This week I am interviewing Rosalyn Kelly. Rosalyn is a fantasy author and one of the authors that I worked with on Beyond The Deepwoods!
Tell us about a great book you’ve recently read!
The Waking Fire by Anthony Ryan. It is described as a ‘steampunk flavoured’ fantasy and has a modern, industrial revolution kinda feel to it with guns, machinery and steam powered engines rather than a medieval setting.
There are drakes, animals similar to dragons, and their blood allows select people who are ‘blood-blessed’ to do remarkable things, such as super speed, healing, creating fire, communicating through mind trances, and telekinesis.
It has great worldbuilding, characters and action. It was a five-star read for me.
What is the first book that made you cry?
I can’t remember the first book that made me cry, but I can definitely remember the book that made me cry A LOT. Seriously, I blubbed for hours! A book has never made me weep like that before or after.
That book is One Day by David Nicholls.
It is so cleverly done, as each chapter tells of the same day, 15th July, in the life of two characters for twenty years. It follows the ups and downs in Emma and Dexter’s lives, and their ‘will they, won’t they’ relationship.
And then the ending. Wow. I’ve got a tear in my eye thinking about it!
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Writing massively energises me. I absolutely love the entire process. From coming up with an idea, then stretching it out into a story, the planning, plotting and brainstorming, bringing the characters to life and then getting down to the writing. I get a buzz from it and, even after spending hours typing away at my laptop, am still happy.
I also enjoy the editing and rewriting process, which I know a lot of writers don’t like. Every time I ‘touch’ my work I’m improving it and I find that thrilling! (Is that odd?!)
Of all of the characters you have created, which is your favorite?
It’s got to be Jakira. She is the mother of Ammad, who is a point of view character in my novel Melokai. Jakira is a powerful, intelligent, subtle woman with a gift for remembering everything. She has ambition and she’s not afraid to manipulate people and situations for her own gain. She also loves her son, despite all his flaws.
I adore Jakira so much that she is the focus on my new novella The Sand Scuttler. It’s set twenty years before Melokai and tells of her early life in the desert country of Drome.
What is your favorite thing about worldbuilding?
I find worldbuilding absolutely fascinating and I spend a long time considering it before I start writing. My favourite part is thinking about what made a country and people the way it is presented in the story, what events triggered certain cultural quirks, what part of its history led to how it treats other countries or its own people.
Melokai is predominantly set in a matriarchal society. It is not perfect in the slightest, and has evolved to be ruthless and treat men as second-class citizens. It was interesting thinking about what had happened in the past that led to the women taking rule and how their customs and practices evolved.
When you aren’t writing, what do you like to do with your free time?
I’m a voracious reader. All genres, but mostly fantasy. I never watch television and prefer to read. Travel and seeing new places is a big passion of mine. I’m also a fan of being outdoors and walking and hiking. Painting with acrylics is my much-loved hobby to relax and unwind.
You recently released Melokai: In the heart of the mountains Book 1. What was your favorite thing about writing this book?
I loved everything about writing Melokai! But I think my favourite thing was imagining the settings and locations and then bringing them to life in my writing.
A number of reviewers have mentioned my descriptive and immersive language that allows them to vividly picture the setting. I’ve been fortunate to travel and live around the world, so I draw on personal experiences when writing about places.
You are participating in the upcoming fantasy anthology, Beyond The Deepwoods. Can you tell us a bit about the story you have written for it?
My story for the Beyond the Deepwoods anthology is called The Tunnel Runner. It tells of the story of the young Lord Andrew Chattergoon who is sent on his first clandestine mission to deliver an important message to the true King, who is currently hiding out in Lian and amassing an army to overthrow the false King.
To do this, Chattergoon must venture into the tunnels that were excavated underneath a vast desert inhabited by their enemy, which link the country of Fertilian, where the false King resides, to the outlying city state of Lian.
It is Chattergoon’s first time in the tunnels, but he has been trained for the task by his famed tunnel runner father. However, he comes up against a number of obstacles – giant, sand dwelling, poisonous creatures as well as dangerous bandits, unstable tunnels and mysterious desert nomads.
The Tunnel Runner is set in the same world as Melokai, but twenty-five years before. Lord Andrew Chattergoon has a small part in Melokai, however he plays a bigger role in book two of the In the Heart of the Mountains trilogy.
What did you enjoy most about writing this story?
It was a lot of fun thinking about Chattergoon’s backstory. He’s a distinctive character in Melokai, although only has a small part, and it was great to develop his history and delve deeper into his personality and beginnings.
Why should readers check out your books?
Readers who like deep worldbuilding will enjoy my books. I currently have one novel, two novellas and two further short stories set in the same rich world. It has been described as ‘immersive and atmospheric’ and ‘a masterclass in world-building.’
Melokai has a large cast of characters and multiple point of view narratives. Whereas my novellas, The Fall of Vaasar and The Sand Scuttler (coming out in May 2018), and my short stories, Peonhood and Ruby’s Return, are all told from one point of view character.
My books are dark and gritty adult fantasy, and often described as grimdark, with no guarantee of a happily ever after ending, and sometimes the bad guy wins. There’s action and battles, as well as intrigue and unpredictable twists and turns.
You can find out more about me and my books here www.rosalynkelly.co.uk
About Rosalyn’s Books
Game of Thrones meets Kushiel’s Dart set in a ruthless land ruled by women.
Legendary warrior Ramya has successfully ruled as Melokai for longer than most. Prosperous, peaceful, and happy, her people love her. Or so she thinks.
Ramya’s time is up. Bracing herself for the gruesome sentence imposed on all Melokais who have served their purpose, she hears instead a shocking prophecy.
Is the abrupt appearance of a mysterious, eastern cave creature the prophesied danger? Or is it something darker, more evil? And what of the wolves? Will the ferocious war with their kind oust her from power?
Suddenly Ramya must fight threats from all sides to save her mountain realm. But while her back is turned, a conspiracy within her inner circle is festering. Ramya and her female warriors must crush an epic rebellion before it can destroy her and devastate her beloved nation.
She thinks it’s the end, but it’s just the beginning…
If you love elaborate fantasy worlds and deep worldbuilding, perilously high stakes, magic, brutal battles, intrigue, and unique creatures and beings, then Melokai, Book One of the grimdark, epic fantasy trilogy In the Heart of the Mountains by Rosalyn Kelly, is for you.
Dark and gritty adult fantasy with adult content. For fans of George R. R. Martin, Mark Lawrence, Anna Stephens and Joe Abercrombie.
About Rosalyn Kelly
Rosalyn Kelly grew up in the magical New Forest in the south of England and has lived around the country as well as in the Middle East, and travelled all over the world.
She studied English Literature and Language at Oxford Brookes University before embarking on a PR and marketing career.
After ten years telling the stories of international brands and businesses, she decided the time had come to tell her own and her debut novel MELOKAI was written in 2016 after quitting her job, going travelling for four months and then writing solidly for the following four.
The inspiration for her epic fantasy trilogy came when she was trekking in the mountains of Nepal’s stunning Annapurna Sanctuary.
When she’s not putting her heart and soul into book two of the In the Heart of the Mountains trilogy, she daydreams about where to travel to next, paints with acrylic, reads voraciously and writes book reviews on her blog.