Double-Showcase | Interview and Review on behalf of “Shadows of Angels” by L.G. Rollins

Posted Saturday, 30 April, 2016 by jorielov , , , 2 Comments

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Originally, when I first caught sight of this new release Shadows of Angels, I was quite inspired by the premise and the direction of it’s story-line. So much so, I captured the heart of it’s central core of thematic inspirations through a conversation I had with the author, Ms Rollins. This interview was meant to run during the blog tour last December [2015] however, a few things happened to me personally which prevented my participating therein. I succumbed to a horrid thirty-day virus which was affecting people in my area – it was one of the worst Winter cold seasons in recent memory as everyone knew someone who affected and/or was becoming sick themselves. I was not in the best shape to read much less sort out how to blog about such a lovely conversation such as the one I had with Ms Rollins.

The other difficulty was the fact my review copy of the paperback was delayed in reaching me – which given my state of mind last Winter, was not the best timing. I did attempt to read the beginning of this novel during December whilst battling through the virus, but to be honest, my joy of reading it waned a bit when I could not wrap my head around the story itself. I credit that to being so consumed with my illness, the conceptions of this story were a bit much for me to take-on at the moment.

As you will soon learn, there are layers to this story and being an epic Fantasy in of itself, you don’t want to be muddled with a virus whilst your trying to sort out what is happening and why everything is set the way it is to be presented. I, in turn, was able to curl inside a Western Romance instead – also on tour during December and put reading Shadows of Angels until such a time I could enjoy it properly. My spirits were so low in December it felt so good to enter into a story which felt so very comforting to reside in for awhile.

For those who are familiar with the events of my life in 2016, it won’t be a surprise to know this is one story I kept having trouble getting inside – I tried every so often, to see if my heart and head could understand the story and reach a point where instead of starting/stopping my readings, I could simply move forward within the text itself.

As a precursor to my thoughts as I read the story, I wanted to share the interview as I think it represents a brilliant introduction to the concepts and elements which gave Rollins her backbone to create the world in which her characters live inside Shadows of Angels.

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According to your biography, you’ve happily been living alongside dragons, keeping talismans that may or  may not belong to you, and have a good report with dwarves and elves! Mind you, my curiosity was  piqued as I felt it was quite a clever introduction to your readerly soul. What pray tell inspired the descriptive clues?

Rollins responds: I think you hit it on the head already. I love to read. I love stories. Any story — doesn’t matter if it’s a book, song, movie. I feel stepping into another person’s story allows you to experience life from a perspective that, otherwise, would have always been hidden. And, in a way, these stories  shows us who we were all along.

Can you reveal what inspired your Zaad Stone trilogy? Was it conceived as a fully fleshed out serial or did it organically grow as you delved deeper into it’s core?

Rollins responds: Does any author get struck with lightning and, in an instant, have an entire serial, fully fleshed out, in their mind? If so, I’d love to meet them! But, no, that’s not what happened with the Zaad Stone Trilogy. It’s gone through many big, over-hauling changes. People who survived the first draft of this novel, now die after just a few chapters. Individuals who were once unimportant are now vital. But my first thoughts about this story were not about the Zaad Stones at all—they came into play later, and also went through many revisions. The first few thoughts of this story were actually centered around the Druiman, which is the breeding ground of monsters and dark magic. It started there, collided in my head with memories of the tale Snow White and Rose Red and grew into what would eventually be Shadows of Angels.

What exactly is a Zaad Stone and how relevant is it to the context of the trilogy? Is it a cardinal piece that holds the three stories together or is it an essential piece to an expanding puzzle wherein your character or characters must take up a quest to obtain/control it?

Rollins responds: A Zaad Stone is a type of seed — one with a very unique ‘fruit’. However, if the Zaad Stone is not planted, then it can perform magical feats for the person bearing it, provided the bearer knows how to use the magic. And, unfortunately, Aerbrin does not. As for the Zaad Stone’s relevance — the kingdom in which Aerbrin lives was unified and formed because of five Zaad Stones. And without the power the Zaad Stones hold, the kingdom will be destroyed.

As Shadows of Angels kicks off a trilogy (entitled: Zaad Stone) what can you tell me as an overview of the series as a whole vs what a reader will find inside it’s debut story? How does the breadth of your character(s) journey etch the epic adventure readers are expecting to find?

Rollins responds: Let’s see if I can do this without spoiling anything . . . um, nope, I can’t. Sorry, you’re just going to have to read the whole series.

How did you select the name for Aerbrin and what do you think fuses her determined grit to finding strength out of adversity at all costs?

