Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Interview with Helen Lowe, author of Daughter of Blood - Win copies of The Gathering of the Lost and The Heir of Night

Inside the Book:


Title: Daughter of Blood 
Author: Helen Lowe 
Publisher: Harper Voyager 
Pages: 768 
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy 
Format: Ecopy/Paperback

A Gemmell Award-Winning Series

Malian of Night and Kalan, her trusted ally, are returning to the Wall of Night—but already it may be too late. The Wall is dangerously weakened, the Nine Houses of the Derai fractured by rivalry and hate. And now, the Darkswarm is rising . . .

Among Grayharbor backstreets, an orphan boy falls foul of dark forces. On the Wall, a Daughter of Blood must be married off to the Earl of Night, a pawn in the web of her family's ambition. On the Field of Blood, Kalan fights for a place in the bride's honor guard, while Malian dodges deadly pursuers in a hunt against time for the fabled Shield of Heaven. But the Darkswarm is gaining strength, and time is running out—for Malian, for Kalan, and for all of Haarth . . .

 photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpgB&N  

What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life?
Helen: Having my first novel (Thornspell, Knopf, 2008) published was quite a moment. So, too, was reaching the rank of ni-dan, or second dan black belt, in the martial art aikido. I have been privileged to be able to help people, too, from time to time along the way and that is always personally rewarding.
How has your upbringing influenced your writing?
Helen: I was encouraged to read and read widely, and although reading does not necessarily lead to writing, it’s a great first step. We also moved a lot when I was a kid, including traveling internationally, which opened up new perspectives as well as new vistas, both of which are great fodder for a writer.
When and why did you begin writing?
Helen: I began writing very young, while living in Singapore. I already loved reading, so I suppose it was a natural next step to want to tell my own tales. I wrote poetry and stories, but also plays that we (my siblings and a friend) put on for our parents. They very wisely insisted we put them on indoors (where they could sit on sofas and enjoy refreshments) rather than in our rehearsal space – a much more primitive outdoor tent!
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Helen: I really do think it was a natural extension of loving reading – I wanted to do what I loved most myself. My endeavors were totally self-generated as well. I never attended a kids’ writing class or any of the school programs that are so prevalent now.
When did you first know you could be a writer?
Helen: I think I always knew: it was making the time to write seriously that was the trick. That took far longer than I would like, looking back now. I was fortunate to have some early success with a couple of short stories and poems, but completing my first novel-length work was quite a milestone. After that, you know you can do it, whereas when you have a schoolcase full of only-just-begun or half-completed manuscripts, the outcome seems far less certain.
What inspires you to write and why?
Helen: The stories themselves – as the great Ursula Le Guin says: “The world’s full of stories, you just reach out.” But the stories don’t stay out there, hovering in the air. Eventually, if I don’t reach out of my own volition they’ll start waking me up at nights – which is the kind of prod from the Muses that it’s hard to ignore.
What genre are you most comfortable writing?
Helen: Definitely Fantasy! I don’t think I’ve ever had an idea for a book that hasn’t been Fantasy, although some come close to being historical fiction, i.e. “legendary” history. However, my short fiction is more mixed, from contemporary realism, through the legendary history, to future dystopia (SciFi) and back to Fantasy again.
What inspired you to write your first book?
Helen: That school case of half-begun and half-completed manuscripts. Plus the muses were waking me up at night and I decided it didn’t matter which story I chose to tell, I just needed to pick one and finish it. So I put them all out on the floor, closed my eyes and reached out – and the “only half begun” manuscript I grabbed became The Heir of Night.
Who or what influenced your writing once you began?
Helen: I think every story I have ever read and loved has been a tremendous influence in terms of wanting to emulate whatever it was about it that struck me as good and great. The books I dislike are definitely an influence, too: I make notes to myself that I don’t want to spin that kind of yarn. But once begun, The Heir of Night story I was telling quickly became its own creative driver, and I would write and rewrite until felt I had gotten it right. I found then, and still find now, that I need to do that quite often, because the story that ends up on the page is often very different from the story in my mind.
What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general?
Helen: Writing is a very solitary occupation and bringing a novel-length work to completion can be the work of months or even years. So sticking with it throughout that time has much in common with endurance events: writing as “the loneliness of the long distance writer.” Deadlines can be daunting, too, especially when your story refuses to be wrangled or to move at anything other than its own, very slow pace.
Did writing this book teach you anything and what was it?
Helen: That no matter what happens, either inside your story or in real life, you have to keep going. And if you do keep putting one word after another on the page (even if you unravel them all again the very next night, like Penelope of Ithaca with her weaving) eventually you will reach the end, no matter how distant that destination seems when you first set out.
Do you intend to make writing a career?
Helen: I have now been writing for twelve years, far longer than I did any one job while in regular employment, so I think it is my career, for better or worse. I’m not ready to give up yet, anyway.
Have you developed a specific writing style?
Helen: My readers tell me so, and I believe them J – but I also believe I am still evolving as a writer. I would definitely like to explore different kinds of stories and ways of telling them, albeit within the Fantasy genre.
What is your greatest strength as a writer?
Helen: When Alex Davis interviewed me as a Gemmell Legend Award finalist in 2013, he was kind enough to say that, Your books to date have made a real impact, with your characters in particular being praised.” So I think I’ll go with what he said. J
What is your favorite quality about yourself?
Helen: That I love stories and storytelling.
What is your least favorite quality about yourself?
Helen: I would love to be a much faster writer of my own stories.
What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why?
Helen: “Think of this – that the writer wrote alone, and the reader read alone, and they were alone with each other.” It’s by A.S. Byatt, from her Booker prize-winning novel, Possession.

