In the Spotlight feature kicked off in April 2015 and is an opportunity for authors, editors and publishers (basically anyone in the book industry (yes, even bloggers!)) to connect with fans. There is an option to do an interview, guest post, feature a book sale or book release or a cover reveal. Best of all, it’s free! All you need to do is click on the image to reserve your spot!
Now on with the show!
In the Spotlight with AE Lowan
Welcome to Second Run Reviews, AE! Thank you for being In the Spotlight. I appreciate you stopping by and answering a few questions. So let’s get things started.
In a tweet (140 characters or less), tell us a bit about yourself.
A.E. Lowan is the pseudonym of three authors who collectively create the dark urban fantasy series, The Books of Binding.
Please tell a bit about your journey to becoming a published author. What’s been the best things about it and the worst?
Two of the authors in our collaboration, Kristin and Jennifer Vinck, met in 1989 on the first day of high school at the Paseo Academy of Fine and Performing Arts in Kansas City. They were both creative writing majors and started collaborating that night. Together they have worked on projects in urban fantasy, epic fantasy, and space opera. In 2013, they met Jessica Smith on the fantasy forum, Mythic Scribes. Jessica was beginning her college journey had been working on projects in science fiction, science fantasy, and epic fantasy. We began role playing with some of the characters from our respective projects and realized that the urban fantasy and science fantasy projects had amazing synergy. In 2015, we combined forces into a new collaboration. The Books of Binding are the result of that collaboration.
The best thing about releasing our first book in April of 2017 was finally allowing readers into the world we have lived in for years and seeing their positive responses to it. We’ve been told so many times that readers couldn’t put it down. One even threatened to invoice us for rent if she got fired from reading all night and nearly being late because she was finishing it in the parking lot at work. The sense of accomplishment for finishing our first full-length title and being able to hold and smell it is pretty overwhelming, too.
The worst part about releasing is that feeling that no matter how many times you edit, no matter how many eyes see it, there is always the fearful thought: is this book the absolute best I could have created? Giving up control and setting a book loose on the world is a lot like sending a child off to their first apartment. You think back about all you’ve done to raise this new piece of the universe and hope that it is enough to make it stand on its own.
Tell us a bit about your latest release. What inspired you to write it? Why should fans of Second Run Reviews consider reading it.
Our second book, Ties of Blood and Bone, picks up the story of Winter Mulcahy a couple of months after the events of Faerie Rising. Winter’s life is getting better since her brush with death last October. She has a new family and they are helping her to grieve and rebuild her shattered life. In this book, we delve into what has happened to the Mulcahy wizards and why. We also meet a young wizard named Alerich who is trapped in a life he does not want.
This book was originally going to be the first Book of Binding and is the one we have been champing at the bit to tell for several years now. This story, of Winter and Alerich, has consumed us since they erupted into our lives more than fifteen years ago. Last year, we decided that before we could tell this very intimate story about the lives of wizard families and the desperate desire to belong, we needed to tell readers a bit more about our fictional city of Seahaven and how our world of hidden preternaturals works. We postponed Ties of Blood and Bone and wrote Faerie Rising to ground readers in a larger view of our world and characters—all while promising Alerich he would have his day, soon.
We think that readers should read Ties of Blood and Bone, and The Books of Binding in general, because they are, at their heart, stories about the important role of found families and the difference that a small, but dedicated, group can make on the world at large. In these unsettled times, we think it is important to remind readers that we alone have the power to choose who is important to us, and what is important enough to fight and to risk it all for.
What types of books do you enjoy reading the most? What three books to you find yourself recommending to your fans over and over?
All three of us gravitate to speculative fiction, but from there we each enjoy different places on the fantasy spectrum. Jessica loves stories with a bit of science mixed in the fantasy to ground it. Kristin prefers stories with strong interpersonal relationships, especially intimate connections to add heart to fantasy plots. Jennifer enjoys the research involved in making a fantasy setting seem alive and relevant. Her tastes run long into the mysteries, conspiracies, and fast-paced action that helps a book keep a reader up late reading.Each of us recommends a different book to everyone we meet. Jessica can’t say enough good about The Legend of Eli Monpress, by Rachel Aaron. She admires the way that Aaron uses her character arcs to give readers a wider range of experience than they might be expecting. Aaron delicately balances humor and darkness to make her magical thief step large off the page. Kristin recommends Summon the Keeper, by Tanya Huff. In this series, Huff tells an intimate story of a young woman trying to do her job while coworkers, family, and a distracting young man get in the way, all while crafting a narrative full of absurdities and pathos in turns. It is definitely worth a read, but please… don’t drink while reading. Spit takes are not as fun as they sound. Jennifer will tell everyone she can get to hold still about Tam Lin, by Pamela Dean. Dean’s story is a retelling of the Scottish folk tale by the same name set in the Classical Languages and Literatures department of a university. Dean’s use of language is superlative. She uses language that makes you want to roll around on it like on a warm rug in front of a cabin fire.
