Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Interview with Charlie N. Holmberg

Smoke and Summons (Numina Trilogy #1)

by Charlie N. Holmberg
Publisher: 47North
Release Date: February 1st 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Fantasy
 photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpg


A captivating world of monsters and magic from the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Paper Magician Series.

As a human vessel for an ancient spirit, Sandis lives no ordinary life. At the command of her master, she can be transformed against her will into his weapon—a raging monster summoned to do his bidding. Unlike other vessels, Sandis can host extremely powerful spirits, but hosting such creatures can be fatal. To stay alive, she must run. And in a city fueled by smoke and corruption, she finds a surprising ally.

A cunning thief for hire, Rone owns a rare device that grants him immortality for one minute every day—a unique advantage that will come in handy in Sandis’s fight for freedom. But Sandis’s master knows how powerful she is. He’s determined to get her back, and he has the manpower to find her, wherever she runs.

Now, to outwit her pursuers, Sandis must put all her trust in Rone and his immortal device. For her master has summoned more than mere men to hunt her down…

Can you briefly describe the world in Smoke & Summons and their main characters?

Smoke and Summons takes place in a northern, somewhat totalitarian country in the throes of industrialism. Its capitol is Dresberg, which is where 99.9% of the story takes place. Dresberg is crowded with both buildings and people, and the pollution from factories is so thick that when it rains, sludge falls from the sky. Everything centers around factories and production. It was built on top of ancient ruins of another people long disappeared, and mobs and gangs fill its nooks and crannies.

Sandis is an eighteen-year-old woman who’s been a slave the last four years of her life. But not just any slave. A vessel. A human host for bizarre spirits that exist on the ethereal plane. Her master uses her as a weapon as he sees fit, but doesn’t know she’s made a unique and strange bond with the otherworld creature she’s bound to. Her one desire is to have family again.

Rone considers himself a freelancer. Someone has dirty work they need done? They can hire him to do it, as long as it doesn’t directly involve murder. He has a handy little device that lets him be immortal for one minute per day, and it’s saved his butt more times than he can count. He hates Dresberg for many reasons, and wants nothing more than to leave it behind.

Who would you say is your favourite character from the story and why?

That’s really tricky. I love both of my main characters. Rone is fun to write—he’s full of personality—but Sandis is relatable and, despite everything that’s terrible in her life, is full of hope for the future. I really loved writing both of them, and their dynamic together.

How did the story occur to you? Did you find inspiration anywhere?

Well first, my agent and editor both bullied me to write another series, so I had to come up with a BIG idea to cover three books. I actually harvested a lot of the ideas from past novels and other ideas. I had the idea for a summoning magic (inspired by Final Fantasy) for another book, so I stole that. The idea of an immortality switch was in my brainstorming folder. I took the physical appearances of the numina from the third book I ever finished (which is now in a dumpster fire where it belongs). My daughter was really into Tangled at the time, so there might be a little Flynn Rider in there as well.

What’s your favourite quote from the book?

That’s another tricky one. I could definitely point out favorite scenes, but favorite lines . . . hard to say, especially out of context. One I like is near the end: “Sandis couldn’t help but think she was worth more than paper.” I think it says a lot about her character. She’s the lowest of the low, she’s had so much taken from her, and yet she still knows she has worth. She still harbors hope.

If you could choose one song to describe your book, which one would it be?

Now this is an easy one! “Believer” by Imagine Dragons. Just about every song they write could be on the soundtrack for this series.

If the book was a movie/TV show, who would you imagine representing your characters?

So when I wrote this book, I did so intentionally keeping race ambiguous. You know the characters are Kolin, but you don’t know if Kolin is white, brown, black, or purple. Because of that, I think there is a large swathe of actors and actresses who could play these characters. But pulling up my Pinterest board . . . if we could go back in time to a younger Mark Ruffalo, I think he’d make a good Rone. And when I was trying to piece together what Sandis looked like, I leaned on Spanish model Alba Galocha.


Since it is still cold outside, what hot drink do you think will go with your book to have a perfect book date?

Well, they drink cider in chapter five, so maybe that? But I’m also a believer than hot chocolate is the best of all the hot drinks!

Can you recommend your readers any other books in case they are left hungry for more once they finish Smoke & Summons?

Fortunately, the entire series is being released in 2019, so there’s not much of a wait! But if they like Smoke & Summons, I would recommend A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Scwab and Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson.

What’s next for you?

Myths & Mortals, book two, releases April 16th, and Siege & Sacrifice, book three, releases September 17th. After that I have a romantic fantasy standalone called The Will and the Wilds. Hoping to sell a historical fantasy duology soon (most comparable to The Paper Magician), and there might be a co-written series coming up . . . only time will tell.

Born in Salt Lake City, Charlie N. Holmberg was raised a Trekkie alongside three sisters who also have boy names. She is a proud BYU alumna, plays the ukulele, owns too many pairs of glasses, and finally adopted a dog. Her fantasy Paper Magician series, which includes The Paper Magician, The Glass Magician, and The Master Magician, has been optioned by the Walt Disney Company. Her stand-alone novel, Followed by Frost, was nominated for a 2016 RITA Award for Best Young Adult Romance, and her novel The Fifth Doll won the 2018 Whitney for Speculative Fiction. She is a board member for Deep Magic Ezine and currently lives with her family in Utah. Visit her at www.charlienholmberg.com.

1 comment:

  1. This book was already on my TBR. I love to read YA fantasy best.