Sunday, March 8, 2015

Realm Explorers Part XXXIX: Visit Errigal with Sarah Jennings (and a Giveaway!)

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. 

The Cloak
Author’s name:
Sarah Jennings

Title of book and/or series:
The Cloak

Brief summary of the story:
The Cloak follows the story of Kellan McKensie, Princess of Errigal, who has spent her entire life hidden from her own people, unknown and unseen. Now, as she comes of age and makes plans to be free, she finds that leaving and staying gone are nearly impossible. The pressure to lead a floundering county fused with a quick temper, sometimes sparks doubt in a young woman destined by God for greatness. How Kellan handles the challenges of her own doing and those of her evil brother brings together a story about trust, forgiveness, and finding forever love.

Brief description of the world or location you created for this story:
In The Cloak, characters are essentially living in the past while also living in the present. Walk past Errigal's borders and the modern world exists in every manner. Stay within, and a society steeped in Medieval traditions and methods still exists. The landscape is characteristic of Ireland with green, rolling hills, villages and marketplaces dotting the countryside, and hot, soothing mineral springs.

If we were to visit Errigal as tourists, what would you recommend that we see or do there?
Unless someone was keen on slushing through heavy snow, only to be warmed by a fireplace, then it would be best to postpone all trips until the full arrival of spring. Tourists should expect to step back in time by wearing local garb and limiting their technology to cameras. Errigalians aren't reenactors and are living as they always have, so you would find genuinely friendly faces at the marketplace and welcoming smiles at the few inns. While there are no official tour guides, visitors are encouraged to rent a horse or carriage to take day trips to the hot springs and to ride by the great, stone McKensie castle.

What dangers should we avoid in Errigal?
Generally, there are not any major dangers to be concerned about. In fact, the closeness of the villagers and their desire to look out for one another, makes Errigal one of the safest countries on Earth to visit. As in most places, feeding wildlife would be discouraged, as well as going beyond the borders of Errigal into other countries' restricted areas without their permission.

Is there a distinct or unusual type of food or meal that we might be served in Errigal?
The early settlers of Errigal brought their Irish recipes with them, and you may find yourself served hearty stews, fresh baked bread, and occasional sweets.

What types of weaponry or fighting styles are common in Errigal?
All males of Errigal are required to serve time in a local regiment and learn specific skills that would include swordfighting, knife throwing, and archery. It would not be unusual for the women to learn these things from their fathers or brothers as well. Kellan, the lead female character in The Cloak, is forced into training beginning in early adolescence. As a leader of Errigal, she would be expected to know as much about weaponry as her warriors, and even more so in the strategy of leading a war campaign to victory.

What types of vehicles, animals, technology, etc. are used to travel in or to Errigal?
Travel is limited to animal-drawn transportation and of course, walking. Vehicles of any kind are not allowed across the border. In The Cloak, an exception is made for Uncle Hahn. His frequent jaunts back and forth from Germany to Errigal make it necessary for his private jet to make visits.

Tell us about any sports, games, or activities that are available for entertainment in Errigal.
As might would be expected, games and activities normally attributed to a Medieval time period may be seen at village or valley-wide gatherings. These could include: jousting tournaments, wrestling, falconry, archery, horseshoes, and hunting. Games such as chess, cards, and dice would also be enjoyed. And not to be forgotten, traditional dances to Celtic tunes would be very popular. The Cloak opens with a castle ball invitation to welcome the returning prince.

Are the days of the week and months of the year the same in Errigal as on Earth? What holidays or special events are celebrated regularly there?
The calendar would be the same and traditional holidays observed.

Is there a particular religion practiced in Errigal? Please describe what it involves.
Celtic Christianity is what Errigalians would identify with, having left Ireland initially with the intent of spreading the movement. The McKensie family and others are also Spirit-filled, believing in the miraculous possibilities as attested to in Acts 2 and other parts of the Bible.

What is the political or government structure in Errigal? Who is in charge there at the moment, and what kind of leader is he/she?
From the beginning, Errigal was a matrilineal society, consisting of beautiful, wise, and kind queens who passed down their name and position to their daughters. After being conquered within the last couple of generations by an outside Germanic tribe, a kingship was put in place. The desire to right this wrong is a thread woven throughout the book.

Has anything in your actual life inspired the locations, cultures, etc. in your book?
My own ancestry can be traced to Ireland on one side and Germany on another. While it wasn't intentional to write the book with that in mind, it's funny how it worked out. And while I am certainly not royalty, nor do I declare to have great physical strength as the book's heroine, I will admit that my propensity to make a smart remark has gotten me into trouble more than once!

What, if any, “hot-button” or controversial topics do you touch on in your book?
Some people find the Spirit-filled aspect of Christianity to be a point of contention for them. It's mentioned once and then alluded to another time in the book.

Author Autobiography:
Sarah Jennings is an American storyteller living in the hills of North Carolina with her husband, four children, and escape artist hound dog. Her stories often revolve around strong willed heroines who find their way with God's help during their adventures and in the process find their soulmate too.

Where, and in what formats, can we purchase your book?
The Cloak can be purchased at Amazon in Kindle or paperback format, Smashwords in a variety of ebook formats, and in Nook format at Barnes& Noble. Just select the name to be taken to the order page.

Where can readers connect with you online?   

Please visit my website at to find my social network links, view The Cloak's book trailer, and to acquire my contact email address.

Tour-Wide Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card - Open Internationally
Celtic Prize Pack: Paperback of The Cloak and Celtic Music CDs - US Only
2 Paperbacks of The Cloak - US Only
2 ebooks of The Cloak - Open Internationally
Ends March 22nd
Click here to enter the giveaway: a Rafflecopter giveaway
Follow the Tour in March:

2nd: Launch
3rd: My Love for Reading Keeps Growing & I Am A Reader
4th: Mythical Books & Classy Cat Books
5th: Mary Terrani & My Life Loves and Passion
6th: Katie's Clean Book Collection & Zerina Blossom's Books
8th: Welcome to Book City & Christy's Cozy Corners
9th: Letters from Annie (Douglass) Lima & Once Upon a YA Book
10th: Mel's Shelves & Books and Ashes
11th: Addicted Readers & Paranormal Books
12th: Mommabears Book Blog & Pieces of Whimsey
13th: Fictionally
15th: Grand Finale

Prism Book Tours

I hope you all enjoyed the trip to Errigal.  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 the fantasy world of Alasia, in Realm Explorers Part XXXX!
-Annie Douglass Lima


Unknown said...

Thank you, Annie, for the interview and post! Your questions and your site are very unique. It was a lot of fun.

David Glenn said...

Wow. I'm very intrigued. I've given thought to trying to use my heritage as a background for recreating the fantasy world of Dymos.

Annie Douglass Lima said...

You're welcome, Sarah. I enjoyed having you! And David, I agree, it's intriguing. Let me know if you'd like Dymos featured on Realm Explorers when you're done with the book! :-)

Anonymous said...

That's pretty awesome you can trace your ancestry! I have this one on my TBR! :)

Anonymous said...

Also thanks for sharing at Booknificent Thursday! :)