Friday Feature: Karen Eisenbrey and Her Characters

It’s time for another special Friday Feature. This is where you get a book blast, character interview, and author interview all rolled up into one. Today, you meet author Karen Eisenbrey and one of her characters. Enjoy!

Character Interview:

Name: Luskell
Occupation: Grandma’s Assistant, Secret Student of Magic
Age: almost 15 (Well, 14 and a half. So almost 15.)

1.What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Before this summer, I would have said climbing trees faster than any of the boys I know. Then I learned I could do magic, with a natural aptitude for transformation. I can become a bird and fly to the top of a tree! Even greater than that, though: I figured out on my own how to dream my way to the Other Side and visit the souls of the dead. I don’t know anyone else who can do it.

  1. What is your best physical feature?

My eyes are an unusual dark blue, like my grandfather’s. He says I see as he did.

  1. What is your most treasured possession?

I’m learning to play the fiddle, and my teacher is also an instrument maker. He built a fiddle just for me and I can hardly wait to spend time getting to know it. My mother says it has a youthful, mischievous voice.

  1. What or who is the greatest love of your life?

I have to choose one? That’s hard! I’ve only recently started to notice boys, so I don’t have that kind of “love of my life” yet (though I may have two contenders). I will say my grandfather, Knot. He died before I was born but he visits my dreams, and I have learned how to visit him on the Other Side, too. He was a great wizard and they say I’m like him. This is a mixed blessing; he was powerful but also rash. He would act and worry about consequences later. (A close second is my half-brother Ketwyn. He’s dead, too. I never met him in life, but Knot showed him how to visit dreams, too. I love having a brother! I wish we could have grown up together.)

  1. What is your favorite journey?

I love it when we visit the Aklaka winter camp, Aku’s Lap. It’s an all-day hike through the forest to their spot by the river. When I was small, we’d take two days and camp along the way. Sleeping in a magical shelter under tall trees with the stars higher still, smelling cedar and soil, is the best. It will be a lot quicker now that I can fly, though!

  1. What is your most marked characteristic?

I act without thinking things all the way through. My intuition is strong, so I often get things right anyway, but I also get myself and my friends into trouble sometimes.

  1. Define happiness and share your happiest memory.

Happiness is being with people who know me well enough to let me be myself. Most of my happy memories involve being with my family, often on a journey of some kind. My new happiest memory is of the first time Knot visited my dreams. I’d heard about him my whole life but never met him. It was wonderful to finally speak to him and hear his voice.

  1. What is it that you most dislike?

When someone tells me I can’t do something just because I’m a girl or a child or both. Why not let me try first? I’m also not terribly fond of indoor book-work.

  1. What is your greatest fear?

I have power and a temper. I’m afraid I might lose control and kill an innocent person.

  1. What is your greatest extravagance?

The most extravagant thing I own is my green silk dress. I wouldn’t typically be interested in something delicate or pretty, but I like to dance and this dress was made for dancing. It has a full skirt that twirls, and a beautifully pleated flounce around the hem. The bodice is sleeveless and has all these intricate tucks. It has a pretty matching jacket, so I can have sleeves when I want them. How did I come to have something so nice? When I was 13, my mother saved the life of my good friend Daisy. Daisy’s mother is a dressmaker and out of gratitude, offered to make Mamam a dress. She wouldn’t accept it for herself, but we’d been invited to the Governor’s Ball (which happened to be on my 14th birthday) and I didn’t have anything to wear. (When she saw my dress, Mamam had to have one, too. She paid for it, but not full price. Hers was blue with two different wraps, but it was ruined the second time she wore it.) Thinking of my dress helps me do magic that requires a delicate touch.

My most extravagant habit is throwing all my power at a problem rather than rationing it wisely. Which is why I need something to help with delicacy and finesse.

  1. Who do you most despise?

Easy: Governor Snowabi. I instinctively disliked him before I knew anything about him, and I was right. He’s dishonest, greedy, and corrupt, and he was ready to harm my parents in order to get what he wanted.

  1. What is your greatest regret?

That I got to kiss Laki only once! I hope I get another chance.

  1. Which talent would you most like to have?

My mother is a great healer, which seems like a useful, practical skill. Now that we know I have power, she’s going to train me. I don’t know if I’ll be any good at it, but it seems worth trying.

  1. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

I act without thinking. I know it will get me or someone I care about hurt one of these times, but I do it anyway.

  1. What do you most value in your friends?

That they trust me enough to go along with my schemes, and stand by me even when I make a mess of things.

  1. Who do you most admire?

My father, Crane. They say he is the greatest living wizard in Eukard, yet he cares most for people with little or no power in society. Unlike his father, Knot—or me—he  tends to think before he acts, and uses his power sparingly. Children love him.