What is your current obsession? Any secret obsessions you would like to share?
Here at Team Lowan, we go through obsessions like many people change socks. Ask us some other time about the great Hamilton: An American Musical obsession (but not while Kristin is supposed to be working on book three) and please never mention karaoke in front of Jennifer (it takes weeks to get her to settle back down.)
Jessica’s current obsession is with the television show, Leverage. She raves about its tight ensemble writing, beautiful character development and arcs, and timely themes. After-midnight hangout sessions tend toward comparing and contrasting characters from our favorite shows and movies to characters in our own world. Leverage’s Eliot Spencer features heavily in those late nights.
Kristin’s current obsession is with sleeping. While we are all focused on the release of Ties of Blood and Bone, we have begun drafting on Rosemary for Remembrance: The Third Book of Binding, outlining book four, and developing a new epic fantasy series. Working in three parts of the timeline and an entirely new universe all at once makes for an exhausting day.
Jennifer’s current obsession is the holiday season. As A. E. Lowan’s official Holiday Maven, she can be found singing holiday songs as early as June and has our cards written and addressed long before the holiday stamps appear at the post office. Definitely the most likely of us to be found in a public place in light-up reindeer antlers, Jennifer’s exuberant holiday cheer is infectious.
What is one question you wish I would have asked, that I haven’t?
Do you have any writing quirks you’d like to share?
Jessica comes up with new characters and worlds faster than some people write grocery lists. In fact, when Jessica is in the pantry, you can bet that “Olmec jaguar” or “increase fast-twitch response?” with be mixed in the list with the saltines and olives.
Kristin is incapable of writing without the assistance of her metal Slinky. She says, of its metallic hiss, “There’s something about that sound that gets my hamster running.”
Jennifer is a serious night owl and likely to be found sewing a quilt, painting the kitchen, or plotting a new novel that didn’t exist at dinner at four in the morning.
Any last thoughts or wise words you want to pass along?
We love the world of The Books of Binding and have many more stories than could ever make it into the novels in the series. We will be releasing extras, ranging from flash fiction to novellas, maybe even the occasional stand-alone novel to readers who crave more and follow us on our website, blog, and social media. If you like Seahaven, and the characters you meet, we have much more in store for you.
Well, thank you for being In the Spotlight! It’s been a blast learning about all three of you and how you work together to create such a fascinating world. Please come back soon and tell us about your next project.
Synopsis: Winter Mulcahy’s life is getting better since her brush with death in October. She has a new family and they are helping her to grieve and rebuild her shattered life. She is learning to balance family, medicine, and holding the chaos of living among the preternaturals of Seahaven at bay. She meets a wizard, Alerich Ashimar, with the soul of a poet and the heart of a demon who is desperate to escape the life and choices that have been forced onto him. This man may hold the secret to the tragedies that have plagued House Mulcahy, but time is running out—for them both.
Alerich’s family is bound to a demon in a powerful geas set by his grandmother. Kill every Mulcahy by the upcoming winter solstice and her dead husband will be returned to her. Fail, and Alerich’s father, Magnus, will be forfeited to the demon. Magnus sends Alerich to collect Winter, the last of the Mulcahys, and bring her to the demon’s gate before the rapidly approaching deadline passes.
Alerich is horribly conflicted. He has been trying to mend his estranged relationship with his father, and he doesn’t want his father to die. But, nor does he want to kill this beautiful, kind woman upon whom so many depend. When Alerich does not bring the girl at the appointed time, his father, feeling that Alerich has abandoned and betrayed him, strikes a terrible deal with the demon—something the demon has always wanted in exchange for the power to kill this last Mulcahy and his traitorous son.