Published September 10th 2019
Cover Art: Paul Richmond
Buy Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Barnes&Noble
Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Rowan McAllister here today talking about writing, artwork, and her latest story in the Chronicles of the Riftlands series, The Priest. Welcome, Rowan.
Hi there! Thanks for joining me on stop three of my blog tour! And a big thanks to Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for hosting.
On this stop, I answer some interview questions that made me smile. I hope they make you smile too.
–Ever drunk written a chapter and then read it the next day and still been happy with it?
Funny you should ask, LOL. The answer is, uh, mostly not. As it says in my bio, I’m a bit of a drinkie as well as a foodie. My hubby and I like to experiment with cocktails all the time, so there have been occasions when I’ve done a bit of drunk-writing, but not often. I’ve threatened it more often than I’ve done it. This is because I usually end up fixing most of it so it’s coherent when I’m sober again. But, I will say, a little alcohol can be a useful tool to get me past some of my hang-ups and out of my shell when necessary. I am by nature a reserved person, the product of a family of quiet, contemplative Michiganders- my husband coincidentally is the same way, also the product of Michiganders. A little booze goes a long way to loosening up some of that reserve, since ‘the feels’ is kind of why we’re here. No one wants to read about two people unable to share their feelings for an entire book, or sharing them in the most reserved, polite, and unimposing terms. Jane Austen aside, I think most modern audiences prefer a bit more meat with their potatoes, a bit more passion than a “I really am quite fond of you,” murmured from a respectful distance. When I need to write the passion, a little bourbon and ginger, gin and tonic, or vodka cocktail greases the wheels. But not too much, otherwise what seemed like a masterpiece through bourbon goggles the night before can look like a second-grade book report the next day. And I don’t think day-drinking is a habit I should probably get into. There are other hobbies that are a little easier on my waistline and my liver, because getting old sucks.
How do you choose your covers?
This particular question is timely since I almost had a cover redo for book one in this series so that we could go a different direction with book two’s cover. The scuttlebutt around the internets and the writing world is that drawn covers are out of fashion. Well, honestly, the hard, cold numbers support it too. On average, books with drawn covers don’t sell as well. As much as I love them, it’s hard to argue with numbers.
Now, I choose my covers to visually represent the feel of my books. I’m a visual artist of sorts on the side, mostly with fiber, so I definitely have opinions on the ‘look’ I want. I see it as an extension of the book itself. Like for my last historical, “We Met in Dreams”, the story was my deep dive into the over-the-top melodrama of the Victorian Gothic, so obviously, I had to have a gothic novel cover- i.e. our hero running away from a spooky house or castle. I don’t make the rules, people. That’s just how it had to be. Now, I didn’t include the white dress because it didn’t seem appropriate to my hero… but I wanted to.
For book one of the Chronicles of the Riftlands, The Wanderer, I chose a drawn cover because it fit the feel of the book so much better than the more intense, photo-realistic covers that are more popular now. The series is my homage to the fantasy novels of my youth and I still have a deep, abiding love for their quirky and unique drawn covers. I likened it to the animated version of the Hobbit from the 70’s vs the darker, live-action remakes of the 2000’s forward. Each has its appeal but the look of the 70’s version fit the feel of my work better.
But then, there the publisher and I were with the second book… and we all have to make a living. I tried with the newer, flashier concepts- with brooding men in black armor and demons with red eyes photoshopped in front of a desolated, fiery landscape. I really did. But they’re just not my style. Lucky for me, Paul Richmond took pity on me and drew the cover for book two, so I didn’t have to compromise this time. Isn’t it pretty? I may have to bow the pressures of the market someday, you know, to actually sell some books… but today is not that day!
What’s next for you as a writer?
The timing worked out that I’m actually just beginning to write book three of this series right when book two is being released. It helps put me in the mindset to talk about my new release since the juices are flowing in a fantasy direction. Between each chronicle in the series, I’m writing something else to keep my eyes fresh. About a month ago, I submitted a new contemporary for consideration that was a bit more of a struggle than I had originally anticipated and therefore took me much longer to finish than I’d planned. But sometimes the muse will not be tamed, and perhaps it will turn out to be a good thing promoting book two at the same time I’m writing book three after all.
The Priest..Chronicles of the Riftlands: Book Two
Brother Tasnerek, one of the infamous Thirty-Six stone bearers, is facing a dangerous crisis of faith after uncovering a secret that could shake the foundations of the Brotherhood of Harot. When Tas is sent to protect a tiny village on the edge of Rassa’s borders from Riftspawn, he struggles to resume his duties, risking his life and the lives of those around him.
Girik has always been an outsider, but to help his sick mother, he agrees to be the village’s offering in a painful ritual deemed necessary by the Brotherhood. But when the priest has a crisis of conscience, Girik offers his help to untangle a web of lies—even if it means getting closer than he ever imagined and committing sacrilege in the process.
With a monster lurking in the forest, a wandering mage mysteriously appearing, and more secrets awakening to unravel the truths of their world, Tas and Girik must make grave decisions. A life without danger seems a far-off hope, but love just might be theirs… if they survive.
About the Author
Rowan McAllister is an unapologetically romantic jack of all trades and a sucker for good food, good cocktails, rich fibers, a great beat, and anything else that indulges the senses. In addition to a continuing love affair with words, she likes to play with textiles, metal, wood, stone, and whatever other interesting scraps of life she can get her hands on. She lives in the woods, on the very edge of suburbia—where civilization drops off and nature takes over—sharing her home with her patient, loving, and grounded husband, three furry rescues, and a whole lot of books, booze, and fabric. Her chosen family is a madcap collection of people as diverse as her interests, all of whom act as her muses in so many ways, and she would be lost without them. Whether her stories have a historical, fantasy, or contemporary setting, they always feature characters who still believe in true love, happy endings, and the oft-underappreciated value of sarcasm.