  1. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Excessive politeness. I understand the importance of treating people with dignity and respect, but I have no patience for pretty phrases and diplomatic rituals. Why not save time and just say what you  mean?

  1. Which words or phrases are you known for?

Probably something like “Let’s go!” or “What are we waiting for?”

  1. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

Besides my thoughtlessness, you mean? My hair. On the one hand, I love it because it’s another trait I inherited from Knot, thick and curly. But whenever I transform to something and back, my braids come undone and then my hair is just wild! I’m tempted to chop it off but I haven’t been brave enough yet.

  1. What is your motto?

I’d call this our family motto: “We find what is lost, heal the sick, make the broken whole. We do not curse.” My personal motto is probably more like, “We’ll figure something out. How bad could it be?”

About the Book:

Luskell has been dreaming about dead people.

Her parents may be the two most powerful wizards in the country, but Luskell doesn’t have any magic of her own, so she’s stuck spending a summer with her grandmother in the small town of Deep River where her father is the hometown hero. Then the dead start to visit her dreams with mysterious messages. In a secret pact with her friends Jagryn and Laki, Luskell begins to teach herself magic and discovers an apparently bottomless well of untapped power. But before she has control over this ability, her dead grandfather appears with a dire warning. With no way to send word to her parents, Luskell and her friends mount a daring rescue. Can they get to the capital in time to save the country … and her parents’ lives?

A favorite blurb:  “‘Tonight we’ll fly and be heroes.’ Daughter of Magic is a wonderful tale of power, secret and exposed, set against a rich landscape in a world where the past rises up to overwhelm the present.”-LeeAnn McLennan, author of The Supernormal Legacy series

Buy Link:

Interview with the Author:

1.What’s the most inspiring part of where you live?

Culturally, the music scene.  You could go out any night of the week and find some interesting local performance of any genre of music.

Geographically, it would have to be Mt. Rainier, a big snow-capped volcanic peak visible in all its glory on our rare clear days. I based the fictional Mt. Aku on it.

  1. Where did the idea for this story come from?

This story grew out of an as-yet unpublished 4-book series that was inspired by a very brief dream I had 18 years ago. It was about 5 seconds long and featured 2 wizards and at least 3 plot twists. I turned that into a novel, then kept going, getting to know the characters and the setting really well. Luskell, the main character of Daughter of Magic, didn’t even exist until the very end of the 4th book, but once I’d thought of her, I knew I wanted to tell her story.

  1. How long did it take you to write it?

All told, 9 years, though I wasn’t constantly working on it during that time. It took about a year to write and revise the original version into readable form. I got feedback from beta readers and spent several months revising it again, but I wasn’t sure it had a chance of being published before the other four. Then I had the idea of it as not the fifth book of a series, but the first book of something new. I picked it up and put it down over the course of about 2 years before I submitted it to Not A Pipe Publishing in 2017. I’d heard they were doing “The Year of Publishing Women” and thought it was perfect for that. After they accepted it, it went through another editing and revision process before publication in May 2018.

  1. Which character has etched its way into your heart and why?

Nalaklak, AKA Laki. I first knew him in on of those earlier, unpublished books, when he was 3 years old. He was an interesting little character and played a small but significant role in the story. It was fun to bring him into this new story as a young man and imagine who he would have grown into. Although he is from a different culture than Luskell, they have grown up together and speak each other’s languages and are familiar with each other’s practices. He is a little older but much more mature, so acts as a foil to her excesses, while also seeing to the heart of who she is more than she does. If there’s a movie of this, he’ll be the heartthrob.

  1. What are you working on now?

I am actively writing the third book in this trilogy. (Book 2 is scheduled for Fall 2019 release). It was my NaNoWriMo project this year but I have been gathering ideas and writing test scenes for about 3 years. It still needs a lot of work but I am very excited to finally work on it.

About the Author:

Karen Eisenbrey lives in Seattle, WA, where she leads a quiet, orderly life and invents stories to make up for it. Although she intended to be a writer from an early age, until her mid-30s she had nothing to say. A little bit of free time and a vivid dream about a wizard changed all that. Karen writes fantasy and science fiction novels, as well as short fiction in a variety of genres and the occasional poem if it insists. She also sings in a church choir, plays drums in a garage band, and was surprised to find herself writing songs for her debut YA novel The Gospel According to St. Rage, a finalist for the 2016 Wishing Shelf Book Awards. A YA wizard fantasy, Daughter of Magic, was released by Not a Pipe Publishing in 2018. Gospel will relaunch in an expanded 2nd editon from Not A Pipe in spring 2019 and Wizard Girl, the sequel to Daughter of Magic, will follow in fall 2019. Karen shares her life with her husband, two young adult sons, and two mature adult cats.

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