Today’s guest is author and artist, Sophie Tallis. Her debut novel, White Mountain, is now available for purchase.
Tricia: Hi, Sophie. I’m so glad to have you on my site. Thanks for including us in your online book launch celebration. Before we talk about the book, can you please tell us a little about yourself?
Sophie: Well, I’m a writer, illustrator and fulltime teacher from leafy Gloucestershire in the UK. I live with my family, two enormous white wolves (German Sheps), a cat, a family of cantankerous wild moorhens and about a dozen wild ducks that fly in and out of the garden and basically run the place! I’ve always written since I was a young child, mostly poetry, short stories and endless novel ideas. I have a BA (Hons) Degree in Fine Art and a Post-Grad in teaching. I love teaching children and inspiring young minds is a great way to spend your day, though I suspect that I’m the only high-kicking, lightsaber wielding, magic loving teacher around…we can be a dull group! However, writing will always be my first love and passion. As a person I’m a bit of a paradox. Very social and bubbly, yet a bit of a hermit, sensible and practical yet a completely immature, juvenile dreamer! I love nature, landscapes, learning, literature and fantasy and sincerely hope I never never grow up!
T: Growing up is totally overrated. Let’s talk about White Mountain. Can you tell us about it?
S: White Mountain is the first book in my Darkling Chronicles trilogy, a contemporary epic fantasy full of dark magic, murder, intrigue, action, adventure, love, loss, friendship, betrayal, fire wolves, mages and dragons, all set now within our modern world!
A dying world hidden from our own. An ancient people conquered by human progress. A ruthless changeling bent on revenge and power…and a sorcerer and dragon determined to stop him.
Amongst our modern world lies another, an archaic and hidden world of tradition, sorcery and magic. As dark demons awaken from the past, the last remaining wizards are being hunted and murdered by a changeling of terrifying strength. Attacked and drained of most of his powers, a dying sorcerer must race against time to save himself and the fate of all, from an enemy intent on cleansing the planet and destroying humanity…
White Mountain, is a new fantasy adventure for the 21st century, aimed at children aged 10yrs+ to the Young Adult market and with ecological themes throughout. An intoxicating blend of historical fact, ancient myth and my own richly interwoven mythology, create a multi-layered universe within our own.
“An epic fantasy onion – multi-layered and prone to cause tears!”
T: Sounds amazing! I’ve heard you have a pretty cool book trailer. Let’s check it out…
T: What is your vision for the series?
S: Beyond it becoming wildly popular and successful? Lol! Well, I know as a kid reading high fantasy epics, I was always desperate to have those stories crash into our modern world. What would happen if our civilization suddenly discovered another hidden culture that pre-dated our own? We are still discovering new species every year and are still shedding new light on our understanding of the past. Only a few years ago the remains of a vast and unknown city were found beneath the sea off the coast of Dwarka, East India, which some believe, in Hindu tradition, is the ancient golden city of Krishna. Then you had the excitement that surrounded the discovery of ‘Hobbit’ like remains on the island of Flores in Indonesia. So what would be the reaction to the discovery that wizards and dragons really exist? For me, there is nothing as thrilling as setting my creations on a collision course with our own modern society…would our technological advances stand up to millennia old magic? Watch out, The Darkling Chronicles will be crashing into your world very soon!
T: On your blog, you’ve discussed some of your adventures. How have your travels inspired your writing?
S: Wow, in so many ways. I’ve always had a strangely profound love of nature and natural landscapes that I can’t quite explain, but they definitely provide inspiration for my stories. The breathtaking scenery of New Zealand undoubtedly inspired the first inklings of White Mountain. After my Art Degree I ran away to New Zealand for four months in an attempt to escape from a few demons, but what I found instead was an amazing and truly life-changing experience. Mount Cook in New Zealand’s Southern Alps became the perfect home for Mr. Agyk, and my own White Mountain. The volcanoes of the Tongariro National Park became my Fendellin and the wondrous magical qualities of Waipoa Forest together with Dartmoor’s Combestone Tor and Wistman’s Wood, became the inspiration for Wendya’s home amidst the Grey Forest.
T: What writers’ communities are you part of and how have they helped you on your journey as an author?
S: Gosh, there are so many amazing sites! Well, apart from your own wonderful blog and website and the great interviews you do for Authors to Watch, the first community I joined back in 1999 was ABCTales. Then I joined the wonderful UKAuthors in 2003, which I still highly recommend – a great writing community especially for poetry and different genre writing (I still have quite a few poetry pieces there under my penname Tollam), as well as being a great place to meet other writers and readers. Griffin’s Quill run by the talented Ryan Holmes, is another absolutely fantastic site which offers a real haven and a hugely supportive net for writers in a sometimes hazardously harsh web environment. Then there is Morgen Bailey’s blog which offers interviews, podcasts, poetry, short stories and much more. All of them have been great sources of support and information. Other than that, I belong to Goodreads amongst others. But I must say, the best community I have had the honour of being a part of, has been The Alliance of Worldbuilders on Authonomy – the largest group/thread on Authonomy by far, and an amazing and wondrously talented community of fantasy writers which I am proud to be a member of and who have undoubtedly helped my journey as an author. Thank you so much guys! 😀
T: In addition to the Darkling Chronicles, what other projects are you currently working on?
S: I have a few ongoing projects including a Great Gatsby type mystery story called The Dust Room, a literary novel based on my short story, The Wishing Tree (which will be published shortly as part of an ebook anthology), and my first novel idea, a grand science-fiction opus called Beyond Cassini’s Division. But the project I am most excited about, after my Darkling Chronicles, is Ravenwing – the first in a series of dark fantasy books about a British crime-fighting superhero. Think of Sin City, The Dark Knight, Watchmen and Raymond Chandler but with a female hero and a darker twist! It’s about time we Brits had our own kick-ass superhero! I also have some picture book story ideas for much younger children that I’d like to write and illustrate, which mixes nature and magic for little ones.
T: Sophie, I’d like to thank you once again for stopping by. And, for all my readers who are dying to purchase a copy of White Mountain, please visit Amazon US or Amazon UK.
Or, for more information, you can stop by her publisher’s site: www.safkhetpublishing.com
To learn more about Sophie’s work, please check visit the following links:
Sophie’s Blog: http://sophieetallis.wordpress.com
The Darkling Chronicles facebook page: www.facebook.com/FantasyEpic
Sophie’s facebook page: www.facebook.com/sophie.e.tallis