Title: Desert Rising
Author: Kelley Grant
Publisher: Harper Voyage Impulse
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
“It frightens me, knowing the One has called up two such strong individuals. It means that there are troubled times in our future, and you must prepare yourselves.”
The Temple at Illian is the crown jewel of life in the Northern Territory. There, pledges are paired with feli, the giant sacred cats of the One god, and are instructed to serve the One’s four capricious deities. Yet Sulis, a young woman from the Southern Desert, has a different perspective – one that just might be considered heresy…
Sulis’s twin Kadar, meanwhile, is part of a different revolution. When Kadar falls in love with a woman from a Forsaken caste, he finds he’s willing to risk anything to get her people to freedom. But with Sulis drawing a dangerous level of attention from the deities, and war about to break out on two fronts, change may not come as easily as either twin had hoped.
An astonishing debut, Kelley Grant brings to life a powerful new epic fantasy tale of determination and self-discovery.
How did you come up with the idea for your book?
Desert Rising arose out of my love of classical mythology and the Greek gods and goddesses. I wondered what a world would be like if the deities were created in our image, with our flaws and personalities (much like in Greek mythology), but all-powerful. From that, sprang the Temple system, in which my heroine is attempting to battle the deities to create change.
What is your writing environment like?
It depends on the time of year. I prefer to write outside, on my quiet hill in the middle of the woods. I find the singing of birds and tree frogs and the wind in the trees inspiring. In the colder days I have a chaise in a quiet space in the walkout basement where I can shut the door on the inquisitive cats and be alone with my laptop.
What is your favorite quote? Why?
As a yoga teacher I bring an inspiring quote to each class I teach so I have many to choose from! I have a tendency to get so strung up on what others think, on what others want me to be and I’m trying to get over that so I’d have to choose this one by Annie Lamott:
“Oh my God, what if you wake up some day, and you’re 65, or 75, and you never got your memoir or novel written; or you didn’t go swimming in warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like when you were a kid? It’s going to break your heart. Don’t let this happen.”
How has your upbringing influenced your writing?
My parents were great lovers of reading. My father was a coal truck driver who loved John Steinbeck, my mother was always reading and read to us as kids. They passed that love on to all three of their kids. Even though I know we didn’t have a lot of excess money we were always allowed to buy books. We also lived way out in the country, so we could not always get reception for TV. I lived in my imagination and in the world of books.
What inspires you to write?
What doesn’t? I’m always inspired when I see someone making a tiny gesture that brings a smile to someone else’s face. But I love the story of the underdog, the tale of a heroine who does not realize what she is until pushed into action, yet becomes greater than she ever knew she could be.
What do you consider the most challenging part about writing a novel, or about writing in general?
The challenge for writing in general is the simple act of getting my butt in the chair and forcing the mind to focus on the story. The novel challenge: getting through the middle. Middles are hard – that’s when you completely lose faith in the story and decide you should become a trash collector instead of a novelist. Beginnings are refreshing and endings are exhilarating; but middles are a long slow trudge up a mountain of doubt.
What have you done to promote this book?
I have a blog tour going on right now. Desert Rising has been sent to reviewers and Publishers Weekly gave it a starred review. I will be on a panel at Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo.
What are some of the best tools available today for writers?
The tools for writing are still simple: fingers on keyboards. But laptops are wonderful. So portable and much easier than fingers on typewriter keys! Goodreads online is a great place to find like-minded people to connect with on your writing journey. Finding blogs you connect with can be a great tool for inspiration and reviews.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
The sequel to Desert Rising, The Obsidian Temple, will be released in July. I will be on an epic fantasy panel at C2E2 the end of April. You can find more information about my books and where I will be at kelleygrantbooks.com or on twitter at kgrantwrites.
Meet the Author
Kelley GrantKelley Grant grew up in the hills of Ohio’s Amish country. Her best friends were the books she read, stories she created and the forest and fields that inspired her. She and her husband live on a wooded hilltop and are owned by five cats, a dog and numerous uninvited critters. Besides writing, Kelley teaches yoga and meditation, sings kirtan with her husband, and designs brochures and media.