Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Goddess's Choice: Interview and excerpt.

The Goddess’s Choice
by Jamie Marchant.

Synopsis: The crown princess Samantha fears she’s mad; no one but she sees colors glowing around people. The peasant Robrek Angusstamm believes he’s a demon; animals speak to him, and his healing powers far outstrip those of his village’s priests. Despite their fears, their combined powers make them the goddess’s choice to rule the kingdom of Korthlundia.

In my sword and sorcery novel, The Goddess’s Choice, Samantha’s ability enables her to discern a person’s character through their multi-colored aura, and Robrek’s makes him the strongest healer the kingdom has seen in centuries. But their gifts also endanger their lives. Royals scheme to usurp the throne by marrying or killing Samantha, and priests plot to burn Robrek at the stake. Robrek escapes the priests only to be captured by Samantha’s arch-enemy, Duke Argblutal; Argblutal intends to force the princess to marry him by exploiting Robrek’s powers. To save their own lives and stop the realm from sinking into civil war, Robrek and Samantha must consolidate their powers and unite the people behind them.

The Goddess’s Choice  is based on a Norwegian fairy tale, “The Princess and the Glass Hill.” Though my favorite fairy tale as a child, it disturbed me that the female character has no name and no role other than being handed off as a prize. My novel remakes the crown princess of Korthlundia into a strong heroine who is every bit as likely to be the rescuer as the one rescued.

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Chapter 1

“Please, no!” Robbie Angusstamm screamed as his father’s heavy strap came whistling down on his bare back. He tried to yank his hands free, but his brother Boyden held them tightly against the dining room table. Sulis curse it! Why do I have to be such a worthless weakling? He promised himself he wouldn’t scream again, but he screamed just as loudly the next time the strap hit.
“Sleeping by the river in the middle of the goddess-cursed afternoon! How many times must I beat you before you learn responsibility, boy?” His father brought the strap down even harder.
“I didn’t mean to!” But Robbie’s explanation turned into screams of pain as the strap landed again and again. 
Robbie let out a humiliating whimper when his father finally stepped away and Boyden let go of his wrists. Robbie clutched a chair for support and struggled to hold back his tears. By the goddess, don’t let them see me cry. 
His father towered over him, red-faced and scowling. “Learned your lesson, boy?” 
“Yes, sir,” Robbie said, ashamed of how pathetic he sounded. 
“I’m not going to have to send your brother looking for you again, am I, boy?” Angus Camlinstamm loomed over Robbie, making him feel even shorter than he was. 
“No, sir.” 
“All right, then. Stop lazing around like a fool and get your chores done.” Angus hung the strap on its peg by the door. “If you finish before dinner’s over, I may consider letting you join us.” 
Like that will ever happen! Robbie clutched at his empty stomach, knowing he’d get nothing to eat before breakfast. He pulled his shirt carefully over the welts on his back and stumbled toward the back door. 
As he passed through the kitchen, one of the servants quickly drew the star of Sulis in the air to ward off his evil. He hated it when people did that, but how could he blame them? He caught his reflection in the shiny pots that hung from the kitchen wall. Dark black hair, the color of night and demons. Green eyes, unlike those of the children of the goddess. Skin, darker than natural. He was also so short his brother called him a worm. 
Robbie stepped outside and drew two large buckets of water from the well. He staggered toward the barn, the weight of the buckets bending him forward and pressing his shirt against his back. Praying none of the servants or farmhands would see him, he set the buckets down and emptied some of the water. His father would beat him again if he knew, and Boyden would laugh at his weakness. Boyden could carry hundred-pound sacks of grain as if they contained feathers. Boyden was everything their father wanted in a son.
Boyden hadn’t killed their mother. 
When he reached the barn door, he shouted for Allyn or Darien to open it, but no one came. The two farmhands were supposed to help him with the animals, but this wouldn’t be the first time they’d used Robbie getting in trouble as an excuse for taking the night off. They knew he wouldn’t risk another beating by telling on them. 
Robbie sat the buckets down to open the door. The barn was large, with plenty of room for the dozen cows, ten horses, and four mules as well as for the large pig and her half-dozen piglets. When he entered, the cows mooed happily. The horses and mules neighed and stomped their feet in greeting. A bird whose wing he’d mended flew down from the rafters and landed on his shoulder. It nibbled his ear affectionately. The animals’ joy seeped into his body like a warm, living current, strengthening him against both exhaustion and pain. Animals couldn’t sense the evilness in his soul. Only here was he loved. 


