>Special double feature! Review of Erekos and interview with author A.M. Tuomala


Her sister swore that she would never let her die; now the entire world may pay the price.

In a land where gods walk beside men and witches defy death, war changes everything. Scholar and warrior, witch and king, priestess and corpse—all must come together to save their world from the ravages of the coming tempest. For three hundred years, Erekos and Weigenland have fought to hold the borderland between the two nations. As the first storms of the flood season scour Erekos from the swamplands to the feet of the mountains, the Erekoi king discovers a dangerous new weapon that might be able to end the war: the witch Achane, who has raised her sister from the death

Achane and her sister, dragged apart on the very doorstep of a temple, must work to find each other again before the magic that binds them also kills them. In the process, Achane must overcome her grief—and the temptation of the king’s plans for Erekos. Meanwhile, on the mountainous border between the two warring lands, the student Erlen finds his research interrupted by the encroaching conflict. Driven by a militant love for this neutral territory and its people, he determines to defend his newfound homeland at any cost.

When I settled in to read Erekos, I wasn’t exactly sure what kind of story awaited me. What I discovered was something quite unique and fascinating. The author has crafted a breathtaking world with layered and enchanting characters. I found myself engrossed by the story and really irritated when I was torn away from reading. The glossary of terms and hand drawn map added to the sense of adventure I found in both understanding and discovering the story. I really feel like I stumbled upon a treasure in finding this book. It is different then anything else I’ve read of late, and was exactly the change of pace I needed.

Erekos, is a very well written and thoughtfully imagined world. It is full of mythology and fantasy with a historical vibe to it, complete with witches, magic, Kings, warriors and all the usual suspects that frequent these tales. However, it has a completely different feel to it and is not your usual fantasy novel. Instead of being centered around the adventure with a plot driven storyline, Erekos definitely focuses on the characters and their relationships. It’s not a light and fluffy fantasy…it is a thought provoking journey that leaves you thinking long after you’ve finished reading.

My only wish is that I could have been alone in a cabin in the woods, curled up by a fire and allowed to lose myself in Erekos.

Special thanks to Kate Sullivan at Candlemark & Gleam for providing Erekos to PBD

Erekos is available in all major digital formats directly from Candlemark & Gleam; visit http://www.candlemarkandgleam.com/store/fantasy/erekos/ to purchase your copy. Candlemark & Gleam does not use DRM, so you can read your copy wherever and whenever you choose, and direct sales mean that the author gets a greater percentage of the sale price than going through a distributor like Amazon.

Get to know debut author of “Erekos”…

A.M. Tuomala
A.M. Tuomala grew up in the wilds of West Virginia, and now cares for four affectionate and energetic plants. With the release of her novel Erekos this week, we wanted to sit down with this talented author and get to know her a bit.

Day: This is a busy time for you with the e-release of Erekos, is this the first book you’ve written?
A.M: It’s the first book that’s been fit for printing! Previous books have failed for various reasons–the scope was too ambitious, or the story was finished in three thousand words, or I’d written the story primarily because I wanted an excuse to have my characters philosophize at one another. Erekos is certainly the first book that has fit within the “novel” format from its conception.

Day: Was there a defining moment when you decided “I want to be a writer”?

A.M: There was no real defining moment. I grew up in the woods, with four television channels and few close neighbors, and so I entertained myself primarily by reading. It seemed like the most natural thing in the world to want to tell stories in writing.

Day: Erekos is such a complex world, where did the idea stem from, and how difficult was it translating your vision onto page?

A.M: I started with the Erekoi religious cosmology, really. We’re used to understanding struggles between gods in a Greek and Roman mode; the gods set their partisans to warring, or they don armor themselves and go to battle–and instead, I wanted to build a world that approached their deities primarily as workers rather than warriors. The god of war is also the god of storms, and while wars must be fought, storms can be worked against. As you can probably recognize, this is all very abstract, and the main difficulty I had was in translating these themes into concrete events in the narrative. It helped me enormously to draw a map and start building ecosystems; I can’t seem to make my characters do anything interesting unless I can imagine them doing it in physical space.

