Author Interview: Shami Stovall

Hi Shami,

Thank you for taking the time to do a Q&A with me. I was a little upset I’d already committed to as many reviews as I could handle when Dave told me about your book, Knightmare Arcanist, coming on tour. It sounds fascinating so I wanted to get in the tour in any way I could.

I’m looking forward to hearing what you have to say, so I’ll kick off my questions now!

  1. You’ve released the first 4 books since June 2019, how long was this story in your head
    • First off, thank you for having me!
    • It’s a pleasure to be here! In terms of books? The series is set for 7 books and one spin-off of short stories from the viewpoint of other characters.
  2. What was the inspiration for these characters?
    • Each character is a little part of me, but it’s actually a bunch of archetypes I just love to see. Volke is filled with determination, and clashes with the haughty Zaxis. Illia is resourceful, and helps Volke whenever she can—the dynamics are what I love best!
  3. How did you come up with such a unique take on magic and mythical creatures?
    • I really love magical creatures, I have Pokemon to blame! Anything to do with creature companions as well. These are my jam. As for the magic system, I just thought it would be interesting to have magics based on the creatures themselves. Finding the biggest and best creature—the adventure of growing alongside them. So many possibilities!
  4. Which character is your favourite and why?
    • Volke and Zelfree are tied for me. Volke because of his personality. I adore it. And Zelfree because he gets lost in his own failings sometimes—very relatable, at least to me!
  5. Does this series have a finite number of books, or could it go on forever?
    • The series is planned for 7 (plus 1) but I’ve given thought to a sequel series already. Maybe it could go on forever?
  6. Have you got plans for more books in the series?
    • I’m currently writing the fifth book, World Serpent Arcanist. So, yes! Plenty more!
  7. If you could pick any actor to play Volke, who would it be and why?
    • I would probably go with Alex Landi—but maybe someone younger? I think he might be too old now.
  8. Does the cover artwork represent something significant in each book?
    • Yes, definitely! The cover of Knightmare Arcanist has the phoenix and Volke’s black sword!
  9. What are you currently reading? What do you think of it so far?
    • I’m currently reading A Daughter of Blood by Anne Bishop. I love it! This is the third time I’m reading through it.
  10. If you could sum up this book in one sentence to make people read it, what would that sentence be?
    • Probably: a coming-of-age fantasy filled with pirates, mythical creatures, and a plague most foul!

Thank you again for taking the time to answer my questions! I hope you had as much fun as I did. And I’m looking forward to reading your books in the future.

Anthea – Proud Book Reviews

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Mid-Year Freak Out Tag – the 2020 edition

I discovered this tag last year and the lovely ladies over at The Book Duchesses reminded me it’s time to do this one again. If I’ve reviewed the book the cover will link to the review while you’ll also find links to the series pages for quite a few of them as well. Just in case you’d like to check out my reviews for the rest of the series!

Best book you’ve read so far

This book was so great. So many great characters and such a great story. Camilla did do well with this one that I decided I needed to go back and buy the first few books I haven’t read yet. Reviews for those will be coming once I’ve read them!

Best sequel you’ve read so far

It was a long two year wait for this one but man it was worth it! Sean definitely knows how to write suspense and thriller! The Circle-A Killings title didn’t make sense to me until I read it. But it fits perfectly and such a great follow up!

New release you haven’t read yet, but want to

I totally forgot this one was coming out until I saw someone’s review of it! It’s one both my partner and I want to read. Maybe we’ll read it this yr. Maybe not?

Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

Definitely Our Time! I haven’t even read the second or third book but I’m already looking forward to this one!

Biggest disappointment

I was really disappointed with this one. I loved Kristin’s books last yr, but Rise of Gaia just didn’t do it for me.

Biggest surprise

I’m not really a fan of YA but Devri Walls totally surprised me with Venators! To me it read more like a NA rather than YA which explains why I liked it.

I’ve already read the sequel and the third book is coming out shortly so hopefully I’ll get to read that one this yr too.

Favourite new author (debut or new to you)

I had quite a few new authors this year, but DL Orton tops the cake. So much so I’m planning to read the next 3 books in the series this year!

