As we continue with our indie book blog tour (co-hosted with Kate M Colby, http://katemcolby.com) today I am very pleased to welcome historical-fantasy writer, Christina Ochs. She writes epic historical fantasy from the passenger seat of a semi truck. At any given time, she, her driver husband and their two cats – Phoenix and Nashville – can be found anywhere in the lower 48. With a bachelor’s degree in History and an MBA, Christina uses her writing to indulge her passion for reading and research. Publishing as an indie author provides an outlet for her entrepreneurial side and she is an avid supporter of fellow authors, both independent and traditionally published.
Rise of the Storm is the first book in the Desolate Empire series, a historical fantasy retelling of the Protestant Reformation and the Thirty Years War. It follows four main characters through the religious and political upheavals triggering a violent conflict that engulfed a continent for decades. Prince Kendryk is young, handsome and popular, his kingdom prosperous and peaceful. But in the face of a prophesied apocalypse, he must choose between conscience and power. If he chooses the side of faith, he must defy the ruthless Empress Teodora, ruler of a vast empire, imperiling kingdom and family— but if he chooses the side of power, he risks plunging his world into a darkness worse than war.
The coming conflict will touch the lives of thousands, among them… Prince Kendryk’s adored wife, Gwynneth, the proud daughter of a king, whose ambition may come at great cost. Braeden, a violent mercenary, commander of a legendary winged army, who will find himself in the service of an employer he must defy to protect those he holds dear. And Janna, the merchant’s wife, forced to abandon her home and her way of life, ill-prepared to keep herself and her children safe from the ravages of war.
Prequels/Sequels: Valley of the Shadow (sequel)
What was the inspiration behind your book?
During a long-ago visit to Heidelberg Castle in Germany, I heard the tragic story of its most famous inhabitants, the young Count-Elector Frederick V and his glamorous wife, Elizabeth Stuart. I wanted to write a book about them then and the terrible war they inadvertently helped start, but couldn’t figure out how to do it as compelling historical fiction. Years later, I discovered historical fantasy and realized I could tell the story that way. Because I could, I threw in the Protestant Reformation for good measure.
Who is your favorite character?
Kendryk is pretty much my fictional soul-mate, but I probably enjoy writing Braeden the most, maybe because he’s a lot like my husband. Of all my characters, he’s the one I’d most like as a friend (and/or bodyguard) and his voice always seems to come naturally.
What is one thing you want readers to know or “get” about your book?
How easy it is to see violence and war as a solution, and how terribly it affects those least able to defend themselves. I also wanted to highlight the way decent people on both sides deal with terrible situations.
Who is your ideal reader? Or, who will enjoy your book?
Even though this is fantasy, there’s no magic and I think a lot of historical fiction readers enjoy this as well. I’ve had several readers refer to it as a “kinder, gentler Game of Thrones,” and I think that describes it very well. I also write with my teenage nieces and nephews in mind, so I keep it pretty clean and try to avoid graphic depictions of violence.
What three writing tips do you have for aspiring authors?
1. Get the support of other writers. Writing can be solitary and demoralizing sometimes, and it helps so much to have writer friends who can commiserate with and motivate you.
2. Write most days, even if it’s just a few hundred words. Once I stuck to this rule, I started finishing books. I shoot for six days a week and keep increasing my word count goals as I develop more stamina.
3. Stay organized. My books have multiple POV characters and complex plots. I save myself a lot of time if I keep updating my timeline, maps and glossary as I go. I can save myself at least one revision pass if I keep myself on track this way.
Where can readers buy your book?
Where can readers learn more about you? Please provide links to your website and social media profiles.