Rollins responds: Aerbrin’s name was completely made up. I just put vowels and consonants together to form something I liked. Her determination comes a lot from her father and from growing up as a huntress. Aerbrin and her father hunted for a living, and that often meant long hours in silence, outside in bad weather, and cold nights under the stars. She’s used to pursuing her goal. Sometimes it’s a full speed sprint to close an ambush, other times its a slow and rhythmic stock that leads to an unprotected prey.

Hilfawn surely sounds like a bit of a handful as she’s so very willful; did you have a particular impression of how she might cause both friction and unexpected help within the story as you began to sketch her to mind? I was curious if her instinctive nature, however, out of step with diplomacy might have been a character whose development simply walked onto the page at first meeting?

Rollins responds: That obvious, huh? Yes. I think of all my characters, Hilfawn has been one of the easiest to write. Vita has been a lot the same way. When the scene comes together the way it should, they both just speak to the page and sometimes I wonder if it was I who created them at all.

You’ve mysteriously omitted giving out personality quirks and character data about Vita; you know this makes me even more wicked curious to know *something* ahead of reading the story? What can you reveal without revealling anything at all?

Rollins responds: Sorry, sista, you’re gonna have to read the book *wink*

You definitely knew I wanted to see another Aslan! Mind you, I preferred the films of Narnia over the books (don’t ask, it’s just how my mind processed the stories better in one medium over the other!) — when Aslan came into the foreground on camera, wow. Now he was such an incredible character, with such wonderful intuitive insight and compassion; how did you create a wholly new character whose roots some might suspect were based on Aslan yet are entirely owned by Timbrick? What makes Timbrick different and how did you give him his own essence?

Rollins responds: Yeah, well . . . remember our talk about the story growing organically? Timbrick is not what he started out to be. For the record, he really isn’t much like Aslan at all. They’re both lions. That’s where the similarities end. It started with another story, actually. Ever heard of Snow White and Rose Red? Many people know the story of Snow White, but what they don’t know is that she’s also plays an important role in a second fairytale. I don’t want to give away too much now, but that story—Snow White and Rose Red—was the beginning of Shadows of Angels. And originally Timbrick was a giant bull, but I can’t tell you why I changed him to a lion, that would give too much away. Though, after you’ve read all of Shadows of Angels, I’d be curious to know if you can figure it out!

I very rarely speak about villains in stories, but you lead with mentioning the Forest Dwellers in your excerpt – to a level of wanting to ask you, are they inherently evil or are they simply mistrusting of anyone who is not akin to living in the forest? What gives them such angst?

Rollins responds: Forest Dwellers are, hands down, inherently evil. They were created to destroy life. Period. And it’s the only thing that gives them any pleasure.

Conceptually what did you find the hardest to get a firm grasp on whilst you were composing the structure of your world-building? What was the most joy for you in this vein?

Rollins responds: I loved drawing little maps of what is where to help me visualize and keep things organized.

You placed ‘Angels’ in your title – does your Fantasy novel evolve into the shadow realms between man and angels or is this referencing something else completely outside the narrative of Angels as we know them?

Rollins responds: My story does include what happens to people after their physical body has been killed. But, it’s not the traditional ‘angels’ or ‘demons’ you hear of in church or in most other novels. I had a lot of fun developing my own rules for life, death, and the after-world.

What is one hidden element of truth about the kingdom and world you’ve created that your hoping readers will pick up on once they’ve had a chance to read the story?

Rollins responds: You know how we were just talking about the rules which dictate Angels and demons? Maybe the ‘truth’ there isn’t so hidden, but it was certainly placed there on purpose.

Do you know the titles of the next two books in sequence and what can you share about their story arcs for readers who might want to know a bit more about the continuity arriving inside the trilogy?

Rollins responds: Oh, boy, did you hit on something with this question. So! Story time. I did, nearly a year ago, settle on a title for the second book (titles are usually one of the last things I come up with). And then just a couple weeks ago I found out that another author, who is much more famous than myself, is publishing a book by the same title next month. So, it’s back to the drawing board. And the third book is still very much untitled, because, like I said, that really is something I do last.

How did you decide to balance the light and the darkness elements? As your lead character, Aerbrin must overcome her emotions after a sudden loss through death whilst still being able to concentrate on her quest. 

Rollins responds: I didn’t try for a balance. I tried to write it from the heart. Sometimes that meant light, and sometimes that meant dark.

You clearly have a wicked sweet tooth – what do you love to bake? And how did you approach healthy baking (and eating) such as going gluten-free? You’ll find that I’m a vegan and GF baker more times than not, as I happily have been sharing my cookery side as I review for Front Table Books!

