Good day eveyone. Welcome to our blog. We are today's stop on the Summoned Book Tour presented by Goddess Fish Promotions. Author Susan Leigh Noble is sharing an excerpt from her YA sci-fi fantasy novel with us today. Please read about Lina and her world and leave a comment below to be entered in the author's giveaway.
by Susan Leigh Noble
Genre: YA sci-fi/fantasy
Blurb: Lina wants an ordinary life in the Grasslands of Zena. But she isn’t ordinary at all. At the age of four, she discovered she could start fires with a mere thought - an ability believed to have died out long ago. Cautioned by her telepathic cat, Tosh, she keeps this Elemental power a secret in fear of how the outside world would react. There is something else different about Lina - she feels a strange force compelling her to go north.
Before she can decide whether to give into this mysterious urge, she is kidnapped by gypsies and wakes in a foreign land. The desire to travel north is as strong as ever. When a strange raging fire prevents her return home, Lina realizes she must find out once and for all what or who is summoning her.
On her journey, she befriends an odd assortment of allies including the son of a High Council member, a thief, a former guardsman and a large sarcastic black dragon. Together they battle mystical creatures and unnatural forces, although such magic had ceased to exist over 800 years ago. During each battle, Lina must use her innate Elemental power as she becomes more certain that someone is using magic against her. When she discovers the shocking truth, it will change her life in ways she could never imagine.
Then he saw one of the men break away from the battle. His sword held ready, the man set his horse directly toward them. Tosh lashed his tail angrily against the saddle. He had succeeded in getting her out of the danger of the initial attack but that lone rider would soon be upon them, and Lina had no weapon. He considered his options. He only saw one clear choice. He lifted his paw, claws outstretched.
Lina, hold on.
He prepared to slash the mare again, but as he raised his paw, he caught a glimpse of her face. She was staring intently at the man racing toward them. Her face held a determined look as the wind began to blow her hair. The long honey-colored locks whipped around her face as the wind began to blow harder. The force was so strong Tosh had to dig his claws into the saddle in order to stay on the mare. He whirled around in time to see the full force of Lina’s gust of wind hit the attacker. The man fell backward, his arms outstretched as if to grab the saddle. But his fingers missed and continued backward. Then Tosh heard the sickening sound of the man’s head hitting his horse’s rear hoof. The man hit the ground with a deadening thud and lay motionless. Lina cringed, a look of shock on her face.
“I didn’t mean...” she whispered in a sick voice. Her eyes had a haunted look, and she shook her head slightly as if in disbelief over what had happened.
You had to stop him, Lina. He leaned against her, tucking his head into the crook of her arm.
Lina hung her head down. Her honey-colored hair fell around him like a curtain. “But I only meant to stop him.” She stared at the motionless man before her. “Not to kill him.”
An interview with Susan Leigh Noble
1) How did Zena come about and did you find its world-building challenging?
When I came up with the plot of Summoned, I knew that it wouldn’t take place on Earth. That of course meant I needed to create a whole new world which included naming countries, cities, figuring out the way of life, the type of technology they had and so on. I think one thing that helped in the beginning was to draw a map of the world even though none of the readers would see it. This allowed me to visualize where my characters are or where they are going.
Zena is actually the country where that Lina grows up. Even though most of the novel takes place outside of her homeland, I wanted to create a contrast between where she was raised and where the action took place. Her homeland is a vast grassland. She is not use to trees or tall buildings so part of Summoned is the “fish out of water” type situation.
2) A telepathic cat--how did you create Tosh?
I wanted to create a character that would be able to guide Lina as she learned about her Elemental powers. I choose a cat because this would allow him to help her without necessarily drawing attention to himself. Most of the time Tosh behaves like a cat. Since I have almost always had a cat or two or three living with me, it was easy to pull from their actions and antics when writing about Tosh. No one who sees him would realize that he is anything more than a regular cat. In Summoned, Cats with the ability to speak telepathically are called STACs and only speak to a select few. More STACs are introduced at the end of Summoned.
3) Gypsies? They're not characters we see too much of in fantasy. What made you choose them?
I needed a way to get Lina thrust into her adventure and decided that having her kidnapped was the perfect way. I needed it to be from someone who would take her out of her homeland. That is when I came up with the idea to use gypsies - men and woman who constantly moved around selling their wares - or in this case, participating in the slave trade.
4) Can you share with us any other plans you have for Lina? For The Elemental series?
The Elemental series is a trilogy. In the second book, Quietus, Lina begins to explore her powers as a threat to the Land also rises. She must use her Elemental powers to stop the destruction of her homeland and find a way to stop the person who is behind it all. The story will wrap up in book three which I am currently working on.
5) Why did you decide to self-publish? How has your journey from writing to publishing been?
I began writing Summoned many years ago and originally tried the traditional route of getting published by sending in my submissions. Those were followed by rejection letters. But I know that getting a publishing house to take on a new author is not easy. I believe I have written an interesting story that others will enjoy. Last year, my husband suggested I try publishing Summoned as an e-book. I looked into it and decided it was something I was willing to try. The actual publishing of Summoned was quite easy, but I had no clue how much self-promotion I would have to do. It certainly has been a learning experience. There are a multitude of choices out there, both free and paid, and figuring out which ones will benefit you the most is hard. It has been a lot of trial and error so far.
About the author: Susan Leigh Noble has always loved dragons and magic so it is no wonder that she became an author of fantasy novels. As a cat lover, she also threw a telepathic cat into the mix for her The Elemental Series. The first two books, Summoned and Quietus, have already been released in e-book format. She is currently working on the third and final chapter of the trilogy.
When she isn’t writing, Susan is an active volunteer in her neighborhood and at her children’s schools. She lives with her husband, two children and three cats in Texas.
She loves to hear from readers: firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out her Facebook page \ Follow her on Twitter \ Author website
Susan will award a $15 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour and a $10 Amazon GC to the host with the most comments (excluding Susan's and the host's).
To increase your chances of winning, follow the tour and comment. The tour dates can be found here.
Next stop on the tour: Bea's Book Nook