Today, I have a treat for you, we welcome back our friend, Fantasy author Annie Lima Douglass, who has a new release in her YA fantasy series Krillonian Chronicles.
Hi, Annie. Thanks for joining us today. For readers who’ve never met you can you tell us a little about yourself, so my readers can get to know you?
Annie: I was born in Southern California but raised mostly in Kenya. After college (in Southern California), I spent a year teaching in a one-room schoolhouse in Indonesia, which was an incredible experience. Shortly after returning to the States, I married my husband Floyd, and the two of us lived in California for several years. Eventually all the pieces fell into place for us to move overseas together, and now we’re serving at Morrison Academy, an international school in Taiwan. I’ve been teaching fifth grade here for over ten years now, and I love it!
Wow. So you are a world traveling-writer! Cool! I’ve always wanted to do that. And I suppose this undoubtedly had an influence on your writing. When did you get started?
Annie: I’ve been writing for as long as I can recall. When I was seven years old, I had a sudden inspiration for what I thought was an amazing story and decided then and there that I was going to write a book and be the world’s youngest published author. I ran to my room in great excitement, found an old notebook and a pencil, and started in. Well, that first novel was never actually finished, let alone published, but it got me started. After that, I can’t remember a time that I wasn’t working on at least one book. Prince of Alasia, which I began in college, was the first one I finished that I thought was worth trying to get published.
My first serious attempt came in college too. Where’d you go then?
|Annie Douglass Lima
Annie: I looked into traditional publishing and spent a long time trying to get an agent, but to no avail. Finally I learned about Kindle Direct Publishing and did it myself the indie way, eleven years after I first started writing the book. A few months later I added the paperback edition. It was quite a thrill for me to finally fulfill my childhood dream! Now I’ve published a total of fourteen books (three YA action and adventure novels, four fantasies, a puppet script, a coloring/activity book, and five anthologies of my students’ poetry).
Nothing beats the feeling of adding to the oeuvre. I love holding a new book in my hands. 🙂 Speaking of new books, care to tell us a little about your novel The Student and the Slave?
Annie: Warning : spoilers ahead for anyone who hasn’t read the first two books!
The Krillonian Chronicles are not technically paranormal suspense. They’re set in a world almost exactly like our own, except for a couple key differences, such as the popular martial art known as cavvara shil. The main difference, however, is that slavery is legal there.
The Krillonian Empire rules much of the world. An emperor governs from the capital city, Krillonia, on the continent known as Imperia. Eight separate provinces (independent nations before they were conquered) can be found on nearby continents. Each province, plus Imperia, is allowed to elect its own legislature and decide on many of its own laws, though the emperor reserves the right to veto any of them and make changes as he sees fit.
In recent months, the province of Tarnestra became the first to outlaw slavery. As you can imagine, this history-making event sparked hope in the hearts of slaves throughout the empire, and for many, dreams of escape suddenly became a real possibility. As a result, in addition to freeing all its local slaves, Tarnestra has recently seen an influx of escaped slaves from Imperia and other provinces.
These changes have had unfortunate effects on the economy, since many businesses cannot afford to hire as many employees and have had to shut down or cut way back. (The accepted salary for enslaved workers – paid to their owners, of course – is two-thirds what free workers earn.) Tarnestra is now dealing with huge numbers of unemployed and homeless people.
In the midst of all this, former enslaved gladiator Bensin arrives with his little sister Ellie and a couple of friends, after a harrowing escape at the end of book 2. Steene, the coach and father figure who rescued him, sacrificed himself for the rest of them and has been sentenced to a life of enslavement as the penalty for his crime. Now, Steene must adjust to living as a slave under the bratty young boy who is his new owner while trying to find a way to escape and join his loved ones in Tarnestra. This task grows more complicated when he starts to grow attached to said bratty owner. Meanwhile, Bensin searches desperately for some way to arrange (and pay for) Steene’s freedom remotely while he tries to find a job in a province where there simply aren’t any available. Though he’s looking for safe, legal, and ethical options, he discovers that the local street gangs are willing to pay top dollar for combat training from a former gladiator.
And so Steene and Bensin both find themselves facing some difficult choices.
I would say so. What inspired the story of The Student and the Slave?
Annie: Well, it’s book 3 in a trilogy, so my direct inspiration was the ending of book 2. I had left the characters in a tough situation and needed to get them out.
I hope they do! It sounds intriguing. Is there anything you haven’t yet achieved in your career—or any specific thing you haven’t written about yet—that you dream of doing some day?
