Let the touring begin…
The King and the Criminal
Series: The Heart of all Worlds, book two
Release date: December 8, 2016
Interview time :)
Hello, and thank you so much for having me! I’m thrilled to be here!
I have been writing since I was a kid, and it was always my dream to be a professional writer when I grew up. After deferring that particular dream for many years, I finally decided it was time to pursue it, and in 2015 Interlude Press published my first novel, The Heart of All Worlds, Book 1: The Sidhe. The King and the Criminal is the second book in the series.
Tell us about your book.
The King and the Criminal is a high fantasy novel, and a love story at its heart. It follows Firae, an elfin king, and his uneasy alliance with Tash, a criminal he was supposed to bring to justice, but instead begins to develop feelings for despite his better judgment. Their relationship unfolds against a backdrop of a world in turmoil, as they attempt to help the rightful queen of the human realm to keep and defend her throne.
How difficult was it to get into the main character’s head?
Not all that hard, actually. Tash and Firae are the main characters in The King and the Criminal, but they made their first appearances in The Sidhe, in which they were somewhat minor characters. I was immediately drawn to them as characters, and began contemplating their backstories and futures before I had even finished writing The Sidhe. I was very excited to get into their heads for the second book in the trilogy, as I had been contemplating their inner worlds for quite a while by the time I started writing it.
Is this book a standalone or do you plan on visiting it again?
There will be one more book in The Heart of All Worlds trilogy, which will come out in 2017. After that, I am planning a second trilogy set in the same world and with some of the same characters, but with an entirely different story arc and focusing mostly on the Keshells. I anticipate spending quite a lot of time telling stories set on the planet of Ullavise.
Why did you choose to write M/M stories?
It’s less about writing M/M stories per se, and more about writing LGBTQ stories. The main pairings in The Heart of All Worlds are M/M, because that is who the characters are and how they fit together. That said, I think I also like writing M/M because it’s sexy, and because there is just something fundamentally beautiful to me about same-sex romantic love (which is also why I like writing F/F stories). It’s also very satisfying to write about same-sex partnerships in a high fantasy setting in which the characters’ sexuality isn’t the source of their problems.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I find inspiration everywhere! I find a lot of inspiration in nature; most of The Sidhe and The King and the Criminal take place outdoors, so I tend to take a lot of walks in the woods for inspiration while I’m working on a book. I also love fairytales and myths, and I really enjoy writing original material that is inspired by pre-existing mythology. And I suppose I could also say that I’m inspired by what isn’t in so many of the high fantasy books I have read in my life: openly and unflinchingly queer characters, unapologetically shrewd and powerful women, and a world populated by people of color. To quote Mary Robinette Kowal, “it is not about adding diversity for the sake of diversity, it’s about subtracting homogeneity for the sake of realism.” That truth inspires me to build worlds that are broad, rather than narrow, when it comes to representation. Fantasy is a wildly creative genre, and it should never be about maintaining a status quo.
What happens when the fairytale ends but the journey continues?
Book II of the Heart of All Worlds series finds Sehrys and Brieden living peacefully in Khryslee until King Firae must cross The Border in pursuit of a convicted criminal, one who has violated a magical doctrine and so threatened the stability
of their world. When Firae’s plan goes awry and he becomes trapped in Villalu, he is faced with a choice between allegiance to the Council or allegiance to Brissa, the fierce young human queen who is determined to bring justice to Villalu. Firae discovers he must rely on the very criminal he was seeking to help him get home alive—a man he exiled long ago, but who awakens something in his heart more potent than his sworn duties as king.
Meanwhile, Sehrys is forced to ascend the throne in Firae’s absence, thus taking a role he was once groomed for, but one that Brieden fears could destroy their life together.
As each man struggles to understand his own destiny, devotion, and legacy, deeper and more urgent truths confront them all: Their world is in far greater danger than they realized, and each of them plays an integral part in its fate.
Categories: Fiction, Romance, LGBT, Epic Fantasy, Gay
296 pages, 81,450 words
Publisher: Interlude Press
Cover Artist: CB Messer
Firae looked ahead and refused to react to Tash or to the people gathered along the side of the road, who murmured and pointed to the two sidhe in the middle of the royal procession. Though Tash assumed the man had never ridden a horse, he managed to look graceful and regal as he rode with his back straight as a fencepost and his hands resting lightly on his thighs. When a groom had brought him the chestnut stallion, Firae had stroked the animal’s muzzle and whispered to him in the old language of land beasts, and then insisted that the horse’s bridle and saddle be removed before he would climb on his back.
“His name is Acorn,” the groom had said nervously, twisting his hands, and Firae had looked at Tash, silently demanding a translation, which Tash had given him.
Firae had scoffed. “I certainly doubt that. How could that child possibly know this creature’s name? I can’t imagine they share a language.”
Those had been the last words Firae had spoken to him since they left Pemerec.
Once Tash had revealed himself, Firae had gone cold, demanding to know who Tash worked for and then demanding an audience with Brissa and refusing to answer any additional questions. When Tash had tried to explain, Firae had simply walked away.
“Please,” Tash repeated. “I know you’re upset with me, but if you’d allow me to explain, I believe you may be sympathetic to our cause. You see—”
“I will allow the human queen to explain,” Firae said abruptly, his eyes remaining fixed on the front of the procession. “And you may consider yourself under arrest without liberty to speak.”
“I—with all due respect, you have no jurisdiction over me, Firae.”
“I beg to differ.”
“It doesn’t matter if you b—” Firae finally turned his head and looked Tash square in the eye. Tash closed his mouth. Perhaps he should hold his tongue and wait for Firae to speak to the queen. In fact, Tash couldn’t imagine what he could say. It was best if he remained silent until—
“How dare you!” Tash spat, pushing out the words with all the force he could muster. “You must have known that wouldn’t work, I’m not human.”
Firae turned his attention to the road ahead. “It was worth a try,” he said with a small shrug.
“If you try to compel the queen, I swear to you, you will not make it back to Laesi alive,” Tash snapped as his heart thrummed from the effort of pushing the intrusion from his mind.
“Your queen shall come to no harm,” Firae told him, “but I cannot make the same promise to you. So unless you would like to incriminate yourself further, I suggest holding your tongue until I have spoken to this queen.”
Buy the book
It’s all about the author…
Charlotte Ashe works in the nonprofit world by day and writes romantic fantasy by night. A long-time fan of speculative fiction that skews feminist and features LGBT characters, Charlotte loves writing stories that are sexy, heartfelt, and full of magic and adventure. She has put her BA in literature and creative writing to use over the years as a writer of fan fiction, and her most popular work has drawn more than one million readers worldwide, been translated into several languages, and been featured in online publications including The Backlot. Her first novel, The Sidhe, was published in 2015 by Interlude Press and named a finalist for a Foreword Reviews’ INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award.
…and stalking them :)
And here comes the Rafflecopter…a Rafflecopter giveaway