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This is where fact and fiction blur

Tarrant Smith
Tarrant Smith Author Interview

The Souls of Witches follows a demon with a dark past and a witch that must challenge her assumption of soul mates after one passionate night. What were some sources that informed this novels development?

I’m not sure what you mean by sources. The characters always come to me fully formed in my mind so beyond knowing what their strengths and limitations are, I just set the stage and let the book play out. But as I was working on Souls of Witches, I did realize I had inadvertently echoed a previous book of mine, Surrendered Darkly. In that book there is the question of if you can fall in love with someone from your past after they’ve broke your heart. I say The Souls of Witches is an echo of that previous book because Rowan and Lars have sex in the beginning of the book, go their separate ways, and then find themselves thrown back together by circumstances or fate. So how do you now create a relationship from what was the definition of a one-night stand with a virtual stranger? Each book puts the cart before the horse and deals with the question of “now what” and “can this really work”.

As to sources, many years ago I went to a witches ball in Atlanta, Georgia. Much of what I put in those chapters occurred on that night. But not all. This is where fact and fiction blur. I also have personal knowledge of witchcraft, the holidays that are celebrated, and an intimate knowledge of kitchen witchery, hedge witchery, and what it’s like to work in a café. Concerning Lars, I had already laid out in book 3, The Dreams of Demons, what the limitations and demands a demon character would possess. Strict adherence to those world-building rules played a large part in the direction this love story took.

What were some challenges you set for yourself as a writer with this book?

I thought my biggest challenge was going to be creating a solid relationship between two characters that didn’t hinge strictly on their sexual chemistry, but it turned out that it was far more difficult to accurately portray Rowan’s magick and power as a witch, specifically a kitchen witch. You see, all of the supernatural characters that are represented in the fictional Pale are, of course, products of my imagination. The gods, demigods, werewolves, demons, shifters, and fae are based on myths. But witches actually do exist in our modern-day world. I’m one of them and have been for the past 30 years. I’ve also known other witches, all of whom get a little tired of the way witches as a group are portrayed in books and Hollywood. So when I decided to create this series, I was determined to represent witches in a realistic way even though this is fiction and all the other supernatural characters would likely dominate the series. Witches are human. They love nature. They have varying gifts and talents. Some are odd. Some are mean. And, the way each witch expresses magick in the world is different. With Rowan, I wanted to inform the reader as to how a kitchen witch experiences magick along with creating a cool love story. Describing energy, the taste and feel of it on the tongue and skin, turned out to be a difficult dilemma for me. I think after many attempts and edits, I came reasonably close.

I enjoyed Lars and Rowan’s relationship. What were some ideas you wanted to explore with their relationship?

This book’s plot, more than any other in the Legends of the Pale Series, was driven by the two main characters. Each of their arcs is a little different, Lars’s journey of self-awareness being the greater, but both Rowan and Lars had to overcome internal struggles and definitions of who they thought they were in order to gain a happy ending for the reader. Lars had to confront his past, learn who his mother really was, and in doing so accept that his father wasn’t the monster he’d always believed him to be. Rowan had to reexamine her life choices, learn to lower her protective walls, and accept that though she is a mere kitchen witch that she’s also powerful. Powerful enough to control Lars, a being who undisputedly sits at the top levels of the Pale’s supernatural hierarchy. And without giving away how she does it, Rowan also had to be the one to rescue Lars and their future together.

So the shorter answer to the above question is that in order to find true happiness and acceptance with someone else, we have to examine our own baggage.

This is the fourth book in the Legends of the Pale series. Will you continue the series, or are will you be focusing on different stories?

Yes, I love this series and have several more book ideas in the works. Because each is a stand-alone novel, I’m not tied to following just a few characters. Instead I have the entire universe of the Pale in which to play. I’m currently working on The Tears of Dragons and The Heart of Monsters. I hope to release one of them by the end of this year.

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Orphaned at the age of six, Lars’s earliest memories are of the violent encounters between the demon who sired him and his demigod mother. His unique history, which he’d like to forget, is what allows Lars to live a charmed life within the supernatural communities collectively known as the Pale. With the goddess Rhiannon as his patron, he wants for nothing. But after encountering Rowan Morgan at a local Witches Ball, Lars must face disturbing truths about his banished past before his ignorance and cravings kill her.

Rowan is a solitary witch by nature and a kitchen witch by inclination. The life she has carved out for herself is a small one, but also deeply satisfying. Rowan loves nothing more than tending her herb garden, baking sweets for the local café, and spending time with her best friends. She is fiercely independent and has never truly felt as if she were someone’s other half. Yet after a single night in the arms of a dark and mysterious lover, Rowan is forced to reconsider her past assumptions about the existence of soulmates. And if she and Lars are truly destined for one another, then how can such drastically different people learn to share a life together?

Thing Bailiwick: A Collection of Horror

Thing Bailiwick: A Collection of Horror4 StarsInsensately macabre.

Thing Bailiwick is a collection of short horror stories by the ever-talented Fawn Bonning who pulled no punches in the gathering of these works. Stretching from the horribly, “pus-filled” scenes of stomach-wrenching gore to the much lighter, yet psychologically damming sets and characters, Ms. Bonning did not hesitate to irrevocably leave the reader checking corners and under beds. Her mix of both psychological fear and physical torment coincide within these pages as a ghoul may live at peace within a swamp; the epitome of bliss.

Within this particular swamp, a word I have chosen to use affectionately, there can be found many ghouls and shadows. Containing 12 individual stories, some longer, some shorter, each and every one leaves the reader wondering what would happen next, and what in the world happened throughout! The sense of mystery one feels at the conclusion of each story is enough to drive one insane, not to mention the insanity gained from reading just one or two of these tales. From hell hounds to the trials and tribulations of a young boy, this collection of horror stories has some form of terror for everyone!

I would have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed Thing Bailiwick; each story had its own bit of charm and personality to it. The various styles and settings used within the collection make it seem as if there were multiple authors involved, instead of just reading the works of one single artist. As minuscule a feature as that may seem, it was almost unhinging for me personally when multiple stories were read in one sitting or within a short amount of time. The reader was initially in one location learning about the personality of this character and their problems when suddenly you start another story and it is something completely different. Now, this wouldn’t be so unhinging if it wasn’t for the different types of language the author is able to use. It was definitely the changes in dialect and characters ways of speaking that provided me with the feeling of being lost within the book; a feeling I have found to be most fun to deal with within the confines of horror fiction.

While I had a lot of love for this collection and for the authors writing styles, I must admit that the previous mention of mystery at the end of these stories is done much more gracefully in some stories than others. I did find myself wondering what the author meant to imply after finishing two or three of the tales. It is obvious that the beginning of some of the stories foreshadow the endings, but I could not get a handle on some. It appeared that the author attempted to make some endings very deep and pensive in order to allow the reader to continue thinking about the story long after they’ve finished it. I love that angle, it works, and I respect it.

Ms. Bonning has an affinity for pulling the monsters, kicking and screaming, right out of the closet and forcing them into the light. She has taken the seemingly innocent and innocuous and made them into devils, and sorcerers, and anything else one may fear. This collection is phenomenal and I recommend it highly to those who have a taste for horror fiction and psychological trauma! A sure cure for hypersomnia, this collection will prevent you from ever sleeping again!

Pages: 452 | ASIN: B015EQAM02

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