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March 7, 2013 / minusbar

BLOOD’S PRIDE – Blog Tour – Interview &Giveaway!

Today on the BLOOD’S PRIDE Blog tour we’ve got yet another interview with Evie Manier + not one but TWO opportunities to win a copy of her debut novel!!!

So without further ado….

A Daily Dose of R&R is happy to Evie Manieri with us today to tell us a bit about her debut novel, BLOOD’S PRIDE.

Evie Manieri (c)James J. Kriegsmann, Jr

 First, please tell me a little about you and how the concept for Blood’s Pride came to be.

I’m a New Yorker. I moved here after college with an unfinished novel and the idea of breaking into theater, and never left. After about five years trying to balance a day job, auditions, gigs, and finishing that novel, I realized that even in the highly unlikely event my “big break” was around the corner, I was never going to be content with acting as a profession. So I kept the day job and focused on writing instead, finishing that first novel and starting a few others before I began BLOOD’S PRIDE.

In my free time I love watching old movies (especially those made before 1950), exploring the city with my husband and daughter, and knitting. My reading preferences are all over the map, but some of my favorite authors are Dorothy L. Sayers (particularly the Harriet Vane mysteries), Sinclair Lewis, W. Somerset Maugham, Susan Cooper, Roald Dahl (the adult fiction as well as the children’s books), James Thurber, Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy and Frances Hodgson Burnett.

As for how BLOOD’S PRIDE came to be, it really started with the character of the Mongrel. I had an image of her appearing out of the desert much in the way she’s pictured on the U.S. cover, but I knew very little about her at first. My earliest ideas owed a lot to the terrific revenge-themed Westerns of the 60s and 70s, but as I delved into the Mongrel’s character, the story and the world went in a different direction. The idea of revenge is still there, but the Shadari uprising became the powder keg, and the Mongrel the spark. The rest of the world and the story gradually – very gradually coalesced around that central idea. The stark setting of the book was inspired by some traveling I did awhile ago in Greece, Turkey, and Spain.

 

What is the first story you can remember writing and may you tell us a little about it?

The first story I remember being really proud of was a whimsical spy story I wrote in the fifth grade about a character named Curt I. Acronym. I don’t remember much about how the story unfolded, just that the names of the places, characters, and organizations were all acronyms. I wish I still had it!

BLOOD’S PRIDE is dedicated to that fifth grade teacher, by the way. He had our class read Madeline L’Engle’s A WRINKLE IN TIME that year, and I credit that experience with igniting my desire to write fantasy.

 

If you were given the opportunity to collaborate with any other writer, past or present, who would it be?

This seems like it should be an easy question to answer since there are so many writers I admire. The problem is that I admire them for their incredibly strong vision and individuality, and I can hardly see myself collaborating with them. Genuflecting, maybe, but not collaborating! I’d like to say mystery writer Dorothy L. Sayers, if only because I’d like to knock back a bottle of wine with her and talk about philosophy, Dante, feminism in the 30s, and Lord Peter Wimsey until the waiters cleared the table out from under us. Or maybe Joss Whedon, except that I love the wizard so much I really don’t want to look behind the curtain. I could also say Charles Dickens, because his little universe of London neighborhoods and twining, mirroring story lines has had a great influence on me – but I don’t think he and I would agree on our portrayal of female characters. Roald Dahl was reportedly a terribly domineering sort of person, and I have a feeling I’d dissolve into tears within fifteen minutes of meeting him. I’d better get back to you on this, or we’ll be here forever!

 

You’ve succeeded in creating strong, believable female characters. How did you strike the balance between these two things?

First of all, thank you! I’m delighted you think so.

The answer to this question may depend on what is meant by “strong.” I don’t think of strength in terms of physical attributes but rather as the dimensions and depth of a person’s character. Those considerations are exactly the same regardless of whether the character is a man or a woman. I want all my characters to have agency, rich inner lives, and a compelling story arc.

That being said, the Norlanders – who owe no obeisance to any historical human society or human biology – have developed a society without gender prejudice. That leaves men and women free to pursue the same types of goals without the need for one gender to struggle against an inferior political position.