Rollins responds: I do love sweets! Although I cook almost everything, desserts are just what make my heart happy. I started doing a bunch of Gluten-Free desserts a while back because my mom, and a couple of my sisters were all on very strict diets. They still are, and so I love to do desserts for them.

When did you know you were a writer and who became your best cheerleader as you pursued to bring your stories to publication?

Rollins responds: I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was seven, perhaps younger. But I decided to do it ‘for real’ a couple years ago. Who’s been my biggest cheerleader? Hands down, my fabulous husband. He makes dinner so I can make deadlines. He takes off work so I can take off to writers’ conferences. He listens to all my ramblings about story structure, characters, and scene ideas so that I can listen to my own thoughts piece themselves together as we talk.

What do you personally find invigorating about the natural world and specifically the forests? How does your own sense of calm and awareness translate to the page, as your story is definitely centred on appreciating the world just outside of our own.

Rollins responds: I love being outside, especially in the forested mountains. I find a lot of peace there. A lot of tranquility and order. This is one characteristic I gave to Aerbrin. However, true calm and awareness is hard to have without, at some point, having to struggle to get it. This I also gave to Aerbrin.

Immediately upon entering your author’s website, the reader finds the tagline: Singing an Unfinished Song which in of itself is a unique expression – however, I was dearly curious – how does this personally reflect a piece of your personality and creative spirit visitors might not connect at first glance?

Rollins responds: Yes, the phrase’ Singing an Unfinished Song’ is very specific for me. You see, I have clinical depression. So, many days, feeling happy isn’t an option. It’s not that I don’t try to be positive, it isn’t that I complain a lot. But there are so many moments of my life when all around me people are happy, and I am trapped inside the glass cage of depression—I physically cannot feel the emotion ‘happiness’.  Everyone’s journey through depression is unique, mine has lead me to a place where now I am coming to understand that while I cannot always feel happy, I can find peace in knowing my pain makes me a better person. To me, this is Singing an Unfinished Song. My song is unfinished because I, physically, am unfinished, not yet complete. But I sing anyways. I still love my life. I still strive for healing and happiness. Depression is not something I am, but simply something I deal with, like another person may deal with a broken bone. And I try, oh how I try, not to let depression siphon away my life. Instead, I press on. I press on Singing my Unfinished Song.

How did you decide you wanted to write a novel of Fantasy? Was it out of a lifelong appreciation for Fantasy novelists and their visions of worlds set inside settings that curate their own dimensions of experiences for readers or was it something altogether different? What would you consider the best part of writing Fantasy and the hardest?

Rollins responds: I love Fantasy—and that’s basically the only reason I wrote it. I write what I wish I could read. But, what I have learned in writing Fantasy is that in changing so many aspects of ‘real’ life (aka. magic does exist) I’ve learned what cannot be changed. Friendship cannot be based on lies. Truth and change cannot be separated from struggle and agony. And I think, when these things are placed against a backdrop of magic, unique monsters, and even stranger allies they shine all the more bright.

Do you create in storyboard format or do you see the scope of your stories within the reel of a motion picture? The reason I ask is because I know your quite active on Pinterest; and I had a feeling you might find your stories are fuelled by storyboard clues of images – as your pinning inspiration boards for your novels. How do you find this aides your writing and what do you find is the most intriguing part about what speaks to the story your developing?

Rollins responds: I do a little bit of everything. Sometimes my thoughts work chronologically, concepts working their way through my brain in an order that feels systematic. Other times, I close my eyes and the scenes take on their own life, playing out like a movie inside my head. That’s part of the fun of being creative—first it’s here, then it’s there; orderly now, sporadic next.

What uplifts your spirit outside of research, writing and creativity? 

Rollins responds: My family, my friends, and my religion. I think it’s vitally important to take a break from the grind and let loose. Making time to not write, allows my creative muscles to rest and restore.

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Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a part of the “Shadows of Angels” blog tour wherein I received a complimentary copy of “Shadows of Angels” direct from the publisher Sweetwater Books (an imprint of Cedar Fort Inc.) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Double-Showcase | Interview and Review on behalf of “Shadows of Angels” by L.G. RollinsShadows of Angels

After the forest dwellers destroy her home and kill her father, Aerbrin sets off on a journey to find the truth about her people, her kingdom, and the mysterious Zaad stone that contains a power she never imagined.

