Thursday, 14 May 2015

Aerisia: Land Beyond the Sunset by Sarah Ashwood Blog Tour + Interview

Aerisia: Land Beyond the Sunset (Sunset Lands Beyond Trilogy #1) by Sarah Ashwood
Published: 16th April 2014

The mystery of other worlds is not one Hannah Winters ever thought she’d solve. However, the day she spots a brown-robed stranger with a magical staff in a neighbor’s field is the day she also discovers Aerisia, a magical land beyond Earth’s sunset. 

Here in Aerisia, Hannah is believed to be the Artan, a legendary heroine prophesied to deliver Aerisia from the Dark Powers. Plenty of people, including the Simathe, a race of immortal warriors, and the Moonkind, people of the Moon, are willing to help her discover her true identity, but Hannah’s just an ordinary girl from Earth. She doesn't have any latent magical abilities and she’s not the Artan. However, her allies aren't seeing it that way. Neither are her enemies. In fact, Hannah’s life is in jeopardy nearly from the moment she arrives in Aerisia. And becoming the Artan may be the only way to survive…

Interview with Sarah Ashwood

Tell us a little bit about your book in your own words.

Aerisia: Land Beyond the Sunset, is the beginning of Hannah Winters’ story. She’s an ordinary young woman from Colorado, a part-time college student who works at her father’s newspaper. She’s surprised during an evening walk by a stranger from another world. His message is astounding: the people of Aerisia, a parallel land to Earth, have watched over her for years. They believe she’s their long-prophesied Artan who is fated to deliver their land from the grip of the Dark Powers, and whether she believes it or not, she’s coming to Aerisia.

So begins Hannah’s journey of self-discovery as a woman, as she battles unwanted feelings for the enigmatic, immortal Simathe High-Chief; as a person, dealing with friendships and betrayal; and as the wielder of a very extraordinary skill…magic.

How much research went into your book and did you discover any surprising things?

Would it sound terrible to say not a lot? Okay, I admit it: I like writing fantasy because it’s all made up. None of it has to be grounded in reality. You don’t necessarily have to do research for a novel like Aerisia. Oddly, on the opposite end of the spectrum, I adore historical fiction: it’s my other favorite genre to read and write. I very much enjoy researching whatever era I’m writing about. So I guess, if I’ve discovered anything about myself concerning research and writing, it’s that I’m weird. I either avoid it, or completely throw myself into it.

Are you a planner/plotter, or do you just follow where the story leads?

I’m not much of a planner. I typically have an extra file on my laptop where I jot down tidbits and ideas that worm their way into my brain and can be used in my story. Occasionally, I’ll loosely organize these bits and pieces, but I am very much a writer who follows where the story leads.

What was the hardest part about writing your book?

Probably the fact that I handwrote the entire thing in notebooks. Yes, you read that right. The trilogy’s original draft was handwritten in notebooks. Took eight notebooks to get the story, literally, down on paper. Why? Because I was eighteen, this was a brand new dream, and it was too sacred, especially at the onset, for anyone to know. I would hide up in my room and scribble whenever I got the chance. Eventually, I was comfortable enough to let the secret slide, but by then I’d already started handwriting it, so I kept it up. Probably the fact that I had five siblings and one computer we all had to share played into handwriting the novels, as well.

What's one thing you hope readers take away from your book?

To embrace change and enjoy adventure. Initially, Hannah is unwilling to go to Aerisia and, once she’s there, to explore the idea of herself as the Artan. She’s been criticized by some readers as being too whiny. I understand that on the one hand, but, on the other, I feel like a few tears and a little desperation is reasonable for somebody in her shoes. Eventually, Hannah grows into the role of Artan by accepting the fact that some things have to change and some changes are for the best. I think that’s a lesson many of us could learn. I know I have to work on that.

Do you have a favourite place to write? Or a place you go for inspiration?

I can’t say I have a favorite place to write. I usually wind up writing on my living room couch while my kids nap. However, I definitely go to nature for inspiration. I was blessed to grow up in a country house in the middle of a forest. I loved exploring the woods. There is something so still, so quiet, so magical about a forest. Every time I’m in the woods, or any other natural setting, my senses are heightened, and so is my imagination. This is especially true if I’m outside hiking or running. I’m a dedicated runner, and I find the exercise, along with the chance to be outdoors, really work together to get the creative juices flowing. To that end, trail runs—runs off the paved, beaten path—are one of my favorite things in the world to do. I may be sweating hard and look like I’m dying, but my brain is usually working furiously on a storyline.

If you could spend a day with any author (living or deceased) who would it be and what would you do?

Definitely Shakespeare. The man was a genius! I would love to pick his brain. When I studied him and his writing in college, I was simply fascinated and a little overwhelmed by how many of our common, everyday expressions and figures of speech are drawn from his writing. To be a writer and leave a legacy like that—how could you want anything more?

What book(s) are you currently working on and do you have anything planned for the future?

Right now, I am finishing up a Young Adult fantasy novel, which is the first book in projected trilogy. The next book I have planned is a historical novel set in ancient Rome, featuring an unlikely love story between a Christian girl, a physician’s daughter, taught medicinal skills by her father, and a former gladiator. I’m never really sure what I’ll turn to next—I simply go wherever the writing winds take me.

Thanks so much for having me here today!

Thanks for a wonderful interview!

Author Bio - Sarah Ashwood

Sarah Ashwood grew up in the wooded hills outside the oldest town in Oklahoma. Sarah is the author of the Sunset Lands Beyond Trilogy, the poetry volume "A Minstrel's Musings," and the novella "Amana," along with numerous other published works. In her imagination, she soars effortlessly through historical and fantastical worlds. In real life, she loves (mostly) quietly at home with her husband and sons. Find Sarah on her Sarah Ashwood Facebook author page, on her Sarah Ashwood Goodreads page, or on Instagram where she goes by @runnerwritermom.

Author Links
Amazon - Goodreads - Twitter - Facebook - Instagram

Find the rest of the TOUR HERE!

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