Sanctum: Forests of Avalon follows a knight and his companion on a quest to save the dying world of Avalon. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?
In our first book when we had Isolde come to Setesh, and she was a stranger in a strange land. For the readers – we wanted them to experience the “newness” of the world through her eyes. With Forest of Avalon – we wanted to create context for the audience to understand what kind of world she came from and how VASTLY different it was to Setesh in both culture & environment. Both CS & I are fans of Arthurian Fantasy so the concept of the land dying and being poisoned at its heart was our nod to those stories of old, as well as giving us an opportunity to put a spin on it.
How long did it take you to imagine, draft, and write the world your characters live in?
For Avalon – CS began in November of 2020, but then holidays and the world going politically crazy – we really started the engines again in early 2021 and finished officially in September/October. So basically 10 months to create new characters/creatures, personalities, as well as give the land of Avalon substance.
What character did you enjoy writing for? Was there one that was more challenging to write for?
While I can’t answer for CS – personally, it isn’t so much as a specific character – but the back and forth verbal sparring between the main & side characters. My goal is to always make sure that the characters you meet are more than two-dimensional cameos. I want them to seem like they have lives and responsibilities beyond their interaction with the main characters.
While both CS & I write for both Isolde & Tulok – the most challenging thing is ensuring that there isn’t any character bleed. If I write the actions of one character one way – I want to be sure that the attitudes and actions are consistent when I write. This way, when CS takes up the pen for her sessions – she can look back at that consistency, and know where she can go with her take. Since we don’t occupy the same living space, and have our own lives – we end up sending messages and DMs to one another asking why the other did this or complimenting the direction that was taken. Writing solo is one thing – but writing as a partnership is challenging but extremely satisfying when we’re in tune.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
We are currently working on the third book of the series (to be named) and ideally we are also aiming at completing it by the end of the year. So come December – watch out! Sanctum is coming for you once again!
Posted in Interviews
Tags: adventure, author, author interview, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, C.S. Kading, ebook, epic fantasy, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, kindle, kobo, literature, mythology, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, Sanctum: Forests of Avalon, story, Tony Fuentes, writer, writing
Isolde duAvalonne, as she is formally known, is out of her element. She has found herself in a land in which she does not belong and in which she isn’t truly happy. She, however, is not fully aware of this fact. When Safar takes her aside and tells her as much, Isolde realizes that her journey is far from over. There is something she must do and, more importantly, someone she must find. Isolde will not be able to rest until she reunites with Father Tulok. There is a mission awaiting them, and their companionship may prove to be the remedy Avalon needs.
Sanctum: Forests of Avalon is the second in a series by C.S. Kading and Tony Fuentes and takes an extensive look into the adventures of Isolde duAvalonne, a wandering knight and her companion, the Radiant Priest Tulok. Having begun their journey together in book one, the pair reunites in this novel to take on the atrocities being committed in Avalon. Isolde’s dreams are an integral part of the plot of Kading and Fuentes’s novel and provide stunning visuals for readers. Fans of fantasy and science fiction will appreciate the amount of detail in the authors’ writing. As the second book in the series, the author’s take extra time and care to catch readers up on the essential parts from book one, seamlessly melding the two books.
Readers will be left speechless at the twists and turns from one chapter to the next. There is no downtime, and there are no long stretches of wordy narrative. Each of Kading and Fuentes’s characters is a fantastic stand alone entity, well-developed, and exudes his/her own captivating personality. From Isolde and Father Tulok to the Fae who inhabit Avalon, they are all memorable in their own right and truly make the novel all the more extraordinary. Readers will not want to miss the introduction, it catapults them into the story. In the six short pages preceding chapter one, the authors take readers on a journey like no other. Moving from zero to sixty in a matter of a few sentences, it will leave you breathless.
Sanctum: Forests of Avalon (The Word of Sanctum Book 2), by C.S. Kading and Tony Fuentes, is a riveting read for those that enjoy Mythology, legends, science fiction, and a fast paced action packed fantasy series.
Pages: 524 | ASIN: B09LBCTQBV
Tags: adventure, author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, C.S. Kading, ebook, fantasy, goodreads, kindle, kobo, legends, literature, mythology, myths and legends, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, Sanctum, science fiction, story, sword and sorcery, writer, writing
Sanctum: Sands of Setesh follows a Knight Wanderer on a final quest but the desert proves deadlier than expected. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?
Honestly? We live in Arizona, so we are surrounded by the desert, and it is always trying to kill you, if you aren’t careful. The Pandemic had just started, and the Governor had just placed our State under lock-down. Tony and I were sent home to work from our houses, and had only our household companions and the internet to keep us company. We had often written little stories and side quests for a couple of groups that we belonged to (We are old-school fantasy gaming nerds). So we just started to write a scene back and forth in Google Docs about these two characters. Well, ok, they are kinda cool – but… how did they meet? What did that look like? Next thing we know, our little story (that was designed to keep us sane) was 50,000 words and growing. So we decided to turn it into its own story… and here we are. Did the current environment play into the formation of the plot? Maybe a little, can’t lie.