But I also wanted to give Darryl A. Woods and Devri Walls shout out’s coz I really enjoyed their books!

Newest fictional crush

Jamie Carter from If I Never Met You. He’s what my partner would say is a guy that has “just the right amount of ass hole”. That guy that is nice, friendly, caring etc but at the same time not 100% PC in a way that makes him amazing.

Newest favourite character

This one was so hard!!! I like characters for different reasons. I decided to go with When Adam Met Evie because it’s set in Australia, reminded me so much of our beautiful country and at the same time stayed down to earth.

With everything Adam has going on in his life, he still managed to make his own decisions and do what was best for him. To me, that says a lot about his strength of character.

Book that made you cry

The whole Lisa Miller and AJ Williams series made me cry. Although I read Lisa’s trilogy last year and AJ’s this year so I guess his is the one I’m putting here.

Favourite book to film adaptation you’ve seen this year

I’m not sure I can count Lord of the Rings so I’m going with this. But we also re-watched LOTR a few weeks ago and I do love those movies.

Favourite review you’ve written this year

I loved Of Night and Dark Obscurity and I’m really happy with how I was able to write about it without ruining the story. Because that would’ve been too easy to do!

I might also be super proud of the banner I made for it! I mean, look at how pretty this is! This book’s cover is just amazing and made it so easy to make a pretty banner!

Most beautiful book you’ve bought or received this year

I don’t really buy many physical books so I don’t see many pretty covers. But I did buy this so I could read and review it (eventually) and it is pretty nice.

What book(s) do you need to read by the end of this year

OMG! So many! I’ve committed to the Aussie Author Challenges and I still need to read:

  • The Alchemist’s Key
  • Stray
  • Thief’s Magic
  • Ballarat Character Vol 1
  • The Landing
  • The Time Traveller’s Wife
  • Altered Carbon (need to finish it, I’m about halfway through)
  • Thirty-Eight Reasons
  • And an unknown book that has a main character who’s name starts with “U” (I need help with this one, any suggestions please give them to me!!!)

So I might have totally forgotten how difficult this is! For some of them I felt like I had too many choices, while for others I didn’t have enough!

I hope you had fun playing along with me!

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Wrap Up – June

This month has only been reviews but I’m so glad I was able to keep up with my schedule. I’m slowly getting back on track so hopefully I’ll get back to being about 3-4 weeks ahead so I don’t have to stress soon!

Out of 9 reviews I’m actually surprised only 3 are romance given my penchant for reading romance since blogging. You’ll hopefully continue to see a good mix of genres in the future, but you never know!

My Fav

This was so incredibly close to Crossing in Time but If It’s Only Love only just won out. Probably because it’s the end of the series. It wow’d me in so many good ways and I just loved every minute of it!

My review for this is coming in June so you’ll need to come back then to see all my thoughts. Sorry!

But please also check out Crossing in Time coz I’ll be reading the rest of the series (what’s available) in the next few months so I’ll be sharing those reviews closer to the release date of the next book to be released.

My Least Fav

I’m actually hating that I have to put The Summoned Ones as my least fav book for this month. Like, I gave it 4 stars! That’s not a bad book!

It just happened that I liked the others a smidgen more than this one.

Darryl is a debut author and I’ve given him some feedback above what I’ve written in my review because I really want to see him succeed and continue to publish books. They were all minor things that many authors publishing through publishing houses could improve on too.

Please go and read my review, check out his site and show some support coz I really wanna read the next book and I know a few of you would enjoy this as well.

Bookish Goals Progress

I’m kicking butt at reading more sci-fi. Found a new series so be prepared for the rest of the series coming to you in the coming months!

My GoodReads goal is going well. I’ve read 42 books this year out of the 80 I said I wanted to read. So at halfway through the year I’m just over halfway through my goal! YAY!

My Aussie challenges aren’t going as fast as I thought they would. I really need to make time to read those books! I’ve read 30% of the Aussie Author Bingo (no change since last month) and 72% of the A-Z of Characters challenge (up from 64% last month).

