Stephanie A. Cain is joining us today with her novel Stormseer. Here’s the publisher’s description:
The kingdoms of Tamnen and Strid have been at war for decades. Princess Azmei of Tamnen left her family for a treaty marriage to end that war–but an assassin’s blade destroyed her plans. Protected by her presumed death, Azmei hunts the person trying to destroy her family.
Commander Hawk of the Tamnese army was captured by the Strid after being left for dead on the battlefield. After years as a prisoner of war, he is finally ransomed–only to find he has no place left in the world. His parents are dead and his command has long since been given to another. At loose ends, he agrees to an undertaking for the crown–seek out the truth about Princess Azmei’s killer.
Yarro Perslyn has been captive to the Voices in his head for most of his short life. The only family who ever cared for him was his sister Orya, and she disappeared. Now the mysterious Voices in his head are saying something new. They are real, and they want Yarro to free them.
Princess, prisoner, and prophet collide in the embattled region between the two kingdoms. But will they be in time to prevent more death, or will the rising storm break them all?
What’s Stephanie’s favorite bit?
STEPHANIE A. CAIN
I actually can’t tell you my favorite favorite bit about Stormseer, because it would be a major spoiler–the truth of who/what the Voices actually are. So today I’m going to talk about my second favorite bit, instead. It’s closely tied to my favorite favorite bit, so don’t worry, I’m not cheating you!
My second favorite bit about Stormseer is the character of Yarro Perslyn. While Stormseer continues the story begun in Stormshadow about Princess Azmei of Tamnen, the character who undergoes the most transformation is Yarro. And it’s his fault I wrote this novel in the first place.
Yarro is mentioned a couple of times in Stormshadow by his sister, and from the first time I wrote his name, I knew I was going to need a whole book about him. He’s a young man trapped inside his own head, prisoner to mysterious Voices who provide commentary on the world they see through his eyes. The Voices have their own personalities, and Yarro is pretty sure they’re real, even though he knows “normal people” don’t hear Voices in their heads or lose hours to watching visions.
Yar’s family doesn’t understand him, but that’s not entirely bad. His grandfather is the Patriarch of a family of assassins, and if he knew about the Voices, he would make Yar use them to hurt people. One of Yar’s brothers, in a rare moment of honesty, admits that in a different family, Yar would have been given help dealing with the Voices.
The Voices like to have a part in Yar’s conversations, and I had a lot of fun writing their commentary. Sometimes they distract him, but sometimes they help him out with valuable advice. Here’s a conversation early in the book where they speak their opinions of the Patriarch:
“What are you thinking inside that locked up head of yours, I wonder,” his grandfather said. “I think your brothers underestimate you. Your sister never did.” Suddenly the old man’s face was very close to his, iron fingers seizing his chin in a vise-like grip. “What do you know of Orya’s plans, Yarro? Tell me! I am your Patriarch!” A fleck of spit hit Yarro’s lips.
EAT HIM. BLIND HIM. LICK HIS EYEBALLS. Yar shuddered. He didn’t really like that one. That Voice was always hungry, and if Rith brought out that Voice’s temper, Yar’s grandfather brought out its cruelty.
“Tell me!” His grandfather shook him so hard Yar’s neck ached. “What did she tell you before she left?”
LIE TO HIM, whispered another Voice. It was sly, more subtle than the first. THE PATRIARCH WILL USE YOU IF HE KNOWS THE TRUTH. Yar blinked up at his grandfather. His lips were mushed together by the old man’s grip, but he still said, “Goodbye.”
Evidently his grandfather understood, for he shoved Yar away, letting go of his chin and making Yar stumble backwards.
BE INNOCENT. BE FOOLISH, said the second Voice, and Yar let himself fall down.
Underestimate me, he thought at his grandfather. An image of a dove fighting a serpent flashed before his eyes. His jaw went slack as he stared, rapt, at it. That was what he wished to be. A dove.
“Fool. Worthless fool.” The old man’s voice dripped contempt. Yar didn’t care. He stared at the dove as it flapped its wings. Its beak was closed on the serpent’s head. Yar wondered if it would win. How could it? Doves were peaceful birds. But if they were attacked, they would fight back. Anything would fight back when it was attacked.
Yar knows he isn’t like other people, but then again, his destiny isn’t much like other people’s, either. The Voices are much, much more than Yar’s imaginary companions. And I can’t wait for readers to find out, along with Yar, who and what they actually are.
Stephanie A. Cain writes epic & urban fantasy. She is the author of Stormsinger, Stormshadow, Stormseer, and Sow the Wind. She grew up in Indiana, where much of her (so far unpublished) urban fantasy is set.
She works at a small museum in Crawfordsville, Indiana, doing historical research, giving tours of a Victorian man-cave, and serving as a one-woman IT department. A proud crazy cat lady, she is happily owned by Eowyn, Strider, and Eustace Clarence Scrubb.
In her free time, she enjoys hiking (except for the inevitable spider encounters), bird-watching, reading, and playing World of Warcraft and Skyrim. She enjoys organizing things and visits office supply stores for fun. She owns way more D20s, movie scores, and fountain pens than she can actually afford.