I’ve been a fan of Susan Dennard for a while. I first started following her newsletter, and then I saw her at YallWest earlier this year. There, I bought the first book in the Witchlands series, TRUTHWITCH…only to lose it before Susan could sign it! The most recent in the series, BLOODWITCH, debuted earlier this year:
Young witches Safiya and Iseult have a habit of finding trouble. After clashing with a powerful Guildmaster and his ruthless Bloodwitch bodyguard, the friends are forced to flee their home.
Safi must avoid capture at all costs as she’s a rare Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lies. Many would kill for her magic, so Safi must keep it hidden – lest she be used in the struggle between empires. And Iseult’s true powers are hidden even from herself.
In a chance encounter at Court, Safi meets Prince Merik and makes him a reluctant ally. However, his help may not slow down the Bloodwitch now hot on the girls’ heels. All Safi and Iseult want is their freedom, but danger lies ahead. With war coming, treaties breaking and a magical contagion sweeping the land, the friends will have to fight emperors and mercenaries alike. For some will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.
After an explosion destroys his ship, the world believes Prince Merik, Windwitch, is dead. Scarred yet alive, Merik is determined to prove his sister’s treachery. Upon reaching the royal capital, crowded with refugees, he haunts the streets, fighting for the weak—which leads to whispers of a disfigured demigod, the Fury, who brings justice to the oppressed.
When the Bloodwitch Aeduan discovers a bounty on Iseult, he makes sure to be the first to find her—yet in a surprise twist, Iseult offers him a deal. She will return money stolen from him, if he locates Safi. Now they must work together to cross the Witchlands, while constantly wondering, who will betray whom first?
After a surprise attack and shipwreck, Safi and the Empress of Marstok barely escape with their lives. Alone in a land of pirates, every moment balances on a knife’s edge—especially when the pirates’ next move could unleash war upon the Witchlands.
High in a snowy mountain range, a monastery that holds more than just faith clings to the side of a cliff. Below, thwarted by a lake, a bloodthirsty horde of raiders await the coming of winter and the frozen path to destroy the sanctuary and its secrets.
The Bloodwitch Aeduan has teamed up with the Threadwitch Iseult and the magical girl Owl to stop the destruction. But to do so, he must confront his own father, and his past.
I both love and appreciate the authenticity you bring to your author life, especially through your newsletter. In what ways do you feel this honesty has helped both you and your readers?
I am someone who doesn’t really know what she’s feeling or thinking until she’s put it into written form. So for me, the newsletter has been both extremely educational (oh! That’s how I write a book!) as well as cathartic (dammit, that did suck, and that’s okay).
And I know my honesty has helped readers and aspiring authors (published authors too!) since I hear it all the time. And I totally understand why, since it’s the reason I started doing my blog and newsletter in the first place. You just want to know you’re not the only person failing, and it is truly so, so, SO comforting to realize, “Oh, hey, I’m not alone!”
When I was aspiring and then my first few years of being published, I would cling to any kind of honest advice about failure and the difficulties of publication. But it was hard to find back then! These days–fortunately–there’s been a real push for transparency, which is good for everyone.
Indeed it is. In BLOODWITCH, we get a glimpse into Bloodwitch Aeduan’s past. In what ways, if any, did his journey surprise you?
I mean…none? I’ve known where I was going with him for such a long time. In fact, that whole book was such a big pay off. I’ve been planting seeds and marching toward some of those moments, so getting to write them was amazing. And having readers read them was even better!!
I’ll bet! What are some of your current projects?
Right now, my focus is on the next Witchlands book–and of course, The Luminaries (on Twitter) which has now been going for almost 4 months. That’s been a really fun break to dabble in each day. 😉
This post can also be viewed here.