THE GHOST IN EXILE
by Jamie Marchant
The Ghost is going to hell. Not even the goddess can forgive his sins: assassin, oath-breaker, traitor (an affair with the queen earned him that title). No one can ever learn the princess is his daughter. To keep this secret, he flees to the land that turned him from a simple stable groom into an infamous killer.
His mission now? To find evildoers and take them to hell with him. But when an impulsive act of heroism saddles him with a damsel who refuses to be distressed, her resilience forces him to questions why he really ran from his daughter.
“I think you’ve done enough, you rutting swine,” a harsh voice commanded. “Stand up and turn around. Slowly.” Certain he was about to die, Ahearn eased himself out of the queen and stood.
He turned to find Lord Caedmon holding the sword on him. Behind Caedmon, Duke Connor, the king’s chancellor, approached, accompanied by two vicious dogs. “You should have let him finish, son,” Duke Connor said. “It isn’t good for a man’s health to be left in that condition.”
“His health is of little concern now that he’s completed his service to his country,” Caedmon grunted.
Ahearn didn’t understand what they were talking about. He wanted to fall to his knees and beg for mercy. But why humiliate himself when he had no hope for leniency? He licked his lips and looked at Fenella, who’d wrapped the blanket around herself. She looked far more angry than frightened. Maybe she didn’t understand the consequences of what they’d just been caught doing. “Don’t hurt her, please,” he whispered.
Duke Connor laughed. “Hurt Her Majesty? I wouldn’t think of it. She is carrying Korthlundia’s future—His Majesty’s long-awaited heir.”
“Like hell I am.” Fenella jumped to her feet. “Solar is a wrinkled old man. He hasn’t been able to do it in months. This baby,”—she touched her stomach, still smooth and flat—“isn’t his.”
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AN INTERVIEW WITH JAMIE
-What inspired you to become a writer?
I guess I could say it’s part of my soul or encoded in my DNA. I never recall wanting to be anything other than a writer. All my other pursuits have involved making this dream a reality.
-If you could visit your book’s world for a day, what one thing would you do?
Probably hide until I could find a way to transport myself back to reality. While I loved writing this book, I certainly wouldn’t like living in it. Saloyna is a dark and dangerous world, and I’m a wimp. I don’t think I’d last very long unless I had someone like The Ghost in protect me. I think I’ll stay home if that’s okay.
-Give us a fun or interesting fact you learned researching this book.
The worship of many ancient fertility and love goddesses involved having sex with the priestesses in the goddess’s temple. One member of my writing group thought this was an invention of my perverse mind. While my mind may be perverse, I didn’t concoct this idea. The scene in Aphrodite’s temple is based on actual practices in many ancient religions. Going to church used to be a lot more fun.
-Which of your characters would you go out for drinks with?
Brigitta. Although she is rescued by the main character at the beginning of the novel, she is the damsel who refuses to remain in distress. She grows into a strong woman capable of looking after herself. She is also a mother with a fierce love for her children, something I can very much identify with. I think we’d have a lot to talk about.
-You’re in a tavern, and a dwarf challenges you to a duel. What do you do?
While many of my characters are bad ass fighters, I am not. So if challenged to a duel by anyone, including a dwarf, I’d try to turn it into a duel of words rather than of weapons. If that doesn’t work, I’d try the age-old gag of saying, “Hey, look over there!” When the dwarf turned to look, I’d slip out the back door. Being thought a coward is far better than being dead.
-Is there a genre you could never write? Which and why?
Romance. While many of my books, including The Ghost in Exile, have romance in them, they are fantasy novels with romantic elements, not romance novels set in a fantasy world. In a romance novel, the romantic relationship drives the entire plot. You take it out, and there is little to nothing left. I couldn’t write romance novels for a couple of reasons. First, I find them uninteresting. Second, I believe they teach women, especially girls, the damaging idea that romance should be the central focus of your life and that the right relationship will fulfill all of your needs. I believe this idea has harmed women more than almost any other. It gives them unrealistic expectations that no real relationships could ever match and sets them up to be unfulfilled in life.
Jamie Marchant is the author of the epic fantasy series, The Kronicles of Korthlundia. Her novels include The Goddess's Choice, The Soul Stone, and The Ghost in Exile. Her short fiction has been published in the anthologies--Urban Fantasy and Of Dragons & Magic: Tales of the Lost Worlds—and in Bards & Sages, The World of Myth, A Writer’s Haven, and Short-story.me. She lives in Auburn, Alabama, with her husband and four cats, which (or so she’s been told) officially makes her a cat lady. She teaches writing and literature at Auburn University. She is the mother of a grown son.
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Jamie Marchant will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.a Rafflecopter giveaway