Interview with Rachel Higginson on Crown of One Hundred Kings + an Excerpt - Vilma Iris | Lifestyle Blogger

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Interview with Rachel Higginson on Crown of One Hundred Kings + an Excerpt

Interview with Rachel Higginson on Crown of One Hundred Kings + an Excerpt

Author Rachel Higginson has a new novel coming next week—CROWN OF ONE HUNDRED KINGS. This latest is an exciting, fantasy series starter and I had the chance to talk to Rachel about the new book, plus I’m thrilled to share an exclusive sneak peek below!

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  • About Crown of One Hundred Kings

    A lost princess…

    Tessana Allisand had a family once. A home. A title. A future. Until one night when everything she loved was taken from her. Secreted away to an isolated monastery in the farthest region of the realm, Tess was raised in the silence of monks and the loneliness of tragedy. And there she would have stayed if the dark magic that killed her family hadn’t finally found her.

    An impossible quest…

    With her identity discovered, Tessana must face the home she fled all those years ago. The Crown of Nine must return to its rightful place and Tess must be the one to carry it across the nine kingdoms. And when she arrives? She’ll need to convince a dying kingdom that the crown that has belonged to one hundred kings should be given to a queen.

    A rebellious prince…

    Taelon Treskinat was in love once. With a princess. The daughter of a slaughtered king. He risked everything to save her, to make sure she survived. When that same princess tumbles back into his life no longer the scared little girl he remembers from childhood, he must decide where his duty lies. With the girl that will threaten everything he knows and loves. Or the kingdom he will do anything to protect.

  • Interview

    I’m so excited to read a fantasy book from you, Rachel. What made you want into the genre right now? Did the story come to you first or did you intentionally want to write a high-fantasy romance next?

    Thank you so much for featuring me, Vilma! I have always loved fantasy. It was probably the most inspirational genre for me prior to becoming a writer. I remember watching Ever After with Drew Barrymore in middle school and coming directly home from the movie theater and trying to write something, anything, that was as beautiful and captivating as that movie. But when I actually grew up and became a writer, the genre felt too big, too hard. And so I stuck to more contemporary-ish stories. Meanwhile, this small seedling of a story took root in my head and began to grow. I started imagining the world and all the different kingdoms and this girl who would fight to become queen when there had only ever been kings. I kept it a secret though, thinking I would never actually sit down and write it. But one day my agent and I were talking about all the stories I was thinking about writing and on a whim, I shared this book idea and she was just like, that’s the one—that’s the story you love, you have to tell it. The rest is history!

    This is the first in a trilogy. What can you tell us about the book? What sparked the idea?

    The whole trilogy started from this idea of a lost princess who wants to reclaim her family’s throne. The only problem is, of course, she is a girl, and the crown and the seat of power in her realm have only been passed onto men. It’s the ultimate glass ceiling in the Nine Kingdoms. The story developed from there, this fantasy world with problems women face every day. I had so much fun adding in my favorite elements—a quest and a quirky best friend and a mysterious, brooding rebel and a gorgeous prince—obviously. LOL! I would say the first book is exciting and fun, but it’s also an introduction to this world of hidden magic and nefarious secrets. I can’t wait to continue with books two and three and explore the rest of Tessana’s battle for the throne, true love and survival.

    Can you tell us a little bit about our main characters, Tessana and Taelon?

    Tessana is a child of tragedy. Her family is brutally murdered when she is fairly young. So while she might have grown up a spoiled princess under regular circumstances, she actually spends most of her formative years at a silent monastery. This has made her gentle and kind, but also naïve to the world and the dangers the realm has fallen into. She’s determined to fight for her right to rule, but she has to prove she’s worthy of the throne. And after almost a decade with monks who don’t speak, she’s far from prepared for any kind of leadership role when we first meet her.

    Taelon on the other hand is the crown prince of one of the lesser kingdoms. He has been raised to rule, and always had a clear vision of his future. Taelon and Tessana were betrothed once upon a time. But that was when Tessana’s brother was supposed to be king of the realm and she was free to rule another kingdom. Now their paths are widely different, but Taelon is one of Tessana’s few allies as she fights to regain her place in her childhood home.