Although I’m almost at the point of asking if I can use a character with U in the name somewhere rather than as the first letter of their first or last name. I just can’t seem to find a book I want to read, or plan to read that fulfils this one!

Personal Goals Progress

Yea these are pretty much on hold. LOL!

Running has stopped for a few reasons. 1, it’s too bloody cold and my treadmill isn’t good for my running program and 2, I don’t trust the morons out with their dogs to keep away from Bones.

Because of said morons I’ve had to pull his walking back all the way to our street and I’m only just starting to venture out to our block. We’ve had a lot of set backs thanks to COVID-19 with his anxiety and stuff. But we’re making progress again so I’m hoping I can keep that forward momentum.

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Wrap Up – April and May

It’s been two months since I’ve done one of these so I’ll be doing a wrap up for both April and May today. In that time I’ve done 14 reviews and 2 posts

I had planned on having a few more come out, but I got caught up in 50+ hour working weeks and… you know… things happened!

My Fav

Song of the Soul was the last book in the series. I enjoyed every book in this series and it was a REALLY close call between this one and Venators: Promises Forged (review coming in June).

I know not every series ends well. But Lisa didn’t let that happen this time!

You can see reviews for all seven books in the series on the Muse Chronicles page.

My Least Fav

Overall, I enjoyed Holding out for a Hero. I just found parts could be improved upon to make it amazing. It just wasn’t quite there enough for me to fully engage with it and love it like I’ve loved other books.

Check out my review to see why I thought it could be improved.

Bookish Goals Progress

Well I FINALLY finished reviewing all the books in one of Tamora Pierce’s books. I think I’ll wait until I’ve actually written all the reviews for the next world before scheduling those reviews. That way you won’t have to wait so long and with random gaps between reviews to see what I thought.

I nailed all the series reviews I had planned (Time for Alexander and the Muse Chronicles) YAY! I even have a few more planned. Some I’ve read most of, some I’ve read a couple and want to finish. But you’ll see those coming over the next few months.

I’ve read 30% of the books for the Aussie Author Bingo and 64% of the A-Z of Characters. I’ve got a few of those planned to be reviewed in the next month or so, so that number will keep going up! I’m slowly getting there!

Other than the fact I’m stuck on a book with a character whose name starts with U. I mean seriously. How have I not come across a single book where a character’s name starts with a U this year?!

Otherwise, I’m not doing so great at my reading goals. Does anyone want to help me with my book database? It’s just data entry! lol…

Personal Goals Progress

Well with this damned coronavirus going around my gym has shut down. And since I have asthma that’s triggered by the cold and we’re coming into winter where I live, I won’t be going back for a bit once it’s allowed to reopen. Coz you know. Compromised respiratory system and respiratory virus isn’t really a good mix.

I have been able to keep up my running though! I’m now up to Week 6 Day 1 (5 mins jogging, 3 mins walk, 8 mins jogging, 3 mins walk, 5 mins jogging) and going strong. I stay on the same day until I feel like I can do it comfortably before moving on.

Otherwise I’ve just been working like crazy for 2 clients. One we’re still working on the prototype (once we’ve got the template nailed they’ll be super quick to make in the future) and one is a contract where I’m employed as an individual. But it’s still doing the same work I do as my business so I’m super happy!

Anyway, assuming I can remember (and feel like looking at a screen) to schedule all my reviews as I’ve got planned, you’ll be getting one or two reviews each week until end of August.

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Altered Carbon – The Wrong Man (Season 01 Episode 05)

  • Episode length: 53 minutes
  • Number of pages: 49
  • Number of chapters: 4

We’re back to the show and the book falling in line with each other. Kind of.

I had a few issues figuring out where to stop reading since a fair few things that happened in the show haven’t happened in the book. And I don’t mean like the single event that the episode ended on. I mean like 3 different things.  