Norlander men and women are also equals in terms of fighting prowess, which implies they are of comparable strength and stamina. Since they are not human, I don’t think most readers will have a problem with that. On the other hand, some will. I often think that we speak about suspending disbelief as if the threshold is the same for everyone. It’s not. Our threshold for suspending disbelief depends a great deal on what our beliefs are in the first place, and how deeply we are invested in them. A reader who can accept the presence of dragons and wizards with equanimity might balk at the idea of a character whose eyes change color, because that reader happens to be an ophthalmologist. That’s just going to happen. Given that every reader will engage with the story differently, I tried to focus on creating characters that are as fully realized as possible, regardless of their gender.

 

While writing, was there any one character that was particularly enjoyable to write? Who, and why?

I love writing for Jachad. He’s such a lovely, open person that it’s just a pleasure to be with him and be inside his head. He doesn’t take himself too seriously, either, which can make a nice break from some of the more dramatic characters. He’s definitely the one I’d take bowling.

 

Which character, if any, has the most of you in them?

Harotha comes closest to me in her flaws, and that made her the most difficult character to write. She was the last one who really came into focus. I think that’s because I kept trying to back off from those flaws for fear that she wouldn’t be “likeable,” which of course is a counter-productive consideration. When I finally realized that’s what was going on, she really came to life.

 

A lot of reviewers have stated that Blood’s Pride is a fantasy romance. I’ll not deny the romance, but I think this is an unfair label for a book that possesses so much action. So what would you say about Blood’s Pride to male readers?

Genre labels are always tricky. Even the “epic fantasy” label has some problems as far as I’m concerned. In terms of BLOOD’S PRIDE there may be readers who like to focus on the romantic relationships (and not all of them will be women). That’s fine by me, but that’s only one facet of the book. At the same time, the book has political and personal power struggles going on at all levels, many of them erupting into violence and full-on battles. Then there are the friendships, sibling relationships and deep enmities that are as vital to the story as the romantic plot lines.

 

I felt like this book’s focus is on the Shadari more so than the other two races. Will there be a novel directly focusing on each of the three prominent races you created in the Shattered Kingdoms series?

Without giving too much away, I will say that a large part of the next book in the series, FORTUNE’S BLIGHT, takes place in Norland, so we do get to meet a bigger cast of Norlanders and learn a lot more about their society as it hurtles towards a crisis of its own.

As for the Nomas, they will find their neutrality challenged even more by the events in FORTUNE’S BLIGHT, and we’ll spend some time with them too. And then there’s always the third book, STRIFE’S BANE…

 

If you were stranded on a deserted island, what would be the three items you bring with you, and why?

A set of steel knitting needles, and a ram and ewe who love each other very much. I think you can fill in the rest!

 

Thanks for taking the time to stop by A Daily Dose of R&R!

My pleasure! Thank you so much for having me!

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About the book:

BloodsPride

Evie Manieri’s Blood’s Pride is the first book of The Shattered Kingdoms, an engaging, action-packed, and “highly imaginative” (Kirkus Reviews) series of fantasy novels with epic scope and “the perfect mix of romance, family ties, betrayals, and agonizing dilemmas” (RT Book Reviews).

Rising from their sea-torn ships like vengeful, pale phantoms, the Norlanders laid waste to the Shadar under cover of darkness. They forced the once-peaceful fisher folk into slavery and forged an alliance with their former trading partners, the desert-dwelling Nomas tribe, cutting off any hope of salvation.

Now, two decades after the invasion, a rebellion gathers strength in the dark corridors of the city. A small faction of Shadari have hired the Mongrel, an infamous mercenary, to aid their fledgling uprising—but with her own shadowy ties to the region, she is a frighteningly volatile ally. Has she really come to lead a revolution, or for a more sinister purpose all her own?

Set in a fictional quasi-Medieval Mediterranean region with a strong cast of male and female characters, the series “presents a striking world with civilizations similar to those of the Vikings and the nomadic cultures of the Middle East, and with the Mediterranean sensibilities of the ancient Greeks. Her characters are passionate and memorable, lending a personal touch to a complex tale of clashing cultures and philosophies. Fans of Sharon Shinn, Elspeth Cooper, and Gail Z. Martin should enjoy Manieri’s approach to culture and drama.” (Library Journal, starred review)

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Alrighty folks, now for the details on how you can win a copy of this amazing book!

