Today’s spotlight shines brightly on debut author Zuri Amarcya who just recently released her first novel Deviants Of Giftborn. Read on to see what she has to say about what she likes about the fantasy genre and how it has driven her to write her own fantasy novel, check out her book, and be sure to enter her Giveaway!
I should say straight up, that I love reading fantasy. It’s a genre that engages our imaginations in such a unique way. While all types of fiction expects us to suspend disbelief and commit to the story and characters, the fantasy genre invites its readers to open their minds and submerge themselves into brand new worlds, unique cultures and extraordinary adventures. It asks us to accept the existence of beings and abilities not seen or experienced in our ‘real’ world and because of this, it draws upon the imagination of the reader just as much as the writer.
I’ve recently made the transition from avid fantasy reader to debut fantasy author (happy dance!) and my first novel Deviants of Giftborn is the first in a series of epic fantasy books. When I realised I wanted to write, I knew it would be epic fantasy but when I was considering what elements I wanted to include, I summed up what I liked about the books I most enjoyed. Some of them are:
Female characters that are “worthy”
Female protagonists (heroes) are relatively new to the Fantasy genre. The genre used to be dominated by male writers who tended to write about male protagonists. Additionally, most traditional fantasy (and by that I mean older high and epic fantasy) tended to be based on, or influenced by, the medieval period of western history when women were usually depicted to exist to serve the needs of men and were frequently referred to in derogatory ways. They rarely participated in quests or wielded a weapon and if they did they were either overly sexualised or deemed as ugly and undesirable. Thankfully, in more recent epic and high fantasy, this is no longer the case.
With my own book, I wanted to create female protagonists that were talented, intelligent and worthy of any quest they faced, even if they had flaws that got in the way. I wanted to tell a story that didn’t centre on romance, or require submission to male characters for the overall goal to be achieved. And, while I respect the YA genre, I wanted the story to be centred on adult women with adult problems.
A diverse world
I knew that any book I wrote was going to have diverse cultures and a multitude of races present. Fantasy is the perfect genre to create new cultures and beings and races, but it’s a shame that the races that already exist in our real world are underrepresented. I am Black British and growing up I don’t recall reading any fantasy book that had a black protagonist. Thankfully this is changing.
In Deviants of Giftborn, One of the main characters, Nemma, is black (to use real world terminology) and there are a number of skin tones and cultures present. In this world, skin tone and race are not causes for prejudice, though there are plenty of other types of conflict between countries/districts (most of this isn’t explored until Book 2). Some of the races may be familiar to you, and some of them will be completely unique, but that is the joy of writing, and reading, fantasy right? I think having a varied world is more interesting and creates more possibility for an engaging adventure.
Adventure and mystery
I don’t believe that a good Fantasy or Sci-Fi book can be missing adventure or mystery. I love stories that twist and turn so you never know what’s about to happen next, with a good dose of intrigue and shocking revelations. Who wants to read half of a book knowing exactly what’s going to happen and how it’s going to happen? Most fantasy requires the hero to go on some kind of quest or complete a task, and that adventure is part of the fun; who she might meet on the way, who will help her, what she will learn about herself and how she will kick the baddie’s ass!
Realistically, going on a life-threatening, emotionally-disturbing quest or mission isn’t something most people would jump at the chance to do. Most of us love to read about them but actually leave our homes and go and seek one…? Unlikely. So I wanted the adventure in my book to be of the characters’ own making. And then as they try to find a way to fix things, the danger heightens and a mystery presents itself. I tried to ensure that the story is tightly woven so that things all tie together neatly, so it’s up to the readers to figure out if I was successful at that! But it was so much fun to construct the story.
Magic (and lots of it)
I’m a massive fan of books/series that have lots of magic. It’s one of the main characteristics of fantasy that cannot be found in any other genre and I enjoy when it is applied thickly! Authors have been so creative with their interpretation of magic and how it works; its rules, who uses it, the cost etc and I enjoy learning about complex magic systems and worlds based on systems of magic.
In Deviants of Giftborn, the magic exists across the world for those with the ability to use it. The main city explored within the first book has a section of it that is purposefully built for magic users, and the rest of the world tends to admire them. The term ‘magic’ is never actually used as it is referred to as the manipulation of energy. Hopefully readers will find it all interesting.
So there you have it. I hope I have been able to explain a bit about what I like within epic fantasy and how that has driven the creation of my book. If you also have similar tastes, feel free to find me on Goodreads and suggest some of your favourite books. There can never be enough fantasy in my opinion, and I’m always looking for something new to read! Many thanks to Lina for allowing me to guest post on Cover2Cover, this is my first one, ever!
Good luck with the giveaway and congrats to whoever wins.
Better deviant than dead.
Raised among hostile, violent beggars, Nemma longs for the safety of her family and a better quality of life. She uses trickery and brute force to survive, but living among the desperate has its risks. When she inadvertently kills two powerful magiens, with a power she didn’t realize she had, she is forced to flee and seek help. This sets in motion a chase that will have a fatal end for her if she is unable to escape the all-powerful Sovereign Order.
Ambitious merchant, Clisantha, manipulates others to work her way up the social hierarchy in Torak City. She uses her illegal powers to preserve her status, scrutinize her devious Lord stepfather and meddle with a mysterious magien. However, when hidden memories of her long-deceased father resurface, she becomes absorbed in the mystery surrounding his death, forcing her to put herself, her beliefs and everything she has strived for at risk.
Nemma and Clisantha’s lives collide and revolve as they fall deeper into the secrets of their past, revealing a truth far more devastating than they could ever have imagined.
Deviants of Giftborn is the first installment of The Etherya Series, a thrilling epic fantasy saga exploring the cost of consequence, justice and power. If you like compelling action, determined heroines, and magical societies, Zuri Amarcya’s adventurous and enchanting tale is perfect for you.
About The Author
Zuri Amarcya was born and raised in London, England to a family of creatives. Her childhood consisted of miming to Cher and Whitney Houston songs, reading mountains of books and exploring local parks for massive hills to ride her bike down with her brothers. She has been a fan of fantasy fiction since she could read and her ambition is to contribute to the genre with an engaging brand of epic fantasy adventure.
You can check out Zuri’s fantasy-orientated blog on her website, where you can also sign up for her Reader’s List to get updates about special offers, bonuses and latest releases: www.zuriamarcya.com
- $20 Amazon Gift Card + an ecopy of Deviants of Giftborn
- Open Internationally
- Ends Aug 27, 2016