Nothing is better than a killer review. Thank you, Shanah of Bionic Bookworm Blog!
If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook or if you follow this blog, you know I’m a huge fan of supporting other authors, and you’re probably aware that I’ve already supported my good friend and author Jean M. Grant twice this year with two of her releases.
Now join me in welcoming her back to my blog for her third (and final) release of 2019. This lady has been working her tail off for sure, but I have never been happier to see it pay off.
Jean’s latest novel, Will Rise From Ashes, is her first foray into women’s fiction and it’s a gem in every way. I’ve read the first version and I’ve read the finished version, and this story just tugs at a mother’s heartstrings.
So, without further ado, let’s get into an interview with Jean.
LRS: Can you give us a quick synopsis of Will Rise From Ashes?
JMG: AJ Sinclair is a young widow, on a cross-country journey with her autistic/Asperger’s 9-year-old son in the wake of the Yellowstone supervolcano eruption. Her other younger son is missing after the eruption and she needs to find him. Along the way, her son and a stranger she meets show her a world that she’s almost forgotten…that living is more than mere survival.
LRS: I know you and your love of research. Tell me how you went about it in order to write this book.
JMG: Simply put, heaps of reading, exploring, and travel. My background is in science (microbiology, immunology, biology, and marine science—I spent a lot of time fine-tuning my interests in college and graduate school), and I love traveling and hiking. The idea of Will Rise from Ashes came from a bit of my own life (as a parent with an autistic child) and my love of nature…I asked myself what would happen if the Yellowstone supervolcano erupted? Volcanoes are a constant topic in our household. Bam! My story came.
Then, road trip time! I’d already visited the lovely national park in the corner of Wyoming as a child and took another trip this time with my family, 4 years ago. This highlight of our national park system did not let me down. I was walking on ground zero—research moments were everywhere! We also toured other geothermal wonders throughout the Pacific Northwest on that trip. The bright sapphire-blue Crater Lake was one of my favorites and meandering through the observation areas of Mount St. Helens gave me shivers. I returned home with piles of books and dug into the story. Along the way, I’d stop to dig deeper with research. And up front, I take careful character development into consideration. My stories tend to have journeys of the body and heart, and this one takes my characters from Maine to Colorado. Talk about a road trip. The experts say “write what you know” and for me that was science, journeys, and parenting. I hope my readers enjoy AJ and Will’s journey in Will Rise from Ashes as much as I do.
LRS: Any quick and easy facts you learned along the way?
JMG: This is where the scientist in me (I have degrees in Biology, Marine Science, and Microbiology) comes out! Yellowstone is a scientist’s Disney World.
How about a few Fun Facts about Yellowstone National Park?
- It became the first National Park in 1872. Over 5 million people visit it annual.
- Yellowstone is a hydrothermal wonderland with over 10,000 hydrothermal features: geysers, hot springs, mudpots, steam vents, and over 500 geysers.
- The park is the size of Delaware and Rhode Island combined, covering 2.2 million acres.
- Yellowstone is a supervolcano. Two massive magma bodies bubble beneath the park.
- There are over 20 supervolcanoes across the globe, Yellowstone being one of them.
- The park is not all geology wonderland…there are hundreds of unique bird, fish, and mammal species in this gem in northwest Wyoming. Some signatures: bears (black and brown/Grizzly), bison, and wolves. Because of extensive programs, endangered species now flourish in the park.
- Old Faithful has been very faithful, erupting approximately every 90 minutes.
- Sadly, human trash and pollution has caused many of the vibrant hot pools to lose their color over the years. However, Yellowstone has created innovated programs to manage waste and human impact.
- Yellowstone has had 3 [2 of them being “supervolcanic”] caldera-forming eruptions over the past 3 million years (2.1 million, 1.3 million, and 640,000 years ago, respectively). Will it erupt again? Yes. Soon, like tomorrow? Not likely. The last eruption: 174,000 years ago, with 60 smaller ones since.
- The VEI scale measures explosivity of volcanoes and runs from 0 to 8.
- Be safe and read danger signs! To date over 92 people have died in the park, mostly from falling into burning hot springs, off ledges, or tempting fate with a bison.
Where can you learn more? I have piles of geology, volcano, and Yellowstone books at home, but the USGS and Yellowstone National Park websites are great places to get accurate facts. Happy digging, my aspiring geologists!
