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Bio: I grew up in the California hills with my four siblings, building forts in the oaks. I remember the fuzzy-sweet smell of acorns and moss, the perfume of purple lupines and golden poppies. Instead of television we listened to the night-song of crickets and dreamed of our day’s adventures.
Home-schooled, I read aloud to my brothers and sisters: the Classics, Narnia, Altsheler’s The Young Trailers series, and science fiction and fantasy. Robin McKinley’s The Blue Sword enthralled me.
History: Since I began Falcon Heart, I’ve taken writing for my Associate of Science, attended conferences and devoured how-to books from James Scott Bell to Sol Stein. While creating Falcon Heart and Falcon Flight, I have journeyed with the fascinating, world-opening stories of my writing group, Fantasy for Christ, and authors both traditionally and Indie published.
I’m an editor and I enjoy growing things, old bookstores, and hiking the wild.
I wrote Falcon Heart and my other novels because I have not found enough fantasy adventure books with a sense of mystery, romance, and beauty in the world.
I write for readers who enjoy a kind of fantasy adventure that I call mythic fantasy. Mythic fantasy releases the imagination to the beauty of new worlds. New worlds that hold fast the true and the good and explore the chain-snapping force of powerful relationships in the face of evil.
Blurb for Falcon Heart:
Falcon Heart, the first book in an epic young adult fantasy series, is a historical adventure where Sherwood Smith’s Crown Duel steps into the pages of Stephen Lawhead’s King Raven trilogy.
A band of slavers murder stronghold daughter Kyrin Cieri’s mother. Forced to sail for Araby with an exiled warrior from the East and a peasant girl closer than blood, Kyrin learns Subak from her husband-in-name to protect her from the raiders of the sands and the secrets of the caliph’s court.
A strange dagger of Damascus steel, shaped like a falcon, pursues her through tiger-haunted dreams.
Kyrin vows to face the sword that killed her mother and find justice for her blood. For she must return to her father’s side and take up her keys as stronghold first daughter.
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 the falcon dagger demands.
Stories like Kyrin’s give shape and heat to mythic fantasy—to its many roots and to its flowering. Words hold so much power.
Find your adventure, cross whatever bars you from eternal things: What is the wall that bars you from love, mystery, and courage? Is your wall lies, fear, anger or… ?
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, send your mail here:
Azalea Dabill, Editor and Author P. O. Box 942 Chiloquin, Oregon 97624
Or here: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!
Interview Questions/Author Q and A
Q: You say you write mythic YA fantasy—can you tell us a little more about that?
A: Well, as you know, words hold a lot of power. And I have not found enough mythic fantasy on digital or physical shelves. By mythic fantasy, I mean fantasy adventure with a sense of the mystery and beauty of the Creator, who gives life to all of us. Also, mythic fantasy always has a “romance” about it. “Romance” in my terms means the in old sense of the supernatural, and the heroic, and the mysterious. And I want to add more of this entertaining fantasy to our reading world.
Mythic Fantasy releases the imagination to new worlds: to hope, despair, weakness and strength, evil and goodness under suns near and far. It weaves human experience into adventure and explores the chain-snapping force of relationship in the face of evil. I think mythic fantasy can exist in most fantasy sub-genres. I’ve never read horror, so I don’t know about finding it there.
To my heart, mythic fantasy’s clarion call is hope. Hope despite fear.
Q: What is Falcon Heart about?
A: Falcon Heart is a medieval YA fantasy with threads of wonder, romance, and mystery. I think fans of Anna Thayer’s The Traitor’s Heir (The Knight of Eldaran series), Lisa T. Bergren’s River of Time series, Jeffrey Overstreet’s The Auralia Thread, and Stephen Lawhead’s King Raven trilogy would enjoy Falcon Heart.
It is the tale of Kyrin Cieri, a stronghold daughter. An Arab slaver murders Kyrin’s mother and enslaves Kyrin, who fears a blade and seeks courage. Her dreams of a tiger and a captive falcon lead her into deadly conflict of revenge and mercy between the Caliph’s slaver and those she loves.
