Welcome to the Virtual Book Tour for Harbingers by Ellis Morning. The author will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Follow the tour by clicking on the banner image above. The more you comment, the better your chances of winning.
by Ellis Morning
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Series: Sword and Starship #2
Published: January 13th, 2017
The Quest Continues To Stop A Killer “Curse!”
Dame Jessamine is a knight errant with a spaceship for a steed, a woman of science in a galaxy rife with superstition. Follow along as she continues her mission for truth within the barony of Nidaros!
A mysterious crop-withering blight spreads through the barony’s soil. The court magicians have blamed two siblings of spawning the crisis through witchcraft. Convinced of their innocence, Jessamine has rescued and now secretly harbors Verahl Naustvik aboard her spaceship. Meanwhile, his sister Thordia flees to the Harbinger, a crashed space station from the distant and more enlightened past.
Approaching the Harbinger is an act punishable by death, but Jessamine won’t let that stand in the way of a second rescue. Thordia, and the Harbinger’s surviving technological secrets, may be Nidaros’ only hope against the blight. Jessamine prepares to embark—only to be betrayed and set upon by vengeful court magicians.
Now, one wrong word or gesture will lead to deadly charges of witchcraft. Jessamine must protect the Naustviks and brave the Harbinger, all while striking a balance between ritual and reason. If she can’t maintain the peace long enough to discover a cure for the blight, the entire barony will starve—unless its far-off masters decide to “restore order” with military action first!
Harbingers is Book Two of the Sword and Starship series of science fiction/fantasy adventure.
Please tell us a little bit about your book. What inspired the themes in your story?
Harbingers is Book 2 of Sword and Starship, which is a series set in the ruins of an advanced spacefaring civilization. Knowledge of science and technology has been mostly lost, society has regressed to a feudal state, and most peoples’ lives are guided by superstition. The main character, Dame Jessamine, does possess some of that old knowledge, and travels the galaxy to fix problems and injustices wherever she finds them. Book 1, Blood’s Force, sends her on a quest to address a “witch’s curse” that’s causing crops to fail. Harbingers continues that adventure.
As for inspiration, there’s lots of answers! It’s a common question, so I hope to give partial answers over the course of this tour that will eventually form a big picture.
The unfinished short story that I eventually expanded into Sword and Starship had more of a cynical, hard-boiled detective vibe. I like film noir and stories like Dashiell Hammet’s. I originally envisioned my main character as a similarly flawed hero, but I changed that quite a bit in subsequent drafts. She’s more compassionate now, but still has a detective’s eye and ear.
Do you outline before you write? or just dive right in?
Both, to some extent. I have to be able to answer “What happens next?” for the entire course of the book, even if it’s just “[Characters] go to [place] and [do something.]” I have to know how the characters are likely to behave and interact with one another, and what they might run into. Drafting scenes tends to be where I do more improvisation. Occasionally, I run into pleasant surprises that I’ll incorporate into the broader outline.
Who are some of your favorite authors? What are you currently reading?
I prize Mark Twain, Kurt Vonnegut, and Carl Sagan for their diverse skills, but all of them were really good at getting their points across clearly.
Right now, I’m reading The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt by Toby Wilkinson, and The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell. I mostly read nonfiction these days. Anything that sounds remotely interesting, I grab.
If you could visit any setting from one of your books, which one would it be and why?
The Harbinger, which is a giant abandoned space station full of technological marvels. I’d definitely want to explore it, and maybe take a few things home if no one minds!
Who are your celebrity inspirations? If you were to cast your characters, which actors would you choose?
I’m gonna go more old-school cinema here 🙂 Audrey Hepburn for our heroine Dame Jessamine, Vivien Leigh for her rival the Guildmistress?
And, of course, Clark Gable may be whomever he wants.
How do you come up with the names of your characters?
I look up name lists online, usually, and pick what sounds good to me. The characters native to the main setting, Nidaros, mostly have Norse names. The characters from Spectra, a secondary location, have mostly English names.
Jessamine is just a name I’ve liked for a long time.
Name one item you can’t live without.
My laptop. I back up all my files regularly, but still! It’s my lifeline to the outside world. I rely on it way more than my phone.
What are some of your hobbies?
Reading probably goes without saying. I also draw with pencil and sometimes color digitally. My husband and I play video games together. Some things I attend to less frequently these days include the German language, piano, and sewing/knitting.
If you were presented with the opportunity to travel through time, which period would you choose and why?
I’d have the hardest time choosing just one! There are so many fascinating ancient mysteries, it’d be great to go back to those times and places just to be able to say, “So that’s what happened!” Among other things, I’d want to learn more about the Antikythera device (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antikythera_mechanism) and whether there were more machines like it. I’d want to see Rome, Greece, and Egypt at their heights. I’d want to read the great works that were lost to time. I’d also want to see what life was like for ordinary people.
What’s next for you?
I’m working on the next installment of Sword and Starship right now, mostly still outlining what I want to have happen. I intend to keep working on these books until the story is done! Then I’ll move on to whatever new idea grabs me.
Minutes after I’d fallen asleep—or so it seemed—distant, unsettling noises nagged me from the fringe of consciousness. Crashes of wood on wood, doors opening and closing, agitated voices.
“We have a right to our prisoner!”
“‘Prisoner’ now? Whose word is that, yours or Ormyr’s?”
“Adept Knorr’s blood is on her hands!”
“Then mayhap he shouldn’t have tried to kill her. What do ye want from us, anyway? She’s not here.”
“Impossible! We’re not leaving until we’ve searched everywhere.”
The voices became louder and more spiteful with each volley. Then came a series of sharp, desperate taps that were louder still, practically in my ear.
“Sister? Sister!” a hushed voice pleaded.
I flew up to a seated position and opened my eyes. My hair, loose from its braid, fell around my shoulders. This was still my room in the barracks. Ahead, the door stood closed. Behind, early sunlight peeked through the slats of the shuttered window beside my pallet.
The tapping returned, followed by rattling. Someone outside the window was testing the shutter. “Sister, come out here. Hurry!”
A large object, like a table or chest, crashed to the floor just outside my room.
I gasped. Someone, probably an adept, was tossing the barracks in search of me. And Sigrid was—wait, how the hell had Sigrid broken out of her room? Hadn’t Ingvar locked her in? My own window’s shutter looked sturdy, but not indestructible. She must’ve busted out that way—just like I’d have to if I wanted to escape.