  1. For people who haven’t heard of The Goddess’s Choice, make a brief description.

The Goddess’s Choice  is based on a Norwegian fairy tale, “The Princess and the Glass Hill.” Though my favorite fairy tale as a child, it disturbed me that the female character has no name and no role other than being handed off as a prize. My novel remakes the crown princess of Korthlundia into a strong heroine who is every bit as likely to be the rescuer as the one rescued.

  1. When did you decided to become a writer?

I think I was born a writer. I never remember wanting to be anything else. I wrote my first stories when I was about six for my older sister. I was in high school when I wrote my first novel. I got sidetracked for a few years, pursuing a Ph.D. in literature and writing literary criticism, but I’m back to what has always been my passion—fantasy fiction.

  1. What does your family think of your works?

They love it. My son Jesse asks me to read him The Goddess’s Choice over and over again.

  1. Do you have specific habits when you write?

I write lying back on the couch with my laptop on my knees.

  1. Are you an early bird or night owl?

Definitely an night owl. One of my characters mentions that the sunrise is a pleasure the gods intended only for themselves. I wholeheartedly agree.

  1. Where do you get your inspiration?

The Goddess's Choice  originates deep within my childhood. My sister Jalane--she is ten years older than me--told me stories, fairy tales mostly:  "Midas and His Golden Touch," "Little Red Riding Hood," "Hansel and Gretel." But my favorite was always "The Princess and the Glass Hill" or "The Glass Mountain" as my sister titled it. I had her tell that story over and over again. I was captivated by the bold hero on his magical horses of bronze, silver, and gold. 

When I had a child of my own, I wanted to pass that fairy tale on. My son, Jesse, loved it every bit as much as I had. One day after telling it to him, it came to me that the story could be so much more than five pages and sparse details. However, I didn’t want to write a children’s story but the type of epic fantasy I enjoy as an adult. I upped the dramatic tension, villainy, and sexuality of the piece to create something far different than the original fairy tale. The Goddess’s Choice is intended for an adult audience.

  1. Which of your characters is your favorite and why?

My favorite character is probably Robrek, the peasant sorcerer of the novel, although the Princess Samantha is a close second. I’ve always been a fan of the underdog, and Robrek faces a major uphill battle. His father blames him for his mother’s death and beats him regularly. He lives among people who think he’s cursed with demon blood because of his foreign appearance. The priest thinks he should have been exposed at birth. To top it all off, he learns that in order to access his full power he must truly forgive all those who treated him vilely.

 Samantha is the woman I’d like to be: strong, confident, and powerful. She ends up with her share of problems, but she starts at the top while Robrek has to claw his way up, somewhat literally. Okay, he’s on a horse, but hoof his way up sounds a little odd.

  1. Would you like your book turned into a movie? Do you have any actors in mind?

I would love it turned into a movie. Who wouldn’t want that kind of exposure? But no, I have no actors in mind.

9. What do you do, besides writing?

I teach writing and literature at Auburn University.

10. Name your favorite authors.

Jim Butcher, Mercedes Lackey, Charlaine Harris. They all create believable and wonderful characters.

11. Do you review others’ books? Are you nice or are you mean? :P

Yes, I review others’ books, and I tend to be nice with emerging writers. If I can’t write a good review, I don’t write one at all.

12. Do you like singing or dancing? Does music inspire you?

I love to dance, but I have no rhythm, and I can’t sing. I sound like a wounded cow. It’s a trait Robrek and I have in common.

13. If someone made a movie of your life, which event MUST be included?

A movie of my life would put everyone to sleep. Make movies of my novels instead.

Author Bio

Jamie Marchant lives in Auburn, Alabama, with her husband, son, and four cats, which (or so she’s been told) officially makes her a cat lady. She teaches writing and literature at Auburn University. Her first novel The Goddess's Choice was released in April 2012 from Reliquary Press. She released Demons in the Big Easy in January 2013. She is hard at work on the sequel to The Goddess’s Choice, tentatively titled The Soul Stone. Her short fiction has been published in Bards & Sages, The World of Myth, and

Contact Information

Twitter: @RobrekSamantha


  1. Cool basing it on a fairy tale. I'm writing a horror one based on an old tale. Good luck.



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