Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Indie Author Spotlight: Denae Christine

Royal Deception, book 1 of the Royal Deception series, follows the trials and tribulations of young Prince Symon. This prince is not your everyday, run-of-the-mill fantasy series prince however. Symon has the ability to shift his arms into swords at a moment’s notice. He, and those like him, are known as shifters. Some can shift parts of their bodies to weapons. Others can shift to take on animal characteristics such as wings. When Symon’s little brother is killed, he soon finds himself in the midst of a kingdom on the brink of civil war. Symon struggles as the people he loves the most stand at opposing sides of the struggle and he must determine who he can trust and who will find themselves at the end of his blades.

Royal Deception was a rich fantasy novel set in a very well realized world. All of the classic elements of a good fantasy novel are here. There’s betrayal, deception, and assassination attempts galore. Where this book stands apart from others is the shifting aspect of things. This may not be 100% unique of a concept depending on how you look at things. Magic is a pretty common thing in the world of fantasy, and magic can do just about anything. Even so, it certainly isn’t all that common and Denae effortlessly blends this element into the story so it feels like something you haven’t read before.

My only real complaint with Royal Deception came in the form of pacing issues. The action sequences were really great and fun to read, and there’s plenty, but at nearly 500 pages, it can’t all be action. Those in between parts were interesting, but could get a little slow for me at times. Admittedly, I prefer a good action scene in a fantasy novel as opposed to the hashing of plot points – the difference between the battle of Helm’s Deep and the forming of the Fellowship – but I also understand that they have to exist to drive the story forward, no matter how dull they might get. In this case, there’s an excellent mixture of the two to keep things from getting too bogged down with logistics. If you’re like me, I assure you you’ll get plenty of kick ass sword fights.

Royal Deception is a great fantasy read and I very much look forward to the next installment of the series.

You can buy Royal Deception here!

Now let’s meet our author!

Denae Christine is a Bible-believing Christian who lives in Colorado. She has moved too many times and gathered too many bookshelves. She likes being with her family, listening to audiobooks, playing with little kids, and collecting dragons.
Others find her strange because she likes reading and math equally well. Also, she was homeschooled but now teaches in a public school. She also thinks kittens are cuter than human babies. Plus, anything pink is automatically superior (except pink kittens).She is most thankful to God for Jesus, for her family and friends, and that she is not allergic to apples or PB&Js (her lunch every day).

Check out her blog!

Start us off with a Tweet synopsis of the book (140 characters or less):

A Prince who can shift his arms into swords, a tutor who can shift his arms into wings, and a madman who wants to kill them both . . . .

Admittedly, I’m not that well read in the Fantasy genre, but Royal Deception seems a little more unique than most fantasy novels. Where did the whole idea come from?

My sister and I played a game where our arms or feet were swords.  I took that idea, threw it with a retelling of Lion King, and put it in this world of half-shifters.  6 years later, we have the Royal Deception trilogy.

What kind of difficulties did you face in creating this massive world for your characters from scratch? What was/is your favorite location?

One difficulty is that I can't hold the entire map in my head, and none of the two dimensional ones look quite like the version in my mind.  I did build most of the Artonian castle in Minecraft.  That helped me figure out some of the layout.  My favorite location?  The third story balcony that encircles the castle!  A lot happens there, and you can see the city or approaching armies.

You’ve described Royal Deception as a retelling of arguably one the greatest Disney movies of all time, The Lion King. Which characters, if any, would you say fill the roles of Timon & Pumba?

Ooh, we don't get to meet them until book two.  :)

Small spoiler, they will be a bear shifter and horse shifter respectively.

If you were to live in your own book world, what kind of Shifter would you be?

A leighfolk!  The bird shifters can tell when people are lying, and they can shift their arms into wings and fly.  I'd love to fly.

Would you rather see your series adapted into a movie/tv series or a video game?

A video game would be so neat!  You could choose to play as a Mulacan slaver and search the mountains for clans of bird shifters.  Or, you know, play as a good guy.

Who is your biggest writing influence?

I need three.
David Farland (and his emails of writing advice)
Brandon Sanderson (best author ever and has the writing excuses podcasts)
Rachel Aaron (other best author and gives great trad/self-publishing advice)

Outside of your own work, what lesser known fantasy series do you think everyone who enjoys the genre should read?

Lesser known probably doesn't apply to Brandon Sanderson.  So, Rachel Aaron!  She wrote Legend of Eli Monpress (wizard thief who has the oddest friends) and Nice Dragons Finish Last (Julius's mother might literally eat him unless he learns to be as devious as his siblings).

Who was your favorite side character to write?

Siree.  She has attitude, and she sees the world differently than Prince Symon does.  She looks down on everyone.

What can we expect next from Denae Christine?

Runaway Deception, book two of the trilogy, comes out in February.

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