Blog Tour: Interview with Rachel Starr Thomson

November’s CSFF blog tour has been moved to early December, but no fears – we’re still going to have a blog tour this month. This tour’s book is Worlds Unseen, book one of the Seventh World Trilogy. It is written by Rachel Starr Thomson, a freelance editor and writer who has authored numerous fiction and nonfiction books. And that’s only the beginning of her artistic endeavors. In her other life, she is a poet/storyteller/narrator/singer for Soli Deo Gloria Ballet, a Christian performing arts company.

I will be reviewing Worlds Unseen later in the tour. For today, I will be posting an interview with Rachel. Here’s a quick synopsis of the book, just to give you a little background info:

The Council for Exploration Into Worlds Unseen believed there was more to the world and its history than the empire had taught them. Treating ancient legends as history, they came a little too close to the truth. Betrayed by one of their own, the Council was torn apart before they could finish their work.

Forty years later, Maggie Sheffield just wants to leave the past behind. Memories of the Orphan House where she grew up are fading; memories of her guardians’ murder are harder to shake. When a dying friend shows up on her doorstep bearing the truth about the Seventh World–in the form of a written covenant with evil–Maggie is sent on a journey that will change her forever.

Now the main event itself, an interview with Rachel Starr Thomson:

(1) For starters, can you tell us a little about the Seventh World Trilogy?

The Seventh World Trilogy (Worlds Unseen, Burning Light, and Coming Day) was born when I asked what might have happened if the the Protestant Reformation came about in a fantasy world. It has changed a lot since that initial idea, but the underlying idea is still one of reforming life and rediscovering truth. It’s a story about people who find out that the world as they know it is built on lies; that their real history is contained in myths and legends that have long been suppressed—but that the truth is about to break into their world, in the form of great forces that are at war. Maggie, Nicolas, Virginia and the rest find themselves challenged and transformed as they take their own places in the story.

(2) There seems to be Scottish influences in Worlds Unseen. Is there any culture, or any folk tradition, from which you drew inspiration in writing the book?

The Seventh World as a whole is based on Europe, so there are traces of different cultures and regions all throughout. The Highlands, where Lord Robert and Virginia come from, is definitely based on Scotland. Cryneth and Midland roughly correspond to Wales and England. Once Maggie crosses the channel onto the mainland, most of the story takes place in regions that mirror France and Eastern Europe. The connections are always loose, but they’re there. I wanted to create a world that felt vaguely familiar, while still being strange. But it’s interesting that you should mention the Scottish influence in particular, because Celtic ideas definitely influence the book in other ways as well. The whole concept of a “Veil” separating the natural and supernatural worlds is very Celtic.

(3) Of all your characters in Worlds Unseen, which one would you try hardest to avoid meeting in a dark alley? And if you did meet him (or her) in a dark alley, which other character would you choose to have at your side?

Evelyn is by far the scariest–not only in this book, but also in Coming Day (where she shows up again in a rather changed role). She is evil and gifted and ambitious, not a good mix. If I had to face her, I’m pretty sure I’d want Gwryion, the elemental lord of the Wild Things, with me!

(4) Which element of the book did you work hardest to get right?

The rebellion in Pravik. I had to dig into politics and underlying conflicts and past events, and that took a few drafts to figure out. When I first wrote it, it was much more surface, without enough motivation to really make it work.

(5) While creating your Gypsies, how closely did you pattern them after the Gypsies of our world?

Not closely, I’m afraid–they’re more symbolic in the Trilogy than they are a real look at real Gypsies.

(6) Are you up to anything else in the fantasy genre?

I have several things getting ready for publication, plus a handful of ideas I’m kicking around for new books. Taerith, one of my favourites, has just been released as an e-book ( Two more, Angel in the Woods and Lady Moon, will probably come out in the next couple of years. And of course, Burning Light and Coming Day finish off the Seventh World Trilogy.

To read Worlds Unseen as an e-book, go to SmashWords. A hard copy may be obtained at the author’s own site, and at Amazon and B&N. More information about the book can be found at those sites, as well as the rest of the blog tour:

Phyllis Wheeler (Nov 21)

Carol Keen (Nov 26, Dec 2, and Dec 9)

Bluerose’s Heart (Nov 28)

Lindsay Franklin (Nov 30, Dec 7)

Sarah Sawyer (Dec. 9)

And, finally, here again, for a review on December 5.

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