grade, I had an English teacher with a full bookshelf, who encouraged me to borrow from it and read voraciously in addition to my assigned reading for class. One of the first books I borrowed from her was Sabriel by Garth Nix, which quickly lodged itself in my heart and became one of my all-time favorites. I adore the protagonist, the realistically-painted world, the limitations of the magic within, and the fact that necromancers use a series of seven bells to control the Dead. Bells. Genius.

I reread Sabriel at least once a year, and quite often the two sequels Lirael and Abhorsen. Finally, after many years of there being nothing new in the Old Kingdom, Clariel is coming.

Clariel

This forthcoming novel is a prequel to the others, taking place some few hundred years before the events of Sabriel. Here’s the blurb:

Sixteen-year-old Clariel is not adjusting well to her new life in the city of Belisaere, the capital of the Old Kingdom. She misses roaming freely within the forests of Estwael, and she feels trapped within the stone city walls. And in Belisaere she is forced to follow the plans, plots and demands of everyone, from her parents to her maid, to the sinister Guildmaster Kilip. Clariel can see her freedom slipping away. It seems too that the city itself is descending into chaos, as the ancient rules binding Abhorsen, King and Clayr appear to be disintegrating.

With the discovery of a dangerous Free Magic creature loose in the city, Clariel is given the chance both to prove her worth and make her escape. But events spin rapidly out of control. Clariel finds herself more trapped than ever, until help comes from an unlikely source. But the help comes at a terrible cost. Clariel must question the motivations and secret hearts of everyone around her – and it is herself she must question most of all.

I’m greatly looking forward to it, and have already preordered it for my Kobo. It comes out October 14, and I can’t wait to go back to the Old Kingdom.

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Those Liebster Awards again

I have once again been nominated for a Liebster Award, this time by Janna Kaixer. I thank you for the nomination, but I have particular feelings about the Liebster Awards and I should write something about that on my About Me page.

However, I am grateful for the thought and I will answer your questions here, Janna.

1. Why do you write?

I’ve made up stories for as long as I can remember, and I feel an immense gratification in getting them down on paper and having other people read them. Apart from creative writing, I also journal to sort out all the crazy in my head so I can regain my grip on reality.

2. What do you hope to achieve with your writing? (E.g. raise awareness of something, tell a story, teach a lesson…)

I’m in it for the stories. I couldn’t agree more with Neil Gaiman’s, “We owe it to each other to tell stories.”

3. If you could go back in time and give yourself some writing advice what would it be?

“Don’t stop writing for anything. Yes, your university courseload is heavy, yes you work a part-time job, but you owe it to yourself to write and write often. Daily. At any chance you can get. Also, don’t wait until you’re 26 to give NaNoWriMo a shot.”

4. Do you listen to music as you write? If so, what sort of music?

I tend to listen to my current obsession, though I noticed a trend toward more electronic-themed music as I worked on Climbing Yggdrasil where I lean more toward ethereal vocals for fantasy writing. There was a time when I would listen to Of Monsters and Men’s “My Head is an Animal” every time I sat down to work on Project: Destiny.

5. Where do you get your ideas from?

Questions, mostly. The main idea for Climbing Yggdrasil came when I was watching Firefly and wondered, “How does the Cortex work? How do they transmit data quickly across all that space?” I read about Ursula K. LeGuin’s ansible and how it got adopted into sci-fi lore by many authors, but I wanted something more sinister and came up with synchronizers.

6. What is your writing process? Are you a pantser, a plotter or a mixture?

I used to be a pantser, but I would inevitably get stuck and lose hope, then start over. I decided to plot last year before NaNoWriMo; I wrote chapter outlines for what I now consider to be Part Two of Climbing Yggdrasil, then I went back and plotted Parts One and Three. I like having an outline to guide me, but I’m not afraid to deviate and plot anew.

7. Where do you write best? (E.g. at your desk, in bed, in a cafe…)

I don’t really have a specific place, they all have certain advantages. Home is nice because it’s comfortable and I don’t need headphones to listen to music. A café is nice because it doesn’t have all the distractions I have at home. I can say that I do my worst writing in bed, as I can’t get comfortable and have to keep shifting as I write.

8. Is there anyone that keeps you writing despite struggles? If so, who?

During NaNoWriMo last year, my husband was very good about telling me to go write when he could see I hadn’t done any writing that day. In the past few months, I’ve been good at pushing myself, though I need to get back on track, my writing has slowed dramatically in the past few weeks.

9. If you could meet any Author who would it be?

I’d love to meet Neil Gaiman, and I’m absolutely certain I would be starstruck and bashful and unable to discuss anything worthwhile.

10. What is your favourite book of all time?

Sabriel by Garth Nix. I reread it once a year on average. It was this book that taught me that magic must make sense and have rules, even if the reader does not know all of them. I also love Death as it appears in that world.