Welcome to my tour stop for Skinshifter, the first in the Sylvan Cycle series by Alycia Christine. This is a high fantasy novel and the tour runs September 28 - October 9 with reviews, author interviews, guest posts and excerpts. Check out the tour page for the full schedule.
About the Book:
Skinshifters are a curse. The Asheken deadwalkers proved that fact when they used skinshifters to spy against the Sylvan races during the Second War of Ages. Now, after three centuries of peace, the deadwalkers have found a secret way back onto the Sylvan Continent and this time they seek not just to conquer their enemies, but to enslave them body and soul. When the Feliconas Clan suffers the deadwalkers’ first raid, one werecat—a skinshifter who has concealed her abilities—survives the massacre. Even as Katja struggles with her grief and guilt over her murdered kin, she must unite with other Sylvan refugees to defeat the deadwalkers before they can butcher and defile the other races. But can this skinshifter trust her newfound allies or will their secrets prove even more treacherous than her own?
Goodreads | Amazon | Smashwords | B&N
Skinshifter is on sale for a limited time for only .99 cents for kindle (regularly $3.99)
The Dryad's Sacrifice, a Sylvan Prelude is also only .99 cents for kindle (regularly $2.99)
“As involved as it is vividly eloquent, Alycia Christine’s Skinshifter…is fueled by engagingly twisted fantasy elements, vivid imagery, appealing characters, rousing adventure and terse storytelling.” –Bestsellers World
“Action is well done, tension is wonderfully detailed and maintained throughout, and fantasy readers will find in Katja an appealing, believable character whose quest and concerns drive a story line that is vivid, accessible, and involving.” –D. Donovan, Senior eBook Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
About the Author:
Alycia Christine grew up near the dusty cotton fields of Lubbock, Texas. She fell in love with fantasy and science fiction stories when her father first read Gordon R. Dickson’s THE DRAGON AND THE GEORGE and Robert A. Heinlein’s HAVE SPACESUIT—WILL TRAVEL to her at age ten. Her love-affair with fiction deepened when Alycia took a creative writing course while attending Texas A&M University. After that class, she was hooked as a writer for life. Her subsequent B.S. degree in agricultural journalism not only helped to hone Alycia’s skills with a pen, but also with a camera. Today she uses her skills as a photographer to capture the beauty of the world around her and add additional perspective to her fiction and nonfiction writing. Find her at http://www.alyciachristine.
Thank you so much, Erika, for letting me talk with you and your readers about my new book Skinshifter today. It’s an honor.
How did you come up with the title?
I knew from the time that I wrote the first chapter that I wanted this book to be called Skinshifter. I chose the title because I wanted a name that sounded like “shape shifter”, but felt more evocative and mysterious. Depending on context and perception, the word “skin” can imply so many things. Being skinny can mean a person is either physically fit or starving. Showing skin implies a sensual or even shameful way of dressing. To skin something can mean to injure something or it can be a practical step in the leather-making process. My main character Katja deals with so many different perceptions of things during the course of the book, so the word skinshifter seemed the perfect label to describe not only what she could do in terms of magic, but who she was as an individual. Katja is a character with no practical stability in her life. She is constantly shifted from new situation to new situation. She is taught to feel shame because of her skinshifting abilities and yet proves herself to be quite beautiful and valuable to others. She is in constant danger and yet she still finds the courage to persevere through the most difficult challenges and even be vulnerable with others. These shifting situations and perceptions are what make the book so powerful to me.
How much of the book is realistic?
As it is a fantasy novel, Skinshifter can’t be called realistic in any true sense. Even so, I tried to make all aspects of the book—from the characters it portrays to the world it explores—feel authentic. I’m a great lover of different cultures and their mythologies and I believe that my affection for that diversity has seeped into every word of the book. I also drew from my own relationships so that I could portray the relationships described within Skinshifter in a very tangible way. Katja’s friendship with Lauraisha is reminiscent of my relationship with one of my closest friends. I’ve been blessed to have a few friends who I actually think of as siblings and I wanted to pass that depth of love on to Katja and Lauraisha. The two characters really need each other and their deep friendship grows out of that desperation. In some ways, Katja’s grief over her family and clan has also been mine. I’ve lost friends and family members to death and disease. I’ve had to work through my grief just as she does. I’ve also had to push through hardships and find my strength in the middle of discouragement just as she does. In both cases, my relationships with my loved ones and with my creator have helped me overcome adversity. All of these things helped inspired the story that is Skinshifter.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I wrote Skinshifter as a story of hope. Katja’s story is a tale about losing love and finding hope in the midst of grief and despair. I want people to understand through this story that there is always hope no matter what you are going through. If a scorned, orphaned youth can find love and hope again, then so can each of us.
