The Awakened Epoch
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Publisher: Imagine That! Studios
Date of Publication:
Cover Artist: Alex White
Never alone. Never apart.
They are the Awakened, a unique breed of people in a remote corner of the world. Faith is one of these gifted carriers of the Seraphim; and in return of her unconditional love, her Seraphim grants her powers of incredible potential.
But not all carriers embrace their blessing. Jack loathes being an Awakened. He never asked for it, his Seraphim keeping him alive even in spite of his desire to die. Not even a great war could rid him of this curse.
Now a magician of incredible ability and a walking dead man must find a way to work together to save the Seraphim. Someone covets the power of the Awakened, and will not stop until that power belongs to him.
Paranormal Romance Fans for Life would like to extend a warm welcome to Philippa (Pip) Ballantine, author of Weather Child.
Pip, first please tell us where you are from and where/who did your love for writing come from?
I was born in Wellington, New Zealand, and lived there up until three years ago. Love brought me to Virginia, where I married fellow author Tee Morris.
My love of writing came from my love of reading and my father. He is a huge fan of science fiction and fantasy, and I read voraciously. In the end I read all the books around me, and that was when I decided that I might as well try and write some for myself. Surrounded by the works of CJ Cherryh and Anne McCaffrey, I didn’t know that I couldn’t do it, so I tried. Here I am years later living the dream I always had, and never thought I would get.
Can you say that your journey to publication was difficult? If so, what were the hardest moments to get through?
The journey took me ten years, but I wouldn’t say that it was difficult because for me writing wasn’t initially about getting published. I wrote to get the stories out of my head and onto the page. I enjoyed living with the characters, finding out what happened to them, and how they would end up.
So the hardest moments for me was were all writing ones—like when the words wouldn’t come. The search for publishers and agents was something else entirely. I just kept sending out queries. I like to say that I was lucky that I could have two separate personalities; the writer and the mail clerk.
How do you overcome i-suck-it is, that little voice in your head that tells you your writing isn’t good enough?
Everyone thinks they suck…most writers hear this from the little voice of doubt every day. However, I have at least got to the point where I can say ‘yeah, it might suck now, but that’s OK. That is what editing is for.’ I know that after I’ve edited and my editors have edited, it’ll be far more acceptable.
What is your dream vacation?
I would love to go to Rome and Greece. I did classical studies at school, and I would love to see the sights where ancient people trod, but really I am such a history geek, I’d love to go anywhere.
Describe your writing style in five words.
Memorable characters and lush worlds.
What movies are you currently excited to see?
Like every New Zealander, I want to see the last Hobbit movie, but I am also really looking forward to Captain America; Winter Solider. I guess that covers both my birthplace and my new homeland pretty well!
What are you currently reading?
I just finished Miss Peregine’s School for Peculiar Children, and I am just starting to read Hollow World. I guess I have a thing for history and peculiarity.
If you weren’t a writer, what other careers would you pursue?
I would probably go back to my former job as a librarian. It was a job I loved, and librarians are awesome people to work with. Also, I love the smell of old books.
If you could create a holiday of your own, what would it be called?
When I was a kid, my schoolmates said Valentine’s Day was mine, but it is not one I really like. I think it would be called Cat Appreciation Day, when people could enjoy their pets, and I could spend the day playing with my kittehs. They really don’t like it when I spend so much time writing and not appreciating them.
For people who haven’t read your novel, how would you summarize the plot?
It is set in New Zealand between the two world wars, but a very different nation than the one in our world. Seraphim live in the minds of special New Zealanders, their presence makes them magicians. Jack, who hates his seraph, and Faith, who loves hers, have intersecting lives that twine about each other, as they attempt to find out the grand conspiracy of who is trying to harness the power of the seraphim. It’s full of New Zealand history, romance, and magic.
What are two of your pet-peeves?
People who drive without using their indicators, and those that can’t put their laundry in the hamper.
To you, what makes a good story?
For me, it is all about the characters. If I am going to invest in people, spend a great deal of time with them, then I need to enjoy them. They don’t need to be perfect, but they must be interesting.
What usually turns you off about a story?
Worldbuilding that is in your face. I dislike authors who have invested so much in their worldbuilding that they feel the need to show the reader everything. If it doesn’t move the plot or the characters forward, it is just the writer showing off.
If you could collaborate with any author, who would you choose, and why?
I have always adored Charles de Lint. He not only knows how to create wonderful characters, but he has such a light yet powerful grasp on magic that his style is entrancing. I think it’d be a great deal of fun to work with him.
What is on your night stand?
My ipad, a candle, and a stuffed William Shakespeare.
What is your favorite book?
So many to choose from, and this question always makes me quake. I guess nostalgia has a lot to do with this answer, but I would have to say Tad Williams’ The Dragonbone Chair. It stands alone to me as a resonant piece of writing, full of adventure, and those all important wonderful characters.
Thank you so much for joining us today, Pip. We really enjoyed the insights. Good luck with Weather Child.
About the Author:
New Zealand born fantasy writer and podcaster Philippa (Pip) Ballantine is the author of the Books of the Order and the Shifted World series. She is also the co-author with her husband Tee Morris of the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences novels. Her awards include an Airship, a Parsec, the Steampunk Chronicle Reader’s Choice, and a Sir Julius Vogel. She currently resides in Manassas, Virginia with her husband, daughter, and a furry clowder of cats.
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