US & Canada Only.

There are two ways to win:

1. Think of a name for a sword! The title of the book is that of a sword from within the story. I challenge you to think of an equally awesome name for one! Comment with the name you’ve chosen. (Entrants will be limited to one entry for sword names – Winner will be selected by the lovely Evie Manieri)

2. You will receive one entry for each of the following and a winner will be chosen at random:

Please let me know which of these you’ve done in the comments so I can be sure to check and count all of your votes!

This contest will end on Friday at Midnight Eastern time (3/15). Goodluck!

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This book can be purchased now at: AmazonBarne’s and Noble and book retailers everywhere! 

Thanks to the lovely people at TOR for giving me the opportunity to be involved with this tour, and thanks to all you readers out there!

Sincerely,

Roger Bellini

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18 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. Nick / Mar 7 2013 11:47 am

    1. Sword name: Dances as Wind with Foes
    2. Following Evie
    Following You (@Goat_Fairy)
    Liked Evie on facebook
    Folowing your blog

  2. Georgia / Mar 7 2013 12:12 pm

    1. Sword Name: Provoking Solace……the challenge for peace
    2. Following you on Twitter
    Following Evie Manieri on Twitter
    Liked Evie Manieri on Facebook
    Following your blog

  3. Paul Weimer (@PrinceJvstin) / Mar 7 2013 2:38 pm

    Sword Name: Ysabeau’s Tear

  4. van p. / Mar 7 2013 3:44 pm

    1. Sword name: Bleeding Oleander, named after one of the world’s deadliest flower.

    2. Following Evie on twitter @vanpham88
    Following you on twitter @vanpham88
    Like Evie on fb: van pham

    Thanks for the giveaway.

    • minusbar / Mar 7 2013 3:48 pm

      Thanks for entering! I checked out your blog too, looks quite nice!

      • Van P. / Mar 7 2013 7:27 pm

        aw thanks! 🙂 thanks for hosting the giveaway, loved your review of BP!

    • Van P. / Mar 7 2013 9:55 pm

      Also following your blog, was on my phone before so I couldn’t do it ;P.

  5. RLovatt / Mar 7 2013 8:32 pm

    1. Follow Evie on Twitter – @Becca_Lovatt
    2. I follow you on Twitter – @Becca_Lovatt
    3. I “Like” Evie on Facebook
    4. Andddd I follow your blog.

    Good luck with the giveaway, and thanks for hosting it!

  6. Amanda / Mar 7 2013 10:40 pm

    1. Sword Name- Simplicity
    2. I follow you on Twitter and on your blog.

  7. Christian / Mar 9 2013 4:49 pm

    1. sword name- Crimson Elegance
    2. I follow your blog
    3. like Evie on facebook

  8. Darien Bear / Mar 9 2013 4:53 pm

    1:Name of the sword: oceans wrath

    2: following: master_pastry @Droidz_gonewild

  9. Darien Bear / Mar 9 2013 4:56 pm

    1:Sword name oceans wrath

    2:following master_pastry @droidz_gonewild

  10. Dustin Smith / Mar 10 2013 1:57 pm

    Sword name: The Sabre of Winter blood/ Winter’s blood

    Liked Evive on Facebooks

  11. Andrea / Mar 10 2013 10:26 pm

    I would name it Barbara.

  12. warrenmorrison / Mar 14 2013 1:20 pm

    Sword name: Peaceful Vengeance. Signifies a struggle the duality.

  13. Warren / Mar 14 2013 1:22 pm

    Sword name: Peaceful Vengeance. Signifies a struggle of the duality.

    • Warren / Mar 14 2013 1:28 pm

      That’s a duplicate of me: “warrenmorrison”. For some reason it posted one of me logged in and one of me not logged in. Sorry about that.

      • minusbar / Mar 14 2013 1:48 pm

        No worries, I know to only count you once! 😛

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