Annie: It would be great to be able to make a living from my writing. But I wouldn’t quit my day job anyway (I’m a fifth grade teacher, which I love), so for now I’m content with just bringing in a little extra on the side.
(We hope it’s more than a little. :)) What’s on tap next for you? Any new manuscripts in the works, currently?
Annie: I’m working on a final book in my Annals of Alasia fantasy series, called King of Malorn, which should be ready to publish in the next few months. And I’m in the editing stage of Heartsong, a stand-alone young adult science fiction novel.
Ah, cool. I know fans will looking forward to that. 🙂 Folks, if you’d like to know more about The Student and the Slave, here’s the synopsis:
Is this what freedom is supposed to be like? Desperate to provide for himself and his sister Ellie, Bensin searches fruitlessly for work like all the other former slaves in Tarnestra. He needs the money for an even more important purpose, though: to rescue Coach Steene, who sacrificed himself for Bensin’s freedom. When members of two rival street gangs express interest in Bensin’s martial arts skills, he realizes he may have a chance to save his father figure after all … at a cost.
Meanwhile, Steene struggles with his new life of slavery in far-away Neliria. Raymond, his young owner, seizes any opportunity to make his life miserable. But while Steene longs to escape and rejoin Bensin and Ellie, he starts to realize that Raymond needs him too. His choices will affect not only his own future, but that of everyone he cares about. Can he make the right ones … and live with the consequences?
In this excerpt, Raymond prepares to compete in the final round of a tournament that Steene’s freedom is riding on.When the emcee announced that the final rounds were about to begin, Steene went over to remind Raymond to warm up and stretch once more. Raymond peered across the ring to where they could see Gus doing the same thing. “I can’t believe they’ve put me against that slave again.”“They didn’t put you against him. He earned his way to the finals, just like you did. But you’re a better fighter now than when you faced him last, so don’t get discouraged before you start.”“I’m not discouraged. I’m mad. I mean, slaves have no right to even be involved in cavvara shil.”“Oh, really? So you’ll be setting me free, then, will you?”Raymond shot him an irritated glance. “You know what I mean.”Yes, I do. You’re jealous of Gus’s skill and afraid it’s better than yours. But this wasn’t the time for a lecture.“Everything depends on this match.” Raymond reached for the jump rope, glaring in Gus’s direction, as the whistle blew and the girls’ final match began. “If I don’t win the tournament, my dad will never let me compete in Jarreon.”And I may never get free. “Like I said earlier, you can’t dwell on that right now,” Steene told him. “Just focus on fighting the way I’ve taught you.”
Will Raymond win? You’ll have to read to find out. And folks, if you’d like to check out more of The Student and the Slave, you can find it at the following Amazon locations:
Amazon (US) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B076ZN944F/
Amazon (Canada) https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B076ZN944F
Amazon (UK) https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B076ZN944F
Amazon (India) https://www.amazon.in/dp/B076ZN944F
Amazon (Japan) https://www.amazon.co.jp/dp/B076ZN944F
Amazon (Mexico) https://www.amazon.com.mx/dp/B076ZN944F
Amazon (Australia) https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B076ZN944F
And if you’d like to put it on your Good Reads To Be Read shelves, you can do that here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36368413-the-student-and-the-slave
Readers are welcome to connect with me:
Blog: http://anniedouglasslima.blogspot.comFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/AnnieDouglassLimaAuthorTwitter: https://twitter.com/princeofalasiaGoodreads: http://bit.ly/ADLimaOnGoodreadsGoogle+: http://bit.ly/ADLimaOnGooglePlusAmazon Author Page: http://bit.ly/AnnieDouglassLimaOnAmazonLinkedIn: http://bit.ly/ADLimaOnLinkedIn
Enjoy, and Annie, thank you again for being with us today. And good luck with The Student and the Slave.
Juli D. Revezzo is the author of the historical fantasy novels DRUID WARRIOR PRINCE, FRIGGA’S LOST ARMY, the Gothic fantasy romance LADY OF THE TAROT, now available in Audiobook from Audible and in ebook and paperback, MOURNING DOVE LOCKET, the latest in the Antique Magic paranormal series, also the Celtic Stewards Chronicles fantasy romance series, as well as the Victorian Romances WATCHMAKER’S HEART–now available in audiobook (as well as ebook and paperback), HOUSE OF DARK ENVY, among others. Her books are available at Amazon and elsewhere.