SPOILERS AHEAD – WON’T RUIN THE SHOW BUT WILL TELL YOU SOME THINGS YOU MIGHT NOT WANT TO KNOW BEFORE WATCHING/READING IT

SHOWBOOK
The interview with Kadmin was done illegally in a real bodyThe interview with Kadmin was done legitimately in virtual reality
The Raven finds out about Bancroft being at the fight ring and Kovacs tells OrtegaThe visit Kovacs and Ortega pay to Kadmin’s lawyers is how they find out about the fight ring
The fight ringleader shows them footage of Bancroft getting into a fight with his son in the standsThe fight ringleader answers some questions but has no footage to show them and appears to be holding back on info
Ortega is badly wounded while Bautista is killed after interviewing KadminThis doesn’t happen in the book at all

I didn’t find too many similarities in this section of the book as we seem to be getting more and more variations. As more and more little things change the flow on effects mean more changes need to be made as well.

We may see some things circling back and being shown/read later down the line but I’m not going to know until I get to them.

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Altered Carbon – Force of Evil (Season 01 Episode 04)

  • Episode length: 53 minutes
  • Pages read: 32
  • Chapters read: 3

As I continue my comparison of the book to the TV show, I’ve found that they are in line again. But will it continue?

SPOILERS AHEAD – WON’T RUIN THE SHOW BUT WILL TELL YOU SOME THINGS YOU MIGHT NOT WANT TO KNOW BEFORE WATCHING/READING IT

SHOWBOOK
Kovacs wakes up in his own body with no enhancements and some defaultsKovacs wakes up in a female body with no enhancements
Kovacs remembers his training with Falconer to beat the virtual tortureKovacs remembers his friend Jimmy to beat the virtual torture
Kovacs gives the speech after waking up that convinces them to unlock himKovacs gives the speech in virtual that gets him released from the torture
Kovacs kills everyone in the facility after getting free and before leavingKovacs leaves with an escort then kills them while in the flying car
Kovacs leaves with Kadmins headKovacs leaves with a doctor’s head
Kovacs sees Ortega at the hotelKovacs goes back to kill everyone after escaping the car and avoids the cops as they arrive

Although Kovacs was tortured in both the book and the show, the show was much more graphic and detailed. Which explains why the book was short compared to it being so accurate to the show. Given books generally have more time and space to be more graphic I was a little surprised that this was the case.

The overall feel of the episode followed the book; however, I’m starting to see more and more differences. Which is ok!

Adapting a book to a film version does mean changes will happen. Which is great coz we get to see the writer’s interpretation of the book. And I’m excited to see what those changes will include!

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Wrap Up – March

Holy crap this month seems to have been a crazy month where the whole world went a little crazy with coronavirus. Like how does a beer’s stock price fall just coz some virus shares some of it’s name?! How silly can people be?!

In that time I’ve been able to kick start a new series and still posted 11 reviews.

I’ve been working a little more this month so haven’t spent as much time reading and I’ve also been spending time watching Altered Carbon and reading that for the series comparisons. Which means I’ve only read like 5 books this month.

I’m hoping by the time this goes live that it’s 6 books. But I’m not making any promises!

My Fav

This is a last minute change for me. I honestly can’t wait to be able to read the next book in the series and hope it won’t be too long until I can.

Because of this, I had to change from my previous choice, Summer in Provence. You’ll be able to see my full review in April.

My Least Fav

This honestly wasn’t a bad book and I have a review coming for this next week. Yet it had more flaws than the other books I read this month so somehow ended up here.

I also hate doing this coz it’s by an Aussie author and I don’t read many of those and I want to promote them rather than shoot them down.

So please come back next week to see all my thoughts about it!

Bookish Goals Progress

I was able to start my first book to film comparison with Altered Carbon and I’m feeling good about the progress. Especially given the positive feedback I’ve been getting for it. Although I’d still do it even if I didn’t have it since I don’t focus on stats and stuff too much.

I’ve managed to hold strong with Rachel’s tours so I can also get around to the NetGalley and other ARCs I have. Although I have been able to keep up with at least one book read a week which is good.

Once I finish reading Altered Carbon I’ll be 50% of the way through the A-Z Character challenge, while I’ve also been able to read one book for the Aussie Author Bingo challenge.

