Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Eolyn by Karin Rita Gastreich - Guest Post, Book Review & Giveaway


About Karin Rita Gastreich


Karin Rita Gastreich writes stories of ordinary women and the extraordinary paths they choose. She lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she is part of the biology faculty at Avila University. An ecologist by vocation, Karin has wandered forests and wild lands for over twenty years. Her past times include camping, hiking, music, and flamenco dance. In addition to The Silver Web trilogy, Karin has published short stories in World Jumping, Zahir, Adventures for the Average Woman, and 69 Flavors of Paranoia. She is a recipient of the Spring 2011 Andrews Forest Writer’s Residency.

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Guest Post
 
What’s so fascinating about magic by Karin Rita Gastreich

This question could be taken a lot of different directions, from the general appeal of magic across the genre of fantasy, to the special importance of magic in Eolyn’s world.

In chapter three of the first novel of The Silver Web, Eolyn and Akmael meet as children. During this encounter, Eolyn discovers that unbeknownst to her, she has been learning magic. She and Akmael have the following exchange:

“Whenever I draw earth from the air, there’s a sensation that makes me feel all warm inside,” Eolyn said. “Does that happen to you? Does magic make you happy, like when the sun shines on a spring day or when winter’s first snow begins to fall?”

“I don’t know.” Akmael had to think for a moment. “It’s not exactly happiness I feel, it is more like a sense of power over great movement, as if a river were flowing through my hands. It reminds me a little of what it’s like to ride a spirited horse.”

In just a few sentences, Eolyn and Akmael capture one of the fundamental beauties of magic: The experience of magic is unique for each individual. Even for the same person, invoking magic as a child has an entirely different quality compared to invoking magic as an adult.

In Eolyn’s world, magic is forbidden to women. The ruling class claims many justifications for this prohibition, but in the end, everything boils down to one concern: Magic is a source and symbol of power. The noblemen of Eolyn’s world, anxious to maintain control over restless and sometimes rebellious subjects, stripped women of the rights to practice magic because they fear that women’s magic incites sedition.

Maybe they’re right. Then again, maybe a little bit of sedition would not be such a bad thing in this brutal medieval realm.

Eolyn, in fact, is not a warmonger. All she desires is the opportunity to express her gifts fully, and to use these gifts to serve her people. But in order to get that opportunity, she may have to wage war against those who would rather see her burn.

Those are a few thoughts on magic in Eolyn’s world. What about magic for the rest of us?

For me as a reader and an author, magic brings a sense of the unexpected to any story. By definition, magic breaks the rules, often in surprising ways. Magic also adds a layer of wonder to any moment or journey. This is true in our lives and in our stories. Like many people, I like to see magic in my everyday life, in the beauty of spring flowers, summer sunsets, and fresh-fallen snow.

In short, magic makes me happy.
What about you?

Book review

Amazon USA Amazon UK

Review by Anniek
 
Eolyn was very young when a heart wrenching tragedy sent her deep into the woods. Being guided by the Guendes she found Ghemena. A high maga who lives in solitude after escaping her own death.
It is believed that there are no maga left in the world so they must be careful they won't be discovered.

Eolyn goes out in the woods all the time and it is there that she meets a young boy. He is a mage and is trained to become a high mage. What she doesn't know is that when he grows up he will be in the position to make or break her.

When Ghemena learns who eolyn's mother was she teaches her everything that a maga needs to know. Eolyn excepts her true calling and is being honored by the Dragon to become a High Maga.
With this calling also comes a difficult path. Every woman in the nation is being carefuly watched.
If anyone suspects them being a witch they will end up on the pyre. Only the men can have magical abilities. A male witch is a mage and they are all being trained by a very powerful and dark wizard who once made sure all the High Maga found their excruciating death.

Eolyn is such a sweet and pure girl but not naive. I loved those subbleties about her. She is the only High Maga alive and she is destined and determent to bring magic back into the lives of all people. Even though she has seen a lot of tragedies in her life she still remains positive and strong.
Together with her own 'army' she will face the King to get the succesful outcome they all long for. When enemies become allies and allies become possible enemies who will come out on top?
Will Eolyn be able to see through the people who are closest to her of will she end up paying for her mistakes?

Karin Rita Gastreich created a wonderful magical world that sometimes feels like a fairytale.
The main characters are so diverse in all their abilities that it is a joy to read about them. It was very easy for me to clearly picture the scenes. Even though it's sometimes hard to
understand how the worlds work within this genre I had no trouble at all with understanding the story straight from the start and I found myself totally grabbed by all the magical beings that are a part of Eolyn's world.

Giveaway

One lucky winner will receive a $ 15,- Amazon or B&N gift card.
 

114 comments:

  1. What books have most influenced your life?

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    1. Well, there are so many, it's hard to narrow it down. Some of the books of my formative years should probably go on the list, such as Grimm's Fairy Tales and the Little House on the Prairie series. But over the years, I have mostly read history and historical fiction. Some of the authors I've most enjoyed in these genres are Elaine Pagels, who writes about the history of the early Christian church, and Philippa Gregory, with her novels based in medieval and Tudor England. I'm consistently drawn to stories about women in medieval and Renaissance times.