LRS: Tell me about Will Rise From Ashes and your shift from historical romance into women’s fiction.
JMG: Will Rise from Ashes was by far my hardest book to write. For many reasons, some personal, some technical. I’d been writing romances with HEAs for so long, shifting to women’s fiction with grittier topics took some getting used to. The romantic in me though, did toss in a romance subplot, and I am a sucker for a happ(ier) ending.
A few more facts about this book:
- I began writing it in 2015, 4 years ago. The first draft took a year (while working part-time and around kids’ busy schedules). Editing took a few more years…
- It underwent at least 8 full-length revisions before I submitted to my editor at The Wild Rose Press. I’ve also written/edited the entire manuscript at least 20 times (that is 400 pages x 20 = 8,000 pages. It’s no wonder authors can be a little nutty!)
- It’s my first book written in both first person (AJ, the mother) and third person (Will, the son).
- My villain is a volcano!
- The book spans over a month of time and over 2,000 miles.
- My theme of heartache, healing, and hope dominates this book.
- It is the 7th book I’ve written, but 4th published. (Yeah, that’s some funny math. Hint: 3 books are now shoved in drawers as “practice” novels).
- The story tackles topics of widowhood, anxiety, autism, and redemption.
- I threw everything but the kitchen sink at AJ. I love an emotional journey, but I do enjoy lots of external conflict and roadblocks (teehee, in this case, literal roadblocks).
- Its title was changed from the original. And nope, I won’t tell you the first one, but it took quite some convincing from my editor to change it!
- This book underwent the most “killing my darlings” (aka scene slicing!) of all my books. All for the better, or course!
LRS: What are some of your favorite things from Will Rise From Ashes?
- Experimenting with point of view. I enjoyed writing from 9-year-old Will’s POV for some scenes. This was my first time writing in first person (AJ, the protagonist).
- The science. Researching (and traveling to) Yellowstone still makes me smile. I am a scientist, nature-lover, and traveler. Put all three together and I am a grinning fool!
- The physical journey. I have printed out maps from online stitched together with tape and folded in a drawer. My master map is marked up with plot points, dates/timelines, and places. I triple-checked it for accuracy each time I wrote another part of the story. The map still sits in my drawer with other plotting and writing pages/charts.
- Will’s resilience.
- AJ’s perseverance and growth/character arc.
- Reid’s gentle, wise nature.
- Harrison’s guiding presence in AJ’s life, even from beyond the grave.
- Scene? That’s always hard to choose. The romantic in me likes the camp-fire scenes between Reid and AJ. The mom in me likes the pizza shop scene. The HEA-phile in me likes the last scene.
- Writing a strong heroine, who is also emotionally wounded and finding herself while on a road to healing.
- And finally, that my editor at The Wild Rose Press totally “got” what I was going for with this story and is my biggest champion.
And no interview would be complete without including an excerpt from the book, right? Here’s one of my favorite passages from Will Rise From Ashes, when widowed A.J. and her son Will meet a hitchhiker on the road when their car has blown a tire…a hitchhiker they formerly passed instead of offering a ride.
Even from far away, I recognized the man’s plaid long-sleeved shirt and the large backpack, but now he was walking alongside a bike on his approach.
“Hey, look! It’s that guy you drove past this morning!”
I shuddered inwardly. Well, karma just bit me in the butt.
“How did he catch up with us?” Motherly instinct took over as I rose, my legs wobbly. “Will, stay there. Here, take this,” I said, handing him the tire iron.
“We already tried that, Mom.”
“Not for that, Will.”
He scratched his brown hair, which was overdue for a cut, and looked at me, confusion wrinkling his brow.
“Be my wizard, Will. It’s your sword.”
“Wizards have wands.”
The circuit connected. “Oh…yes, Mom, I’ll protect you!”
I smiled faintly. “Thank you, honey.” I didn’t want to explain further that it was me protecting him. I didn’t want to say that if something happened, to run and hide in the woods. Because he would run and hide. Then what? Who would come help?
I shoved my hand into my front jeans pocket to nestle my fingertips around the pocket knife I had given Harrison for our wedding anniversary. The man slowed his bicycle as he drew nearer. He gave me an understated, yet significant, nod. The nod of understanding, of kindness. I didn’t buy it.
“Hello, again,” he said.
Are you hooked? Do you just love Will? (I do!) You can get order a copy for yourself at any of these sites below!
