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Tuesday 6 September 2016

ℚ♫ Sword of Shadows: The Silver Web [2] - Karin Rita Gastreich

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with author to talk about Sword of Shadows (first published 31 March 2014; this second edition , Orb Weaver Press, 393 pages), a Fantasy, book two of The Silver Web series. 

Author Q&A | Synopsis | Teaser | The Series | Giveaway & Tour Stops

A very warm welcome to Karin Rita Gastreich; thank you for joining us on BooksChatter!

We love music; do you have a music playlist that you used in Sword of Shadows, or which inspired you whilst you were writing it?

"I don’t have a separate playlist for Sword of Shadows, but I do have a playlist for the entire Silver Web trilogy. The playlist below includes songs that inspired all three books: Eolyn, Sword of Shadows, and Daughter of Aithne. It’s kind of an eclectic mix."
Eclectic is the best ;-) - Enjoy!

What was the inspiration for Sword of Shadows?
"I didn’t realize this until after I was done writing Sword of Shadows, but I believe much of the novel was inspired by stories I heard about World War II while growing up. In particular, my grandmother’s struggles to survive and protect her two baby daughters while her world fell apart made me sensitive to the plight of civilians, particularly women and children, caught in the brutal crossfire of war.

In essence, Sword of Shadows is a civilian- and woman-centered tale of war. It focuses on the courage, sacrifice, and heroism of people who somehow find the strength to carry on even as everything they know and love is swept away by circumstances beyond their control."
The first thing that draws me to a book is its cover. Can you tell us about your cover for Sword of Shadows - why you chose that concept and who the artist is.
"Thomas Vandenberg did the cover art and design for Sword of Shadows. He is an amazing artist and a big fan of Eolyn. It has been a real joy to work with him. He also did the cover for the first novel in the series, Eolyn, and we are also working together on the third and final book, Daughter of Aithne.

Tom read Sword of Shadows and very much wanted to interpret Eolyn’s first encounter with a Naether Demon. I thought that was a cool idea, so I said go for it! Naether Demons are supernatural beasts summoned from the Underworld by the invading army. Conventional weapons do not work against them, so Eolyn’s magic becomes very important in the struggle to defend her people.

I love Tom’s depiction of Eolyn; I think it is an iconic portrayal of the strong female heroine, very unique in the context of women in fantasy. She comes across as beautiful, fierce, and most of all, real. There is no bikini armor, no sexy pose, just a powerful woman determined to survive this moment of terror. If you look closely in the tree above her, you’ll see one of Eolyn’s young students, Mariel.

Also, the back cover of the paperback edition features a Tenolin sparrow, an imaginary songbird in Eolyn’s world. This bird has special significance for the story, but the reader will not understand its meaning until he or she has finished the novel."
Why should we read Sword of Shadows and the Silver Web series; what sets it apart from the rest?
"This is woman-centered epic fantasy. That doesn’t mean the male characters aren’t important; they are. In fact, Sword of Shadows is steeped in a misogynistic, patriarchal society that puts most power in the hands of men, and places multiple limitations on women. Nonetheless, women are the ones who carry the story. Most events are seen and interpreted through their eyes.

As a whole, The Silver Web trilogy follows a very special group of women who confront, challenge, and eventually overturn the patriarchal structures of their world. Sword of Shadows, being the middle book, is the darkest moment in that journey."
Can you tell us something quirky about Sword of Shadows, its story and characters?
"I lived for many years in Central America, and many names and places in The Silver Web were inspired by my experiences there. For example, Eolyn’s sword, Kel’Baru, is named after a volcano in Panama. The forests where Eolyn grew up were inspired by the highland oak forests of the Talamanca mountain range in Costa Rica.

Volcán Barú Talamaca, Costa Rica
In Eolyn’s world, women practitioners of magic are called magas, a feminine term for mage that is drawn directly from the Spanish language. In general, if you’re uncertain how to pronounce any name in the book, read the name as if it were written in Spanish – that is, pronounce all the letters and use Spanish vowels – and you’ll get it right."
Who would you recommend Sword of Shadows to and what should readers be aware of (any warnings or disclaimers)?
"I think this series would most appeal to readers of historical fiction in the tradition of Philippa Gregory and readers of fantasy fiction in the tradition of Guy Gavriel Kay. Readers who are looking for a feminist take on traditional epic fantasy might also enjoy it. In general, if you are into magic, adventure, romance, and great battle scenes, then this book is for you.