Meet the Author

Helen Lowe
Helen Lowe is an award-winning novelist, poet, interviewer, and blogger, whose first novel, Thornspell (Knopf), was published to critical praise in 2008. Her second, The Heir of Night (The Wall of Night Series, Book One) won the Gemmell Morningstar Award 2012. The sequel, The Gathering of The Lost, was shortlisted for the Gemmell Legend Award in 2013. Helen has a second-dan black belt in the martial art aikido and represented her university at fencing. She posts regularly on her ". . . on Anything, Really" blog, occasionally on SF Signal, and is also on Twitter: @helenlowe.


Helen is giving away print copies of The Gathering of the Lost & The Heir of Night


Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive both copies - US ONLY 
  • This giveaway begins January 18 and ends on February 12.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on February 13.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule

Monday, January 18 - Book featured at 3 Partners in Shopping
Tuesday, January 19 - Guest blogging at What is That Book About
Wednesday, January 20 - Interviewed at I'm Shelf-ish
Thursday, January 21 - Book featured at The Review From Here
Friday, January 22 - Interviewed at Deal Sharing Aunt

Monday, January 25 - Book reviewed at Vic's Media Room
Tuesday, January 26 - Book reviewed at Bookishly Me
Wednesday, January 27 - Guest blogging at Curling Up With A Good Book
Thursday, January 28 - Book reviewed at Cover2Cover
Friday, January 29 - Guest blogging at Lori's Reading Corner

 Monday, February 1 - Interviewed at Literal Exposure 
Tuesday, February 2 - Book featured at Confessions of an Eccentric Bookaholic 
  Wednesday, February 3 - Guest blogging at The Dark Phantom 
  Thursday, February 4 - Book featured at My Bookish Pleasures 
  Friday, February 5 - Book featured at Harmonious Publicity

  Monday, February 8 - Guest blogging at Write and Take Flight 
  Tuesday, February 9 - Book featured at Voodoo Princess 
  Wednesday, February 10 - Book featured at Bent Over Bookwords 
  Thursday, February 11 - Book featured at Book Cover Junkie 
  Friday, February 12 - Guest blogging at From Paperback to Leatherbound Pump Up Your Book email   

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