GtPGKogPYT4p61R1biicqBXsUzo" /> Google+ Interview: Fantasy Author Helen Lowe (Daughter of Blood: The Wall of Night Book 3) + giveaway | I Smell Sheep

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Interview: Fantasy Author Helen Lowe (Daughter of Blood: The Wall of Night Book 3) + giveaway

Sharon: Hello! My goodness it’s been a long time since we’ve had you in the hot seat...It was April 2012! And you had just released The Gathering of the Lost (Wall of Night #2). So it looks like we have three lost years to catch up on! *shoves plate of moonpies and kool aid over* Betcha haven’t had any of this American goodness since you last visited. <G>
Helen: Hi Sharon, it’s great to be back. :) One of my sisters-in-law is American, though, so although I haven’t had moonpies and kool-aid, I have enjoyed such delights as pumpkin pie, deep-dish apple pie, and brownies “to live for.” However, I must confess–with something of a gulp!–to it being almost four years, rather than three, since we got together to talk The Gathering of the Lost.

Sharon: What have you been doing with yourself? Pick up any new hobbies? Gone on any adventures? Adopted a dragon?
Helen: I wish I could admit to anything half so exciting as any of that! But alas, mainly I have spent the intervening time working on the various stages of Daughter of Blood. However, I have managed a couple of short breaks, mostly local, but once Daughter of Blood was “definitely done” I did go to Melbourne, in Australia, for ten days. Melbourne is a wonderful city in almost every way – beautiful, heaps going on, and easy to get around.
Sharon: What is something a visitor from America should see or do in Melbourne? Is there something we would be surprised by?

Helen: The Art Gallery of Victoria is amazing (Melbourne is the capital of the state of Victoria) and so, too, is the War Memorial – both are well worth a visit. I also recommend the Mornington peninsula, close by Melbourne, for some wonderful day trips. I don’t know about “surprised by”, exactly, but part of my “easy to get around” is the trams, which I absolutely loved because they were “space age trams”, but also because they went everywhere in a really efficient way – plus being free in the central city, which is great for visitors.

Sharon: For our readers who don’t know about your Wall of Night series, could you give them an idea of what the series is about and where things stand going into book 3? Do readers have to read this series in order?
Helen: To answer the last question first: yes, I do think it would be best to read the books in order. I try to include plenty of ‘wee reminders’ about what occurred in the previous installments, but The Wall of Night series is one story being told in four parts, so the beginning is probably the best place to start. Having said that, aside from the first book – The Heir of Night – I’ve tried to build a sense of completion into each book, so together with the reminders, it shouldn’t be impossible to start with Daughter of Blood – but I still can’t help thinking the beginning is best.
In terms of what’s happening now as Book 3 opens, both Malian of Night and Kalan are heading back to the Wall of Night via their separate paths. Kalan has to fight for a place in the Bride of Blood’s honor guard, while Malian tries to find the fabled Shield of Heaven, which all accounts agree was lost aeons before—and meanwhile, their people’s ancient enemy is rising again at last. Daughter of Blood is an account of intrigue and contests of arms, sieges and long-lost magic waking to life, as well as loyalty and camaraderie, betrayal, vengeance, and duels to the death – and there might be the possibility of romance as well. I’m not telling, though…

Sharon: The third book in your Wall of Night series, Daughter of Blood, comes out Jan 26, 2016. Three years is a long time between books. What about this story makes it take so long to finish?
Helen: As you’ll be aware, The Wall of Night is a big story, and Daughter of Blood wanted to be bigger still, so persuading the story that it (and by implication the series) didn’t need to be ten times the size of the Wheel of Time, while still being told effectively, took some wrangling. Passing the first 70,000-word mark and realizing that things weren’t going in at all the right direction, and that I needed to stop and start over, didn’t make for fast-track writing either. And I suspect I am not speedy to start with – I feel it’s more important to get the story and the characters right for readers, rather than rushing a story out. Sometimes that requires more thinking than writing, or ‘writing and throwing away’ as an analog for thinking – but either way, it doesna add up to fast. I only hope readers feel the end result is worthwhile.
Sharon: Starting over at 70K? Did you have a mini pity party before starting again? You know, one that involved alcohol or baked goods?
Helen: I undoubtedly should have, but it was more of a moment of extreme existential angst. Think Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” and you’d be on the right page! However, I got over it – and myself :)  – and the decision proved to be absolutely right for the story, so there you go!

Sharon: Have you deviated much from your original idea of how the story would play out? I asked you this in your interview after book #2 released and this was your answer:
Helen: Ah, this is a simple answer: no, not in terms of the essential arc. Some ideas have expanded, while others contracted, and occasionally I have to change focus or adopt a new “slant” on unfolding events, but the essence of the original story has always remained true—so far!
Are things still staying the course? Any changes you’ve had to make?
Helen: It is still true and I am still staying the course! A great deal of the good ole story wrangling described above was part of that staying on ‘true’ – although even then the wrangling involved the “how” of reaching the book’s end, rather than “what” the ending would be. The latter was always pretty clear, and although I did get there via a slightly different route than originally anticipated, the deviation was relatively slight – and I did finally arrive safely at the always-intended end.

