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Thursday 3 November 2016

ℚ♫ Songs of Seraphina - Jude Houghton

Today we have welcome back author to talk about Songs of Seraphina (, Tenebris Books, Grimbold Books, 384 pages), a Young Adult Fantasy.

"Full of family secrets, mysteries, time travel, deities, and more, this work delivers a bold, richly realized tale from a promising new author." —Kirkus Review

"Jude Houghton’s story is a remarkably imaginative piece of fantasy, constructing a whole universe of conflicting cultures and richly developed individual characters."
— Self-publishing Review

Synopsis | Teaser: KCR Preview | Author Q&A | About the Author | Giveaway & Tour Stops

Hello Jude, welcome back to BooksChatter!

Last month you shared with us your playlist for Autonomy, which included one of my favourites — The Headless Children by WASP — hence I cannot wait to find out your selection for Songs of Seraphina!

"The music playlist for writing Songs of Seraphina was a little bizarre but here goes [below. A couple of notes; Guild Wars: I] Have the soundtrack but have never played the game. This became the "on repeat" album I listened to while writing the book. It captures the mood of the book perfectly and I couldn’t turn it off... [Diablo II: I] Have the soundtrack and completed the game. Many, many wasted hours."
What was the inspiration for Songs of Seraphina?
"It was a freezing November. My family were away. I was at home, drinking a glass of wine, sitting by the fire and reading a description of a Viking burial that was an eyewitness account, written in 922 by Ibn Fadlan. For some reason I found it very moving. The words, that someone had put down over a thousand years ago describe what was essentially a local custom where a young girl is selected to be burned alive on flaming boat with her Lord. “When one of their chiefs dies, his family asks his girls and pages, ‘Which one of you will dies with him?’ Then one of them answers, “I”. From that time that she utters the word, she is no longer free.” I stared into the flames, and began to wonder what if that ritual were to happen today? What would possibly be the circumstances, and then I began to write."
How much of yourself is reflected in this book, and how?
"The book is at heart about family relationships (between the three sisters) and friendship (between two demigod assassins). In many ways the work is a family saga wrapped in a fantasy. In bringing to life those bonds, and in dramatizing those characters, I drew, even if subconsciously, on the relationships around me."
The first thing that draws me to a book is its cover. Can you tell us about your cover for Songs of Seraphina - why you chose that concept and who the artist is.
"I absolutely love the cover of this book. Not everyone will, but that’s okay. It captures in a single scene the mood and the action of the novel. The artist is Lorinda Tomko, who I have never met, and the design by Ken Dawson, who is a brilliant cover designer and does a lot of work for the publisher.

As an aside, I love 80’s video games, having grown up that arcade era, and one of my prize possessions is a vintage arcade machine. Imagine my surprize when I came home one day and found this spray painted on the side. I love it. The art was a birthday present from my wife."
Very nice :-)

Why should we read Songs of Seraphina and what sets it apart from the rest? What makes your book unique?

"That’s a great question. My answer is that I try not to repeat what has already been done, and create something new. Whether I succeeded or not, is up to each reader. However, here are some snippets from independent reviews which I just read from various blogs in October 2016:

Don’t Judge, Read
Oh my, if I could sum up this book in two words, it would simply be, OH My!.. and not in a bad way. This book has everything I have been looking for this past year. Murder plots, mysteries inside of mysteries, and sheer utter confusion. It was glorious! The world building was outstanding. You where transported, embedded and rooted like you yourself where part of the fascinating story that Jude Houghton created. The flow was smooth yet dark, you could last feel the danger lurking in the background. I love it when a author can make you feel as nervous as the characters. I highly recommend this book. It is truly one of a kind. The mix of disarray and sure magnificent will have you hooked from start to finish.

Betwixt the Pages
Dark and atmospheric; vivid imagery; unique, well-rounded characters; creeptastic antiheroes with ambiguous and shifting morals; an interesting re-imagining of immortals and demigods; a fantastic, entertaining journey.

To Be Read
This book as an epic fantasy with such a wide scope. Each of the three sisters end up in Seraphina and slowly the story unfolds. This is unlike anything I have read before. This is such a large world and the world-building was truly epic.

Books, Read, Review
This was an awesome read I really enjoyed reading this book. A great turn pager that I couldn’t put down. The plot, characters, all were great. I loved reading about the sisters and what they went through. It was a fun adventure to read about."
Can you tell us something quirky about Songs of Seraphina, its story and characters?
"All the people in this book, I have met. Fact."
Who would you recommend Songs of Seraphina to and what should readers be aware of (any warnings or disclaimers)?
"This novel is literary, young adult fiction. It is suitable for both young adults, and adults that liked reading books such as the Phillip Pullman trilogy or even the Harry Potter series. However, because it is quite literary, I think young adults need to be pretty advanced readers."
If you could / wished to turn Songs of Seraphina into a movie, who would be your dream team?
"If I could dream in color…and this series actually became a movie, I would like it to be done differently than the types of highly produced, green screen FX of…well, every fantasy movie since the millennium. Maybe this is me harking back to the eighties again… but personally would love to see something different. Relatively recently the BBC dramatized Wolf Hall – one of my favorite books ever. The way they produced it was a breath of fresh air; everything understated, evocative, real. Yes, that, we need more of that."
What do you like to write and read about? Do you stick to a particular genre or do you like to explore different ones?
"I am a lover of literature. An addict. I have been from an early age. And from that perspective, although Songs of Seraphina is my first published novel, and fantasy, my second published novel is a science-fiction thriller, and my third may be very different again. I will read anything if it grabs my attention, and I can honestly say I don’t have a preferred genre per se. In terms of my favorite books of recent times, I’ve already mentioned Wolf Hall (historical fiction), but others include, Song of Achilles (Greek Mythology) and Ready Player One (Sci-Fi) and Dirt Music (Literary Fiction), The Restraint of Beasts (Comedy) and of course, the Harry Potter series. Favourite books of all time include a lot of classics from Shakespeare to Daphne Du Maurier. If I think it’s good, I read it, if I like the first chapter, I read all of it. The only books I have never really warmed to are romance. I wouldn’t touch 50 Shades of Grey with a 10 foot pole. No entendre intended."
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 house is like a petting zoo. In no particular order, Daisy, the German Shepherd, absurdly entitled, but endlessly helpful, especially when it comes to cleaning up any food related spillages and bizarrely, raking leaves. Two hermit crabs, whom to be frank, I don’t have much of a connection with.. A fish. Lots of groundhogs, deer, chipmunks in the garden to the extent that if Snow White walked across the yard, I probably wouldn’t’ be surprised. The latest addition to the household is a puppy… because we needed more pets… and here he is!"
Another gorgeous one! Hello little puppy :-) Head rubs to you and Daisy!
Petting zoos are the best ;-) As of last Friday we now have eight cats... our latest furry one is a three year-old...

Thank you so much for chatting to us again and we hope you are having a great tour!

Songs of Seraphina
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