April 2nd – April 8th 2012
Link to full tour schedule: HERE
By the Sword
Published February 26th 2012 by Violet Sword Publishing
Seventeen-year-old Talya's main goal is to bring down the Malinorian Empire. And Jalarn, the empire's prodigy general, is at the top of her list of enemies to kill. Not only has Jalarn murdered Talya's king, he's almost killed her. Twice.
But things don't go as Talya planned when a visiting prophet sends her on a mission to the highly feared Hunter Forest. It is there that she must gain the allegiance of the forest's inhabitants before Jalarn and his men do.
Then, memories of a haunting vision resurface when Talya comes face to face with Jalarn. She makes a rash decision that sends her down a path she never imagined she would follow.
I want you to welcome the author of By the Sword, this book really surprised me by his contents and unusual subject (well to me!)
Where did you find the inspiration for By the Sword?
I read a few epic fantasy books by Wayne Thomas Batson, which really inspired me to complete a novel of my own. I always had this tough girl knight character that I wanted to write about, so as I listened to my Red CD and started figuring out the plot, the story began to form.
Tell us more about your book.
The main characters are Talya, a seventeen-year-old knight, and Jalarn, a prodigy general of the expanding Malinorian Empire. They first meet when the imperial army invades Talya's country and, naturally, they just want to kill one another. The fact that Talya isn't as difficult to beat as Jalarn thought makes her a bigger challenge. Talya and her best friend Tanel have to flee along with the other survivors to their sister nation, Sanctus, when the empire overtakes their home. The Queen of Sanctus decides to go to war against Malinor.
In addition to being the newly promoted general of Malinor, Jalarn seeks to become a master of the dark arts. In the meantime, Talya is not happy when she finds out from a visiting prophet that she is not to fight in the war, but God has called her on a mission to the dangerous Hunter Forest. The journey turns out to be more than she bargained for, especially when she runs into Jalarn again - and she figures out that he is not the monster she originally thought.
Why did you choose to write YA Fantasy?
I absolutely love the fantasy genre and teens have a special place in my heart. My hope was to give young adult readers a thrilling story with strong yet believeable characters and a solid Biblical backbone.
Where did you find the inspiration for the name of your main characters: Talya and Jalarn?
Great question! I think that the name Talya is pretty, yet understated. Not too fussy.
For Jalarn, I will be honest - I experimented with a fantasy name generator and I liked his name the best. It suits him.
What was your biggest challenge in writing By the Sword?
Honestly, I found it difficult to decide on how to end By the Sword. I had a happy ending written that was nearly perfect for each character, but I knew that something was missing. Something else had to happen to make the story more epic. It was a hard decision, but I am happy with how the story turned out.
Do you have any ritual or something you always did before starting to write?
I usually played some music by Red, which was a huge influence on the story. I would also go for a walk to clear my mind.
If you were a villain from Disney, which one it would be and why?
Cruella Devil. I would never hurt a puppy, but she did have an awesome car! :P
I absolutely love Darsal from Ted Dekker's Lost Books Series. Her personality is so much different from mine. She is super brave and tough - something I have always wanted to be. Plus, her friends mean everything to her. I just love how she kicks butt in each of the books. I could definitely be her for a day.
I recently bought The Hunger Games!
Did you choose the book cover, or did you have some options for the design?
I totally chose it. Thinking up the design for your cover is super fun!
Tell us something about you that we don’t know already.
I am a fitness nut and I drink way too much tea. :)
Do you have a second career?
I work full time in a sales position, but my dream is to write full time very soon.
If there were a fire in a book store and you could save only one book, which one would it be and why?
Oh, the horror! Well, if I could only pick one, I would probably take one of the old books, since there is nothing like the feel and smell of a classic book. You can always re-print a newer book and the loss wouldn't be so bad.
Which actor would you choose to play the role of your hero should "By the Sword" ever be turned into a movie?
While I was writing By the Sword, I envisioned Talya to be a light blonde with freckles. Natalya Rudakova could pull it off pretty well, I think. She has the look and I think she could pull off the tough-ness, too.
Dark or Brown Chocolate
Dark. It's healthier and I am training myself to not like sweets so much.
Cat or Dog
Dogs are always so happy!
Pool or Beach
Beach. Who could beat the fresh breeze and pretty sunset along the water?
Highland or South America
Highlands. The landscape reminds me of a setting from a fantasy story.
Pyjama or Jeans
Jeans. They're cooler. :)
Vampire or Werewolf
Vampire. Less scary.
Witch or Fae
Check Out My Review!
My rating 4 / 5
As a cover whore I have to admit that this book didn't get my attention at first sight. I know, I shouldn't judge a book by his cover or even his title! But I can't help it and I know that a lot of good authors didn't get the chance to be reviewed because of this, but it's a fact and bloggers who tell you that book cover doesn't mind are liars. We are human after all!
Anyway what I mean over here is : first impression in a library, I would have passed by without looking at the blurb. When I read the blurb, I found myself attracted by the story and wanted to know more about the two main characters; Talya and Jalarn.
The blurb was pretty intriguing and I never thought I would read something about religion. I had to read a few chapters before I realise that the ''main'' goal is set on a war between good and evil, but especially on God and Satan.
The story begun with Talya, who's a swordwoman and her friends were attacked by rivals: the Malinorian Empire. Talya's a great swordwoman and she's a strong kick-ass girl with many fighting abilities! She's not afraid in battle and care deeply for her country and friends who have to fight to win against the intruders. There's where Talya and Jalarn are going to meet for the first time. They will fight for what they believe in. Talya's on ''God'' side with the Sanctus Empire with the purpose to change man minds and Jalarn on the ''Dark Prince'' side who only rewards man with powers and wealth,... You get the picture!
The story was really enthralling and I could feel how passionate and the concern about the details and the descriptions the author, Sara Flower, when she wrote this story. I'm not the kind of girl who's into religion and I normally don't read story with religion as the main course but the topic didn't bother me at all in By the Sword. The surrounding was so intense that I didn't really care about the religious purpose of Talya and I wasn't able to stop reading. I wanted to know what happened with Jalarn! I love the fact that fantasy was also pretty present in this book.
The reader will encounter different supernatural creature as Pegasus, Dragons, Giants (that please me a lot I love Pegasus and Dragons!) So actually, it was a great read, all the characters were great and have they own place in the story! I enjoy reading about Chrissa, the daughter of the leader of the Malinorian Empire! She's also a kick-ass and indepedent woman who try to brake free of her fatal fate.
The ending leave me perplexed. I think the author choose the best ending, but I was hoping a different end!
I recommend this book to YA Fantasy lovers. * This book doesn't embrace romance!