And don’t forget a list of things you can do to help budding authors like Jean Grant!
More on Author Jean M. Grant below. Follow her on social media!
Jean’s background is in science and she draws from her interests in history, nature, and her family for inspiration. She writes historical and contemporary romances and women’s fiction. She also writes articles for family-oriented travel magazines. When she’s not writing or chasing children, she enjoys tending to her flower gardens, hiking, and doing just about anything in the outdoors.
So what does one do on the day their very first book launches into the universe? Here’s a list so you can see how incredibly *unusual* today really is.
In order, I…
- Got kids up and ready for school.
- Picked up extra kid to take to school.
- Did the social media thing.
- Picked up older kid and another extra kid from 1/2 day of school.
- Cleaned multiple litter pans (we’re fostering, so it’s more than just my own cats).
- Cleaned yard of dog poop. (Exciting, right?)
- Mowed the lawn.
- Did the social media thing.
- Picked up younger kid from school.
- Took kids to dance class.
- Wrote words.
- Did the social media thing.
- Dinner. (Cooking? Not today, Satan.)
And if we’re really in the mood to celebrate this evening, we just might go for cupcakes… I’ll keep you posted.
My point? My dear friends, launch days aren’t really any different than any other day. There’s still plenty of poop to clean up and lots of words to write.
But am I celebrating anyway? Yes. Yes, I am.
9:28 p.m. update: Celebratory gourmet cupcakes were had. They were prettier before they were accidentally smashed by 13 y.o. in the car. Tasted yummy anyway.
***This post brought to you by: Anything to Procrastinate Opening my WIP***
With a book set to release in just over a week, I’ve fielded a lot of questions from friends and family, mostly along the lines of “How can we help?” or “What can we do?”
These are fantastic questions to ask any first-time author who’s seeking to build a longterm career in writing. The answers, however, are not nearly so straightforward.
So here’s a quick down and dirty list of things you can do to help an author at any stage of the game.
- (The Obvious) BUY THEIR BOOK(S).
- Buy a second copy of their book(s) to gift to a friend.
- Buy a copy to donate to a school library.
- Review their book(s) on Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, BookDepository – anywhere you can think of. Reviews get books seen. Books that are seen are books that are purchased. And you don’t even have to do more than give it a few stars and say “I liked this one.” (I mean, more is better, of course, but “I liked this one.” is 100% legitimate!)
- Ask your local indie bookstore to carry their book(s). Amazon sales are good, but indie bookstores need our support now more than ever!
- Request the book from your library. Libraries rely on their patrons to request books for purchase. Ask your local library if they’ll buy a copy of your favorite author’s book(s).
- Come to local signings or meet & greets.
- Share your excitement on social media. Does this mean you have to retweet or share every post by your author friends? No. But getting in on the excitement of a new book gets others excited, too!
- Add their book to your Goodreads list.
- I really wanted to make this list a nice even 10, but I can’t think of a 10th item, so how about text or email or call your author friends and tell them how excited you are in order to keep them from jumping out of their skin with nerves?
Every one of these actions can help launch an author’s career, and at the very least, you’ll put a smile on an author’s face. So on behalf of authors everywhere, thank you to everyone who tackles any of the items on this list!
You can purchase A Thousand Years to Wait now. For a list of retailers, click HERE.
Twitter is a blessing and a curse in one, but following the right people makes all the difference. Here’s a list of some of my favorites to follow. Get them on your list, too!
Maria Stout (@MariaStout) – I’m a writer, so I really enjoy following other writers, especially upbeat ones who give their all, cheer on others, and never let life get them down. Maria checks all three of those boxes. When I met Maria at the Philadelphia Writer’s Workshop two years ago, we blathered on about how excited we were to be there (‘blather’ is accurate for both of us, right Maria?), and we’ve stayed connected ever since. Also, I like to keep up on the buzz. No, not the gossip. The buzz. On top of being a teacher, a writer, a mom, and a wife, she’s also a beekeeper.
Front porch honey 🍯 pantry is restocked and ready for the spring season 🐝 pic.twitter.com/nIuYserAsV
— Maria Stout (@MariaStout) April 7, 2019
Piper Drake (@PiperJDrake) – I started following Piper because of her role on Writing Excuses, a writing-related podcast I enjoy immensely. Piper was a guest host for a year and I really related to some of the insight she shared on the show. Plus, her romance books are full of heroes with dogs, and everyone knows the way to my heart is with dog hair and drool. Piper doles out tons of great advice when it comes to balancing a day job with writing, the roles of agents and editors, really beautiful and mouth-watering food, and of course – all things Corbin J. Drake. And who wouldn’t love to follow that?
