Title: LARK RISING (Guardians of Tarnec #1)
Author: Sandra Waugh
Pub. Date: September 23, 2014
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Full of romance and nature magic, this debut fantasy is perfect for fans of Shannon Hale, Juliet Marillier, and Kristin Cashore.
“A beautifully realized world, a unique voice, and a compelling, action-packed story. This is a striking debut novel with a lovely folkloric flavor.” —Juliet Marillier, author of Wildwood Dancing
Lark has foreseen two things—she will fall for a young man with sage green eyes, and he will kill her.
Sixteen-year-old Lark Carew is happiest close to home, tending her garden and gathering herbs for medicines. But when her Sight warns her that monsters called Troths will soon invade her village, Lark is summoned on a journey to seek help from the legendary Riders of Tarnec. Little does she suspect that one of the Riders, Gharain, is the very man who has haunted her visions. Or that the people of Tarnec have called her there for another reason: Lark is the Guardian of Life, the first of four Guardians who must awaken their powers to recover four stolen amulets. Together, the amulets—Life, Death, Dark, and Light—keep the world in Balance. To take back the Life amulet, Lark will have to discover her true inner strength and give in to a love that she swears will be her downfall.
Question: What are some pros and cons to having your characters live in a fantasy world as opposed to a “real life” setting?
Answer: For me, the pros far outweigh the cons! With fantasy I can create anything (as in: no fact-checking)! There’s great pleasure in letting the imagination run wild, drawing maps and building creatures, thinking ‘well that totally belongs in her world,’ even if it’s outrageous in ours. The con of course is that I have to be careful with language, particular words and references. I especially had to be careful about moments where my characters are frustrated or shocked—there are no easy Oh my God!s because there is no reference to religion of any sort. I couldn’t let them curse the way we might!
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about what inspired the world Lark lives in?
A: In many respects, Lark’s world is simply my outdoors. I’ve spent years struggling to keep the grounds of our old house in some kind of order, only to watch the wilderness creep back the moment I set down my clippers. That, and the fact that there are woods that border our field, are very much the way I picture Dark Wood on the doorstep of Lark’s village, and Lark’s particular struggle with the thorny ghisane. Merith, on the other hand, represents a certain yearning I have for an idyllic ‘home’—a community of caring neighbors, sharing the wealth of physical, creative labor—farmers and herders and tailors and blacksmiths and weavers and the like. Beyond Merith, beyond what Lark knows, are dramatic landscapes of places I’ve yet to be (and yet what I borrowed from visually): the Himalayas, New Zealand, the Amazon, for example. Rich or stark, and beautiful.
Q: Would you want to have Lark’s ability to see the future? If not what supernatural gift would you want to have?A: I’d rather not see into the future! But I would like to fly.
Q: Can you describe some of the monsters in Lark’s world?
A: In the Guardians of Tarnec series there are many beasts yet to be encountered, so I’ll keep them under wraps. But—in Lark Rising we are introduced very quickly to Troths. They are a recurring threat, troll-like creatures with dagger teeth, slits for nostrils, gristly gray skin and luminous, disc-shaped eyes that see well in the dark. Swifts are another threat. They are birds, heron-sized and eagle-beaked, but with human eyes. If they touch things of Earth they explode and so are used almost like missiles.
Things from earth and sea and sky will terrorize this little world, but I’ll add that not all the monsters are fantastical creatures—there are human monsters as well.
Q: Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what songs were on your playlist for Lark Rising?
A: I absolutely listen to music! I rotate at least thirteen playlists I’ve created with music that inspires my imagination (admittedly of the melancholy minor-keyed variety). However, I write to instrumental music since I find lyrics distracting. Many of my playlists are drawn from soundtracks. Here are some of those composers/film/TV/cd: Ramin Djawadi/Game of Thrones; Rachel Portman/Never Let Me Go; Jocelyn Pook/Flood & Untold Things; John Summer/Inceptions and Joseph Newton Howell/The Hunger Games.
Q: If you could have dinner with one of your characters, who would you choose and why?
A: I’d have dinner with Harker, the seer. Partly because I’d be so curious what he’d say about me and partly because I feel very sorry for him. He is a tormented man; I’d want to give him a hot meal and a chair to sit in for once.
Q: I know that some authors use Pinterest for character/architectural inspiration. What do you use to inspire you?
A: I probably do the opposite. Mostly I draw from Nature around me, travels I’ve taken, and my own imagination. Afterwards, I sometimes look online to see if I might find something that represents what I’ve described. If I find it, then I’ll pin it, but that’s been rather slow going. I haven’t found anyone that looks like Gharain yet!
Q: Do you free-write, or do you write from an outline?
A: I free-write. I struggle with this admission, because it seems so much more professional and organized to work from an outline. But while I add to copious notes as I go, I find it (so far) impossible to be that structured as to set things up in advance on a page.
Q: What are your favorite genres to read?
A: Favorites? Fantasy, YA/MG, and the classics. I think my most favorite novel is Pride and Prejudice.
Q: Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
A: Give yourself a schedule—a deadline—choose however many words/pages/chapters/novels you want to finish each day, how many days per week. Then sit down and stick to it. It doesn’t matter how ‘bad’ what you’ve written seems, because you’ll have a manuscript to hone and shape into what you love. And having something down on the page is one less thing to beat yourself up about.
Sandra grew up in an old house full of crowded bookshelves, in walking distance of an old library that allowed her to drag home a sack of six books at a time. It goes without saying, then, that she fell in love with the old house in Litchfield County, CT, because of its many bookshelves, and she lives there now with her husband, two sons, and a dog who snores. Loudly.
LARK RISING is her first novel and the first in the GUARDIANS OF TARNEC series. SILVER EVE follows in 2015.
Giveaway Details: 3 Prize Packs
1 winner will receive a leaf necklace, $25 Amazon gift card, sachet, a signed hardcover of LARK RISING, and a bookmark and a postcard. US Only.
1 winner will receive leaf earrings, cuff, soap, sachet and a signed hardcover of LARK RISING, and a bookmark and a postcard. US Only.
3 winners will receive a signed hardcover of LARK RISING, and a bookmark and a postcard. US Only