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Parents, are you looking for books for a young adult reader that inspires as it entertains? The Falcon Chronicle delivers clean fantasy that isn’t sanitized within an inch of its life. Skip the smut and keep the adventure, the reality of life.
Words hold so much power.
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I grew up in the California hills with my four siblings, building forts in the oaks.
The fuzzy-sweet smell of acorns and moss complemented the strong perfume of lupines and delicate golden poppies under the summer sun. We didn’t have TV in the evenings but listened to the night-song of crickets and dreamed of our day’s adventures. We hunted ground squirrels with our home-made bows, but never got any. And we rode our Red-flyer wagon down our mountain, but most of all we loved to roam far and wide.
I learned to read early and entertained my brothers and sisters with many stories. They loved Narnia, The Young Trailers, and great fantasy. Robin McKinley’s The Blue Sword enthralled me.
I have never found enough fantasy adventure with threads of mystery, romance, and wonder.
Now I enjoy family, old bookstores, and hiking the wild.
Falcon Heart and my other books are written for everyone who enjoys adventurous fantasy with threads of myth, romance, and mystery.
Since I began Falcon Heart, I’ve attended conferences and devoured how-to books from James Scott Bell to Sol Stein, including Deborah Chester’s The Fantasy Fiction Formula. While writing the Falcon Chronicle, I helped critique the fascinating stories of my writing group, Fantasy for Christ . I enjoy many authors traditionally and Indie published.
Immersive fantasy adventure like Falcon Heart and the rest of the Falcon Chronicle series releases the imagination to the beauty of new worlds within the familiar. Worlds that hold fast in the face of evil, that explore the forces of love, fear, hatred and hope.
Blurb for Falcon Heart:
The first book in a historical YA fantasy series, Falcon Heart is a medieval adventure where a heroine struggles to return to her people and find her place. But first she must save her stronghold. Similar to Sherwood Smith’s Crown Duel, it is set in the time of Stephen Lawhead’s King Raven. The Falcon Chronicle series premise explores what might happen when an early form of Korean martial art, Soo Bak Do, reaches Britannia with an exiled warrior who teaches an enslaved stronghold first daughter.
A band of Arabic slavers kidnap Kyrin Cieri and murder her mother on the coast of Britannia. Forced to sail for Araby with an exiled warrior from the East and a peasant girl closer than a sister by blood, Kyrin learns Subak to protect those she loves. She vows to face the blade that killed her mother and gain justice. For she must return to her father’s side and take up the stronghold keys as Cierheld stronghold’s first daughter.
On the perilous caravan march to Oman, a strange dagger of Damascus steel shaped like a falcon pursues Kyrin through tiger-haunted dreams. She escapes from the raiders of the sands only to be embroiled in the secrets of the caliph’s court.
Kyrin’s master wants many things of her. But first he must make her his tool and the caliph’s.
To keep her friends from a lingering death, Kyrin Cieri, keeper of the keys, takes up justice against hate and a dagger against her master’s sword. She can save them . . . if she can pay the price of hope that the falcon dagger demands.
Kyrin’s story gives shape and mystery to historical fantasy, to martial art, and to its many roots in the past and its flowering in the twenty-first century. Words hold power.
What walls bar you from wonder, from courage, from saving those you love? Is it a fear of the unknown, a fear of a known pain, or fear of … ? Overcome your fears in another’s journey, find the keys to overcoming your own walls, and enjoy a clean fantasy adventure.
Epic, historical, and family friendly. Don’t miss a new world.
Crossover: Find the Eternal, the Adventure.
If you wish to contact me about Falcon Heart or my other novels for a book review or for more information, please email me:
Azalea Dabill – Dynamos Press
Interview – 11 Author Q and A
Q 1: You write clean YA fantasy adventure—what is that?
A: Words hold the power of life and death. The adage “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me” is nonsense. Words that hurt the mind, heart, and soul impact the body too. The damage may not be immediately apparent, for they can be insidious.
