thanks all round

And that’s the end of The Flowers of Time blogtour! Thank you so much to everyone who has hosted me, it’s been a pleasure and a privilege to visit. Here’s a recap of the topics and where you can find me:

Plus! All these lovely people came and talked to me over the last few days on intersecting topics:

It’s been a lot of fun and an immense privilege to host such a wonderful set of people and I’m so grateful that they took time out of their busy lives. Thank you!

PS. If you’d like to buy The Flowers of Time that would quite frankly make me extremely chuffed.

Zaya Feli talks about journeys

Zaya Feli is the author of the wonderful Stag’s Run fantasy-historical trilogy, the Icefjord duology and has an upcoming release, Wild Sky, which has dragons! Zaya is visiting today to talk about journeys in her work- both physical ones and mental ones. Plus, making world-maps!

Welcome, Zaya!

My name is Zaya Feli. I’m an illustrator and author living and working in Denmark, writing LGBT+ genre fiction, and journeys have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.

I rarely sit down with the intention of writing about a journey.

My one exception is my upcoming novel, WILD SKY, where I created an expansive world I knew I wanted my characters to explore. From the backs of dragons, they could cover large distances in little time, so I deliberately focused on creating a world that would allow my characters to, quite literally, stretch their wings.

But most often, the physical journey simply happens. I’ll finish plotting an outline and realise I’ve dragged countless lines all across my world map in the process.

Sometimes, the characters’ mental journeys reflect their physical ones.
In my fantasy trilogy, IRON BREAKERS, the main character, Ren, is forcefully ripped from the comfort of home within the first three chapters, and doesn’t get a chance to return until the very end of the final book. At the start of his journey, the world around him feels almost like an enemy in its own right. By the end of the third book, he’s been across the nation and back, as at home in the wild as he once was in his comfortable castle quarters.

My stories rarely take place in the real world.

Maybe it’s the result of being an illustrator as well as a writer, but one of the first things I do when I start working on a new story is to draw a world map. I create a world first, then place my characters in it. The world might change as I write, and then I’ll redraw the map, but it helps me to have markers, locations and a solid layout of geography.

I think most authors have their own writing-related quirks, and mine include keeping track of distance and time. It’s something I’ve always done, even way back when I wrote my very first original story about puppy dogs when I was 10 years old.

How long will it take the characters to get from this town to this inn? On horseback? Dragonback? How much time has passed since they left home, and how long a distance do they still need to cover? I’ll cover whole pages of notebooks with timetables and charts.

In my Norse-inspired fantasy duology, THE ICEFJORD SAGA, the story takes place in two distinct locations – one for each book.

The first book centers largely around one of the main characters’ home town, while the second book sees them leave the safety and comfort of home behind, and sail to a hostile and uncharted frozen woodland in the high north, in search of a magical runestone.

In a way, this split of locations paralleled my own life at the time: when I wrote the first book, I based the map of the characters’ home on my own home. And just like my characters, I was uprooted midway through writing the series, having to adjust to a whole new place.

And that is perhaps why physical journeys keep being such a strong, subconscious theme in the stories I write.

I haven’t gone on many holidays in my life. I’ve only ever left the country twice, and have never been outside Europe. My physical journeys are on a smaller scale, but no less impactful. Throughout my life, I’ve rarely lived in one place for more than three or four years at a time.

I started my life in the capital city of Copenhagen, moved within city borders before moving to the countryside across the island. There, I moved around even more, before making a big switch to the other end of the country two years ago. And within the coming year, I’ll move again, to a different place.

Like my characters, I’ve lost and gained things and people along the way. I’ve changed and grown as a person, not to the extend I often force my characters to, but in a way that still feels profound.

Maybe I simply enjoy writing about new places and varied scenery. Or maybe I keep searching for the various ways in which I can translate the same core idea that means so much to me: that home isn’t necessarily a place. Sometimes it’s a feeling. Or a person. Or a soft sweater on a cold day. It’s what you make of it.

You can connect with Zaya here:

Twitter : Instagram : Amazon: Website : Goodreads

You can read my own post talking about The Flowers of Time and Edie’s Journey today, at Love Bytes Reviews

Visitors! Quick! Tidy up!

I’m tidying the sitting room and shoving dog-toys under the sofa with my foot and generally making sure my high-brow books have their spines prominently visible here at Lester Towers this week. I’m going to have visitors!

To celebrate the launch of The Flowers of Time this week, I have some fantastic guests coming in to talk about aspects of their own work on the themes of magic, journeys, landscape and gender.

The linked posts won’t go live until the day of the interview, but just to give you the head’s up:

Mon 24 FebZaya Feli is talking about the importance of both physical and mental journeys in her books. This ties in with me talking about Edie’s journey to Srinagar, a deleted scene from The Flowers of Time, at Love Bytes Reviews. Zaya’s post.

Tue 25 FebJeannelle d’Ferreira is here to talk about hero(in)es in breeches and I am at Drops of Ink with a deleted scene about Jones’ inner thoughts on gender. Jeannelle’s post.

Wed 26 FebElizabeth Noble has written about the urban fantasy world of her upcoming release Scintilla and I’m talking about the magic in the Green Book at Joyfully Jay. Elizabeth’s post.

Thu 27 FebM. D. Stewart is here talking about the magic of her Fae-Shifter world and I am over at Stories That Make You Smile talking about the Lost in Time magic system. MD’s post. I’m also at MD’s blog later today talking about the Lost in Time series.

Fri 28 FebDaniel Aegan is here talking about magic and time-travel and I am at Mirrigold’s Mutterings talking about my works in progress. Daniel’s post.

Sat 29 FebSarah Remy/Alex Hall talks about writing gender diverse characters. I am at Xtreme Delusions, talking about Jones and Edie’s journey over the mountains. Sarah’s post.

Sun 01 Mar Emily Carrington interviews her non-binary character Ash, from Yew & Thorn, #3 in her upcoming Hartwood series and I am talking about Jones and her dislike of petticoats, with an excerpt from The Flowers of Time at Valerie Ullmer’s blog. Emily’s post.

Today, I am at My Fiction Nook talking about life, the universe and everything.