Thursday, May 19, 2016

Interview with Kelley Grant, author of the Desert Rising Trilogy

Please welcome Kelley Grant to The Qwillery. The World Weavers, the 3rd Desert Rising novel, was published on April 19th (digital) and will be published on May 31st (print) by Harper Voyager Impulse.

TQWelcome back to The Qwillery. Your new novel, The World Weavers (Desert Rising 3) was published on April 19th in digital format. Has your writing process changed (or not) from when you wrote Desert Rising (Desert Rising 1) to now?

Kelley:  Desert Rising was my second novel and the first novel I wrote without Nanowrimo. I began writing without a clear idea of where it would go and had to discard five chapters and begin again with a new main character. With The Obsidian Temple and The World Weavers I learned to brainstorm and write ideas before beginning to write the story, to winnow down and focus my creativity. I learned that I love the challenge of writing to a deadline. The World Weavers was the first novel where I actually plotted by extensively mapping my chapters as I wrote them in order to keep everything moving toward the concluding battle.

TQWhat do you wish that you knew about book publishing when Desert Rising came out that you know now?

Kelley:  If you don’t feel like you are a real writer before your novel is published, having one novel, or even three novels, published will not change that. It will not make you love the person you see every day in the mirror. You have to believe in yourself as a writer and love yourself whether you ever see your book in print or not. The only person who can give you the validation you need is yourself.

TQWhich character in the Desert Rising Trilogy surprised you the most? Who has been the hardest character to write and why?

Kelley:  The character of Abram, the cousin of Kadar and Sulis, in the World Weavers came as a surprise. He was a minor character that I revised to be a point-of-view character. He ended up being one of my favorite characters with his wit and personality.

Ashraf was difficult for me because I wanted him to be more than just a love interest for Sulis – I wanted him to have his own interests and life. But he often was lost in the writing of the major characters and I rewrote and added several times to give him more life.

TQHow did you keep track of characters, plot lines, etc. in the Desert Rising Trilogy?

Kelley:  I am more of a pantser than a plotter, so it was difficult for me! My editor gave me a chapter spreadsheet for Desert Rising, to help keep track of the timeline. That became more important in The Obsidian Temple, and essential for The World Weavers. In each chapter I tracked which characters had POVs on what pages, what month it was, and what happened in each. Because of this outline I was able to seamlessly add the character of Abram while on a stiff deadline. Even a pantser will plot when the storyline becomes complicated enough! There were several times where I got my characters into situations I thought were impossible to overcome and had to write my way out of them.

TQPlease tell us about the deities in the Trilogy.

Kelley:  The Deities were created by the One-being when humans became too demanding, to rule over the humans and were created in the image of humans. Ivanha, the goddess of family and hearth and Voras, god of trade and war are allies, and Aryn, messenger/healer goddess, and Parasu, god of justice/luck ally with each other. Unfortunately they were too human and conceited and began warring with each other and against their creator, creating chaos. The One used the help of southern mages to limit their power in a great battle 500 years before Desert Rising begins. Now the deities want those powers back and join together to try to defeat the One, who created them. They can only channel through the humans pledged to them. They were inspired by the Greek gods I loved to read about as a kid.

TQPlease tell us something about The World Weavers that is not found in the book description.

Kelley:  Kadar grows into his powers in this novel. He has always been overshadowed by his twin, but we find a depth to him in the World Weavers, and a wry humor, that isn’t emphasized in the other two novels.

TQPlease give us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from The World Weavers.

Kelley:  I like this one when Sulis meets a new teacher:
     “I am Amon, a Descendant of the Prophet!” the man declared, unfortunately in the Northern tongue, so none of the warriors of the One understood him. “The Descendants have risen and the second Great War has begun.”
     Silence followed this announcement as the warriors of the One looked at the Chosen for translation and the Chosen looked at one another.
     “Are we supposed to be impressed?” Sulis said into the silence.
Alannah snorted and Lasha hid a grin behind her hand. The man looked nonplussed.
     “I mean, it was good delivery,” Sulis continued. “Dramatic. But most of these people don’t understand your language. And those of us who do, well, we’re already Chosen by the One and have a prophecy of our own. We don’t really need a new one.”

