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Cas Peace. She's the author of the wonderful Artesans of Albia fantasy series. I love these books. This is one of those that I read to my husband. We're reading King's Artesan right now, and you should have heard him yesterday: "Can we read some more?" Seriously. These books are that good!
Cas is here today to celebrate the launch of King's Artesan and has agreed to do an interview. Take it away Cas!
First I would like to thank Donna for inviting me on to her blog. I loved these questions, Donna – I hope you enjoy the replies!
What do you think about when you're alone in your car?
This is a question I’ve never been asked before, and I’ve never given it much thought before, either. But now that you’ve asked it, I realize how relevant it is to my writing. I don’t do it much now because I don’t have to drive to work, but when I was commuting to my Civil Service job years ago, I used to pass the boredom of being stuck in traffic by acting out little scenes in my head. These would usually center round TV programs I’d seen. I would become a character in the program, or make up a new one, and have fun imagining what the regular characters would say, or how we would react to each other. Generally, I ended up saving one or more of them from some dreadful fate, or from being murdered, by doing something clever. It was fun. This playing with TV characters was also the way my entire Artesans series came about!
What songs best describe your writing philosophy?
Because of the way my books came about (i.e. - with no conscious thought or planning from me!) I guess Leaving On A Jet Plane by John Denver is the song that just about sums it up. All the ideas and plots for my entire Artesan series came at me so fast, it was as if they were rocket-driven. And the experience of writing them out once I got started was the equivalent of being bundled onto a plane and having it take off like a rocket beneath me, with me having no idea whatsoever where I was going or where I’d end up. And I’m still not sure!
Pick two celebrities to be your parents and explain why they are your choices.
I’m not really sure I’d want a celebrity for a parent - they never seem to stay married for long! But I know what you mean ….
Ok. For a dad I’m going to pick Nelson Mandela. He just seems like a really, really nice guy. Anyone who can survive what he has and still forgive those who did it to him has to have superb strength of character. And I so admire people who put themselves in the way of harm for the good of others. And for a mum (or mom, as my American friends spell it!) I’m going to choose Joy Adamson, the woman who helped raise Elsa the lioness in Born Free, and then returned her to the wild. Nature conservation and respect for wildlife are two ideals very close to my heart. I’d have loved the opportunity to meet Joy, and I think she was probably a very feisty person. We need more like her in this world!
I know you love horses. What's your history there? Did you grow up around them or did that come later?
I have no idea where my love of horses came from – I was born with it, I think. My aunt rides horses, or did when she was younger, but no one else in my family has ever been connected with them or interested in them. We weren’t wealthy enough for me to have a pony when I was a kid, but there was a riding school close by that I went to. I say “riding school”, but really it was a woman who kept a few horses on a local naval base, and she gave rides and “lessons” to kids from naval families. My dad was in the Fleet Air Arm rather than the Navy, but it was close enough for me to get accepted. I loved it, but the “lessons” weren’t very good. I fell off more than I stayed on. When I was about 16, I saved up enough to have some proper lessons, and when I left school, I went to train at a recognized center for Equitation and got my teaching qualification. It was hard work, but I loved it. Unfortunately, it paid very little, and eventually I had to get a different job that paid decent wages. It was only then that I was able to afford a horse of my own, although I don’t have one now.
What was your inspiration for the world and the magic system in your Artesans of Albia series?
I have always been fascinated by the natural world. My dad grew up in the countryside, and when I visited my grandparents, my granddad would take me on long, country walks. Animals and birds delighted me, and I soaked up everything I could learn about them. As I grew older, I also developed a keen interest in places like Stonehenge, ancestral sites with an air of mystery and majesty about them. I l also love forests and the deep, sacrosanct feeling of being among ancient trees. I began reading books about Druids, and the ancient Celts, and felt an emotional connection to their brand of spirituality. I have always suspected there is an ancient force buried deep in our Earth, one that our long-ago forebears knew how to tap into. So it was a natural progression to explore this force through my writing. Artesans are attuned to this force and can use it if they learn how to channel and respect it.
The setting for my world is a variant of medieval England. While I appreciate the hypocrisy and irony of my making use of technology, something within me hankers after a simpler, pre-Industrial Revolution life. I’m sure I wouldn’t like it if I had one – there are too many modern conveniences I would miss! – and so it is merely romance on my part. But I can live in it vicariously, through my writing.
I understand there's supposed to be nine books in the series, essentially three trilogies, right? What's next?
Yes, there are three trilogies to my series. Artesans of Albia is the first trilogy, Circle of Conspiracy is the second, and Master of Malice, the third. Currently, I am working on a YA prequel to the series, called Maiden of Mysteries. This will concentrate on Sullyan’s childhood and then her struggles to be accepted at the Manor. It will also cover her early relationship with Robin, and some other stuff only hinted at in the other books. After that – who knows? There are five realms in my world, and I’ve not even begun to explore three of its races. A Sinnian makes a fairly brief but vital appearance during Circle and Malice, but Roamerlings and Relkorians don’t feature much at all. Plenty of book material there! Or maybe I’ll write something completely different. That might be fun!
Well, to celebrate the book's release, there's a giveaway. Well, actually three! How cool is that?
Robin Tamsen sets out on a desperate quest to recover the artifact, but the enemy is two steps ahead of him. Sonten knows where the Staff is, and he will stop at nothing to get it back. If he does, Sullyan’s life will be forfeit and no Artesan will be safe.
The race for the Staff has begun.
Author Website | Amazon |
Cas loves country walks, working in stained glass and folk singing. She has also written a nonfiction book, "For the Love of Daisy," which tells the life story of her beautiful Dalmatian.