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  2. Who is one of your favorite author's ?

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    1. In addition to the people I mentioned in my response to Mai, I'm a fan of Gioconda Belli, the Nicaraguan poet and author who wrote The Country Beneath My Skin, a memoir of her involvement in the Sandinista Revolution. That book was so well-written and resonated with me on so many levels. It's stayed with me a long time and influenced many aspects of my writing.

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  3. You are a new author to me, happy to have met you.

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    1. Thank you, Irma! Happy to meet you too. :)

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  4. What's you favorite place to write?

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    1. Virginia Beach. I go there once a year with several other women writers, where we rent a beach house and write for a week. I wish I could stay there all year!

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  5. I really enjoyed reading the entire post, thank you!

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  7. What was your inspiration in coming up with magical themes/ extraordinary adventures in your stories? And btw, it was interesting to know that you're an ecologist.

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    1. Thanks, Kayl! There were many sources of inspiration for magic in Eolyn's world. In the years leading up to when I started writing the book, I had the opportunity to work with professionals in the field of ethnobiology. It was through that exchange that I finally understood what I wanted from magic in Eolyn's story. Her magic needed to be informed by the natural world and dependent upon it. I also realized that the philosophy and practice of magic should vary from culture to culture; that magic should reflect important aspects of the cultural world view. Once I had that foundation, everything else fell into place.

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  8. Anniek, thank you so much for hosting and especially for that lovely review! I'm so glad you enjoyed EOLYN.

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  9. Awesome cover, thanks for the giveaway!

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    1. Thank you! Cover art and design is by Thomas Vandenberg. He's an amazing artist & a big fan of Eolyn. :)

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  10. Sounds like a good read. Cool cover.

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    1. Thanks, Kim! I have Thomas Vandenberg to thank for the cover art and design.

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    1. Oh, everything. :) My very first story was based on a dream I had when I was a little girl. I've been writing ever since. For many years, writing was a hobby. EOLYN is the first novel that I've published.

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  12. I appreciate you giving us the chance to win, thanks so much

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  13. Wow what a different sounding story. I would love an imAgination like yours.

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  14. Wow what a different sounding story. I would love an imAgination like yours.

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    1. Thank you. I'm really happy Anniek enjoyed the story so much.

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  16. what inspired you to start writing?

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    1. I think EOLYN got started because I wanted to write a fantasy where women would play complex and central roles. But writing in general has been a part of my life for a very long time. It's just a lot of fun for me, inventing and sharing stories.

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  17. It looks so good, can't wait to read it!

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  18. What's you favorite type of music?

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    1. I like a lot of different kinds of music, from classical to contemporary. Everything from Mozart to Florence & the Machine. I especially like music that is danceable.

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  19. What's you favorite type of music?

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    1. Thank you, Victoria. I was pretty pleased by Anniek's review, too. :)

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  21. I really like the sound of this book. Thanks for the introduction!

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  22. Roslyn sounds like a fantastic character. I can't wait to read her story.

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    1. Thanks, Jeanna! I think Eolyn's name may have been a victim of auto-correct in your post. :) Hope you enjoy the novel.

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  23. what inspired you to start writing

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    1. My very first story was based on a dream I had when I was a little girl. I woke up before the dream ended, so I decided to write my own ending. And I've been writing every since. :)

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  24. Hi Karin,
    If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

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    1. I wish I could get by on just 3 hours of sleep, so I'd have more time to do all the things I'd like to do in a day.

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    2. Me again, just wondering where the photo of you was taken? Looks like a rain forest!

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    3. Me again, just wondering where the photo of you was taken? Looks like a rain forest!

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    4. Hi Kate! The photo was taken near Cerro de la Muerte in Costa Rica. It's one of the highest mountains in the country. The vegetation is not forest, but low shrubby stuff called paramo. Trees can't grow there because of the altitude. A couple hundred meters below this point, you start to get oak-dominated cloud forest - the type of ecosystem that inspired some of the forests in EOLYN. It's a beautiful region and one of my favorite places to visit.

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  25. Replies
    1. Pretty much anywhere. I have spaces in my house set aside for writing, but I also enjoy writing in coffee shops and in my journal outdoors. Once a year, I attend a writer's retreat at Virginia Beach, which is also a great place to write.

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  26. I really like the cover did you have much say in the design?

    Megan @ reading away the days

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    1. Thank you! I really like the cover, too. The artist is Thomas Vandenberg. He's a big fan of EOLYN, and before he started work on the cover art, we talked about options and agreed on this scene. Tom pretty much took it from there, in terms of images and design, but he did base his dragon on the description I provide in the book. I think he did an awesome job, and am happy to say he will also be doing the cover art for THE SWORD OF SHADOWS, Book 2 in this series.

