Janet Lee Carey’s upcoming release, the highly anticipated Dragonswood, will hit the shelves on January 5th, and to begin the festivities, Janet stop by to tell us move about her novel and her Christmas memories ^^
1- How would you describe Dragonswood to someone who hasn't heard of it before?
I see visions in the fire sometimes, images of the past or what is yet to come. The fire-sight does not lie. But I did not see the witch hunter who would ride in to scour our town of sin, so I did not know to run.
Wilde Island is in an uproar over the recent death of its king. The uneasy pact between dragons, fairies, and humans is fraying and the royal witch hunter begins a vengeful quest to hunt down girls with fire in their hearts and sparks in their soul.
Strong-willed Tess, a blacksmith’s daughter from a tiny hamlet near the mysterious Dragonswood, wants more for herself than a husband and a house to keep. But in times like these wanting more can be dangerous.
Accused of witchery, Tess and her two friends are forced to flee the violent witch hunter. The journey is bleaker than they ever imagined and they have no choice but to accept when an enigmatic huntsman offers them shelter in the dangerous Dragonswood. Staying with him poses risks of its own: Tess has no idea how to handle the attraction she feels for him—or the elusive call she hears from the heart of the Dragonswood.
2- I love fantasy books set in medieval era, is there a particular reason you chose this time period to set your story?
I find medieval times fascinating! I love researching medieval society. The research adds so much pithy story material. For example, I learned at the time of the witch trials, they arrested women whom they suspected of witchcraft (usually single women who were poor and often elderly). These women were tortured and forced to name more “witches,” which consequently led to more arrests. This strange historical fact became part of the Dragonswood novel. When Tess is arrested for witchcraft, the witch hunter forces her to name her friends, Meg and Poppy. Fortunately the story doesn’t end there. The three girls escape and go on the run.
3- There are Dragons, Fairies & Humans in your story, can you tell us more about each faction?
The Humans: We learn a great deal of Tess’s struggles in the human world through her difficulties as a young medieval woman. Tess is expected to obey her abusive father, the blacksmith, and to marry a widowed middle-aged merchant (to increase her father’s fortune). In short, she is expected to obey her father without question. She gets into immediate trouble when she refuses to wed the man her father has picked out for her, then gets into greater trouble with the witch hunter. While on the run with her friends we see the rougher side of medieval life as they beg for food, passing through villages full of poverty, muck, and disease. We also see a human society under enormous pressure now the king is dead and the new heir is not yet crowned.
The Dragons: Dragonswood is the wild forestland the Pendragon rulers set apart for the fairies and the dragons in order to keep the peace. The refuge is right in the middle of Wilde Island. The dragons are at peace with humans since the treaty was signed (in book one, Dragon’s Keep). They are under the king’s protection within the large refuge. But now the king is dead the people are fighting to tear down the refuge walls, they want to pillage Dragonswood for its timber and wild game. So far the dragons and the fairies have kept the peace, patrolling the refuge and booting out intruders, but dragons are wild creatures after all and things are heating up.
The Fairies: The fairies of Dragonswood are magical, illusive, wily. They are human size like the elven folk in J. R.R. Tolkien’s books. The fey have their own plan to protect their borders and secure their fairy realm in Dragonswood. Their plan includes Tess, but she doesn’t find that out until much later in the novel (and I won’t give it away here).
4- Is Dragonswood a stand alone or will it be part of a series?
Dragonswood is a companion book to Dragon’s Keep. Both medieval fantasies are set in a fictional place called Wilde Island. Book three of the Wilde Island chronicles will be out in a year or so. I’m working on it now with my wonderful editor, Kathy Dawson, at Dial Books for Young Readers. Kathy Dawson has edited all three books.
Now onto some Christmas-y questions!
5- What's your best Christmas memory?
Each Christmas eve, we lit a fire then my father pulled out Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol and tried to read it from beginning to end. He never made it all the way through the novella, but he tried. I loved how he read the tale with such drama and delight. Memories like these last much longer than the gifts under the Christmas tree.
I also remember the moment we would put up the lights and hang the ornaments, especially the ones my family bought the year we lived in Sweden. The Swedish ornaments were clear domes with tiny pinwheels inside that spun when you hung them directly over a light. Pure magic.
Here’s a photo of me with Santa Clause in Sweden. I’m in the brown dress. Santa Clause is called the Tomte in Sweden. He is a Christmas gnome with a white beard and red robes.
6- Is there one gift you receive that really stuck to your memory?
The year I found my stingray bicycle under the tree. I couldn’t wait to ride it, to feel myself flying down the road on that beautiful bike with the deep u-shaped handlebars. My parents draped a sheet over it since it was too large to wrap. I think my two older brothers also got bikes that year – so we could all fly!
7- How old were you when you stopped believing in Santa?
I was five when my friend told me. Too soon! Too soon! I was careful with my own kids, but they still learned about the same time. As my children were growing up, we also talked about the true story of Saint Nicholas (http://www.stnicholascenter.org/pages/who-is-st-nicholas/ ) who gave up his inheritance to help the poor. Following Jesus’ example, Saint Nicholas was known for his care for the needy and for children.
8- What would Christmas be like for Tess?
Sadly, while growing up under the blacksmith’s roof, Christmas would be little more than a slightly better meal for Tess and her mother. They could not afford much. Tess would cheer things up, hanging greens throughout the house, adding an extra log to the kitchen fire, and making hot cider for them all.
If it got you curious, here’s a bit more about Dragonswood
Wilde Island is in an uproar after the recent death of its king. The uneasy pact between dragons, fairies, and humans is fraying, and a bloodthirsty witch hunter with a hidden agenda whips villages into frenzies with wild accusations. Tess, a blacksmith’s daughter from a tiny hamlet near the mysterious Dragonswood, finds herself caught in the crosshairs of fate when she is accused of witchery and has to flee for her life along with her two best friends.
Not even Tess’s power to see the future can help the girls as they set off on their desperate journey, but she keeps having visions of a man wielding a sword. And when she finally meets him, Tess has no idea how to handle the magnetic attraction she feels for him, or the elusive call she hears from the heart of the Dragonswood.
In this epic romance, an ancient prophecy comes true in a way neither dragon, fairy, nor human would have predicted.
Amazon | Book Depository
Janet would like to offer one of you lucky duck a signed copy of Dragonswood!
Giveaway Ends January 4th, 2012.
All you have to do is fill the Rafflecopter form below.
The only mandatory entry is to provide your name and email addy =)
I was born in New York, raised in Mill Valley, California, and now live near Seattle, Washington. I'm married and have three terrific sons. When I'm not writing books or articles, I'm off somewhere teaching a writing workshop. Of course I do ordinary things too like clean house, cook dinner and walk in the rain (it’s almost always raining here). Well, that's about it. If you have any more questions, send me an e-mail . I'd like to know the kind of things you imagine when you stare out the window.
You can visit Janet Lee here.
More of Janet Lee Carey‘s books: