Witchlanders Blog Tour & Giveaway! Author Interview with... Lena Coakley!

12:00 AM

I'm happy to be taking part today in the blog tour for Witchlanders, the debut novel of Canadian author Lena Coakley, which was just released on August 30! If you're looking for a high fantasy novel filled with magic and great storytelling, then I'm sure you'll be interested in checking out the novel. Thanks to Simon & Schuster Canada and Kismet Book Touring, I was able to ask the author a few questions...

High in their mountain covens, red witches pray to the Goddess, protecting the Witchlands by throwing the bones and foretelling the future.

It’s all a fake.

At least, that’s what Ryder thinks. He doubts the witches really deserve their tithes—one quarter of all the crops his village can produce. And even if they can predict the future, what danger is there to foretell, now that his people’s old enemy, the Baen, has been defeated?

But when a terrifying new magic threatens both his village and the coven, Ryder must confront the beautiful and silent witch who holds all the secrets. Everything he’s ever believed about witches, the Baen, magic and about himself will change, when he discovers that the prophecies he’s always scorned—

Are about him.

1) Who was your favourite character to write about in Witchlanders? 

I loved creating Bodread the Slayer, Falpian’s dog. He’s such a complex and important character and yet he can’t say a word. It was a real writing challenge. Of course, if Bo could talk it would have ruined a couple of the book’s big reveals, because I think he always knows what’s going on long before any of the human characters do. 

In a way, Bo is a character foil for Falpian. Like Falpian, Bo is initially considered something of a disappointment—he’s the runt of the litter; he’s lazy; he only fights when he has to—but while Falpian feels the great weight of his father’s disapproval and tries to be someone he’s not, Bo is always magnificently himself. 

2) Along with their beliefs in certain deities, how did you develop the history of the Baen and Witchlanders?

Layer by layer. I wanted both the Baen culture and the Witchlander culture to have real depth, to be rich and complex. It wasn’t something I could do overnight. This book was ten years in the making, and I think one of the reasons it took so long was because I was constantly embellishing the world. Like many fantasy writers, I think I owe a debt to JRR Tolkien here. For me, The Lord of the Rings is such a pleasure to read is because there is an implied history behind every detail—and it’s a history that Tolkien really knew, even if it didn’t end up on the page. I didn’t go so far as to create a whole language, as he did, but I certainly know much more about the Witchlands than ended up in WITCHLANDERS. 

3) Especially for the Baen, music and singing are an important part of your characters' lives as they take on the form of magic. Are there any particular songs you would find on a playlist for your novel? 

I think if you and I could hear the songs the Baen use to make magic, they would actually sound very strange and unmusical. While I was writing, I listened to a lot of classical choral music—especially Bach—but I don’t think Baen singing would sound anything like that. I used to sing in choirs and I still think there is something very thrilling about singing complex harmonies with other people—I’m sure that some of that came out in the writing of Witchlanders. 

4) There was one particular scene in Witchlanders which actually scared me because it involved spiders and I'm really afraid of bugs! What are some of your own fears? 

I love the spider scene! It was something I wrote in a late draft on the advice of my agent, Steven Malk, who suggested that Falpian needed to undergo some sort of ordeal while in the witches’ caves in order to be prepared for the events of the climax. I think he was absolutely right. 

Spiders don’t bother me at all, but I totally know where you are coming from because the latest Kelley Armstrong book starts with a scene where a character gets sucked under while swimming. This will sound odd to my friends because I love to swim, but I am terrified of being in dark water where I can’t see the bottom. My imagination can think up a thousand different creepy things that will reach out and pull me down. One of the scariest things I can think of doing is to go SCUBA diving in a sea cave. But I might just have to do it one day because I find facing big fears pretty exhilarating. 

5) What are you working on next for readers to love and enjoy? 

Oh! I really wish I could blab all about it because I am very excited by my next project! It isn’t sold at the moment, though, so I’m keeping it under wraps. It’s not a sequel to WITCHLANDERS (though I’d really like to write one!); it’s a historical fantasy with a completely different tone. Let’s hope I’ll be able to give you more details soon! 


Thanks so much to Lena for answering my questions! If you would like to learn more about Lena Coakley and Witchlanders, you can visit her website, follow her on Twitter, or friend her on Facebook. And if you missed it before, you can also read my review of Witchlanders! 

Surprise! My tour stop is the fourth and final secret blog stop on the Witchlanders Tour... and I'll be giving away one copy of Witchlanders! The giveaway is only open to US/CANADA (sorry international friends!) and the final day to enter will be Sunday, September 11, 2011. There's no need to be a follower, although the gesture is appreciated.

To enter, PLEASE FILL OUT THIS FORM and you'll be all set to go! Good luck!

-> Winner announced on Lena Coakley's blog! <-  

NOTE: Because I'm one of the secret stops, I don't have a question for the grand prize Kindle giveaway contest. If you would like to be entered for that giveaway and answer the question of the day, please visit the always awesome Kristi at The Story Siren where you will be able to find it! Further contest information will also be provided on Kristi's blog too.

Here is the full schedule for the Witchlanders Blog Tour:

Monday, August 22nd -The Page Turners
Tuesday, August 23rd- The Unread Reader  
BONUS post! Tuesday, August, 23rd - The Zealous Reader
Wednesday, August 24th - Books Complete Me  
BONUS post! Wednesday, August 24th - Rayment's Reading Rants and Rambles
Thursday, August 25th - We Fancy Books
Friday, August 26th - Read.Breathe.Relax

Monday, August 29th - Emilie’s Book World
Tuesday, August 30th - The Mundie Mom’s  
BONUS post! Tuesday, August 30th - YA Booklover's Blog
Wednesday, August 31st - The Enchanted Inkpot
Thursday, September 1st- Well Read Wife
Friday, September 2nd - A Journey of Books

Monday, September 5th- The Story Siren  
BONUS post! Monday, September 5th- Midnight Bloom Reads
Tuesday, September 6th - One A Day Y.A.
Wednesday, September 7th - Reading Angel
Thursday, September 8th - Soul Unsung
Friday, September 9th - Alice Marvel’s

Tuesday, September 13th: Announcement of the big prize winner on Lena's Site!

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  1. I'm really looking forward to this book and thanks so much for the chance to win a copy! :)

  2. Thanks for the giveaway! I can not wait to get my hands on a copy, via here or a bookstore, of this book!!

  3. I love fantasy and really want to read this. Thanks for the giveaway.

  4. Wait so there's no sequel for Witchlanders? I always assumed there would be one since it was an open ending...now I'm a little bummed to find this out.

  5. I'm hoping there will be a sequel for Witchlanders, Jenny! It's just that I have a one-book deal and the publisher has to see how Witchlanders does first.

    Just wanted to drop by and thank everybody for commenting, and especially thank Liz for having me on Midnight Bloom Reads today!

  6. Blech, spiders! Hate them (even though I trap the little buggers and throw them outside)!

    Good luck with the book and thanks for the giveaway!

  7. wooooooooo!! This was awesome! thank you so much!
    btw, I had no idea the author was Canadian! wow!! I've been wanting to read this one for a while! sounds amazing! High Fantasy hell yeah!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. I've watched the video trailer several times now and I still enjoy it a lot!

  9. Thank you for the giveaway! I think this book sounds so awesome. =O)