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What Would the Founding Fathers Think: A Young American's guide to understanding the mess our country is in and how we get out
Isabelle Webb: Legend of the Jewel
Captive Heart
Cobble Cavern
Caller ID
Promises
Protected,
Summer of Secrets
On Little Wings
We Lived in Heaven: Spiritual Accounts of Souls Coming to Earth
Christ's gifts to women
A Woman's power: threads that bind us to god
Scary School
Hope's journey
Blue
Targets in Ties
Crater Lake: Battle for Wizard Island
Venom
With a Name like Love
Sean Griswold's head


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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

My Review of "The Sapphire Flute" By Karen Hoover

I am very excited to tell you about a new Young Adult fantasy series that is starting. Book one in the Wolfchild Saga is called, "The Sapphire Flute" and is being released on March 16th, 2010. The Sapphire Flute was written by first time author, Karen E. Hoover.

Here is what the blurb says on the back cover:

"It has been 3,000 years since a white mage has been seen upon Rasann.In the midst of a volcanic eruption miles outside of her village, Ember discovers she can see magic and change the appearance of things at will. Against her mother's wishes, she leaves for the mage trials only to be kidnapped before arriving. In trying to escape, she discovers she has inherited her father's secret--a secret that places her in direct conflict with her father's greatest enemy.

At the same time, Kayla is given guardianship of the sapphire flute and told not to play it. The evil mage C'Tan has been searching for it for decades and the sound alone is enough to call her. For the flute to be truly safe, Kayla must f ind its birthplace in the mountains high above Javak. The girls' paths are set on a collision course...a course that C'Tan is determined to prevent at all costs."

Karen has done a wonderful job at creating this new world of Rasann and the magic system used in this world. This is always a big thing for me when I read a fantasy book. The more creative and exciting for me, the more believable it is. Magic in this world is woven together like a prism of colors. Karen writes with such wisdom, that superbly flows from her characters as they experience life. One quote that has stayed with me is something that was told to Kayla when she was doubting herself and how she had no choice with the way things happened in her life:

"There ye be wrong Kayla. Ye always have a choice. Ye just need the courage to take the chances when they come." I find that so inspiring I am going to type it up and hang it somewhere I can read it every day.

The story found in "The Sapphire Flute" is told from three different perspectives Ember, the misunderstood, young woman experiencing magic for the first time and who discovers many new things about herself along the way. Kayla, a talented young lady who only wants to be recognized for who she is,to save her family and keep The Sapphire Flute safe. Then of course there is the villain C'Tan, who wants desperately to destroy both of the girls lives on her way to ultimate power.

It is not very often to find three strong female leads in a book. I really think that women, young and old, will enjoy seeing this aspect in a fantasy book. Now, don't get me wrong, there are some wonderful male characters in this book such a Ember's Uncle Shad, who is described so deliciously, I could see him clearly in my mind from head to toe. Then there are Ember's strong and lively stepbrothers who would do anything to protect their younger sister. Truly, there are characters for all readers to relate to. The only male character that I was not sure about was Kayla's boyfriend, Brant. He appears good, but with seven books in the series, who knows what still may be revealed.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Karen on Friday night. This is one of the most fun and pleasant interviews I have ever done. I hope that you will get to know Karen better and also get more of a feeling of "The Sapphire Flute" and why it was written.


When did the idea for the Sapphire Flute come to you?
Actually, I was a missionary at the time, believe it or not. I was in West Hartford, Connecticut and had a dream of a girl standing outside of a little pup tent. She pulled a flute from a bag at her side and began to play it beneath the full moon.
A white wolf with glowing green eyes padded to the river and sat and watched her, then cocked his head and began to sing with her. The melody created between them was so beautiful, I just had to write about it.

Wow! That sounds so wonderful. I know that you really play the flute, how long have you played? Can you also tell me about your "real" Sapphire Flute?
I do play the flute. I started when I was eleven. Originally I wanted to play the viola, but the little town we lived in didn't offer orchestra, only band, so I had to choose between the flute and the french horn, and obviously chose the flute. Mom told me she wasn't going to pay $400 for an instrument and then not have me want to play it, so she asked her friend to give me private lessons. I owe Nancy so much for pushing me to play my best. It got me three scholarship offers when the time came to head off to college.
As for MY "sapphire flute," I've been looking for something like it for years. I was hoping for something made of glass or crystal, but have had no such luck, then one day I just googled "blue flute" and found a blue enameled flute with silver keys and a mouthpiece. I couldn't help myself. I bought it as soon as I had the money and it plays like a dream.

You have two female lead characters in the Sapphire Flute. Are you more like Ember or Kayla?
Well, at least you didn't ask me if I was like C'Tan. lol
You are so not like C'Tan. Is she based on someone that you really know?