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  27. What do you like to watch on TV? 😊

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  28. The truth is, I have a really hard time finding things I enjoy on TV. I do watch the PBS Newshour every day. I also like it when a good series comes out. Some of my favorites (reaching back a ways) have been Rome, Battlestar Galactica, and Isabel (a Spanish-language series about Queen Isabella). I also loved Downton Abbey.

    In general, I'm drawn toward fantasy, historical fiction, and science fiction in series, just like in my reading. More contemporary shows like Breaking Bad and House of Cards don't really grab me, not because they aren't well done, but because they don't appeal to my need for escapism.

    Right now, I'm on the hunt for a new series to watch. I have been watching Game of Thrones, but I have a lot of issues with that show. Still, at the moment, it's the best thing out there in medieval fantasy.

    Usually if I try to watch TV, I get bored pretty quickly and end up reading or writing instead.

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  29. looks good. :)
    thanks for the giveaway!

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  30. I love the names you chose for your characters!

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    1. Thank you! I put a lot of thought into names, so I'm glad to hear that you like them.

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  31. Thanks for the great giveaway!!!

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  32. you are a new author for me your book sounds amazing am looking forward to reading your books...

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    1. Thank you very much, Amy. I hope you enjoy them.

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  33. What is your favorite genre of books to read?

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    1. I'm a big fan of history and historical fiction, especially books about women in history. How about you?

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  34. If you were to have the 'condemned man's last meal', what would you ask for?

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    1. Goodness, that's a morbid question! If you're asking what my favorite meal is, it's my mother's sauerbraten, with potato dumplings and red cabbage. I wouldn't request that for my last meal, though, because I wouldn't want Mom to know it's my last.

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  36. If they were to name a cocktail after you what would be in it?

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    1. I don't know enough about cocktails to answer that question. "Margarita" already has the name "Rita" in it, so that's good enough for me. :)

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  37. Who are some authors that inspire you?

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    1. Gioconda Belli, Patricia McKillip, and Guy Gavriel Kay.

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  38. Replies
    1. Thank you! The cover art and design is by Thomas Vandenberg. He's now working on the cover for the second book, the Sword of Shadows.

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  39. What kind of books do you love to read ?

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    1. History and historical fiction. How about you?

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    2. I love all kinds of Romance , fantasy and paranormal and thrillers too . I read almost everything sometimes historical and history fiction :)

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    3. Cool! I love romance, fantasy & paranormal too. I'm actually working on a paranormal romance right now, which I hope to release later this year.

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    4. Great to know :) Hope you can release it late this year .

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  40. Where are some of your favorite places you've camped and hiked?

    Deborah

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    1. Corcovado National Park and Chirripo National Park, both in Costa Rica.

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  41. I love your sentence 'The experience of magic is unique for each individual'. It is the individual perception that forms that experience. Deep stuff Karin!

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  42. I love your sentence 'The experience of magic is unique for each individual'. It is the individual perception that forms that experience. Deep stuff Karin!

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  43. what inspired you to begin writing?

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    1. My first story was inspired by a dream I had when I was a little girl. For better or for worse, I've been writing ever since.

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  44. who is your favorite author?

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    1. I have many favorite authors, but a few that are at the top of the list are Gioconda Belli, Patricia McKillip, Phillipa Gregory, and Guy Gavriel Kay.

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    2. I love a few of those as well!!

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  45. Did you choose this genre or did it choose you when you started to write?

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    1. Interesting question! I've never thought about it before, but now that you mention it, I do kind of feel like fantasy chose me. The very first story I ever wrote was a fantasy, and while I enjoy reading a wide variety of genres, fantasy is what I most like to write.

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  46. what inspired you to start writing?

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    1. The first story I wrote was based on a dream I had. I've been telling stories ever since. :)

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  47. When/how did you decide you wanted to be an author?

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    1. Well, I've been writing as a past time since I was very young, but I didn't get serious about publishing until I finished the first draft of EOLYN. I started sharing it with other people, and after some very positive responses, decided to polish it up and start querying. Eventually, I landed my first contract with Hadley Rille Books, and here I am today...

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  48. What where some of the difficulties writing this book ?

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    1. The most challenging scenes were the battle scenes, but I had some great critique partners to help me through those, and in the end it was a lot of fun. I was especially pleased when Publishers Weekly high lighted the battle scenes as one of the strengths of the book.

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  49. This looks really neat. Thank you for the chance!

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  50. Thank you for sharing this book with us and the giveaway. I love fantasy reads and never tire of finding new amazing fantasy books to check out!

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  51. Did you always know you would become a Writer?

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    1. There was a time when I was in high school when I wanted to be a novelist, but I was coached away from that and eventually chose a career in the sciences instead. I don't regret my decision, but I also never stopped writing. I'm really happy to have completed EOLYN and very excited to share her with the world. :)

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  52. Did you always know you would become a Writer?

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  53. If you could be a tree, what kind would you be?

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    1. Good question! I would be a slow-growing, hardwood tree. Probably an oak. The mages & magas of Eolyn's world can actually shapeshift into trees; not something you see in every fantasy novel. :)

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