Award Winning Fantasy with a Twist!
The next book up from the ladies of BroadUniverse.org highlights the sometimes unusual paths writers can take in their work. Rebecca Gomez Farrell shares how she went from successful food, drink, and travel blogger to writing epic fantasy into a tasty blend of horror, romance, and political intrigue!
What inspired this book?
Wings Unseen is the first book I’ve written, and I started it back in college, with a few basic images to guide me and a strong sense of my three main characters: Vesperi, Janto, and Serra. I have always loved fantasy, and I wanted to take a stab at writing my own epic about people from two neighboring lands with very different moral codes. Later, I stumbled across a blog post about two different cities’ approaches to dealing with their problems. It gave me a great principle to organize the social theory at play in the book – what happens when people turn a blind eye to all the crime and violence around them because it’s uncomfortable to deal with? Finally, after mosquitoes earned my hatred from my eight years living in the South, the book’s monsters were refined.
Is writing your only job or do you have another? Does it impact your story?
Writing is my only job, but writing speculative fiction is not my only focus. I am also a food, drink, and travel blogger under the nom de plume the Gourmez, which is also the name of the website I have regularly maintained since 2007. I love feasting on the creativity of chefs and bartenders on my plate and in my glass and sharing my excitement and critique with others. My blogging enriches my fictional storytelling, because what new world doesn’t need an equally sumptuous feasting table? If I make people drool, whether reading about a real or made-up pastry, I feel I am succeeding.
Well, now I have to ask! Coffee, tea, or beer? With cake or pizza?
From those options, I’m absolutely going coffee with cake. I always wish I liked tea and beer more, but both are more enjoyable to me when I consume them in small quantities. Pizza is great, and the more toppings the better, but with coffee? Cake is the natural pairing. Can it be a black forest cake, please? I love my brandied cherries and chocolate.
What did you enjoy most about your story? What was your biggest challenge?
Finishing it is what I enjoyed most, of course! But I think what I most enjoy about writing fiction in general is teasing out the puzzle I’ve set up for myself, how I can make the different people, plot points, and themes I’ve written about come together. For Wings Unseen, the hardest puzzle piece to place was how the spiritual aspect of the book would relate to the real-life threats my main characters face. That ultimately solved my biggest challenge as well, which was how to resolve the threat as climatically as possible.
About Wings Unseen –
To end a civil war, Lansera’s King Turyn relinquished a quarter of his kingdom to create Medua, exiling all who would honor greed over valor to this new realm on the other side of the mountains. The Meduans and Lanserim have maintained an uneasy truce for two generations, but their ways of life are as compatible as oil and water.
When Vesperi, a Meduan noblewoman, kills a Lanserim spy with a lick of her silver flame, she hopes the powerful display will convince her father to name her as his heir. She doesn’t know the act will draw the eye of the tyrannical Guj, Medua’s leader, or that the spy was the brother of Serrafina Gavenstone, the fiancée of Turyn’s grandson, Prince Janto. As Janto sets out for an annual competition on the mysterious island of Braven, Serra accepts an invitation to study with the religious Brotherhood, hoping for somewhere to grieve her brother’s murder in peace. What she finds instead is a horror that threatens both countries, devouring all living things and leaving husks of skin in its wake.
To defeat it, Janto and Serra must learn to work together with the only person who possesses the magic that can: the beautiful Vesperi, whom no one knows murdered Serra’s brother. An ultimate rejection plunges Vesperi forward toward their shared destiny, with the powerful Guj on her heels and the menacing beating of unseen wings all about.
The king placed his gloved hand on Serra’s shoulder. She shivered at the cold touch of its metal studs.
“Lady Serrafina.” His voice was not unkind.
She returned his gaze but did not wipe her tears. Let him see them. “Yes, my king?”
“I want you to know my son is not the only member of the royal family who feels your loss.” He regarded her thoughtfully. “Lord Agler Gavenstone will be remembered as he wished, as a brave and loyal man who served Lansera and its king.” His eyes were warm, the same shade as Janto’s. “All has been forgiven. It was forgiven years ago, though he could not accept that mercy.”
She nodded and tried to contain her grief so she could show the gratitude she should at this kindness. Only an hour ago, such attention from her fiancé’s father, the closest she’d had to one of her own since coming to Castle Callyn, would have thoroughly pleased her.
“I know he was the last of your family, and I cannot imagine how you must feel, but I want you to know you have family here.” He squeezed her shoulders and made certain she looked him in the eye. “You will be a strong queen, Serrafina, a woman I will be proud to have bear my grandchildren. The wait is only another month.”
He slipped back into his customary manner, his voice raised and firm. “I will let this moment of indulgence go unnoted—I should have expected your restraint to be relaxed when I sent for him—but Janto’s focus must be unadulterated for the Murat so Madel can best influence him there. Do not seek him out again.”
“I understand. I was weak with grief.” The ache in her bones did not make it easy, but she stood beside the bed, clasped her hands together and raised her elbows toward him for an extra moment to show deference. “I will not let it happen again.” She hoped she spoke the truth—she’d never dealt with emotions so choking before.
“I know you love him well. Think of this separation as a final hurdle that will strengthen your marriage. Even when absent, your love should be his strength.” A moment later, he added, “I am truly sorry, daughter.”
He released her shoulders and left the room with no further words.
“Let my love be Janto’s strength as seeking your forgiveness was my brother’s? That did not end so well for him.” The angry words escaping her lips made her gasp. Her cheeks colored, and she whispered a prayer of thanks to Madel that the door had closed before she uttered them. The royal family had never been anything but honorable to her. They’d accepted her into their home, called her daughter, praised her worth as a suitable mate for Janto even after Agler had—
She had to steel herself through this grief. It made her rash. Agler died to redress his mistakes. She must be careful not to make any of her own.
Where you can find Wings Unseen –
About Rebecca –
In all but one career aptitude test Rebecca Gomez Farrell has taken, writer has been the #1 result. But when she tastes the salty air and hears the sea lions bark, she wonders if maybe sea captain was the right choice after all. Currently marooned in Oakland, CA, Becca is an associate member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Her short stories, which run the gamut of speculative fiction genres, have been published by Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Pulp Literature, and Typehouse Literary Magazine among others. Maya’s Vacation, her contemporary romance novella, is available from Clean Reads. Her next short story will appear in the Dark Luminous Wings anthology from Pole to Pole Publishing this fall, and she is thrilled that her debut novel will be published by Meerkat Press in August 2017.
Becca’s food, drink, and travel writing, which has appeared in local media in CA and NC, can primarily be found at her blog, the Gourmez. For a list of all her published work, fiction and nonfiction, check out her author website at RebeccaGomezFarrell.com.
Where you can find Rebecca –