I think that they both have bits of me. Kayla's passion for music is definitely a big piece of me, and her devotion to her family. But, honestly, the strong willed, stubborn, yet family conscious Ember is more me. She was actually my hardest character to write BECAUSE she was so much a part of me. It was hard to open up that much.

No worries. LOL! No, C'Tan is a figment of my imagination. I tell everyone she's the part of me that I never let out, I only imagine when I'm really, really mad.

I also seemed to relate more to Ember's fiery spirit.
It has been fascinating to me to see how people seem to pick one or the other they identify with. Very few people love both Ember and Kayla equally, and yet they are both pieces of me. I don't take offense, I just find it interesting.

Is fantasy your favorite genre? Are there other genres that you would like to write someday?

Fantasy is definitely my favorite. It's my niche. I love mysteries as well and grew up reading Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys and eventually moved on to J.A. Jance and Mary Higgins Clark. I have a mystery in mind, but my overactive fantasy imagination has turned my detective into a werewolf already, and not just any werewolf, but a part poodle werewolf with curly hair. People call her Medusa behind her back. LOL! I just can't help myself.I was born to be a fantasy writer.
I think you were!! Funny, we grew up reading the same books.

The Sapphire Flute is going to be a 7 book series. Do you have a basic outline for all 7 books and know how the series will end? Will Kayla and Ember be in all 7 books or have you not decided yet?

Kayla and Ember will be in all seven books, yes. The closer the book is to my writing it, the more I know about it. I have a general idea of where the series is going, I know the big moments, or at least most of them, but I don't outline much. It takes the fun out of writing for me. I outline sparsely, then just jump in.
I thought I knew how it was going to end, but writing book two has brought in an entirely new element that changes book 7 all the way through. So, I sort of know what happens at the end, but not entirely. We'll see where it takes me.

Do you have authors that have influenced you in your writing?

David Eddings has probably influenced me more than about anyone. I've read his books over and over and over again. Anne McCaffrey is another. Piers Anthony's Incarnations of Immortality series. Mercedes Lackey. J.A. Jance and J.V. Jones. Hmmm, who else. C.S. Lewis, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Madeline Llengle. Orson Scott Card. Those are the main ones.

Can you tell me a little about your book cover?

Several people don't like the cover, but I think they're just so used to modern day YA covers that they've forgotten what color looks like. To me the cover is a throwback to the early days of fantasy. I think it's stunning.
Want to know something special about the cover I don't tell many people?
What is that? Is this off the books ?
You can use it if you want, I don't mind. You know, my mom passed away a year and a half ago and writing was her dream too, so she really encouraged me in this dream. I read all my early works to her and read to her. We brainstormed together and she always told me how proud she was of me.
Well, her favorite color was turquoise. Mine is sapphire blue. And if you look at the title of the book, it is a blending of those two colors together. Cash(Valor Publishing's art director) never knew that, but it makes me think of her every time I look at the cover because those are her colors merged with mine.

What is your greatest dream as a writer?

My greatest dream as a writer? To reach people. That's all I want really, is to reach somebody when they need a friend and realize they aren't alone.
You don't have to write non- fiction true- to- life stories to reach people. The people I read about as a kid were my friends and helped to shape me into the person I am today. I just want to pay that back, even just a little.

What do you feel is the greatest message/feeling you want your readers to gain from reading The Sapphire Flute?

To follow your heart, wherever it may lead. To stand for right and fight for what's most important to you.


What advice would give aspiring writers like me?

My favorite quote comes from a Christian author I know by the name of Virginia Smith. I posted it above my writing space and read it frequently.
She said "God has plans for your writing, and they're better than any plans you have for yourself. Let HIM be in charge and let HIM delight you with what He has in store." I live by that. God is in charge of my writing. I am but the pen in his hand, and I have found that when I put it in His hands my writing is better and comes more easily than it ever does when I sit and try to force it.

Can I borrow that? I love what it says. That is very inspiring.

You certainly may! It has inspired me more times than I can say. The only other advice I can offer is to believe in yourself. You have this passion to write for a reason. Trust it. Learn all you can and believe in yourself.

I want to thank Karen for talking to me and sharing so much about herself and her writing. If you would like to learn more about Karen and follow her blog you can find it here.

Karen's book can be found at Amazon.com or you can order it directly from Valor Publishing Group.

I wish to thank Valor Publishing Group and Tristi Pinkston for my free review copy of "The Sapphire Flute". I have received no compensation for writing this review.


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4 comments:

  1. Thank you for the lovely review, Sheila. I had a wonderful time doing the interview as well. :) Looking forward to doing that podcast with LDSWBR!

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  2. By reading my mothers review it sounds like this book is better the secrets of droon books. (my favorite series.)

    Elise.

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  3. Great review, Sheila. I very much enjoyed it. The Sapphire Flute is a great book, I've read it 3 times myself.

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  4. Great interview! I loved reading about Karen, and her book! I'm going to buy it! Thanks for all you do, girlfriend! Can't wait until the conf!

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