Magic and mystery join forces in this intriguing fantasy world. Full of shifting alliances and twists you won't see coming, it's a can't-miss read.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781462117468

on 8th December, 2015

Pages: 320

Published By: Sweetwater Books ()
an imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc (@CedarFort)

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Converse via: #ShadowsOfAngels + #YALit

About L.G. Rollins

L.G. Rollins

L. G. Rollins grew up in a far off land fighting dragons, stealing talismans, and traveling with dwarfs and elves. She is especially skilled at bribing giants with sweets. Currently, her husband and four kids live in Utah so that is where she spends most of her time. She may, or may not, have a Zaad Stone.

Shadows of Angels came out December 8th, 2015 and is the beginning of the Zaad Stone trilogy.

My review of Shadows by Angels:

Through my conversation with Ms Rollins I learnt this story had far darker undertones than I originally felt it would encompass – a credit to the author’s dedication to her story, and the world she was building but a bit of a disadvantage for me, as although I love reading Fantasy, I’m not especially akin to Dark Fantasy stories, although one in particular last year took me by complete surprise – Bearskin. I was more than a bit trepiderious in attempting to read this novel again after spending a good amount of time trying to soak inside it’s breadth for the past four months – when I finally could have the ability to read the story without distraction, I found the very first chapter to be both alarmingly brutal and a bit disappointing – I think I would have preferred to meet Aerbrin and her father before the Forest Dwellers attacked their home as it would have rooted me to their characters moreso than watching them quite desperately attempt to survive the surprise attack.

The Forest Dwellers themselves remind me of the Dementers from Harry Potter – on the level they have only one frame of reason and intention to carry out. I’m also not much of a fan of twisted creatures who by aesthetic and appearances are a bit hard to look at visually – I end up being creeped out rather than convinced of needing to know more about them. This was true in the Lord of the Rings series of films as well – honestly, some characters and villains are just not my cuppa irregardless of their reasons for being inclusive to the story.

The only part that truly granted me any enjoyment within the beginning bits were the spirituality undertones coming out of Aerbrin’s guided thoughts to help her assuage the disparity of finding her home turnt into a morgue. I could see the lines of inspiration stemming from a native spirituality practice and it was nice to see this threading moving in and out of Aerbrin’s personality, as her faith clearly gave her a foundation of strength and courage.

As I rounded through the forest with Aerbrin following the blood path of her father’s dying last moments, I realised my heart simply isn’t in reading this story. Maybe it was never a good fit for me but right now, with a clear mind and heart to focus on it – I can definitely say, it’s not floating my boat at all. I truly wished the novel hadn’t opened at this spot in the story – I barely had anything to hold onto except extreme fear, intense will to survive and to protect and a sombering truth stepping forward out of the darkness.

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My apologises to the author and publisher for my delayed review – I’ve had a variety of disruptions in my personal life – as well as dealing with health issues that did not bode well for a reader who was striving to read the stories she was most curious to examine and review. I am simply thankful I can finally share my posts on behalf of this novel without any further delays.

Shadows of Angels blog tour via Cedar Fort Publishing & MediaFun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comI look forward to reading your thoughts & commentary! Especially if you read the book or were thinking you might be inclined to read it. I appreciate hearing different points of view especially amongst bloggers who picked up the same story to read.

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Saturday, 30 April, 2016 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host, Bookish Discussions, Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Indie Author, Teenage Relationships & Friendships

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2 responses to “Double-Showcase | Interview and Review on behalf of “Shadows of Angels” by L.G. Rollins

  1. Carolyn Steele

    What an interesting blog post! I absolutely loved the interview and, based on that, am anxious to read Shadows of Angels. I was surprised to hear that this particular book just wasn’t your “cuppa,” but that you would openly and honestly express your opinion. I feel your honesty here made we want to read the book even more! I recently had the pleasure of meeting the author, and feel I know a part of her through this interview that will give me additional insight as I read Shadows of Angels. Well done, Ms. Rollins and Ms. Jorie, and thanks for “keeping it real.”

    • No, thank you Ms Steele!

      I appreciate hearing my review has given you a good impression of what to expect but also, I knew the interview might help my readers decide for themselves if it’s a story they can enjoy reading – I truly honed in on a lot of the key elements within the context of the story, thus allowing for such an incredible disclosure on how Ms Rollins created it. I’ll always keep it real on Jorie Loves A Story – I like to be as up front as I can be about my thoughts per each story I’m reviewing, as I feel it’s the best way I can help my readers understand what worked or didn’t work for me. You’ll have to return and let me know your reactions after you’ve read the story! I do welcome feedback after a reader has had the proper chance to read the stories I’m showcasing – seeing a story from a different pair of eyes, is always keen! Thanks for your lovely comments and I’m grateful you’ve had the pleasure of meeting the author in person! Sounds like it was a greet meeting of the minds!

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