— Piper J. Drake @ Writing Cave (@PiperJDrake) April 9, 2019
Geraldine DeRuiter (@everywhereist) – Because every good Twitter account needs a healthy dose of feminism, Geraldine should top your list. She’s smart, quick, and covers a range of topics from travel and politics to television and current events. Journalism, feminism, and opinionism at its finest! (I desperately wanted to share one of her wittiest moments, but I think this one already says it all.)
New shirt. pic.twitter.com/GNDUMYRtGE
— Geraldine (@everywhereist) April 15, 2019
Jennifer Lane (@Metal_and_Earth) – Jennifer is a fellow eastern Pennsylvanian and Indie Author who recently released her second novel, Stick Figures from Rockport. (Yes, I wrote about that one just recently.) She’s fun to follow and when she posts things like this, she makes me feel so much more normal inside…
Me in my 30s: I’m gonna work out and eat dinner and sleep for 9 hours.
Me in my 40s: I worked out, fixed a car, have allergies, and perimenopausal insomnia. Z-quil, Benadryl, or Advil PM? Maybe all three with a melatonin?
— Jennifer Lane (@Metal_and_Earth) April 14, 2019
E.K. Thiede (@ethiedee) – A writer after my own heart, Emily is a blast to follow on Twitter. Much like the other ladies on my Very Female list today, Emily’s Twitter will give you a hearty does of feminism. (Insert cheer! We all need more of this.) There’s rarely a tweet of hers that I don’t instantly ‘heart’ and if I manage to refrain, it’s only because I don’t want her thinking I’m a creepy stalker.
Me: How did I write for AN HOUR and only add 10 words?
1 hr ago:
He yawned and walked to bed.
Yawning, he walked to bed.
As he walked to bed, he yawned.
He walked, yawning, to the bed.
To bed he walked, yawning.
While yawning, he walked to bed.
😑 Oh. Right.
— E. K. Thiede (Emily) (@ethiedee) April 14, 2019
Don’t see yourself listed here? Don’t despair. There are so many amazing people to follow on Twitter. Hang around! You might be in my next issue of Who’s Who!
Also, if you missed my last Who’s Who? and you want to discover more great people to follow, click here!
Friends! I am so glad I chose Jennifer M. Lane’s Stick Figures from Rockport as my monthly Twitter-friends read. It was delightful! I’m pretty particular when it comes to women’s fiction, so I always hold my breath a little for the first fifty pages or so.
I like women’s fiction, but as a strong empath, it hurts to read about raw pain too often. And hello, what is women’s fiction, if not a whole lot of raw pain? Good women’s fiction, in my opinion, offers more than just a painful scenario, more than loss and hurt, more than fractured relationships and terminal illness. It offers the opportunity to grow. It offers insight into our own lives. Good women’s fiction allows the reader to peer into the pain of another female, peeling the layers page by page, and emerge with a deeper understanding of oneself.
And that’s what Lane was able to do in Stick Figures from Rockport. She did what many women’s fiction writers can’t—took me on a journey with a grieving character who was able to solve a mystery by piecing together a troubled past that once seemed perfect. It’s about love…and loss. And how learning a new truth doesn’t make your own truth any less real.
If you like women’s fiction, pick this one up! Lane is a talented writer whose writing flows gracefully and whose prose is poetic without being overly “purple.” Stick Figures from Rockport was a treat, and I can guarantee that I will pick up more of Lane’s work in the future.
Bonus—Lane lives fairly close to me geographically speaking, which means her main character (who lives in a Pennsylvania farmhouse) drives roads I know well and visits towns where I’ve worked in the past. How cool is that? Eastern Pennsylvania girls unite!
Hey, readers! Be forewarned. I’m about to get really honest.
Books are hard.
They’re hard to write, hard to edit, hard to pitch, and hard to release into the world. Did I revise my book so it’s the best it can be? Did I revise so much that I lost the essence? Am I ready? Am I marketing my work enough? Too much? Pushing too hard? Annoying all the people who know me? Annoying the people who don’t?