But fantasy has a peculiar power to tap into unseen facets of life harder to show in some genres. And I have never found enough clean fantasy on digital or physical shelves. By clean fantasy, I mean adventures with a sense of the mystery of life, the beauty of worlds known and unknown, and the wonder of our Creator, who gave life to all of us. Clean fantasy always has a kind of attraction, and I don’t mean the expected romance thread. I mean attraction in the old meaning of the words “a Romance” – an awe-infused sense of the supernatural, the heroic, and new facets of the mysterious world. I want to add more of this epic romantic fantasy to our entertainment.
Clean fantasy releases our imaginations to new worlds. In them we see hope, despair, weakness and strength by contrast; we find kingdoms won and lost under suns near and far. Such stories weave human experience into a myriad adventures and explores the indomitable force of true relationships forged in the face of evil.
For the clarion-clear cry of fantasy adventure is hope. Hope despite the wrongness in the world and in ourselves, despite fear, despite death, in spite of life challenges. Indeed, clean fantasy shows us how to overcome our challenges, how to use our difficulties as stepping stones to love and joy, perseverance and strength.
Q 2: What is Falcon Heart about?
A: Falcon Heart is an immersive YA fantasy with threads of wonder, romance, and mystery. Fans of Anna Thayer’s The Traitor’s Heir (The Knight of Eldaran series), CJ Brightley’s Erdemen Honor series, Patrick Carr’s The Shock of Night (The Darkwater Saga), Andrew Peterson’s The Wingfeather Saga, and Jonathan Renshaw’s Dawn of Wonder would enjoy Falcon Heart.
This is a medieval tale of Kyrin Cieri, stronghold first daughter, who fears a blade after her mother is murdered and seeks the courage to win her freedom and her place. Kyrin’s dreams of a tiger and a captive falcon lead her into a deadly conflict of revenge, compassion, and intrigue between a slaver, the Caliph’s court, and those she loves.
The Falcon Chronicle is an epic story of friends, assassins, and war, betrayal, and a love that must choose. Kyrin grapples for her freedom, her heart, her people, and her kingdom. If you enjoy YA fantasy adventure, The Falcon Chronicle is for you.
Q 3: Kyrin Cieri journeys from Britain to Arabia in Falcon Heart. Did you find the research daunting?
A: Reading Wilfred Thesiger’s account of Arabia, among others, was so interesting I did not have time to think of being daunted. Other books about early Britain also drew me in deeply. They were fascinating.
After a lot more research, when Falcon Heart was going to my editor, readers brought a few questions to my attention. I admit the research felt daunting then, as if Falcon Heart would never be finished.
Q 4: Medieval Tae Kwon Do (Soo Bak Do) and weapons and warfare play large roles in Falcon Heart. Where did you learn about these?
A: I have practiced martial arts and archery in the past, and I’ve also worked with hand weapons a little. The fight scenes in Falcon Heart are a combination of that and research.
Q 5: How long did Falcon Heart take to write?
A: Before college I started writing on a different novel, but I stopped after a few chapters. Later, I realized I gave up too easily. Then when Falcon Heart began to grow in my mind, I told the Lord I would not quit until it was finished. Unless he made it clear he wanted me to stop. So I wrote around school, life, and work. And work, life, and school, LOL.
With my novel at four hundred pages and growing, Jeanette Windle, author of The DMZ, helped me see that I had drawn the bones of Falcon Heart AND a second book, the sequel, Falcon Flight. The first half of the manuscript went to my editor soon after as Falcon Heart.
Q 6: What was your most difficult obstacle in writing Falcon Heart?
A: Two things threatened to stop me: uncertainty that Falcon Heart would reach readers beyond my family and friends, and my conviction that this sentence or that word could be tinkered into better shape.
Q 7: What is the theme of Falcon Heart?
A: One theme is fear. Fear of uncertainty in life, fear of loss, fear of love and the vulnerability it brings. In a word, overcoming fear. The theme the contrast brings out is hope.
Q 8: What inspired you to write such a fantasy of fear, struggle, and hope?
A: Don’t laugh! When I was young, I saw some early Xena, Warrior Princess episodes and Kyrin’s story sprang from what Xena stirred in my imagination. Xena fought evil and was brave, though not invincible. I admired her for that.
