When I was in high school, I used to plague my principle, who was also my English teacher, with terrible manuscripts of historical fantasy that I had written. One day, he said to me, “There is a series you must read. I know you will like it.” He proceeded to hand me Pawn of Prophecy, the first book of the Belgariad. I read it in 3 hours and came back for the second book. He said he did not have it. I went to the bookstore that evening and bought the entire series. I devoured it in one weekend, and it was then I knew that I wanted to write high fantasy. I began writing my own series, and since then fantasy, romantic and high in particular, have become my genres of choice.
Please tell us about your latest release.
The latest release is called “Khantara”. It’s the very first standalone in the Haanta Series. It tells the story of Rautu’s father, of how his father conquered part of a rival nation and in so doing discovers a slave woman named Anelta who desperately needs his assistance. The story depicts how Khantara saves Anelta and what trails their new love faces with regard to relationships between warriors and those of other nations.
What is your favorite scene from the Commander and the Den Asaan Rautu? Could you share a little bit of it, without spoilers of course?
One of my favourite scenes is Rautu and Boudicca traveling back to his homeland together. After having spent a year fighting at her side, he finally begins to let go of his reservations and they share a heated moment on deck.
Can you tell readers a little bit about the world building in the book/series? How does this world differ from our normal world?
The Haanta Series takes place on the world of the Two Continents. The Southern Continent is where the story begins. Frewyn and Gallei, the two warring nations, occupy a large portion of the south, and here is where the Commander and the Den Asaan meet. Frewyn is a Celtic-style nation while Gallei has more of a Scandinavian feel. There are many other nations on the Northern Continent that resemble Edwardian England, ancient Morocco and old Brittany, but their societies and cultures are very different from what images of those nations might suggest.
With the book being part of a series, are there any character or story arcs, that readers jumping in somewhere other than the first book, need to be aware of? Can these books be read as standalones?
There are many characters introduced in earlier books who are mentioned throughout the series. Not every character is in every book, but I do promise that all characters once mentioned do make a return in the series. Story arcs as well cross over into separate books, usually following the characters to whom the arc belongs.
What are your guilty pleasures in life?
Audiobooks read by Juliet Stevenson, Villars chocolate, and cafes, but I think it is many a writer’s proclivity to share the same pleasures.
Other than writing, what are some of your interests, hobbies or passions in life?
Yoga and walks around my neighborhood, gaming, and reading Jane Austen novels.
What was the last amazing book you read?
The Magician’s Elephant by Kate DiCamillo.
Where is your favorite place to read? Do you have a cozy corner or special reading spot?
In bed is the best place for me to read. I don’t sleep as much as I should like to do, and reading in bed lulls me to sleep better than anything else does.
What can readers expect next from you?
In the next few months: Commander and Den Asaan Vol 2 to complete book 1 in the series and then onto From Frewyn to Sanhedhran vol 1, book 2 in the series. It’s going to be an immense book, probably partnered by another standalone to complement the suject.
Where can readers find you on the web?
The official Haanta Series site is: http://thehaanta.blogspot.com/ There short stories, excerpts of upcoming books, giveaways and all manner of frivolity can be found.
Would you like to leave readers with a little teaser or excerpt from the book?
Rautu stood on the bow of the ship remarking his home with the commander at his side. He gazed at the island’s white sands to the south, dense trees to the north, and the animation of the docks with a reverential countenance. He had been waiting for this homecoming for the greater part of three seasons, and when he regarded Sanhedhran for the first time in nine months, all the longing he had reaped during his separation rushed on him. He was eager to stand on the southern shore again and reclaim his place among the Amghari. His exhalations became labored, his eyes glowed with quiet joy, and the Den Asaan’s estrangement was reconciled; he was home, and this was all that occupied him at present.
The commander smiled at the giant’s silent worship and used his fascination as a diversion to place her hand atop his as it rested against the ship’s railing. She savoured the texture of his stone-like flesh with her rough fingertips and then placed her hand along the railing beside his. She observed him to inspect any perceptible difference. There had been a momentary upturning in the corner of his mouth, but his gaze held firmly toward the island approaching. She was satisfied with his minimal recognition, but was amazed to feel his small finger suddenly wrapping around hers. He moved not otherwise, did not even peek at her from the corner of his eye, but she heard the sound of a profound sigh and knew whose sigh it was. She coiled her finger around his, looked toward their pending destination, and wondered how he should govern himself once returned to his people.
The Commander and the Den Asaan Rautu
By Michelle Franklin
Publisher: Red Willow Publishing
June 12, 2011
The Kingdom of Frewyn is being invaded by the Galleisian infantry and at the forefront of the battle is Boudicca MacDaede, a First Captain in the Frewyn armed forces. Her regiment is charged with defending the borders between the two nations, but when Frewyn’s last line of defense falls, Captain MacDaede enlists the assistance of a Haanta, one of giants from the islands to the far north. Promising to free him from his imprisonment in exchange for his help, she gains his trust long enough for them to win the battle and save the Frewyn border from being breached. The giant’s freedom is granted, but Rautu cannot return home unless he redeems himself in the eyes of his people for past his transgressions. He is offered a place by the captain’s side, and together, they defeat the Galleisian forces and become the saviors of Frewyn.
One year later, King Alasdair Brennin takes the Frewyn throne, Boudicca is made commander, Gallei and Frewyn reach an accord, and Rautu is granted an invitation home. He is eager to return and see his brothers but finds it difficult to leave Frewyn without Boudicca at his side. He has become accustomed to her company and the idea of being made to live without her begins to distress him. Rautu invites the commander to the islands in hopes of finding a way for them to remain together, but when they arrive at the white shores of Sanhedhran, not everything goes as planned: one of the dangerous Haanta magi is freed, Rautu’s three brothers are strangely missing, and the neighboring nation of Thellis leads an attack on the islands.
Together, the commander and the Den Asaan Rautu must find a way to unite their two nations and defend against the Thellisian fleets, but can they do so successfully when outside forces are attempting to keep them apart?
Michelle is giving away the newest book in the Haanta series
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