It’s really difficult to be in a mental space that simultaneously tells me I’m doing too much and not nearly enough all at once. And when things get overwhelming, it’s the most unexpected gesture that makes a difference.
I received an email the other day that quite nearly took my breath away. What was in it, you ask? Was it from an agent wanting to represent my work? Was it Hollywood banging on my door for a movie deal? Was it Publisher’s Clearing House telling me I wouldn’t ever have to work again?
It was…a request. A request from someone who doesn’t know me, has never met me, hasn’t yet read my book, but wants a signed copy of it and asked if I would be doing signings. And so, Shannon, if you happen to read this, know you made my day, my week, and maybe even my month.
This debut author says to you, “Thank you.”
From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
While you’re here: Have you added A Thousand Years to Wait to your Goodreads list yet?
I love writing. I love writing contests. I do NOT love submitting to contests in person or having everyone know what I wrote when I may have just written it. (Give me a few rounds of edits and some critique partners and beta-readers first, please and thank you.)
If this also sounds like you, then I’ve found the perfect writing contest for you because it’s—
Woohoo! That means you can submit a 500 word sample of your writing under a pen name to be judged. If your work gets chosen by the slush pile judges (like moi!), it will be pitted against 29 other writers & their works.
In the end, only one can win.
No wait, that’s not right. There’s more to it than that. In fact, there are lots of winners. Just check out DL Hammons’s list of prizes to be won. Only one writer wins free admission to the 2020 DFW Conference in Dallas, but there are plenty of other prizes and where else can you get free feedback on your work?
Seriously. If you’re a writer who likes anonymity, this is the contest for you. So, what are you waiting for? Send that email to WRiTECLUB2019@gmail.com. We’re waiting to see your work!
Want to learn more? Check out the full rules and all the additional information here.
Join me in welcoming author Jean M. Grant to my blog again today as she releases the second of her three 2019 anticipated books and novellas. Soul of the Storm is a sweet romance novella ebook from the Deerbourne Inn series that features a heroine you’ll enjoy rooting for, a hero you can fall in love with, and a rescue dog who will steal your heart.
Did I mention the rescue dog who will steal your heart?
Soul of the Storm (a synopsis):
Charlotte MacGregor lost the thrill of conquering mountains five years ago when her sister disappeared on a hiking adventure without her. Still guilt-ridden, Charlotte heads for a vacation to rustic Vermont with a friend—where she’s surrounded by reminders of her devastating loss and plagued with unanswered questions.
Matiu Christiansen is an outdoors buff. He works multiple jobs to save for his dream of owning an outfitter in New Zealand. He’s never quite felt at home in the United States and he yearns for his Maori roots, but his attraction to Charlotte puts a kink in his plans to move home later this year.
Thrown together by coincidence, Charlotte and Matiu form a kindred bond through their shared love of the outdoors. Can Charlotte surmount her demons to assist Matiu on a rescue when a late-season snowstorm hits? And can Matiu help Charlotte heal from the pain of the past?
An interview with the author:
LRS: Tell us about your writing, about your history, what you love to write and why!
JMG: I began my writing journey in the Scottish middle ages. My first love has always been medieval romance, and later 18th century stories of kilted men (ala Outlander…). Castles and crags, warring clans and cultures, sweeping landscapes of mystery and moor, lairds and ladies, gallantry and greed. After spending a good deal of time hanging out with my medieval heroes and heroines, I jumped ahead in time and wrote a contemporary novella as part of a new series put out by The Wild Rose Press. It takes place in Vermont…and I jumped at the chance to write about my region of the world. At the same time, I delved into a contemporary women’s fiction story. Now I’m back finishing up a trilogy in historical Scotland. Jump, jump through time and space…
LRS: So why write across genres?
JMG: Good question. I have diverse interests. Maybe too many interests? By writing different genres I feed different passions and my ideas don’t fall stagnant (though I am amazed by authors who stick with one sub-genre and continue to churn out incredible, fresh stories!). Maybe I am too faceted, a bit scattered, and just write what my heart tells me. It’s fun though. Going back and forth in editing between my brogue Scottish men and my modern voices can be tricky, but it keeps my brain sharp (and exhausted!). I also write in both first and third person.
Will I delve into another genre? Probably not. But never say never. I’ve found my niche in historical (with paranormal elements) and contemporary romance, and women’s fiction. There is a central thread weaved into all my stories: journeys of hope, spirituality, and of course happy-ever-after. My women’s fiction usually has a romantic element. So even though I write across genres and sub-genres, I find that I home in on a central theme with each story.
