Monday, February 8, 2016

The Road to Story: Helen Lowe & The Wall of Night Series - Win Books!

Inside the Book:

Title: Daughter of Blood
Author: Helen Lowe
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Pages: 768
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Format: Ecopy/Paperback

A Gemmell Award-Winning Series Malian of Night and Kalan, her trusted ally, are returning to the Wall of Night—but already it may be too late. The Wall is dangerously weakened, the Nine Houses of the Derai fractured by rivalry and hate. And now, the Darkswarm is rising . . .

Among Grayharbor backstreets, an orphan boy falls foul of dark forces. On the Wall, a Daughter of Blood must be married off to the Earl of Night, a pawn in the web of her family's ambition. On the Field of Blood, Kalan fights for a place in the bride's honor guard, while Malian dodges deadly pursuers in a hunt against time for the fabled Shield of Heaven. But the Darkswarm is gaining strength, and time is running out—for Malian, for Kalan, and for all of Haarth . . .

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The Road to Story: Helen Lowe & The Wall of Night series
by Helen Lowe 

Not so very long ago, and in several cities both near and farther away (because her family moved around a lot) lived a little girl who loved stories. One of her earliest memories was listening to Sunday morning radio’s story time for kids, where her favourite stories were always the fairy tales and myths – because of the magic in them, but also the wildness and adventure. 

Way back then, the girl got a little older and grew to love, not just hearing stories, but reading them in books. She read all the Narnia stories, Alan Garner’s Elidor and Roger Lancelyn Green’s Tales of Troy and Greece, as well as a myriad tales by Rosemary Sutcliff (The Eagle of the Ninth) and Susan Cooper’s wonderful The Dark is Rising sequence. A little later again and she was reading The Lord of the Rings and Dune and Ursula Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness. 
The Fantasy-Science fiction die had been well and truly cast! 

You’ve probably worked out that the little girl was me, but what you may not have guessed is that while I was reading all these books I was also writing stories. Because when you really love something, generally you want to do it yourself as well. 

My first “proper” short stories, on “realistic” themes, were published and broadcast in my teens. But when it came to book-length tales, the ideas that “sparked” were always either fantasy or science fiction. The stories I’d loved reading—the epic sweep of The Lord of the Rings, the magic and power and darkness of the Greek and Norse myths, and the cultural and character nuances of books like The Left Hand of Darkness—were the kind of stories I wanted to tell:  stories of “what if” and “wonder” and “possibility.”

Many ideas grew out of that mix, but one that kept recurring was the possibility of a twilit world, shot through with darkness and danger. “What would it look like?” I wondered. “And would the whole world be like that, or only parts of it?” The bitter peaks and wind-blasted mountain range that became the Wall of Night with its nine great, bastion strongholds grew out of those years of imagining.
But so too did the other realms of the world I came to call Haarth:  the Winter Country, and Ij the Golden—a city of merchant-princes, minstrels and assassins, built on islands—as well as the dukedom of Emer with its heavily armoured knights, and Jaransor, where the land itself may be aware … 

“But ‘what if’,” I thought, “there were a people garrisoning that dark and wind-blasted Wall, who believed themselves to be defenders of good, but were in fact divided by prejudice, suspicion and fear? How would that work itself out through the story?” I also wondered what the story would look like if this people were not bravely defending their own homes and world against an external evil, but were in fact alien themselves and had brought their war and their enemy with them—how might that play out? What might the other people who were native to the world think about it, or perhaps more importantly, do? 

It was these “possibilities” and “what-ifs” that gave rise to The Wall of Night series—and the “sense of wonder” associated with both world and character building as the story evolved were a major factor in driving the book to completion. Because in the end, no matter how many what-ifs and possibilities present themselves, every story hangs off its characters—and it is in the act of developing characters (or having them tell you how they intend developing) that the joy of storytelling lies. 

So who is the leading character, Malian of Night, and what does it mean for her to be the Heir to that bitter, wind-blasted mountain range—or in the wider world of Haarth? Who are her friends and family, her enemies and allies, and what is their stake in the story? I can’t answer these questions now, because to do that properly takes a book—and also because, as that little girl who loved stories knew, the magic thing about story is that you are part of it. To experience the magic you have to read or listen for yourself, and let the story unfold . . . 

Meet the Author

Helen Lowe
Helen Lowe is an award-winning novelist, poet, interviewer, and blogger, whose first novel, Thornspell (Knopf), was published to critical praise in 2008. Her second, The Heir of Night (The Wall of Night Series, Book One) won the Gemmell Morningstar Award 2012. The sequel, The Gathering of The Lost, was shortlisted for the Gemmell Legend Award in 2013. Helen has a second-dan black belt in the martial art aikido and represented her university at fencing. She posts regularly on her ". . . on Anything, Really" blog, occasionally on SF Signal, and is also on Twitter: @helenlowe.


Helen is giving away print copies of The Gathering of the Lost & The Heir of Night


Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive both copies - US ONLY
  • This giveaway begins January 18 and ends on February 12.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on February 13.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

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