Welcome to my tour stop for The Banished Craft by E.D.E. Bell! The tour runs August 18 - September 1 with reviews, interviews, guest posts, excerpts and giveaways. The Banished Craft is a fantasy novel and is written for adults but is appropriate for mature young adult readers. This is the first book of the Shkode series and releases on September 1, 2015.
The Banished Craft is a genre-bending fantasy saga that follows the adventures of Cor, a woman caught in a dying world that does not accept her, and Atesh, a dragon scientist who's been asked to violate his own ethics or put the lives of his family at risk. Follow their trials as they deal with a shattered world, mired in political upheaval, while they try to rediscover a lost magic. The Banished Craft begins the Shkode trilogy: a quirky and modern take on dragons and wizards, exploring themes of identity, prejudice, violence, compassion, and the ways we are all connected.
"A wonderfully delightful and deeply imaginative tale of struggle and the quest for knowledge, set in a well-developed and complex high fantasy setting."
--G. S. Jennsen, author of Science-Fiction saga Aurora Rhapsody
"I love Bell's sensitive and insightful exploration of compassion, connection, and relationships. The Banished Craft provides layers of thought-provoking ideas as well as good old-fashioned escapism."
--Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, bestselling author of The 30-Day Vegan Challenge
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Bell will be releasing her first Wattpad story on 1 Sept to coincide with the release of The Banished Craft.
What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
I love fantasy and I wanted to write about dragons and wizards. It started with that simple premise. Then I continued to add depth over the course of a couple of years. What the dragons are like, how they interact with the humans, why they are in danger, how they try to escape that danger, and who gets in their way. The more the themes and ideas came into view, the more excited I got about putting it all together. This trilogy has been a thrilling and enriching process and I am so happy to finally share it with others.
Who is your favorite character in the book?
That is tough. I love so many of the characters for different reasons: Atesh for being earnest and Jwala for her strength—Francie for her complexity and Mica for her struggles. So I don’t know if I can commit to Cor as my favorite character, but I do really love her. She’s imperfect, she’s vulnerable, and sometimes she’s all over the place. But she’s driven, and once she begins to understand her own power she won’t be stopped by anyone or anything.
Which came first, the title or the novel?
The novels. I wanted to write my take on dragons and wizards, and over time idea after idea continued to come into view. The trilogy took on a fire theme early on, because the storylines kept coming back to this idea of burning—more literally dragonbreath and attacks by fire, but also of passion, drive, and being consumed. Once I determined the trilogy name, “Shkode,” which is a native word for fire in the Lake Superior region, I worked on the titles for each volume in the Shkode story. I love the title, The Banished Craft. It speaks to me in all the ways people are censored these days. “Shh,” they say. “Don’t say that.” Well, we should, if it comes from the right place. We should say it.
What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
There are so many scenes I am proud of! But you’re making me choose. Actually, I can do that. I am very proud of Mother’s monologue at the beginning of Chapter 16. In this monologue, a four-dimensional creature talks about the three axes of the universe: space, time, and existence. I don’t want to give spoilers, but people have said they’ve been moved by it. To me, this exploration is the heart of speculative fiction: the opportunity to ask, “What if?”
Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
When I started, I hadn’t taken a formal creative writing class in twenty years! I do admit it. As an engineer I had a fair amount of technical writing experience, but I had a long way to go on story construction and layout. That’s what I’ve learned the most: how to better design the story before I start writing it. I know that sounds basic, but it’s an honest answer.
What do you like most about the cover of the book?
I am so honored to be able to work with Anna Rettberg on the cover art for the trilogy. I love her realization of my vision, I love her artistry, and I love the mixture of light and dark and the emphasis on books. I do think my favorite thing is that Cor herself isn’t the typical face of a fantasy cover. She has a non-Caucasian appearance, she’s not so thin or tall, and she’s disguised as a teenage boy. No sword. No cleavage. No sexy stare. Just a woman on a mission. I love that.
What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2015?
Um, I take it Doors of Stone isn’t coming out this year? And, let’s see, Skybreaker is 2016. I’m sure there will be many more books I’ll be glad to read. Among them, I’m excited to see the sequels from some really great indie authors – like G.S. Jennsen’s Aurora Rhapsody series and Katie J. Cross’ Network Series.
What was your favorite book in 2014?
That’s easy. Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson. Mr. Sanderson has mastered the art of epic fantasy—of building a rich world and walking (not running) you through its many facets.
What’s up next for you?
I’ll have a few side-projects coming up, but mostly my focus is on finishing the Shkode trilogy. Book 2 has been drafted, and we’ll be running a crowdfunding campaign for the editing in October. I am in love with the way the second book has come together, and the impatient part of me wants to you read it right now! No…I can’t. Quality matters.
Is there anything that you would like to add?
Yes! That I am grateful to each of my readers. It makes me so happy to share stories with others, so to each person who picks up a book and is willing to share that experience – thank you. I appreciate you.
$25 Amazon Gift Card (INT)
Ends Sept. 9th
Prizing is provided by the publisher and hosts are not responsible in any way.
This event was organized by CBB Book Promotions.