Xena, Warrior Princess also made me sad for how much deeper a character she could have been, for how much she missed as a person, falling for vague lies about the meaning of her own life and the world. Kyrin’s story has similarities, mostly on the subject of martial art, since her Subak ability does not require suspending gravity. 🙂 This pertains to real martial arts, LOL.
If you like clean fantasy adventure, you will find pictures, peeks, and Falcon Heart at www.azaleadabill.com.
Q 9: Are you writing more fantasy novels like Falcon Heart and Falcon Flight?
A: The companion stories to finish out the Falcon Chronicle series are in draft process. Gathered under one title, The Falcon Dagger, they continue Kyrin’s story of courage and the mytery of the falcon dagger through the secondary characters. The epic tale of a monk’s battle for the freedom of Northumbria and Kyrin’s tronghhold; the story of her first armsman and his true love, who discover a mysterious lost sword and defeat a new enemy; and the final fate of the falcon dagger; are entwined with the story of Kyrin, Cierheld, and all their familiar friends in the Chronicle.
Currently I have a file of lined story cards (converted recipe cards) where I jot down scenes and story ideas. Most of them are fantasy, not in the same place or time as Falcon Heart. Sign up for my Blog Letter/Newsletter for up to date first reader opportunities, new releases, and reader swag.
Q 10: Falcon Heart’s characters live rich, varied lives. Are Kyrin, Tae, or Alaina modeled on real people?
A: Yes, but based on more than one person, blended. Because all people play more than one character role. And no one’s personality is simplistic.
Kyrin’s fears and her battle to overcome them in order to live well and heroically resonate with me and many people. Also, facets of the lesser characters and their struggles in Falcon Heart are things I either have direct knowledge of, or enough knowledge and imagination to extrapolate from. Which is an author’s business.
Readers may glimpse facets of themselves in the story. That is what a good book does. All the characters we travel with reflect us in some way, unless they are completely alien. And even aliens in Sci-fi are not usually that alien, or we put the book down because we can’t relate to them.
Q 11: Do you plan to write more clean fantasy, or fantasy stories in other worlds?
A: Clean fantasy means any story with fantastical elements that includes the timeless things our spirits thrive on: truth, loyalty, sacrifice, and love, a sense of the mystery of life and joy, without getting into the unnecessary details of muck, evil, and immorality.
To my mind, fantasy adventure reflects something of the epitome of sacrificial love in our history that showed us what love is. In Falcon Heart this reflection springs from the mystery and power behind the peregrine falcon as a symbol to Kyrin. The bird’s brave sacrifice is an idea that works into Kyrin herself, and is revealed when she answers the final call to grasp a falcon’s courage.
As to writing more clean fantasy, I don’t think I can avoid it. Fantasy adventure enthralls me. I write facets of what I see and daydream about, and I see truth active in many ways this world. Written worlds extrapolate from ours.
On a finishing note, I don’t define “fantasy” as some do, as a kind of story-telling that creates deception or delusion. I use it in the sense of C. S. Lewis’s “Mythic Fantasy” as he says on page 66, 67 in An Experiment in Criticism:
Surely the author is not saying [about Mythic Fantasy]‘This is the sort of thing that happens?’ Or surely, if he is, he lies? But he is not. He is saying, ‘Suppose this happened, how interesting, how moving, the consequences would be! Listen. It would be like this.’ … The raison d’etre of the story is that we shall weep, or shudder, or wonder, or laugh as we follow it. … Admitted fantasy is precisely the kind of literature which never deceives at all.”
And as J. R. R. Tolkien says in On Fairy-stories:
When we can take green from grass, blue from heaven, and red from blood, we have already an enchanter’s power—upon one plane; and the desire to wield that power in the world external to our minds awakes. … The peculiar quality of the ”joy” in successful Fantasy can thus be explained as a sudden glimpse of the underlying reality or truth. It is not only a “consolation” for the sorrow of this world, but a satisfaction, and an answer to that question, ‘Is it true?’.
Yes, with Tolkien and Lewis, I believe clean fantasy adventure contains truths that point to absolute truth, to reality. To spiritual truth that leads us into adventure, into mystery, and into untold delight.