Today it is my pleasure to welcome Sara E. Tall and her young adult fantasy novel, Piper’s Song.
Billie thinks stopping her fellow students from committing murder and almost getting kicked out of the Realm is as bad as it gets, but she should know better. Not only are seven of the most powerful students out for her blood, but Sedna —her former enemy turned ally— turns her enemy again when Billie refuses a part in her revenge scheme. What’s more, Alpha Administration’s refusal to address the injustice in their school is sparking a full-on rebellion, and a lot of innocents are going to be caught in the cross-hairs. It isn’t just the school either, the Realm itself is overrun with violence and hatred, which will have deadly consequences. Lucian, her self-imposed magical guru, insists Billie’s extraordinary magic is the key to stopping the flood of violence coming their way. Billie knows her magic is extraordinary, but she also knows its destructive power. It might do more harm than good.
World building Is Fun
When I got the chance to ask author Sara E. Tall anything, I asked her one of my favorite questions for other fantasy authors. “How much vocabulary did you create for your fantasy world and what, if anything, did you use to guide the creation of your words?”
She really gave it some thought and I enjoyed her answer a lot.
This is an interesting topic that I haven’t really thought about before, but I’m excited to dive in. I didn’t have to create a ton of vocabulary for this story, but I tried to make the words I created meaningful and connected to the culture.
Probably the most prevalent is how the Magi referred to the world above. Officially it is called, The Aboveland, but most refer to it as, The Dustlands. To them, the lack of magic in the air makes that world dry and dusty. They also refer to non-mage humans as Dusties.
The spin-off to The Dustlands, is The Rustlands, where powerless half-breeds and other non-magical Magi are exiled from the Realm. It’s a small neighborhood nestled in a remote part of Maine, United States. It’s called The Rustlands because the Magi claim the “Misfits” that are sent their taint the land and drain it of life. It’s true that The Rustlands tends to be a run-down neighborhood, though that might be due to the morale of its inhabitants more than anything. Though Misfits is the officially name of The Rustlands inhabitants, they are often called Rusties.
I also put a lot of effort into their insults for each other. There’s a lot of tension between the seven magical species that live in the Realm, and that leads to a lot of name calling. The main insults are Misborn and Clamor. Misborn is a direct reference to the Misfits, who are considered freaks of nature because of their half-breed status or their lack of magic. Parentage and bloodlines and incredibly important to them, so calling someone “Misborn” is about insulting as you can get.
Clamor is Latin for crier. I chose Latin because many Magi trace their roots back to the Greek/Roman gods, so Latin is one of their universal languages. Clamor originally referred to a Magi who would betray another Magi to save their own skin. Now it is used to refer to anyone who doesn’t behave the way their species is supposed to behave. Billie hears that word a lot, since she never does what she’s supposed too.
For curses, they sometimes say, “Oh My lands,” Or simply, “Lands.” Throughout their history the Magi have been constantly looking for a place to call home. They’ve spilled each other’s blood over safe havens more than anything else. Finding an underground world where they could all live safely was a lifesaver. Land has defied their history, which is why they use it to curse.
And finally, I coined the term Paradises to refer to the humans who chose to travel to the Realm with the Magi. Most of them were loyal to Magi families for generations. The humans in the Realm work exclusively as blue collar workers, and are often treated like they are invisible. Why did I decide to call them Paradises? I actually can’t remember. I’m pretty sure I had a reason, but seven years later I can’t for the life of me remember what it was.
Worldbuilding is fun, isn’t it?
I had to laugh when I read that author Tall spent a lot of time developing the insults her characters sling at each other. Judging from the various excerpts I read, her efforts paid off.
I confess I put a similar amount of time into the made-up cuss words in my book. I actually have poster boards filled with potential substitutes for our most common expletives.
Indeed, world building is fun!
About the Author
Sara’s enjoyed creating fantastic stories since she was old enough to hold a play sword, around the time she learned how to walk. Gradually she learned to direct her creative energy into writing, and it’s been a downward spiral ever since then. When she’s not writing she’s probably either dancing or reading batman comics. She also loves running away to the mountains of Utah and Montana. Nothing gets more fantastic that those views.
Find the Author
Buy the Book
The book will be $0.99.
Yes, there is a giveaway
The author will be awarding a $15 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.
My Favorite Excerpt
Nothing said, “I’m sorry,” like a scalding hot iron mallet to the face. Especially when you were a Faerie, and allergic to Iron. Saranya and her friends really knew how to make a girl feel special.
At least, we heard they were going to attack me with a mallet, it was hard to keep up with all of Saranya’s schemes to get revenge on me for preventing her from torturing another student. The nerve of me.
I tightened my grip on the empowered soap Iris, my roommate, had given me. It paid to be friends with an Elf, I’d learned, as they possessed the ability to infuse magical properties into a variety of house-hold objects. And all she ever wanted in return was my help getting books down from her top bookshelf.
“Uhh, Billie,” Thea, my other roommate, said. “Perhaps it would be in your best interests to not look so tense? We are supposed to be discussing a class project, after all.”
I loosened my grip on the soap and gave her a quick smile. Thea was terrified of Saranya and the others, but that hadn’t stopped her and Iris from telling me about their plan, or offering to help me thwart it. She had a lot to lose, too. As a Wizard, she had a certain image to keep up, and helping a Misfit against other Wizards would do nothing good for that image.
Sara E. Tall — we appreciate your sharing your book Piper’s Song with us! Best of luck with sales, and with all of your future writing.