When Helena Sorenson reached out, I couldn’t resist. She’s sweet and a fan of JRR Tolkien – how could I say no? Helena’s debut, SHILOH, released April 2013 from My Ink Books. Not only do I have an interview with the author, but I’ve also got a giveaway. Read on!
Helena Sorenson: A world of darkness, songs and legends, clans and heroes, wolves and dragons…and one boy with power over fire. #Shiloh #HelenaSorensen
IceyBooks: How did you decide between a male and female protagonist?
Helena Sorenson: Shiloh really has 4 protagonists, two male and two female, so I didn’t have to choose :)
IceyBooks: You’re a writer of fantasy, what books in that genre, if any, influenced your writing?
Helena Sorenson: Everything by C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, Ursula LeGuin’s Earthsea Series, Stephen King’s The Eyes of the Dragon
IceyBooks: If you could go back in time and meet anyone and ask one question, who would it be and what would you ask?
Helena Sorenson: I’d go back and visit the Inklings. I’d sit down between Lewis and Tolkien and ask them if they’d stop drinking and smoking, if they’d start eating more vegetables and exercising more regularly so that they could live MUCH longer and write MANY more books. Hah! (kidding…kind of)
IceyBooks: Give us the three:
-Movies you can’t wait to see:
Helena Sorenson: 1. The Hobbit (Desolation of Smaug)
2. The Hunger Games (Catching Fire)
3. Anything with Benedict Cumberbatch…
IceyBooks: Snacks you’re craving right now:
Helena Sorenson: 1. Chocolate Chips (I eat them in a little bowl with a sprinkling of Himalayan pink salt…no lie.)
2. Kombucha (I like G.T. Dave’s Strawberry Serenity.)
IceyBooks: Books you can’t wait to read:
Helena Sorenson: 1. the new books in Megan Whalen Turner’s Queen’s Thief Series…AAAAAGH! I can’t wait!!!!!
2. Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane
3. Sarah J. Maas’s Crown of Midnight
It is only in recent years that I’ve discovered how deep is my love for epic fantasy. In preparation for writing Shiloh, and as part of my independent education in literature, I have read scores of books: books for children and young adults and adults, National Book Award Winners, and Newberry Honor Books. But I always come back to the fantasy novels. I love the idea that anything is possible in the world of fantasy. There is no limit to the imagination, and I can choose to embark on any kind of adventure.
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In a world of perpetual darkness, a boy is born who wields remarkable power over fire. Amos is no more than seven when he kills a Shadow Wolf and becomes a legend in Shiloh. He would be destined for great things were it not for the stories his father tells about a world beyond the Shadow and a time before the Shadow. Only madmen hold to such tales, and in Shiloh, they have always come to bad ends.
Amos is fearless. He walks with easy confidence, certain that the Shadow cannot touch him. Even his family is in awe of him. His father marvels at his skill with the bow, his mother thanks the gods that he has all the courage she lacks, and his sister, Phebe, worships him for saving her from an attack of the Shadow Cats.
On a trip to the village of Emmerich, Amos rescues the Magistrate’s son, Simeon, from the village bullies. Simeon, fair-skinned and pale-eyed like other Dreamers in Shiloh’s history, becomes Amos’s constant companion and dearest friend. Simeon becomes a part of Amos’s family, listening to fireside stories told in a way he’s never heard them before and learning to wield a bow and arrow.
The year the boys turn twelve, they are itching to prove themselves. An impetuous plan to steal a beautiful lantern goes miserably awry, and the lantern’s owner prophecies that Amos will be devoured by the Shadow. For the first time, a seed of fear is planted in Amos’s mind, and when his father is killed by a Shadow Wolf on the last day of the Great Hunt, the fear takes hold. If so great and brave a man as his father could fall to the Shadow, what hope has he?