Sharon: How many more books are coming and what is the time table-ish? Can you tell us what you have planned for when Wall of Night ends?
Helen: The Wall of Night series is a quartet so there is one more book: working title, The Chaos Gate. The time table is fluid, since my books have a mind of their own (as Daughter of Blood proved), but I am currently aim to complete the first draft in July 2017. As for what happens after The Wall of Night series, that is really in the lap of the muses, but I am aware of several possible stories hovering in the wings …

Sharon: Will book four be longer, more complicated to write than the previous ones?
Helen: Iam hoping it will be far more straightforward, in the sense of a “downhill run to the end” – but we’ll see! I certainly wouldn’t like to jinx the Muses …

Sharon: If you could own any piece of art in the world, what would it be?
Helen: Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus.” I have always loved the painting for its combination of beauty, colour, and freshness, but also because it speaks to my love of myth, legend, and also classical history.

Sharon: Do you remember your first celebrity crush?
Helen: You know, I really can’t! I’ve never been much of a follower of celebrity in and of itself, which may explain my absence of mind in this respect. But I do remember first meeting Faramir in The Lord of the Rings (the book version of Faramir, I hasten to add, not the film character) and thinking he was all sorts of awesome. Another early favorite was Patricia McKillip’s one-eyed Astrin Ymris, part archaeologist, part wizard, part warrior, and wholly cool, in The Riddlemaster of Hed trilogy.

Rapid Fire:

Sharon: Singing in the Rain or Walking on Sunshine?
Helen: Walking on sunshine!

Sharon: haunted shoes or haunted pants?
Helen: Shoes! Either is bad but haunted pants sounds out of control! ;-)

Sharon: “I make the bed each morning” or “Why? I’m just gonna get back in tonight.”
Helen: Mostly I follow the first approach, but sometimes, especially when the book writing is going down to the wire, I’ll take the second option…
Sharon: Captain American or Iron Man?
Helen: No contest: Captain America.:)
Sharon: *high fives* We’ll have to stick together when Civil War comes around.
Helen: I’m really looking forward to it. He’s one of my favorites among the super heroes – possibly because he has such a strong moral compass, although “Civil War” looks like it may test that!
Sharon: bring tissue to the movie, that's all I got to say...

Sharon: Gothic or modern?
Helen: Ah, there’s a question. It could go either way, but for today, I think I’ll go with modern.

Daughter of Blood: The Wall of Night Book Three
by Helen Lowe
January 26, 2016
Mass Market Paperback
A Gemmell Award-Winning Series

Malian of Night and Kalan, her trusted ally, are returning to the Wall of Night—but already it may be too late. The Wall is dangerously weakened, the Nine Houses of the Derai fractured by rivalry and hate. And now, the Darkswarm is rising...

Among Grayharbor backstreets, an orphan boy falls foul of dark forces. On the Wall, a Daughter of Blood must be married off to the Earl of Night, a pawn in the web of her family's ambition. On the Field of Blood, Kalan fights for a place in the bride's honor guard, while Malian dodges deadly pursuers in a hunt against time for the fabled Shield of Heaven. But the Darkswarm is gaining strength, and time is running out—for Malian, for Kalan, and for all of Haarth...

About the Author:
Helen Lowe, is a novelist, poet, interviewer and blogger whose first novel,Thornspell (Knopf), was published to critical praise in 2008. Her second, The Heir of Night (The Wall Of Night Series, Book One) won the Gemmell Morningstar Award 2012. The sequel, The Gathering Of The Lost, was shortlisted for the Gemmell Legend Award in 2013 and Daughter Of Blood, (The Wall Of Night Series, Book Three) is forthcoming in January 2016. Helen posts regularly on her “…on Anything, Really” blog.

print copy of Heir of Night (Wall of Night #1)
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. My first fictional crush was Jeffrey Tolliver from The Grant County Series by Karin Slaughter

    Betul E.

  2. Jamie fraser from Outlander was my first fictional crush
    I can't even remember my first celebrity crush ... that was SO long ago!

  3. Fitzwilliam Darcy from Pride and Prejudice

  4. These are all *exemplary* crushes--I couldna argue with any of them ;-)

    Thanks to you, Sharon, & all the flock for welcoming me here today!

  5. My first celebrity crush I actually remember, but will NEVER admit because then people MIGHT figure out exactly how many times I've been 28. So, to answer the second one, I suppose my first REAL book crush would have to have been Peter in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

  6. Luke Perry, he played Dylan in Beverly Hills 90210.

  7. I didn't have just one, esp since they played in alot of movies together...Corey Haim & Corey Feldman.

  8. The first crush I can remember was Grizzly Adams and Kenny Rogers, for some reason I really had a thing for beards lol.