Friday, March 9, 2012

Author Interview With S.A. Archer

Please help me welcome S.A. Archer, who writes standalone books and along side Ravynheart for the following series: Champion of the Sidhe, Touched and Rise of the Unseelie.

What is the hardest part about writing as a team?
Having patience. Ravynheart and I have a long history of writing together, which makes our partnership work really well. We’ve role played for years, with each other and with others, which is inherently a co-writing experience. In role playing, you write a few paragraphs about what your character is doing, feeling and saying. Then you give the person you role play with a chance to do the same, going back and forth as the story progresses. Because our styles work so well together, Ravynheart and I make a really smooth team. The hard part is when I have done my part and I’m waiting for him to have the time and the motivation to take his turn. I try not to pester him too terribly, but he knows I am always chomping at the bit to get my hands on his parts of the story.

What is your favorite part about writing fantasy?
I love the idea that magic exists. That there is more to the world than what meets the eye, and you can affect it and be effected by it. I love writing scenes when the Sidhe perform magic, describing what it would feel like to commune with the elements, or feel someone’s magic melt into your body, carrying with it power and emotion. Through magic you can bond more deeply and fundamentally with someone than is possible without it. I love exploring that. 

Can you tell us a bit about your newest book, Aftershock?
Aftershock is the first book in the Rise of the Unseelie mini-series. It begins with Jhaer, the head of the Unseelie Elite, attempting to rescue his queen from the castle of the Seelie Court. The Seelie want to unite the courts, and unite the Sidhe, but the Unseelie rebel against this, seeing it as a denial of their freedom. It was foretold that if the courts were ever united, that the Mounds, the realm of the fey, would collapse. Which is exactly what happens, killing most of the Sidhe population. Jhaer is one of the few survivors. On ‘the surface’, which is the modern world we live in, Jhaer discovers that there are exiled Unseelie and their offspring, who are called the earthborn Sidhe. These untrained earthborn Sidhe are in their late teens and early twenties, have no training, and are the favored prey of vampires and wizards. Jhaer is determined to see that change before his race is completely extinct.

How many different series do you have aside from the one that Aftershock is in? Are the all inter related? Which order should they be read in?
There are three inter-related mini-series, which will each be 5 novellas long. Rise of the Unseelie follows Jhaer (who renames himself Donovan once he comes to the surface) and his earthborn Sidhe. The second series is Champion of the Sidhe, which is the Seelie side of the story and follows Lugh as he tries to find a way to rebuild the lost fey realm. The third series is Touched, and is what we call the ‘outsiders’ line. It follows a human who has been ‘cursed’ by the Touch of the Sidhe and now is addicted to it. This pulls her against her will into the conflicts between the Seelie and Unseelie, as well as between the Sidhe and their predators.

Although each novella can stand alone, and each series can stand alone, if you read all three in the recommended reading order you will get the full picture and really experience the world and the adventure in a powerfully immersive way. We have a recommended reading order on our site at . If you go this route, you will be reading all three series together, rather than one at a time. This is because all three story lines are happening concurrently.

For example, the first scenes in End of the World: Champion of the Sidhe #1 shows the Seelie side of the same events that are the first scenes in Aftershock: Rise of the Unseelie #1. In End of the World, you see Lugh’s point of view as he defends the castle from Jhaer’s attacks. And in Aftershock, you experience Jhaer’s desperate attempt to break through the Seelie’s defenses.

Things that happen in one series carry over and affect the other two series. You only get to see all of the undercurrents when you read all of the stories. We compare the novellas to television episodes. You can watch one episode and enjoy it. But when you watch the entire season, you pick up on the story threads that run through each episode and builds a much bigger story.

The reading order for the books that are currently available is:

End of the World: Champion of the Sidhe #1
Aftershock: Rise of the Unseelie #1
Cursed: Touched #1
Champion of the Fey: Champion of the Sidhe #2
Addicted: Touched #2
Scars of Silver: Rise of the Unseelie #2

If you could live in one of the worlds you’ve created, which one would it be?
I would definitely be in the urban fantasy world of the three The Sidhe series. Especially if I could be Sidhe myself. My writing partner S. Ravynheart and I joke that we live in that world now, because we spend so much time thinking about it, and experiencing it through our characters.

Do you have a favorite quote or scene from Aftershock?
 This is my favorite scene:

All hope shattered, leaving only fatalistic determination. Through raw force of will, Jhaer held aloft the vast cavern ceiling, allowing as many fey as possible the chance to escape, the stronger ones via teleportation, the lesser fey certainly crowding the portals that might whisk them to the surface. Alone, Jhaer balanced each rock, each clump of dirt. For miles. Sweat ran in rivulets down the strained muscles of his body. Holding. Binding. Unyielding. And yet fissures snaked through the cavern under the oppression of tons upon tons of earth overhead. Fissures Jhaer could not mend. Fissures that sheared as chunks broke free and rained from the sky. Chunks that slipped through his shattering strength. Jhaer dropped to his knees, giving all his power to the failing magic. The edges of the cavern crumbled, creating a cascade as each lost rock freed those above it. Rockslides like waterfalls poured down in a roaring that could not completely annihilate the screams of terror. Down the ceiling fell in ever greater pieces until the entire cavern plummeted down like a mountain to entomb everything beneath, burying alive everyone who had not already escaped. Including Jhaer.

What upcoming projects do you have that you can share with us?
 We are continuing to build the three mini-series. Book 3 in each series will be coming out this Spring. All of the fourth books come out in the Summer and the fifth books in the Fall. We will be putting them out in collections for those who want them in that format. And then we begin the next phase of the story. We are only at the very beginning of the adventure.

Do you have a favorite comfort read? If so, what is it? 
I have probably read Stephen King’s Firestarter a hundred times. It is a fantastic story. I feel completely immersed in that world when I read it. I love the way you really inhabit the characters. The action is intense. I aspire to write stories that can be read over and over and yet still transport the reader completely into the world each time.