Monday, November 24, 2014

The Challenge

First off I have to say that I love this series. I had a chance encounter with Cas Peace when she was visiting America four a Writers Conference and Vacation. It was the start of a beautiful friendship. Cas has become one of my great mentors. I got her first book in the series and immediately fell in love with the characters. As I read I forgot about my own world. I was 100% wrapped up in the world of the Artesans. When an opportunity came for me to interview one of the main characters I totally jumped at it. Sully (Sullyan), of course, is my favorite character in the books. I think I have a small book crush on her. Then again, everyone seems to have a crush on Sully. It’s not that she is beautiful but she is strong, smart, and compassionate…she makes it easy to love her. When Cas asked me if I would be willing to illustrate the covers for her books I was both humbled and shouting whoops of excitement. This is like fan art to me! I hope Sully likes the way I depicted her. We’ll see what she says when I ask her…


Interview With Sullyan:

Major Sullyan

What is the most important thing to you and why?

Sullyan: Loyalty is the most important thing to me. Some of my friends might have expected me to say that love was the most important thing and they’re right: it is true that love is extremely important. But if you had the kind of upbringing I did, you would know why I consider loyalty so essential. I spent the first thirteen years of my life not knowing who I was or where I belonged. I was not abused or ill-treated, but I had no sense of belonging to the place where I was raised. It was not my home, and no one there tried to make it feel like home. I developed no loyalty to it—all I knew was that I was not truly alive; that I lacked something fundamental. It was only when Mathias Blaine brought me to live at the Manor that I began to realize what was missing. Unwavering and unquestioning loyalty to one’s friends, one’s comrades, one’s King and one’s realm are what make a person whole and complete.

If you could arm wrestle any other character in the story who would you take on?

Sullyan: I love this question! The easy answer would be to say someone I knew I could win against, but that would not be right. I certainly would not take on Bull, or Robin, or even Taran. Not because I might lose, but because it would create awkwardness whoever won. We never contend between ourselves unless we are training, and then we never take things too far. I think the best person to arm wrestle would be Owyn Denny, a Kingsman and Elias’ Lieutenant Major at Port Loxton. Denny can’t resist a challenge and he loves to gamble. He would just adore running a book on who might win.  

You have so many that look to you as an example (a hero). Is there someone you look up to, someone who has acted the mentor role?

Sullyan: Well, you have my thanks for the compliment! I try to set an example for those I train, as well as the men of my company. As for me, the first person who showed any interest in me and gave me any kind of instruction was the bard, Fiann. He came to the Downs one year on his usual rounds of Albia and happened to hear me singing to myself in the hills. We became firm friends and it was Fiann who taught me that I was an Artesan. He shared his knowledge of the other realms with me, helped me hone my Artesan skills, and also taught me music. The day he allowed me to play his great harp is one of my most treasured memories. 

When did you first know you were in love with Robin?

Sullyan: As soon as I first set eyes on him. That might sound trite, but it is true. When Bull took me to that little garrison in Lychdale, in Garon Province, and the commanding officer brought Robin out, my heart did this strange little flip in my chest. I might not have immediately admitted it to myself, but I think my soul knew right then it had found its mate. I could not tell Robin that, of course! Not before we had even been introduced. But I think Bull knew it. I think he knew I would fall for Robin, and that was one of the reasons he made me go with him to Lychdale. 

For those that have not read the books, can you give them a reason to start? What is it about your story that you want people to know?

Sullyan: I want people to know what it is to have and return the unconditional love of dear friends and comrades. I want them to thrill to the excitement of battle, to feel the satisfaction of knowing you have protected realm and hearth and home. I want them to see how the desire for power can corrupt; to realize that wielding power takes skill—and the mightier the power, the more proficient that wielder must be. I want them to realize that power changes those who use it, and that in order to be changed for the better, the wielder needs a strong and sturdy heart: a heart supported and bolstered by unconditional love. I want them to be challenged as I have been challenged.   

I have depicted you in many portraits. Am I doing your beauty justice?

Sullyan: I am humbled that you consider me beautiful. I know that Robin does, and I know that he is pleased by the artwork you have made. You have a rare skill that is akin to an Artesan’s powers—you take raw earth elements and shape them into a new form, use them for the good and the pleasure of others. This is a skill I admire, and I am happy to be the subject of your talent.

What can you say about Cas? How is she doing telling your story?

Sullyan: Cas has another of the skills I admire: the skill of the bard. To reach another’s heart through song or story is to reach deeply—tales told by such skills often stay entrenched in such hearts, even stretching out into Time to become myth and legend. Judging by the many favorable comments my story has received, Cas is doing a fine job.

What is the hardest lesson you've had to learn?