What book are you reading now?
I’m on a huge naval binge right now. I’m in the middle of Michael Crichton’s Pirate Latitudes and just began Master and Commander by Patrick O’Brian. I had heard about O’Brian’s Aubrey/Maturin novel series years ago from my dad, but hadn’t started any of them until now. So far, I find the characters in both books quite fascinating.
What are your current projects?
I just finished writing The Dryad’s Sacrifice which is a companion novella to Skinshifter that is set 300 years before the events of the main novel. Now that it is finished, I’m knee-deep in swashbuckling antics with the Tempest Maiden novella series. Thorn and Thistle was just released and I’m penning its sequel Sloop and Sword as we speak.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I was a terrible reader as a child, so my parents enrolled me in special education classes to boost my reading skills and my confidence. During my homework hours, Dad would read my textbooks aloud as I followed along while Mom corrected my English papers side by side with me. The combination of those three things vastly improved my reading and writing abilities. By the time I was eleven, I could read and understand college level material, but my speed was still three times slower than most of my peers. I hated reading because it was so difficult until my father stepped in once again.
During my summer vacations, Dad would read novels aloud to Mom and me as a fun way to pass the time. Every vacation or family holiday became a doubly-special event because each holiday meant a road trip during which Dad would crack open a new adventure.
Dad read books to me well into my college years and it was those stories that helped me realize a joy for reading that stretched beyond the tedious necessity of the classroom. My fondness for reading shifted into a passion for writing during my college career when I took my first creative writing and journalism courses as a sophomore at Texas A&M University. Suddenly I had the ability to actively participate in my own written adventures, not just read along while someone else’s characters trekked around in their own world. Writing, like reading, is always an uphill struggle for me, but the reward of the adventure is always worth the effort of the journey.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
If writers want to be truly great at their craft, they have to work at it—hard. Talent alone is not enough to succeed in this business. Successful authors need passion, purpose, persistence, patience, and perseverance. Great authors are forged out of writers who are stubborn enough to work through every challenge. Through every grief and sorrow, they write. Through every joy and dream, they write. Once they’ve finished writing a piece, they rewrite it, send it through rounds of beta reading and editing, and rewrite it again until the writing becomes something more than mere words on a page to its readers. To be great, a story must become a world alive and breathing with a scope even larger than the imagination of each reader it enthralls. It needs to have a heartbeat of its very own.
As a side note, I offer this encouragement: every great writer begins as illiterate. No one is born with the ability to read or write. We all have to learn the skills, so don’t give up. Just keep writing.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Yes, my readers are amazing! Each and every one of you deserves a standing ovation for finding my work and sharing it with others. Writing is a lonely journey when the fruits of an author’s labor go unnoticed, so thank you all so much for joining in my adventures. They are not nearly as much fun without you. May we have many more together!
Alycia Christine grew up near the dusty cotton fields of Lubbock, Texas. She fell in love with fantasy and science fiction stories when her father first read Gordon R. Dickson’s The Dragon and The George and Robert A. Heinlein’s Have Spacesuit—Will Travel to her at age ten. Her love-affair with fiction deepened when Alycia took a creative writing course while attending Texas A&M University. After that class, she was hooked as a writer for life. Her subsequent B.S. degree in agricultural journalism not only helped to hone Alycia’s skills with a pen, but also with a camera. Today she uses her skills as a photographer to capture the beauty of the world around her and add additional perspective to her fiction and nonfiction writing. Don’t miss her upcoming books Skinshifter, The Dryad’s Sacrifice, and Thorn and Thistle due out on September 25, 2015 and December 24, 2015. Please visit her at AlyciaChristine.com.
Four (4) special Book Bundles that contain a $25 gift card, an eBook copy of Skinshifter, and an eBook copy of The Dryad's Sacrifice (prelude novella) (INT)
Ends Oct. 14
Prizing is provided by the author, hosts are not responsible.
This event was organized by CBB Book Promotions