Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Author Spotlight - A.M. Manay

I am a huge fan of A.M. Manay and her writing. Her November Snow series was amazing, and I am thrilled to share her newest novel with my followers.  A.M. Manay writes fantasy novels, which is my favorite thing to read.  Today, we are going to focus on her newest novel, Hexborn.  I was blessed with an advance reader's copy of Hexborn, and I absolutely LOVED it! Seriously, I cannot wait for book two to come out! You can read my review here.

Here is the blurb from the back of the book:

Hexborn. Abomination. Unclean. Young Shiloh knows exactly what she is. She just refuses to let that stop her. Her illness might make her an outcast, but her broken body hides great magical power. And she intends to make the most of it.

Silas, the king’s ruthless fixer, seeks to use that power to preserve the uneasy peace the kingdom has enjoyed since the end of the Siblings’ War. Silas hauls Shiloh from her mountain village to the wizard academy at the king’s court, where magic and political intrigue conspire to create danger around every corner.

Can this child of war save the peace? Or will old sins rise to threaten Shiloh, Silas, and the kingdom of Bryn?

Doesn't it sound exciting! Here is a book trailer to enjoy:

Because I'm so excited about this release, I've asked the author to share a little bit from Hexborn. Enjoy! 

Character Blog: Edmun Courtborn

It isn’t too often that a pivotal character in a story starts off the book already dead.  Edmun Courtborn manages to do so in my latest fantasy novel, Hexborn.  This feat is made easier by the structure of my novel, in which each chapter (save the first) begins with a flashback belonging either to Shiloh or Silas, my two point-of-view characters.

Edmun, you see, was a teacher for a very long time.  When Silas was a boy, Edmun was the headmaster of the Royal Academy of Mages, and Silas was his favorite student.  In exile as a broken, defeated old man, Shiloh was Edmun’s sole pupil, and she stole his heart.

Born a royal bastard, Edmun grew up at court alongside his many half-siblings.  He flew high, becoming the youngest headmaster ever appointed to the Royal Academy.  His fall from grace was equally as dramatic.

Reading Hexborn, you get to know Edmun’s heart through Shiloh’s and Silas’s flashbacks.  You get to know his legacy through their present.  Let’s take a look at one of Shiloh’s flashbacks:

Little Shiloh knocked on Brother Edmun’s door, shaking like a leaf.

“Where have you been, lazy child?  You’re late.  Did the roosters all perish in the night?  Were you picking daisies?” he scolded, pulling open the door.  He grabbed her by the arm and yanked her inside.

“I’m sorry, Master,” she whispered. “I fell down . . . they were hiding and . . .”  Her voice was thick with tears, and he looked down at her in surprise.  There was something on her face.  She swayed dizzily.

“Are you bleeding?” Edmun exclaimed.  He guided her gently into the light pouring through his window and knelt down in front of her.  The irritation drained from his face when he pulled back her hood.  “Lords above,” he breathed.

Shiloh’s hair was matted with blood, which continued to seep steadily from a deep gash on the crown of her head.  Another wound in front of her left ear bled freely, crimson pouring down her neck and staining her collar.  A bruise had begun to color her forehead.  Edmun pulled out his wand and murmured an incantation.  The flow of blood slowed until, soon, it stopped altogether.
The priest felt for broken bones.  “Where else did they get you, poppet?” he asked.  “Where else does it hurt?”

“It hurts when I breathe,” she admitted.

“Ach, probably a cracked rib.  What in blazes happened?” he asked.

“They threw rocks at me,” she replied, a tear sneaking down her face. “Big ones.  They hid behind the Temple, so my Da wouldn’t see from his window.”


She shook her head.  “It’ll be worse for me if they know I told you.”

Edmun held her by the shoulders. “I know that, Shiloh.  I am not an idiot.  I worked all my life with obnoxious children.  I’ll not be revealing that you told me who they are.  We’ll get your justice on the sly; mark my words.  But first, I’ll teach you how to make charms to protect yourself from the worthless Teethtrash that inhabit this Godsforsaken village.  I should have done it already.  Now, do as I say, and tell me their names.”

“Victoh, Meggan, and Karl,” she confessed.

“Sounds about right.  Their parents are lazy dolts and mean as snakes.”  Edmun gently wiped the blood from her face and kissed her on the forehead, then pointed at her little desk. 

“Now, to work,” he ordered.  “A girl like you needs to learn to use her pain, or else she hasn’t a chance in the world.”

Here is one from Silas:

“What’s going on, Headmaster?” a teenaged Silas demanded, running across a muddy courtyard to catch up with Edmun.  He stumbled over a loose stone in the dim light.

“Go back to bed,” the headmaster ordered.  His hair was wild and his voice low.  “You’ll be safer there.”

“I wasn’t in bed.  I was studying, and I heard raised voices.  What’s wrong?  Where are you going in the dead of night?  It’s going to rain again before dawn,” the boy replied, solemn-faced and undeterred.

Edmun wheeled on him. “I’m going to serve my rightful queen,” he hissed. “Before Rischar has her locked away, along with whomever he suspects loves her more than they do him.  My father has just breathed his last.”

“King Jerroh is dead?” Silas replied, shocked.  “But how?”  He caught himself.  “I’m sorry, Headmaster.  I should be offering condolences, not asking questions.”

Edmun brushed off his student’s sympathy. “How?  Poison, I suspect.  The illness was swift and merciless.  My grief is of no consequence.  The fight for succession will begin before the body is cold.  Rischar and Mirin will not let the throne slip through their grasping fingers, regardless of our father’s stated wishes or our sister’s elder status.  Nor will Alissa simply step aside.  She knows our baby brother isn’t fit to rule, and that the throne is hers by law, female though she is.”

“You think there will be a war?” Silas asked, eyes wide.

“I think it’s already started,” Edmun replied, roughly grabbing the child by the arm.  “So, you need to either go back to bed and keep your head down and your mouth shut, my most dear boy, and hope to heaven that Prince Rischar hasn’t noticed your considerable talents.  Or you need to decide whose side you’re on and gird your loins.  I have to go.  Now.”

Silas looked up into his beloved tutor’s face.  A calm came over him.
“Your side.  I’m on your side.”

What can you conclude about Edmun? What questions do you have about him? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Curious to know more?  Grab a copy of Hexborn!