Isolde du’Avalonne is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind her character development?
Isolde really is that young woman who is seeking to make her mark on the world – in this case, a world that may not be too thrilled to accept the path that she has chosen for herself. She is an idealist as well as being steadfast in her friendships; even when those friendships may involve a people that her own might have avoided historically. She is the eternal optimist – not because she always finds the silver lining in every rain cloud, but rather because she chooses to recognize that challenges and hardships are part of life – she can either embrace those hardships as potential for lessons and become stronger for them, or allow them to consume her. If she (in her youth and inexperience) can still manage to continue the battle, even when offered a reprieve … she stands as a beacon of hope for others who might otherwise throw in the towel.
Being perfectly honest, I think see a lot of my daughter in Isolde – a young woman, coming into her own, and facing the world and all that it has become. She’s a pretty inspiring kid.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
There are a lot of hidden (and not-so-hidden) themes in Sands of Setesh. We have an overarching theme of acceptance that we see in the relationship between Isolde and Tulok. Not only do they have to come to terms with their differences in faith, but also their racial and cultural differences. It was really important that when we wrote Sands, that Isolde did not become a “white savior” type of character. She is in a strange land, with different people, and different customs, and she has to figure things out on their terms…and she gets her butt handed to her more than once in the process. She has to learn about these people, and their land … and their Gods… to survive. Her own faith helps to guide her; but not to the detriment of the Seteshi.
We also see the psychology of nature versus nurture in Tulok. Man versus Monster. Intellect versus Passion. He has chosen the path of the faithful, which has cut him off from his own people. Does that make him LESS than what he would have been otherwise?
We have some obvious call-outs to embracing female heroes as worthy of their own leading roles, and not merely being labeled a romanceable side-character.
Being honest – it’s more than a little about racism, and overcoming it – being better, and doing better than those who came before us. Finding the similarities in cultures, celebrating and embracing these as well as appreciating uniqueness instead of denigrating for difference. It’s the realization that we are all in this together, and without each other, we are not gonna pull through it on our own.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
We are currently working on a follow up to Sanctum: Sands of Setesh where we travel to Isolde’s homeland and continue our adventure there. Working title is Forests of Avalon. No more spoilers there; except to say you will get some deeper insight on the complexity of the cultures of Sanctum and what the Reaping meant for other lands. We are about ¾ of the way done with the 1st draft and hope to have it finished around the same time this year (September) as last.
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Tags: adventure, author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, C.S. Kading, ebook, epic fantasy, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, kindle, kobo, literature, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, Sanctum: Sands of Setesh, story, suspense, sword and sorcery, thriller, writer, writing
Isolde duAvalonne, Knight Wanderer, wakes up in the most strange of circumstances. Flashes of her childhood cross her mind as she begins to regain consciousness and take stock of her surroundings. She hears more than she can see and tries with all her might to take it all in. When she finally has her wits about her once more, she is introduced to Father Tulok, and the questions begin. Isolde is a Wanderer and was on a mission when she was discovered. Still apprehensive about her surroundings, she begins to tell the tale–a tale that begins with the Undead.
Sanctum: Sands of Setesh, by C.S. Kading and Tony Fuentes, is a uniquely spun fantasy that rivals any I have read in all of 2020. So accustomed to the typical fantasy with mythical beings and dialogue fraught with rich and, at times, over-the-top terminology, Kading and Fuentes’s work was a real breath of fresh air. It was simply refreshing to read exchanges between characters that contained more modern phrasing and interactions that felt more in tune with the 21st century. It’s a combination I wasn’t expecting but one for which I was thankful once I began delving into Isolde’s world.
Life has its humor, and I think fiction writing should always incorporate lighthearted moments and periodic banter between characters. Kading and Fuentes fit the bill with Sanctum: Sands of Setesh. The quips and jabs made throughout the book make the fantasy world more relatable and much more appealing. They have done with this book what so many other authors fail to do in fantasies–they bring the characters full circle.
I quickly became invested in the story unfolding before me. Isolde’s journey is one readers can easily follow, and they will find themselves caught up in the imagery that laces each chapter. I love that this quest is one more about the characters and less about violence and bloodshed. Fantasies can be predictable in that way, but the authors far surpass any of the usual measures of the fantasy genre and have created their own brand.
Sanctum: Sands of Setesh will give fans of the fantasy genre a new way of looking at their favorite genre. Cover to cover, this lengthy novel contains everything needed to hook readers, transport them to another world, and keep them coming back for more.
Pages: 478 | ASIN: B08GKBY5KP
Tags: adventure, author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, C.S. Kading, ebook, epic fantas, epic fantasy, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, kindle, kobo, literature, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, Sanctum, story, Tony Fuentes, writer, writing