TQWhat's next?

Kelley:  The World Weavers will release in paperback on May 31st. I am working on a new series, set in the jungles of a new world.

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Kelley:  It is always a pleasure to speak with you! I love The Qwillery.

The World Weavers
Desert Rising 3
Harper Voyager Impulse, April 19, 2016
     eBook, 288 pages
Harper Voyager Impulse, May 31, 2016
     Mass Market Paperback, 416 pages

It has been a year since Sulis Hasifel fled to the desert, narrowly escaping death at the hands of a vengeful god. The time of the final battle, the final confrontation with the deities of her world, is nearing. Lured by the call of their long-trapped powers, the deities will descend upon the Obsidian Temple, where the Chosen await.

But the war between gods and humans has enveloped the entire land. Sulis’s twin, Kadar, joins forces with the nomadic warrior tribes of the desert. Little by little, the desert armies draw the deities away from their stronghold in the north, towards their doom.

In the face of a battle that will reshape mankind’s destiny and the face of the earth itself, old friendships will be tested and new alliances forged. In this spellbinding denouement to Desert Rising and The Obsidian Temple, Kelley Grant brings her epic trilogy to a thunderous and powerful conclusion.


Desert Rising
Desert Rising 1
Harper Voyager Impulse, April 21, 2015
     eBook, 288 pages
Harper Voyager Impulse, May 26, 2015
     Mass Market Paperback, 368 pages

"It frightens me, knowing the One has called up two such strong individuals. It means that there are troubled times in our future, and you must prepare yourselves."

The Temple at Illian is the crown jewel of life in the Northern Territory. There, pledges are paired with feli, the giant sacred cats of the One god, and are instructed to serve the One's four capricious deities. Yet Sulis, a young woman from the Southern Desert, has a different perspective - one that just might be considered heresy...

Sulis's twin Kadar, meanwhile, is part of a different revolution. When Kadar falls in love with a woman from a Forsaken caste, he finds he's willing to risk anything to get her people to freedom. But with Sulis drawing a dangerous level of attention from the deities, and war about to break out on two fronts, change may not come as easily as either twin had hoped.

An astonishing debut, Kelley Grant brings to life a powerful new epic fantasy tale of determination and self-discovery.

The Obsidian Temple
Desert Rising 2
Harper Voyager Impulse, July 21, 2015
     eBook, 368 pages
Harper Voyager Impulse, September 1, 2015
     Mass Market Paperback, 368 pages

After a harrowing escape to the desert, Sulis Hasifel finds her calling is not yet fulfilled. Traveling to the Obsidian Temple—the site of an ancient divine battle—Sulis is tasked with mentoring Ava, a young girl with a troubled past. Together, they join a group of magically gifted warriors to re-make the very fabric of the universe. But the fate of the world hinges on whether Ava can harness her power, and some trials cannot be overcome.

Returning to Illian, Sulis's twin Kadar finds that his lover, Farrah, has abandoned their newborn daughter for the revolutionary cause. Not willing to give up his dream of a family, Kadar vows to stay by Farrah's side. But when he finds that Farrah is willing to anger the gods to aid the Forsaken caste's uprising, and as she steps farther down a violent and dark path, Kadar must decide if he will help her…or let the world spin out of control.

In this mesmerizing sequel to Desert Rising, Kelley Grant brings us back to the cities of Illian and Shpeth, drawing her epic fantasy tale closer to the trilogy's stunning conclusion.

About Kelley

Photo by Susan H. Grant
Kelley Grant grew up in the hills of Ohio’s Amish country. Her best friends were the books she read, stories she created and the forest and fields that inspired her. She first told stories to her cats, then other kids, then expanded her audience to professors at Otterbein college, where she got her degree in writing. She and her husband live on a wooded hilltop and are owned by five cats, a dog and numerous uninvited critters. Besides writing, Kelley teaches yoga and meditation, sings kirtan with her husband, and designs brochures and media.

Website  ~ Twitter @kgrantwrites


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