Personal Goals Progress

So fitness wise I took a slight backwards step from a couple of injuries but I’m getting back into it. I just need to be careful now that it’s starting to get colder so my asthma doesn’t flare up and really take me out of action.

Although with coronavirus going around, and talk of us all needing to self-isolate I’m not sure how all of that’s going to go. Although the gym I go to is giving us workouts we can do at home which is awesome.

Bones is also making some progress with his reactions to other dogs. We’re getting closer and closer to getting him to make his first doggy friend. I’m hoping with a few more buckets of water and some time we’ll get there. Slowly… O so slowly…

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Altered Carbon – In a Lonely Place (Season 01 Episode 03)

  • Episode length: 51 minutes
  • Pages read: 25
  • Chapters read: 2

The episode and the book are so different this time! Like SOOOO different!!

SPOILERS AHEAD – WON’T RUIN THE SHOW BUT WILL TELL YOU SOME THINGS YOU MIGHT NOT WANT TO KNOW BEFORE WATCHING/READING IT

SHOWBOOK
Kovacs is invited and went to dinner party at Bancroft’sNo invite was issued, and no party happened
Elliot takes Kovacs to get weaponsKovacs goes to the armourer Bancroft recommended
The knife bio-weapon goes to the tipThe knife bio-weapon is no where near the edges to ensure the owner doesn’t get poisoned
The hooker, Louise, drugs KovacsKovacs goes with them willingly and is drugged at the facility

Since there was so many differences between the two in this episode, there’s not too many similarities to look at. So let’s have a look at them.

Other than Kovacs getting weapons, seeing Louise and being kidnapped, there’s like no similarities between the book and the show. Which isn’t surprising given that this makes up all of like 10 minutes of the episode and only 25 pages.

Not much time to have anything really happen.

I’m kinda hoping that the dinner party happens later in the book so that I can see some of those bits playing out in more detail.

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Altered Carbon – Fallen Angel ( Season 01 Episode 02)

  • Episode length: 57 minutes
  • Number of pages: 51
  • Number of chapters: 4

This episode follows the book pretty much to a tee. Theres hardly any differences between the two, although I’ve outlined them below for you.

SPOILERS AHEAD – WON’T RUIN THE SHOW BUT WILL TELL YOU SOME THINGS YOU MIGHT NOT WANT TO KNOW BEFORE WATCHING/READING IT

You can see the differences summarised in the table.

SHOWBOOK
Kovacs is woken up by Prescott (the lawyer) being in his roomKovacs is woken up by the hotel with news that Prescott is on her way up
Kovacs sees the re-sleeving facility and interviews Mr and Mrs Bancroft while thereKovacs goes to Alcatraz to see the storage and re-sleeving facility Bancroft owns and uses
Kovacs reviews all the death threats with the AI from The RavenKovacs reviews all the death threats with Prescott
Elliot is a black man who has his daughters stack in VRElliot is an old white man sitting on a bench
Elliot needs to be forced to talk about what happened to his daughterElliot freely talks about what happened to his daughter
Kovacs chases a guy to cause a fight outside of the brothelKovacs is jumped by Elliot and then others
Ortega arrests Kovacs for organic damageOrtega saves Kovacs from the guy he was chasing

Although there are minor differences in how these are presented, I think I can understand why. I don’t think there was as much awareness around diversity back in 2002 when Altered Carbon was first published as there was 16 years later when Netflix released the TV show. Given the lack of black representation in a country that has such a huge black community I can understand wanting to make a few characters black that may not have originally been.

Although there are minor differences in how these are presented, I think I can understand why. I don’t think there was as much awareness around diversity back in 2002 when Altered Carbon was first published as there was 16 years later when Netflix released the TV show. Given the lack of black representation in a country that has such a huge black community I can understand wanting to make a few characters black that may not have originally been.

I think because this episode so closely resembled the book, they were only able to get through 4 chapters (51 pages) compared to the 6 chapters (72 pages) of the first episode. I’m looking forward to seeing the spread of the remaining episodes in the coming weeks.  

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