Sullyan: Humility. When a person is blessed with a gift such as the powers of an Artesan, it is easy to become obsessed with, even possessed by, the opinion that you are somehow better than your fellows. The Artesan craft is so glorious that the temptation to use it simply because you can is ever close. Have you never wished you could make such a show of power that those who scorn you or put you down would be forced to shy away from you in fear? Think how tempting it would be to set yourself up as some kind of superhero—someone who could enforce every law, destroy every criminal, right every wrong? Yet no human is capable of withstanding the temptations of power once that power has been given free rein. Humility is the tool by which we govern our baser desires, and love is the basis of humility. All must learn it or be devoured by our own darkness.

You have sung so many songs throughout the series. Which has been your favorite? Is there a reason behind it?

Sullyan: I have always loved to sing. I cannot remember a time when I did not sing, even before I met the bard Fiann, who taught me much of singing and of music. To say I have a favorite song would be to tell a falsehood, but there is a song that means more to me than any other I have learned. “All That We Are” is the song my father Morgan penned for my mother, Bethyn. He did not compose the melody—that was ancient long before he lived and known, it seems, in every realm. But he took this tune and crafted words that told of his love for my mother, his soul mate. I believe she used to song it to me while I was yet in the womb, for I cannot recall a time when I did not know it. I knew it when I met Lord Fiann, who told me that the words I sang were the High Language of Andaryon, which none had taught me, and it was he who translated them for me so I knew their meaning. This song, which I call “Morgan’s Song”, is the song of my soul. It is a tangible link to my parents, my lineage, and it will never leave me. I believe it has yet a part to play in my life. Probably also my death.

You make the best fellan, can we know your secret? Maybe a recipe?

Sullyan: Ha! It is not I who make the best fellan, but Bulldog. He makes it dark and bitter and full of aroma, and it is his doing that I am addicted. His brew was the first I ever tasted when I came to the Manor (we did not brew fellan in the Downs) and it was his assertion that I would not like the taste that made me determined to try some. He could not believe that a small girl of thirteen could tolerate such strong flavors, but to me, the taste of fellan felt like something else that had been missing from my life, something else I craved without understanding why. Fellan is the taste, the smell, the warmth of home and hearth; it carries the memory of firelight, the murmur of friends’ voices, a sense of belonging and stability. As for the recipe, you will have to ask Bull!

About the Book:

Friend against friend, lover against lover, ally against ally.
Conflict is coming …

Nine months have passed since Brynne Sullyan helped forge an alliance between the realms of Albia and Andaryon. A fragile peace reigns as both sides recover from the events of the previous year. Then mysterious raiders strike Andaryon villages. Attempts are made on the life of Albia’s High King. As Sullyan scrambles to find those responsible, unseen enemies threaten to pull apart everything she has worked for, including her marriage.

To betray either one would break her heart, but if conflict is inevitable, she must make a choice … The alliance begins to crumble, and Sullyan finds herself caught between two monarchs: the king she’s sworn allegiance to, and the man she loves as a father.  

Meet the Author
Cas Peace was born in Hampshire UK, in 1957, and has lived there most of her life. Her first career was as a horse-riding instructor, and horses remain very close to her heart. She then spent 13 years working for the British Civil Service before leaving the UK to live in Italy for three years, 1991-1994. She speaks passable but by no means perfect Italian, and loves to return to Italy whenever she can.  Cas's other great loves are anything to do with animals, especially dogs and horses, (she supports many animal charities) and also singing.  Cas loves folk songs and along with her husband, who plays guitar, has performed in many a Southern England folk club. Sometimes they even asked her back! She writes folk songs to accompany her fantasy novels, and offers them as free downloads from her website.

Follow the Tour
November 24thJ E Haldeman/ Fenix Fire Designs – Guest Post/Playlist
November 24thInside Mikey's World – Character Interview
November 24thPenny Writes – Review
November 25thA Book and A Cup of Coffee – Review
November 25th4 Cover To Cover – Excerpt / Spotlight
November 26thPinky's Favorite Reads – Author Interview
November 26thDeal Sharing Aunt – Review/Interview/Top Ten
November 28thDonna K. Weaver – Review
November 28thDogs Moms Visits – Excerpt/Spotlight
December 1stA_TiffyFit's Reading Corner – Review
December 1stJess Resides Here – Author Interview
December 2ndRooms with Books – Author Interview/Excerpt 
December 2ndPenny Writes – Review
December 3rdPaul Kater – Special Feature
December 3rdThe FlipSide of Julianne – Author Interview
December 4thJourneys & Life by Oregonmike – Review / Top Ten
December 4thCabin Goddess – Special Feature
December 5thPixie Vixen Book Reviews – Guest Post

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  1. Hey Mikey! Thank you so much for hosting me on your blog and helping me promote my books. That image of Sullyan and Drum looks SO amazing on your page - it really is one of my favorites. Sullyan loves it too - she loves the peace and tranquility of it, and the way you also captured Drum's majestic beauty. I'm still planning on using it for the Artesans CD!

  2. Thank you for the wonderful post and all of your support. xx



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