Author: Katie W Stewart
ISBN: – ASIN B004XDBOJG
Page count: – 93000 words
Katie W Stewart was born in Lancashire, England and emigrated to Australia with her family in 1969. She has been writing seriously for the past 12 years, but has always had stories in her head knocking to be let out. She has also done illustrations for a number of children’s books, a cookery book and school text books. In her non-writing life she works as a School Library Assistant and IT Support Person and in her spare time likes to read and play the Celtic harp. She lives in country Western Australia with her husband, who is a farmer, and their three children.
Tell us about your book:
Treespeaker is a High Fantasy aimed at adults, but suitable also for a younger audience. It tells the story of Jakan, a Treespeaker (seer and healer) who knows from the visions he received at the SpringSpeak, that the stranger who has just arrived in his village is not the innocent, interested visitor he claims to be. As the villagers succumb to the mind-bending sorcery of the man, Jakan becomes more and more desperate to be rid of him. But when he accuses the stranger of an act of sacrilege, events take a sinister turn and it is Jakan himself who is expelled from the forest.
Sent on a journey across the treeless land outside the forest, Jakan finds himself fighting for survival – for his people and himself. Somehow he must find a man he hasn’t seen for twenty years, but as a Treespeaker —bound in spirit to the forest — his life hangs by a tenuous thread which grows ever thinner.
Meanwhile, his son, Dovan, must find the strength to carry out the new role he has been given while his father is away, for who knows if the Treespeaker will ever return?
It’s not a book about good versus evil. It is a book about belonging, balance and belief.
How long did it take to write the book?
The book took three years to write, but has been languishing on my hard drive for a lot longer than that. I could never decide where to send it. There aren’t a lot of agents in Australia who take on new authors and there aren’t a lot of publishers who take fantasy, especially unsolicited.
What inspired you to write the book?
I’d always wanted to write and I was actually half way through a children’s novel when I started this one. The story came from a combination of three things – an experience I was going through in my own life, a dream I had about a huge tree and a group of people who relied on it, and watching a program on TV with a lesser known actor whose face just had to be written into a character. Put together, they turned into something completely different!
Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?
With a part-time job and a growing family, I tend to write whenever I can, so there’s no set routine. I try to do research in the evenings when I’ve been at work and get writing done on weekends and my days off, but it doesn’t always work that way. For this book, I didn’t need to do a lot of research as I set my characters in a sort of late-Mesolithic, early Neolithic society and having done my degree in Archaeology and writing a thesis on that period, I had quite a good amount of pre-knowledge. But there were still some things I had to find out about, like how to make and use a slingshot.
I had two drafts of the book critiqued through www.critiquecircle.com . Then I did some more polishing on my own before getting a friend who’s an English teacher to go over it again. Only when I’d fixed what he suggested and gone through it a few times more did I feel it was ready.
What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?
I hope they come away with a feeling of having made friends with a great character who they grew to care about and maybe also it will have made them look at how they make decisions in their own lives. I also hope they come away wanting more.
Where can we go to buy your book?
Any other links or info you’d like to share?
Excerpt from book:
As the blade fell, something in Jakan’s mind gave way. Some part of him was aware of Varyd’s arms stopping his collapse, but another part of him floated away in a slow, undulating motion toward the ceiling.
In terrified wonder, Jakan regarded the room below him. Varyd and Krenfel knelt over a body. He stared at the scene in dismay. Who was the old man they leaned over? Then the truth sank in, but still he did not want to believe it. That was not his own body, surely? He knew that he looked older than his years, but this man’s hair and beard were almost white, his face drawn and lined. He couldn’t look that old.
The peculiarity of his situation didn’t strike Jakan for a few moments. When it did, he trembled and a feeling of dread seeped over his mind. It had happened. Arrakesh’s hold on him had been broken and he was floating away, alone forever.
No! It couldn’t happen. He had to get back to Arrakesh. At the very least he had to get back into his body long enough to convince Varyd to go to the forest as Arrakesh wished. He concentrated on the body below him, willing himself back into it. Nothing happened. He did not move. Panic caused him to rise some more.
“Jakan, wake up.”
Varyd’s eyes held a glint of fear. He gave Jakan’s face a gentle slap. Above him, Jakan jumped in surprise as he felt the blow. There was still a chance. Concentrating on Varyd’s voice and the continuing slaps to his cheek, Jakan pushed himself and descended slowly to his body. He had a vague sensation of passing through a cobweb, then nothing.
He awoke with a start. Varyd’s face flooded with relief and Krenfel sat back on his heels, smiling a little. Immediately the voice in Jakan’s head started to scream again and Jakan shut his eyes, clenching his fists and shaking his head. He registered Varyd’s fingers at his temples, but could not gather his thoughts well enough to wonder about it, until the voice faded and died. It was as if it had been drawn from his mind and released to blow away. Jakan relaxed and opened his eyes.