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I’ve always felt very privileged to host authors on my site, especially when it gives me a chance to meet new people. Sarah Ash has just had her first historical novel published with Manifold Press, though she is no stranger to the book world having many very enticing fantasy series listed on her website, and I hope we will soon see more from her.

Thank you Sarah, for answering my questions so kindly.

1/Have you been writing for long? Do you still remember your first story?

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I started off with little poems and plays that I persuaded my (long-suffering) school friends to act in but I finished my first novel when I was thirteen, a fantasy called The Miglas set in and around Wookey Hole (heavily influenced by Alan Garner). After that I just carried on but – although I was invited to talk to an editor and was very nearly published as a teenager – it didn’t happen and I went off to train as a musician instead.

2/Was there anything in particular that triggered the idea for Scent of Lilies? Have you ever been to Istanbul?

Scent of Lilies grew from my first ever published short story Ninufar’s Kiss which was all about Tekla. I’d been listening to Bulgarian folk songs (the amazing voices of Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares which still gives me goosebumps) and the characters just turned up (as they do). I’ve never been to Istanbul (Crete is the closest I’ve come) but a visit some years ago to the Chapelle des Moines in Burgundy with its wonderful 11th-12th century Byzantine frescoes by an unknown team of artists inspired me to do research as to how the artists worked. The main protagonist of my fantasy trilogy The Tears of Artamon, Gavril, is a portraitist (his mother Elysia is also a painter) so I seem to be fascinated by artists and the magic they wield.

3/What is your favourite genre to write/read? Is there one you would love to have a bash at/one that you’d avoid like rattlesnakes?

I like to read and write genre mash-ups. So although fantasy is my main genre as a writer, I’m thrilled to have a story coming out in The Alchemy Book of Horror #2 later this year.

4/What are you working on now?

I’m currently doing edits on The Arkhel Conundrum, Book 4 of The Tears of Artamon. It’s been a while since I returned to these characters but readers kept asking me ‘What happened to Gavril and Kiukiu?’ so I hope they won’t be disappointed with the new developments!

5/ Can we please have an excerpt?

With pleasure… here’s an extract from Scent of Lilies

book cover showing water liliesIt was late afternoon and the sun was already dipping westwards, flooding the isthmus with a dazzle of golden light. Damian turned to gaze upwards at Saint Thekla: a large tiled dome, the intricate masonry beneath sun-gilded from grey to rich ochre.

He took in a deep breath. This was the moment. His career depended on it. He reached for the iron handle on the great wooden door, turned it, pushed, heard the slow creak of the hinges go echoing into the high-vaulted recesses beyond, and went in.

Acrid smell of new lime plaster, white dust like fine sand coating the new floor tiles and somewhere further in, the hollow tap and drag of a builder’s trowel smoothing mortar against brick.

He stood a while, blinking, until his eyes became accustomed to the shadows, the flagstones chill beneath his feet.

A faint, dusty light was filtering into the church from many-paned windows high above the nave. Tentatively, he moved toward it. Tall columns of somber marble loomed out of the darkness. He put out a hand and touched their smooth chill, shivering as he did so.

His footfall echoed and re-echoed around the silent church. Perhaps Alastor had finished work for the day. It would be hard to work in this gloom for too long without risking eyestrain.

And suddenly he found himself beneath the central dome with shafts of light swimming with golden motes glinting in from a circle of high-arched windows set high above, catching flame in his dark hair. Beyond in the dimness he could just make out the planks and ladders of a ramshackle construction of half-completed scaffolding.

“Cosmas?”

The choked whisper came from high above, echoing round and round the dome. Startled, Damian peered uncertainly up into the shadows, the dusty light falling full on his face.

“M-M-M-Maestros Alastor?”

“Who the devil are you and what do you want?”

 

Author bio

Sarah Ash trained as a musician but writing fantasy novels has allowed her to explore her fascination with the way mythology and history overlap and interact (her second published novel Songspinners is set in an ‘alternate’ eighteenth century Bath, her home city).The five novels in the epic fantasy Artamon sequence (Random House) are also set in an alternate eighteenth century world – with daemons and dragons. The recent Tide Dragons series grew from Sarah’s love of all things Japanese (especially manga and anime which she regularly reviews). It draws on the ancient legend of the Tide Jewels and the lifestyle of the Heian imperial court. Book 1 The Flood Dragon’s Sacrifice is available in ebook and paperback formats; Book 2 Emperor of the Fireflies is now available in ebook format!  http://www.sarah-ash.com   @sarah_ash7

 

 

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