Ashael is a hunter-gatherer woman, apprenticed to Bhearra, the healer and spiritual leader of their tribe.
The Zanthar are invaders from another world who extend their own lives by stealing the life-force of everything around them. They were last seen on KalaDene 200 years ago. They have returned, looking for The Vessel, a being prophesied to hold the life-force of the land.
Iwan is a slave to the Zanthar, descendant of those taken as slaves the last time the Zanthar visited this world. He is sent out as a spy, while his mother is held hostage to ensure his compliance.
When Ashael meets Iwan in the forest, neither realise that she is the one the Zanthar are looking for. The fate of KalaDene and all of its people rests on her shoulders.
- Did you have an image in your mind of the world you created, or did it grow as the story developed?
The world grew with the story. I’ve heard it described like walking through a tunnel with a torch – I can see the bits of the world highlighted by the torch (the story) but everything else is a shape in the darkness until I really look at it.
- This story sounds intense. Does writing Energise or Exhaust you?
Mostly it energises me. Sometimes, when I write a particularly emotional scene, I find it draining.
- What is your writing Kryptonite?
I haven’t found one yet!
- Does your book have a message that you are trying to convey or a moral?
Yes and no. I didn’t set out to write a book with a message, but I think if you read between the lines, you can see a lot about how I think the world should be. I’ll leave it up to the readers to discover that for themselves though.
- Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?
Absolutely. I guess they might find some elements more difficult to portray but that’s all about craft. I don’t have any experience of engineering, but if I wanted to write a story that involved engineering then I would do my research and run it past people who do know about it.
- Do you want your writing to be standalone or do you want to write in a way that connects each book you write?
Ashael Rising is the start pf a planned trilogy so its definitely not a stand-alone, but it also is not connected to everything else that I write. For example, I recently completed an urban fantasy novella that is really quite different to Ashael Rising. I can foresee further stories in the same world, many years after the event of this trilogy though so there’s a definite possibility of more, connected works.
- If you could tell your younger writer-self anything what would it be?
Stop waiting for permission and just write.
Shona Kinsella is the author of Ashael Rising, (Unbound, 2017) the first in her series, The Vessel of KalaDene. She is also one of the editors of the British Fantasy Society’s fiction publication, Horizons. When she is not writing or wrangling her three children, she can usually be found with her nose in a book.