I’m thrilled to welcome the talented Lisa Shearin to the blog today. I am a huge fan of Lisa's Raine Benares books. They're filled with action, humour, and adventure and I'd recommend them to just about anyone who loves smart fantasy novels. Lisa is joining us today to talk about the newest Raine Benares book, ALL SPELL BREAKS LOOSE, which was released last week. It's the sixth book in the series and the final book in the Saghred storyline and it's awesome.
Read on to get to know Lisa and to learn all about ALL SPELL BREAKS LOOSE. Plus, you'll have a chance to win a copy of ALL SPELL BREAKS LOOSE from Penguin!
Hi, Lisa, and welcome to Tynga's Reviews! To start, could you tell us a little bit about Raine Benares and the world she lives in?
Raine Benares is a seeker, which is basically a detective who uses magic to find missing people and stolen objects. Raine Benares is the kind of friend you’d want to have. She’s unwaveringly loyal to her friends, unpretentious, tough yet vulnerable, sassy and irreverent, and as long as you’re anywhere near her you’ll never have a dull moment.
I based the island city of Mermeia on Venice. It’s just so cool and gorgeous and mysterious. Hmmm, that sounds a lot like Tam, too, doesn’t it? ; ) I wanted to start the series with a location that readers could anchor themselves in, to make the book more easily visualized, and the action more real.
If I understand correctly, ALL SPELL BREAKS LOOSE is the final book in the Saghred storyline but not necessarily the series. How does it feel to finally share the end of this storyline with readers?
The sixth book of the Raine Benares series—ALL SPELL BREAKS LOOSE—is the culmination of a storyline that began in 2007 with Magic Lost, Trouble Found. The action contained in those six books cover a mere three-month period in the lives of Raine and her friends. Three months. It’s hard to believe. When I look back over the entire series, I think one of the biggest surprises for me was that the Saghred storyline extended into six books. I had expected three books max. But the characters kept growing, and they and their stories took on a life of their own. There was no way I could stop after only three books. I had to find out what happened.
Writing the end of ALL SPELL BREAKS LOOSE was made a lot easier by the fact that the series isn’t really over, just the Saghred storyline. If I’d been truly ending the series, I’d have probably been blubbering like a baby. I absolutely love these characters, I’ve been with them a long time, and I couldn’t bear the thought of never writing another book with them again.
Do you have a favourite or standout scene in the series? It's hard for me to choose because your characters have had so many wonderful moments and lines so I apologize if this question is something of a Sophie's Choice.
It is very hard to choose, rather like picking a favorite child. I think I enjoy the action or fight scenes the most. It’s always a challenge to me as a writer to find a way that Raine and the other characters can extract themselves from a dangerous situation using their wits, rather than either magic or a convenient solution. I like to make them—and me—work for it.
This series has a lovely balance of action, drama, and humour. In fact, one of the things I love most about the series is how quick Raine can be, with her words and her weapons. How did you decide to go with a lighter tone?
It just came naturally to me—eventually. When I first started writing books, way back in college, I was writing in third person and trying to be quasi serious. Needless to say, these books bored even me. I was trying to write like some of my favorite authors at the time: David Eddings, Raymond Feist, and Terry Brooks. There was humor in what I was trying to write, but writing in third person somehow felt like I was distancing myself from my characters. The day I decided to try first person was like the lights came on in my head. I immediately found Raine’s voice, so writing this series in first person from her point of view just felt right. I couldn’t imagine doing it any other way.
On a more personal note, what do Raine and this series mean to you?
With each book, I feel like I’ve grown as a writer. Writing this series has been like going through author boot camp. It’s been difficult, but intensely satisfying. It’s allowed me to prove to myself that I can finish not only a book, but a series.
What are three things about you that might surprise your fans?
- I’m an ordained deacon at my church.
- I’d love to take voice lessons one of these days. My voice is decent, but I’d like to see if I could make it better.
- I’ve also always wanted to take horseback riding lessons—and one of these days soon, I will.
Is there anything you can tell us about future projects?
I’m working on a proposal package for a new urban fantasy/thriller/comedy series. I can’t wait until I can share details with everyone, but I have to sell it first. ; ) Then I’d like to dive into a spin-off from the Raine books. There’s a possibility of a book (or maybe even a series) with quite a few of the supporting characters. I’d actually like to do all of them eventually. Of course, there’s Tam now that he’s back in the seething politics at the goblin court. And it’d be fun to follow Phaelan on a couple of his adventures. And then there’s the new young cadets coming into the Guardians, now that girls can train to become Guardians, and there will also be goblins coming from Regor. The possibilities are endless with any of those spinoffs.
Finally, what's the one thing you'd like readers to take away from the Raine Benares books?
Fun. I think my job as a writer is to entertain. If you want to be depressed, you can watch the news. My goal is to write books that will take readers away for a few hours, make them laugh, and reunite them with characters that I hope have become like old friends.
A huge thank you, Lisa, for spending time with us! It's been an absolute pleasure chatting with you!
Here’s the scoop on ALL SPELL BREAKS LOOSE:
From national bestselling author Lisa Shearin comes a new chapter in "one of the best fantasy series currently on the market." (Night Owl Reviews)
My name is Raine Benares—and it sucks to be me right now.
I’m a seeker who found the Saghred, a soul-stealing stone that gave me unlimited powers I never wanted. Now I’ve lost the rock—and the magic it gave me—to a goblin dark mage whose main goals are my death and world domination. This is more than incentive enough for a little trip to the goblin capital of Regor with a small band of good friends, not-so-good friends, and one outright enemy. Don’t ask.
All we need to do is destroy the Saghred, kill the mage, and put a renegade goblin prince on the throne. Did I mention I’ll be doing that with no magic?
And here's the rest of the series. You can read my thoughts about the last The Trouble with Demons, Bewitched & Betrayed, and Con & Conjure by clicking on the cover.
Penguin is graciously offering one (1) copy of ALL SPELL BREAKS LOOSE to a lucky reader!
To enter the giveaway, fill out the Rafflecopter form below.
Ends Thursday, June 21, 2012a Rafflecopter giveaway