    Could you set up the excerpt we’re sharing with everyone today?

    I would love to! Tessana and her best friend, Oliver, have left the monastery where they were both raised for a quest to the capital. Along the way they got lost in the thick, tangled Tellekane Forest. And while they are desperately trying to find the road again, they accidentally wander into a trap where they are robbed by rebels. The rebels are more than they seem, but so is Tessana and both sides are desperate to keep their identities a secret.

  • Excerpt

    I tried to hide my gasp of surprise. “Rebels.”

    They snickered. “Who else did you suppose claimed the Blood Woods?” Dravon asked.

    I had not known the Blood Woods had been claimed. Nor did I know that the rebels had infiltrated this much of Tenovia. The information we’d built our plans around had been dated. Not much news traveled as far east as Father Garius’s monastery.

    This, specifically, would have been noteworthy.

    Despite my surprise I squared my upside-down shoulders. “I didn’t suppose anyone claimed the Blood Woods. I supposed they were as wild and uninhabited as always, left to the ghosts and savage beasts that have always occupied this corner of Denamon.”

    “Desperate times, m’lady,” Eret sneered. “The rebel army has made allies with the ghosts of the Blood Woods. We live in peaceful harmony among the vicious beasts and reclusive pagans. Some might even say we’re fighting the same war.”

    “And what war would that be?” My voice did not waver despite my panic. “As far as I know the realm is at peace.”

    “Then you do not know much, trespasser.” The man leaned toward me. “Where are you from that you don’t know of the whispers of war and conquests of the Rebel Army?”

    I clamped my mouth shut and shot him my most defiant glare.

    “And what have we here?” A new voice boomed.

    “Arrick,” the two men said at once. Eret moved back several steps and bowed his head low out of respect.

    I turned and shared a look with Oliver while the rope creaked from the branches above. The new man walked around us slowly. Until he hovered over me, watching intently.

    I felt Oliver start praying next to me. His low mumbles turned into familiar chants. Oliver only started his incantations when he was in particular trouble.

    “They claim to have no money,” Eret announced for us. “And that they did not know there was to be a toll expected of them.”

    “Is that so?” The new man, Arrick, murmured. He leaned down so that he could take stock of my face even while his remained hidden behind a hood.

    I closed my eyes for a moment, desperately searching for courage. When I opened them, I found myself staring into startling bright blue eyes framed by thick lashes. He pulled back at once and his face was covered in shadow again. “But alas,” his hand swept over my forehead, pulling at something dangling there, “I’ve found something after all.”

    He yanked and the chain around my neck snapped free. He’d taken the necklace I’d been wearing ever since Father Garius had returned it to me.

    White hot fury blinded me. “Give it back,” I demanded.

    He was silent for a minute, staring at the necklace now resting in his palm. Finally, he declared a steely, “No.” His haughty tone ensured his death.

    “Now,” I insisted.

    Ignoring me, he pulled his hood back so he could better inspect the pendants. With a quick turn of his head and flash of teeth, he smiled at me, although it looked all wrong from where I hung. “This is a very rare piece,” he noted. “Wherever did you get it?”

    “From the pits of Denamon. It’s cursed. You’d better give it back to me before your hands turn to ash and your manhood melts.”

    “What threats,” he grinned. He looked to his fellow bandits. “She’s a feisty one, isn’t she? If she hadn’t walked into your traps, I dare say you might have had a fight on your hands.”

    “Give it to me or you’ll regret laughing,” I hissed.

    He stared at me for a long while, taking in my upside-down features. Then, seeming to find me lacking in some way, he swept out his foot and kicked my satchel, then Oliver’s, over to his friends. “Take them both,” he ordered. “Who knows what other cursed objects we’ll find inside.”

    “I shall hunt you down,” I called after him as they started to walk away. “You shall rue the day you stole something from me!”

    Arrick glanced back with a smirk, his hood covering every part of his face but that bloody smile. “That shall be hard to do,” he laughed. “Since more than likely the savage beasts that roam these parts will find you before help does.”

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