If you ever have a chance to see Erin Summerill at an author event or a panel, definitely do so! She is an extremely engaging speaker. I’ve been excited about her books for quite a few years, especially this latest book in A Clash of Kingdoms:
Aodren: A lonely, young king, searching for a way to dismantle his father’s dark legacy.
Lirra: A girl with the power to control the wind, torn between duty and following her dreams
For twenty years, Channelers—women with a magical ability—have been persecuted in Malam by those without magic. Now King Aodren wants to end the bloody divide and unite his kingdom. But decades of hatred can’t be overcome by issuing decrees, and rumors of a deadly Channeler-made substance are only fueling people’s fears. Lirra has every reason to distrust Aodren. Yet when he asks for help to discover the truth behind the rumors, she can’t say no. With Lirra by his side, Aodren sees a way forward for his people. But can he rewrite the mistakes of the past before his enemies destroy the world he’s working so hard to rebuild?
Ever the Divided. Ever the Feared. Ever the Brave.
After saving King Aodren with her newfound Channeler powers, Britta only wants to live a peaceful life in her childhood home. Unfortunately, saving the King has created a tether between them she cannot sever, no matter how much she’d like to, and now he’s insisting on making her a noble lady. And there are those who want to use Britta’s power for evil designs. If Britta cannot find a way to harness her new magical ability, her life—as well as her country—may be lost.
The stakes are higher than ever in the sequel to Ever the Hunted, as Britta struggles to protect her kingdom and her heart.
Seventeen year-old Britta Flannery is at ease only in the woods with her dagger and bow. She spends her days tracking criminals alongside her father, the legendary bounty hunter for the King of Malam—that is, until her father is murdered. Now outcast and alone and having no rights to her father’s land or inheritance, she seeks refuge where she feels most safe: the Ever Woods. When Britta is caught poaching by the royal guard, instead of facing the noose she is offered a deal: her freedom in exchange for her father’s killer.
However, it’s not so simple.
The alleged killer is none other than Cohen McKay, her father’s former apprentice. The only friend she’s ever known. The boy she once loved who broke her heart. She must go on a dangerous quest in a world of warring kingdoms, mad kings, and dark magic to find the real killer. But Britta wields more power than she knows. And soon she will learn what has always made her different will make her a daunting and dangerous force.
Your focus talk on “How to Do Hard Things” empowers middle grade and high school students to face their fears and achieve their goals. What originally inspired this talk, and how do you hope it might help people?
The presentation was inspired by my own learning challenges. Growing up, I struggled in school because I’m dyslexic. It was difficult to read and difficult to write. I learned coping skills to help me get by, but it wasn’t until I had a helpful teacher give me guidance on how to stay goal focused that I was able to find success at school.
Such teachers are so needed, and I’m glad you found that kind of support! ONCE A KING is the third installment in the A Clash of Kingdoms series. What about Aodren’s story did you feel most needed to be told?
I was drawn to tell a story about the challenges a leader of a country must face, and yet in those challenges they must choose the better good over fear. Aodren learns that leading with hate and prejudice will only decide a kingdom. My inspiration came from watching the election.
Sounds like there are some significant parallels! What do you think are the necessary elements of a good story?
The character is key for me. I need to understand what the character wants and needs and fears. I need to see the character as another human being. And once I’m invested, I’ll go on any journey with that character.
I know exactly what you mean! What are some of your current projects?
I decided to slow down just a little to go back to school. Writing is a lifelong process of learning. I was accepted to Vermont College Of Fine Arts for the Writing For Children and Young Adults program. I’m currently attending school, which tends to take a lot of my writing time. But I’m happy to say that I’m working on a YA fantasy inspired by my upbringing and a picture book.