As for warnings and disclaimers, Sword of Shadows is very much an adult book. There is violence, dark magic, explicit and sometimes disturbing sex. The book is true to the chaos of war. Boundaries are crossed, taboos violated, people hurt, betrayed, and even sacrificed. This was not an easy book to write, and I think for some, it will not be an easy book to read. Yet Sword of Shadows constitutes a necessary step in the larger journey of the series; without it, the final vindication that the characters achieve in Daughter of Aithne would not be possible. "
If you could / wished to turn Sword of Shadows and the The Silver Web series into a movie, who would be your dream team?
"Normally, I don’t like to play the casting game, but just for you, I’ll give it a shot. :-)

The Good Guys:
Salma Hayek, back in the day, would have made a wonderful Eolyn. She’s probably a little old for the part now. (But bring her back for Daughter of Aithne!) Someone like Salma Hayek (suggestions are welcome!) would be my first choice for Eolyn.

Michelle Pfeiffer, back in the day, would have made a perfect Adiana. For this role, I need someone with the same haunting beauty and quiet intelligence. Again, suggestions are welcome!

Kit Harington, of course, would have to play Akmael, Mage King of Moisehén and the captain of Eolyn’s heart. Harington’s got the right combo of honor, strength, and the look of a man who could use a little love.

Salma Hayek as Eolyn Kit Harington as Akmael
The Bad Guys:
Mila Kunis (of Jupiter Ascending) would be awesome as Rishona, Queen of the Syrnte. She can do sexy; she can do ruthless; she can do awesome witchy power. All would love her and despair.

Rodolfo Sancho, who played King Ferdinand in the Spanish television series Isabel, would be my first choice for Prince Mechnes, uncle to Rishona and the commander of her army. He’s definitely got the charisma, and if he can up the ante on manipulative brutality, he’ll have the part nailed.

The Wild Card:
Tom Hiddleston would be lovely as the devious, sexy, and never-quite-trustworthy Corey of East Selen. Corey is the most powerful mage in the kingdom, a man of complicated ambitions and many secrets, and he has his eye on Eolyn."
Mila Kunis as Rishona Rodolfo Sancho s Prince Mechnes Tom Hiddleston as Corey of East Selen
What is in store next?
"Daughter of Aithne, the third book of The Silver Web, is set to be released in spring of 2017. The manuscript is finished, and right now I’m working on the cover art and design with Thomas Vandenberg, who did the covers for the first two books of the series.

I am also finishing up a paranormal romance/thriller set in my home town of Kansas City, Missouri. I hope to land an agent for this novel (and its companions), and I am currently in the process of querying."
And as a final quirky thing, to get to know you a little bit better... do you have a pet or something that is special to you that you could share with us?
"My nieces are important to me. Here’s a selfie of the three of us, taken last year at Christmas (which, by the way, is my favorite holiday):"
Lovely picture! Thank you for sharing :-)

Sword of Shadows
Available NOW!

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Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Karin Gastreich said...

Thank you for hosting! I had a lot of fun with this interview. Also, very impressed that you included a link to Thomas Vandenberg's web site! He'll appreciate that. :)

Rita Wray said...

Sounds like a great read.

Karin Gastreich said...

Thank you, Rita. SWORD OF SHADOWS was a lot of fun to write.

BooksChatter said...

Hello Karin! Thank you for stopping by :-)

I have finally got around to adding a few pics. Thank you for all of the info!
Thomas Vanderberg: very talented artist. Love his work :)

Have a great tour,


Karin Gastreich said...

omg - What fun! My dream team looks even better when you see them all together. :) I feel very lucky to have found Tom. He's been amazing to work with.

Victoria Alexander said...

Awesome playlist and great pictures - thanks for sharing :)

Karin Gastreich said...

Thank you! Glad you enjoyed it.