LRS: Now the quick questions. What are some of your go-to methods for writing?
JMG: Notes, charts, charts, charts. Plotting, planning, but being flexible to divert off the path if my characters take me that way. Being willing to kill my darlings.
LRS: Where is your favorite place to visit?
JMG: Tie: New Zealand or Scotland.
LRS: Makes sense. You write about both!
And lastly, an excerpt!
Charlotte sat on the top porch step instead of in a rocker. Her breath puffed in a misty cloud before her as she waited. Again, the scent of a fire from the back pit infused the air. She traced the knots in the planks of the porch with the toe of her shoe, ignoring her thudding pulse. Matiu shuffled through the side door. She rose to help him with the cups.
“Kia ora,” he said, smile deep and teeth bright beneath the lamps. “It’s colder tonight.”
“You need a jacket,” she said with a nod to his thinner long-sleeved top that clung nicely to his muscles.
“I’ll sit closer to you. Nice quilt.”
“I’m always cold. I won’t have much heat to share.”
“Logging in my assessment file.” He tapped his temple.
She shivered from nerves as he settled beside her on the top step.
“Ya know, we could have tea inside,” he suggested.
“What about consorting? Besides, I like the clear sky and fresh air. Night is my time.”
He nodded. “Ah, clear skies are amazing. I prefer morning. Not sure about tomorrow. Neil’s sick with the flu, and so is Kelly. They work on the search and rescue team, and Kelly also does mucking with us for the US Forest Service. Seems like the germs haven’t left for the season.”
“Nor the cold temps. Both tend to bite us in the ass in April.”
“I was serious. You going to share that quilt with me?” He inched closer.
“Nope. Get your own.”
He pressed a hand to his heart. “Shot down!” Tea splashed as his laugh vibrated.
Her pulse quickened with the idea of sharing warmth with him.
He said, “I’m knackered. That paddle got me sore. Bit more wind today than I’d expected.”
“You’re not the only one.”
He was so close. She subtly inhaled his natural scent. She couldn’t place it. Probably his shampoo… combined with sweat and cooking oils. They sat quietly, unsure what to say next. His nearness upset her equilibrium. She drank the tea.
Like what you see? You can order Soul of the Storm through any of these online vendors:
How is it already March? Guess what? That means another of my 12 Books segments! For this month, I chose The Changing Tide by K.A. Dowling. I’ve been following Kelly on Twitter for quite some time. She’s a ton of fun, has a bazillion hilarious stories about her toddler, and is relatable on just about every level. She’s real in a way a lot of people aren’t when it comes to Twitter.
Dowling is a phenomenal writer and a master at painting with words. One peek into her life and it’s clear to see perhaps why she’s so damn good at describing the world. She’s spent her life acknowledging it in a way most of us can’t even imagine. Because Dowling is deaf. Is this why her words feel so poetic to me? I don’t know. I’ll never know. Hearing or deaf, she’s clearly an amazing writer either way.
I chose The Changing Tide because I’ve been following K.A. Dowling long enough on Twitter to become ever-so-slightly familiar with a couple of the book’s characters. Here and there, I’ve gotten to take a peek at a few pages from a sequel to this book. I loved Dowling’s style so much that I had to delve in. What I found was both intriguing and frustrating. The Changing Tide reads like book 1 of a trilogy.
Um, Storms? It is.
Oh, right. So maybe I should get into a little more detail. I expected to be as immediately invested in the story as I was from the few pages I’d gotten to read long ago, but what I found was that this particular book was slow to move forward with the action. I wasn’t quite sure where the plot was going or when the adventure would begin, which means, of course, that now I have read books 2 and 3. It’s a good thing I’m a sucker for trilogies!
The one piece of Dowling’s writing that really hits me more than anything is her ability not only to create so many different characters, but to dive deep within them since she changes character point-of-view multiple times throughout the book. Each chapter is dedicated to following a specific character. The ease with which she shifts gears and slides into each character’s head, even though they differ extensively in thoughts and mannerisms, is positively awe-inspiring.
So if you get a chance, check out The Changing Tide. Then gear up for The Forbidden City and The Winding Maze, books 2 and 3 respectively, because you won’t be able to stop with just book 1.