It is an epic fantasy of friends and enemies, assassins and war, martial art and love. Kyrin fights for her freedom, her heart, and her friends. If you enjoy YA fantasy adventure, try Falcon Heart.
Q: 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 fascinated me.
After much more research, when Falcon Heart was going to my editor, people brought a few questions to my attention. Research felt daunting then, as if Falcon Heart would never be finished.
Q: Early Tae Kwon Do and medieval weaponry and warfare play large roles in Falcon Heart. Do you have any personal knowledge of these?
A: Yes, I have a beginning grasp of martial arts with a Master’s black belt in Tae Kwon Do. I have also practiced archery and worked with hand weapons. The fight scenes in Falcon Heart are a combination of research and my own knowledge of weapons and hand-to-hand fighting.
Q: How long did Falcon Heart take to write?
A: I started writing before college on a different novel, but I stopped after a few chapters. Later, I realized I gave up too easily, and 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 too. I wrote around school, an illness, and work. For four years of about the last fifteen, I wrote seriously. At four hundred pages and growing, Jeanette Windle, who wrote The DMZ, helped me see that I had drawn the bones of Falcon Heart and the sequel, Falcon Flight. Falcon Heart went to my editor soon after.
Q: What was your most difficult obstacle to 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: What is the theme of Falcon Heart?
A: Overcoming fear. Fear of uncertain life, fear of loss, and fear of love and the vulnerability it brings.
Q: What inspired you to write such a fantasy of death, fear, struggle, and hope?
A: I hope you don’t laugh. I saw some early Xena, Warrior Princess episodes and Kyrin’s story sprang from what Xena stirred in my imagination. She fought evil and was brave but not invincible. But Xena also made me sad for how much deeper a character she could have been, for how much she missed. Kyrin’s story has few similarities to Xena besides the surface martial art, since Kyrin’s Subak is portrayed without requiring gravity’s suspension.
If you like Mythic Fantasy, you will find pictures, peeks, and Falcon Heart at www.azaleadabill.com.
Q: Are you writing more fantasy novels like Falcon Heart and Falcon Flight?
A: Currently I have a file of lined story cards (converted recipe cards) where I jot down scenes and story ideas. Most of my story ideas are fantasy, though not necessarily in the same place or time as Falcon Heart.
Q: Falcon Heart’s characters live rich, varied roles. Are Kyrin, Tae, or Alaina modeled on real people?
A: Yes. I say this because all people play more than one character role. No one’s personality is simplistic. Kyrin’s fears and her battle to overcome and to live resonate with me. Many bits of Falcon Heart’s other characters do, too. Some readers may glimpse themselves in Falcon Heart. But that is what a good book does. All the characters we travel with reflect part of us, unless they are completely alien. And even aliens in Sci-fi are not usually that alien, or we put the book down.
Q: You mention mythic fantasy—what does that mean to you? Do you plan to write more mythic fantasy?
A: I define mythic fantasy as any story that includes the timeless things that our spirits thrive on: things like truth, loyalty, sacrifice, and love, while somehow adding the mystery of life, a sense of joy.
To my mind, mythic fantasy always reflects something of the epitome of sacrificial love that happened in our history. This reflection of truth in Falcon Heart springs from the mystery and power behind the falcon as a symbol, which works through Kyrin herself, and is revealed as she answers her call to grasp a falcon’s courage.
As to writing more mythic fantasy, I don’t think I can avoid it. Fantasy enthralls me. I write about what I see and dream about, and I see mythic truth active in this world and in written worlds that I imagine by extrapolation from this one.
To clarify, I don’t define “Mythic fantasy” as it is commonly used, having to do with falsehood and delusion, but “Mythic” as C. S. Lewis speaks of it 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 Lewis and Tolkien I believe mythic fantasy contains truths that point to absolute truth on a spiritual level.