Day: What kind of research did you have to do for the story, the linguistics alone is just amazing!?

A.M: Oddly, most of the research I did was geological and meteorological. I really, literally wanted to build this world from the ground up, so I had to know what stone people used to build things and where the earthquakes happened, how floods moved along rivers and where the fertile lands would be. I’m sure I’ve mixed things up horribly in places, but the process of learning has been wonderfully rewarding.

Day: What kinds of scenes were the hardest to write, was there a moment while writing it that you changed your mind on something, or deleted some scenes?

A.M: No particular kinds of scenes were harder to write than others, but I did get massively snarled when I sent some of my characters off on a mission that made it impossible for them to continue in step with the plot. I had to unweave a fairly large chunk of narrative and then re-deploy the characters in order to get the timing to line up more neatly.

Day: What and who are some of your greatest influences…was there a teacher or friend that really encouraged you to write?

A.M.: Nearly everyone has encouraged me to write. I’ve always been fortunate enough to be surrounded by people who valued books. I must say, though, the writing communities in which I’ve participated on the Internet have been my greatest influence. People have been incredibly willing to offer their time, their energy, and their criticism in order to help me develop my skills, and I can’t thank them enough for their help.

Day: Who are some of your favorite authors and books?

A.M: I love Terry Pratchett’s work; I’ve never yet encountered a less than enjoyable book from him. Octavia Butler’s body of work also repays rereading–she wrote about ideas so gracefully! M.T. Anderson’s Octavian Nothing books are also really splendid, particularly for people interested in the history of science and the role of narrative in history. Susanna Clarke does a truly remarkable job of constructing a history of ideas for the world she’s built, and she pastiches the late Georgian/Regency style with great skill.

Day: It is my understanding that you are a talented artist as well as a writer, is it true that you sketched the map of Erekos in the book?

A.M: I did, although I don’t know whether it’s any display of “talent.” I wanted to give it a very drawn-with-ink look; if I did a map of Weigenland, on the other hand, I’d want it to look printed.

Day: I’m sure this is a silly question, but is there someone that fits the mental image of your characters?

A.M: Not a silly question at all! Unfortunately, for the most part I can’t provide you with “famous faces” that align with my mental images, and I’m a bit strapped for time on the sketching front. I will say that, when she was alive, Shabane looked rather like the R&B singer Brandy.

Day: What would you like readers to know about you and how do you hope they walk away feeling after reading Erekos?

A.M: I’d like for readers to walk away feeling tired but relieved–perhaps that’s a strange thing to say about one’s book, but I do.  I want to have made them feel and think, and those are always tiring endeavors when they’re done right.  I want to have made them recognize that the world they’ve been encountering is different, now, and I’m enough of a cock-eyed optimist to hope that seeing Erekos change will change readers’ worlds just a little bit.

Day: What’s next for you–are you working on any new projects?

A.M: I’ve got a few projects in the works–I’d like to work on following Erekos with a few stories that further explore the world and its politics, since Erekos itself is such a small component of that larger world. At this point, I’m getting to know my characters and their relationships; it’s too early yet to begin writing. I’ve also entered the drafting stage with a few historical fantasy novels, and I’m working on co-writing a science fiction novel.


Paperback Dolls wish to thank Candlemark & Gleam and A.M. Tuomala for taking the time to do this interview. Erekos is now available in e-book format.


4 responses to “>Special double feature! Review of Erekos and interview with author A.M. Tuomala

  1. >Thank you for the interview! I love finding new authors and so far I’ve found 3 this week! Elle Jasper, Jana Oliver and A.M Tuomala! I look forward to reading this book!

  2. >I wanna read it! I agree on finding new authors this week, it’s been great!

  3. >This looks really cool! I like the cover too, it doesnt look so fantasy. I liked the interview. Terry Prachett is so awesome!

  4. >:) Another author and book to add to tbrp… 😉 thanks for the great interview !!! Book sounds great !:)

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