In This Issue
Ari Marmell Interview
False Covenant
You Might Also Enjoy
Coming Soon
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June 4, 2012

Ari Marmell returns to the city of Davillon in False Covenant, the second Widdershins adventure. Ari joins us to answer a few questions about Widdershins, her world, and writing second books.  
Exclusive Q & A with Ari Marmell
Ari Marmell
Rene Sears: I love the interactions between Widdershins and Olgun. He has a very strong personality, especially for a character who doesn't speak. What was the idea behind their relationship?


Ari Marmell: The original idea, honestly, was pretty shallow. It was, quite literally, "Hey, wouldn't it be cool if she had this god riding around with her?" No personality, no reason, certainly no idea of playing with the idea of religion and divinity in that setting.


Not that I'd ever have written it that way, but that's how it first came to me. Only later did everything develop, including his personality, his almost paternal feelings for Widdershins, his method of communication, etc.


It's also interesting that his form of communication works so well for the character interaction, since my original reason for choosing to go that route, instead of having him speak, was incredibly banal. I'd already written a novel--The Conqueror's Shadow--in which the protagonist had an unseen companion. In that case, the entity does speak (and is in fact one of the most smart-assed characters I've ever written, which is probably saying something). The idea of having Olgun communicate in ways other than speech was, initially, nothing more than an effort not to repeat myself too closely.


I know, I'm ruining the illusion that everything was meticulously planned from the first word. The secret of writing is to make it look like you know what you're doing--not necessarily to actually know it.


Rene Sears: What are some of the challenges of writing a second book? Is anything easier?


Ari Marmell: Some things are, sure. I don't have to introduce the characters. I don't have to make up a lot of the personal or cultural details. That sort of thing.


On the other hand, some things are actually harder. When writing the first book of a series, I can just write the characters as they come to me. But in a second book, I have established speech patterns and the like, which I need to adhere to. I know it seems like familiarity should make characters easier to write--and it does in some situations--but it does mean I have to worry more about consistency in terms of things like, "Well, is this actually how this character would say this?"


Rene Sears: Davillon seems to have a French Renaissance feel to it. What drew you toward this stratified society and level of technology as a setting?


Ari Marmell: Well, for one, I wanted to try something other than the traditional faux-Medieval fantasy setting, which I'd already used in several books. But I've always liked the aesthetics of the Renaissance. I think it has a lot of story potential in fantasy that's not nearly as thoroughly explored as the Middle Ages. And what with the ideas of Guilds, a colorful aristocracy living in (relatively) close proximity with the poor, the heavy influence of religion, the more subtle forms of magic... All of it just felt tailor-made for these books.


As to why I went French rather than, say, Italian or something else? I can't give you an answer other than that, once again, it felt right, honestly. Although, there are other nations bordering Gallice that aren't inspired by France. (I made a passing reference to one in False Covenant.) With any luck, that's something I'll get to explore in the future.

Many thanks to Ari for joining us! Like the Widdershins Facebook page to keep up with news, and to get a look at some exclusive art.


False Covenant

False Covenant "[T]he plot is relentless and the characters likable. . . . [A] classic adolescent journey. For teens already reading adult fantasy but wanting something a bit more on their level, this hits the spot perfectly."
         -Kirkus Reviews

"False Covenant changed my status from "loyal fan" to "die-hard, I need every book Ari Marmell has ever written, obsessed-fan-girl."... This is a series not to be overlooked. It has everything a fan of fantasy could possibly want, and even those afraid to venture into high fantasy will love it. Anyone looking for a great story, check out the Widdershins Adventures novels."

            -What's Your Story

"[T]his is another strong installment to this new YA fantasy series. Fans of the first book will definitely lap this up, as well they should - it's fun and populated by endearing and engaging characters...If you're after something quick, fun and lighter than some of the Big Book Fantasies out there, then this series is perfect. Definitely recommended."

            -Civilian Reader


Davillon faces not only a new political upheaval, but a true supernatural threat to its citizenry. The local representatives of the Church are paralyzed by infighting and their own complicity. The Guardsmen are in over their heads. And then, there's Widdershins. Along with her personal god Olgun, she may be the only real threat to the evil infesting Davillon.

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Coming Soon


Hunter and Fox

"The plot of Hunter and Fox is a braided twist, as we hop across a couple of viewpoint characters that eventually intersect in unanticipated ways....Themes of redemption, loss, regret and grasping at lost glories come through well in the actions and motivations of the characters."



"Ballantine has written a well-imagined novel, challenging in parts. She does not hold readers' hands through that world but, rather, trusts her storytelling ability and unfolds her world little by little as the novel advances."



 In a world that is in constant shifting, where mountains can change to plains and then to lakes, Talyn is the hunter for the Caisah, and a wreck of a once-proud person. She has lost her people, the Vaerli, and her soul working for the man who destroyed her people. All unknowing, she carries within her a Kindred, a chaos creature from the center of the earth that wants to help bring the Vaerli back to power.



"A dark and compelling tale." -Fiona McIntosh, author of The Devoured Earth Myrren's Gift


The Devoured Earth, the special ebook-only release of the conclusion to the Books of the Cataclysm quartet! 

In a glacial lake at the top of the world, salvation and destruction await. Haunted by a ghost from the future, Shilly and her man'kin allies are drawn into the snowbound mountains on a mission to save the world. The stakes are high as ancient forces including the strange and alien glast and a dragon with its own agenda struggle for ascendancy.  

That's it for this issue. As always, please check out our entire catalog and drop by our blog.

Happy Reading,

Rene Sears
Editorial Assistant, Pyr

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