Monday, July 24, 2017

Realm Explorers Part XCIX: Visit Aslaria with Hope Ann

Welcome to Realm Explorers!  In this weekly series, we visit a variety of unique worlds created by talented science fiction and fantasy authors.  Enjoy your travels! And don't forget to read to the bottom of the post to find out more about each author and see how to purchase the featured book. 

Author’s name:
Hope Ann

Title of book and/or series:
Legends of Light:
Prequel: Rose of the Night
1.     Rose of the Oath
2.     Song of the Sword
3.     Shadows of the Hersweald

Brief summary of the story:
A war, founded in ancient legends, changes the lives of those it touches forever.

Elissa, a villager from the northern mountains, attempts to save her brother and ends up trapped in a hidden valley with a strange host and a treacherous enemy.

Evrard, the Wingmaster of the Prince’s army, races against his own weakening powers to discover the location of his twin and save her from deadly mistbenders.

Haydn, a pardoned rebel from Tauscher’s army, confronts shadows of myth and former comrades in his struggle to keep his sister safe and find the stolen Stormestone.

Each Legends of Light novella focuses on one of the nine aspects of the Fruit of the Spirit while also following the conflict between the Prince and Tauscher and retelling popular fairy tales in a clean, exciting, and inspiring manner.

Brief description of the world or location you created for this story:
Mountains and deserts, glittering cities and quiet villages, Aslaria has it all. From the Hersweald Forest stretching into the mountains in the north, to the Shadowfen in the south and the Silver Sea to the west, this is a world rift with unique objects such as stormestones, fen serpents, mirror dimensions, and dangerous draigynos.

If we were to visit Aslaria as tourists, what would you recommend that we see or do there?
Go to Zahava, definitely. It’s a great city, the largest in Aslaria, with a huge wall separating a peninsula from the mainland. The Aber River runs through its center and spills into the Sea. It’s this exit that is the coolest part of the city, mainly due to the the King’s palace rising over the river and sprawling on either side. Great arches and pillars and cool courtyards. Battlements cast the river in a deep shade and colored draperies and narrow walkways cross the river high above. Spending an afternoon traveling down the river, then making your way to the top of the castle for the view is well worth the effort and expenditure.

What dangers should we avoid in Aslaria?
Many things—it depends where you are. To the south, one of the most treacherous dangers is the fen serpent. A nocturnal hunter, it can grow to be twenty feet in length and has a very venomous bite. In the woods to the north, you have draigynos to deal with. About ten feet long, these lithe, wingless dragons live in the treetops. Once they catch a scent and start a hunt, few things besides death can sway them. Oh, and wolves. They aren’t as bad as they used to be, but packs still roam the wilds and can be very dangerous indeed.

What types of weaponry or fighting styles are common in Aslaria?
Swords and daggers are common weapons, along with the bow. The definition of a fair fight will shift depending on where you travel, however. City-folk tend to expect an announcement of hostility and a chance to prepare themselves. Out in the villages and mountains, the victor will win his cause by stealth, treachery, smoke powder, or all-out strength—whatever happens to be handy.

What types of vehicles, animals, technology, etc. are used to travel in or to Aslaria?
Horses or feet, normally. And small boats, of course, for those who dare brave the rivers. I have heard rumors of griffins to the east but have yet to discover if there really are any still alive or if they are only legend.

What types of plants, animals, or sentient races might we encounter in Aslarai that we don’t see on Earth?
I’ve already mentioned the fen serpents and draigynos. There are also the dragoss reeds to the south. A leathery, yellowish plant, the fibers can be shredded and woven into a sturdy rope.

What role, if any, does magic or the supernatural play in the lives of people in Aslaria?  If there is magic, please give some examples of what it involves or how it’s used.
Magic… ehhh. It depends how one uses the word. There are certainly things we can’t do or don’t have in this world. Take Stormestones. These glowing rocks are the heart of a select number of mountains. A Keeper can break off pieces of this stone, fill them with rain, and carry them elsewhere to provide rain where there is none. At least that is what they were made to do, but many men have turned them into weapons and now they have almost vanished.

There is also the Melody Realm. An alternate mirror dimension, the Wingmaster can view the undercurrent of light and darkness that most Aslarians can sense, but not see. Using his song, he can hold the darkness at bay, fighting invisible battles that can affect the whole land.

Is there any advanced or unusual technology in Aslaria?  If you haven’t described it already, please give some examples.
Some. Take smoke power. An unoriginal name, I grant you, but sprinkle and light a pile of this and soon you’ll have enough smoke to veil your movements. Some men have even claimed to be able to combine it with a flash powder, allowing one to throw a handful in the air and envelope themselves in a cloud of smoke.

Are the days of the week and months of the year the same in Aslaria as on Earth? What holidays or special events are celebrated regularly there?
The days are numbered from first to seventh, and the months are numbered according to their season. They run similar to earth’s months, however. Oath Day is celebrated each year near the beginning of spring—an event that recognizes the King’s Oath to save those of Aslaria from Tauscher’s hold.

Is there a particular religion practiced in Aslaria?  Please describe what it involves.
The religion isn’t very structured—it is more in the larger cities than in the villages. Those who follow the King meet to speak of His writings and to remember His promise in the King’s Oath. They trust that the Prince will come and defeat Tauscher, destroying the Stieg der, and they try to follow the King’s law as best they are able.

Are there any other unique cultural practices that we should be aware of if we visit?
Betrothal is done in the form of exchanging bracelets. Silver is most common, though the materials might be cheaper if one is poor or quite lavished if you are a nobleman. A young man wanting to court a lady will leave a ribbon in her hair or tucked in her glove, normally at some dance. If she accepts him, she’ll tie it around her wrist, at which point he’ll come and replace it with a bracelet. Otherwise she might return it or (as some girls are known to do) keep the ribbon in a collection of their own.

Has anything in your actual life inspired the locations, cultures, etc. in your book?
Mist. I love mist, so I used it quite a bit in Song of the Sword. I also like to take the names and a very slight tint of a culture for my books. Rose of the Oath has a German/Saxon slant. With Song of the Sword, I went with French and when I got to Shadows of the Hersweald, I delved into Welsh names and a rougher type of feel.

Author Autobiography:
Hope Ann is a speculative fiction writer who lives on a small farm in northern Indiana. She has self-published three Legend of Light novellas and writes regular articles for Kingdom Pen as the Writing Team Captain. Reading since the age of five, and introducing herself to writing at age eight, she never had a question that the author’s life was the life for her. Her goal is to write thrilling Christian fantasy and futuristic fiction — stories she longed for while growing up. After graduating from homeschool, Hope now teaches writing to several of her eight younger siblings. She loves climbing trees, archery, photography, Lord of the Rings, chocolate, and collecting shiny things she claims are useful for story inspiration.
Where, and in what formats, can we purchase your books?  Please include links.
All three of my books are in Kindle format. They will be available in one print book this fall. You can find the various formats below:

Where can readers connect with you online? 
Visit my website at, or follow me on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, or Twitter.

I hope you all enjoyed the trip to Aslaria.  Questions about the world or the book?  Ask them in the comments and the author will get back to you!  

Click here to read other posts in the Realm Explorers series.

Please join us again next Monday for a trip to another world in next week's edition of Realm Explorers!
-Annie Douglass Lima

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