Why do you think readers are going to enjoy your book?
TO WALK IN THE WAY OF LIONS is the second in a series for intelligent readers who love scifi/fantasy stories with grand world building and deep characterization. It is surprisingly funny in some parts, nerve-wracking in others and it shows how sometimes the most human of characters aren't entirely human.
I've had the idea for almost 30 years and predates the time I was penciling for DC Comics. It's just morphed from graphic novel format to novel and gotten better along the way.
Kirin Wynegarde-Grey is my favourite character. He is also the main character. He is outwardly perfect, in physical appearance, in social status, in profession. But ultimately he is the most deeply flawed of the six and his journey is a painful but brilliant one.
I think the chapter entitled "The Dry Provinces" was my favourite. It is very complex and sets events into motion that lead to disastrous consequences. You are also 'inside' each character's head at some point (shifting POVs) for most of the chapter and you see their motivations and reasons for doing even the most surprising things. There's great action and deep emotion in that chapter.
It sounds cliched but this is a novel about self-discovery. Each of the six characters discovers strengths they didn't know they had and weaknesses they wished they didn't. Even though it is a fantasy, it's about prejudice and racism, class structure and freedom - things society has been struggling with for thousands of years. And, on a personal level, that perhaps people are more perfect when they are not perfect at all...
Character Interview - Captain Kirin Wynegarde-Grey
Tell us a little about yourself, C. How would you describe your appearance?
I am a lion. That should be enough description, I suppose, but I understand you wish to know more. I am tall for a lion and my eyes are blue, like my father's. My mane has grown to my waist and is as gold as a field of wheat in summer. I wear armour of Imperial gold as well and bear both long and short swords as proof of my Shatyriah class. I am a lion among lions, a warrior by blood and by choice. I follow the Bushido, a code of honour among warriors and I take it seriously.
I take the first step in the first story, TO JOURNEY IN THE YEAR OF THE TIGER, and it is a high one, to the very top of the One Hundred Steps. I love my Empire, I love my Empress, I love my job as Captain of her personal guard. There is nothing I will not do for her, including travel across our Kingdom to find an Ancestor, a human who has managed to awaken after they have long gone. I may have to kill him.
Not yours. Very far in your future, I am led to believe. Perhaps five thousand years.
I grew up in the House Wynegarde-Grey in the mountains outside DharamShallah and I work in the Palace of Pol'Lhasa. My story is still unfolding, so yes, I am currently back in Pol'Lhasa, although I am not sure what fate awaits me there.
I have served the Empire since I drew my first breath, 24 summers ago. A very good memory for me was when I first met the Empress. I had four summers, she two. She was accompanied by peacocks and she pushed me down and sat on me. I have loved her ever since. A very bad memory is of the time Kerris killed our father by calling lightning out of the sky. I will never forget that day.
I am sad, now. I have only 24 summers, but after everything that has happened in the Year of the Tiger, I am sad. Changed. Not perfect anymore. If I could change anything, I would not have tried to kill my brother. I would have thrown the sword on the ground and left him. Then, I would not have fled and as a result, lost everything.
As I said, I am a lion and of the Shahtyriah caste. That is saying much. I carry the two swords, katanah and kodaichi and I know how to use them. I am skilled in fighting, in diplomacy, in the leading of men. This is all I know. They shape how I think and how I act. It is the Way of Things.
The Empress is the most important person in my life, but truth be told, she is the most important person in any cat's life. She is iron and steel, silk and song. She is the colour of night with eyes as golden as the sun at midday. She is my life and she knows it.
I will do anything for the Empress, including travel to the very edges of our Kingdom, which spans from your China to your Middle East. I will sacrifice everything that I stand for to protect the Kingdom and, over the course of one terrible year, I do.
Duty. Only duty. If the future continues to play out as it seems, there will be huge changes for our Kingdom and that will be bad for all of us. But I do hope and I trust in the Bushido to guide me onto the correct path.
Her fans have encouraged her to do so, and she is already 3/4s of the way to completing the third in the series, SONGS IN THE YEAR OF THE CAT. I must admit I was rather pleased at the turn of events.
Thanks to the gang at Free eBooks Daily for that great interview! Kerris will bring them back a pearl and some shark teeth from his next adventure!