Oct 6, 2012

Something Wicked Comes: Seraphina

Today it's my first post in the Something Wicked Comes event that is running through out October. This is seriously an amazing event. Every blogger features one book in each stop and then has to give it away. My book is the amazing Seraphina by Rachel Hartman and just for all my readers an amzing interview with Rachel on her books.

The Book
Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty's anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.

Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen's Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.

In her exquisitely written fantasy debut, Rachel Hartman creates a rich, complex, and utterly original world. Seraphina's tortuous journey to self-acceptance is one readers will remember long after they've turned the final page.

The Interview

1. What made you write about Dragons? What makes them so special to you?
Two of the first fantasy novels I ever read involved dragons: The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkein, and Anne McCaffrey’s Harper Hall trilogy. I have been fascinated with them ever since. They’re mysterious, and they represent different things in different cultures. Chinese dragons are wise and mystical, whereas in the European tradition they are fierce, bestial hoarders. I like that they embody opposites in this way, just like we humans do, and I try to use them to explore the contradictions in human nature.

2. How was the character of Seraphina brought to life? Did you originally plan on writing about a girl that's half-dragon, half-human?
The question that sparked the very first draft of Seraphina was, “What if you married someone with a terrible secret and did not learn the truth until they died?” I had been drawing a comic book called Amy Unbounded for several years, set in a world where dragons could take human form. That seemed like a natural candidate for the “terrible secret” – a man marries a disguised dragon without realizing it and learns the truth when she dies in childbirth. My initial focus was more on Seraphina’s father, and how he was handling the raising of this half-dragon child. Over the course of many drafts, the focus landed more squarely on Seraphina, who is much more interesting.

3. Seraphina has both great characters and an amazing world in it. Which came first, the characters or the world? Was the world build around the characters or did the characters adjust to the world?
The world came first, by a long stretch. I first dreamed up Goredd in a narrative poem I had to write in 7th grade. It was called “The First Adventure of Sir Amy,” and was about a little-girl knight. I named the country “Goredd” to rhyme with “Fred,” the name of Amy’s horse. Over the years, I set more and more stories in Goredd, culminating in the comic book I mentioned. One nice thing about having drawn this world in comic-book form is that I have a nice visual reference now, any time I want to remind myself what things look like.
The characters, most of them anyway, have also lived in my head a long time. Seraphina took me nine years to write, during which the novel underwent enormous changes. I rewrote the entire book three times, and did countless smaller revisions. If you spend that much time with characters, you get to know them really well. I feel like a movie director who’s been privileged to work with the same actors over the years. We’re all great friends, and I know exactly what they’re capable of.

4. Most authors are listening to music while writing, do you have any specific songs in your mind associated with writing Seraphina?
I listened to a lot of music over the many years of rewrites. The song I listened to the most, however, was “A Nest of Stars” by the Irish singer Iarla O’Lionaird. It’s a complicated piece of music, very atmospheric. I didn’t understand it the first time I heard it, but his voice was like a silver thread, guiding me through the labyrinth. It’s a song (in Irish) about remembering what it feels like to be a child, looking up through the branches of a tree at the stars. It still gives me shivers to hear it; I think I could listen to it a thousand times more and love it just as much as ever.

5. Dracomachia is scheduled to get published in 2013, what should we expect from it? Possibly a dragon battle as the title suggests?
I am so terrible about spoilers, like a spoiler-generating machine, so I’m a little nervous to answer a question like this. However, you’re right about the title. “Dracomachia” is the name of the martial art the Goreddi knights developed specifically for fighting dragons, but it’s also a word made up of ancient Greek roots, and it means, literally, “dragon fighting.” War is coming, a dragon civil war that threatens to pull humanity right in. Will humanity stick together, though? And what about the mysterious mind-garden people that Seraphina is seeking out? Whose side will they want to fight for?

6. How many books are scheduled to be in the Seraphina series?
Right now, just two. Seraphina’s story will wrap up pretty well with this second book, I think. I hope to write more books set in this same world, however, like Terry Pratchett has done with his Discworld novels. It’s a big world with lots of potential – and lots of people – and I’m certainly not done with it yet.

7. And finally, since this is a Halloween event, what is your favorite thing about Halloween?
I love carving pumpkins! We carve one every year, even though we live in an apartment and don’t really have a stoop to put it on. I also love taking my son trick-or-treating. In our neighbourhood people really go all-out on the decorating. There are misty graveyards, ghouls and zombies behind every shrub, and many, many kids out and about. It’s so much fun to be out in it. Of course, this being Vancouver, it rains as often as not, but we never let that stop us.

The Giveaway
Now I am giving away a paperback version of Seraphina to one lucky winner.
The contest os open wherever the Book Depository ships (INT)
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. thank you a lot for this interview, i saw several good review about this book so i would be happy to win it

    thank you a lot for opening this to international

  2. Thank you for this giveaway, I'm really want to read this book,

    And thank u for make it open international....

  3. this book DOES sound amazing! I am REALLY excited to pick it up but I haven't gotten my hands on a copy yet

    - Juhina @ Maji Bookshelf

  4. Wonderful post Veronica. I didn't know this book featured a man who was married to a dragon shifter and didn't find out about it until she dies...what a cruel twist. I still haven't read this one and I need to, dying to in fact. I am kind of glad it is only a two book series. Thank you so much for being a part of Something Wicked and for all your support!

  5. I have been wanting to read this book! It sounds SO amazing. I loved the review and the interview. I have never heared the song A Nest of Stars- but I will have to look it up. I also think it is cool that the author got the idea for the world when she was in 7th grade. So happy I found your blog through the hop. :)

  6. What a FANTASTIC giveaway :) I'm super excited to get my hands on this book....... Thank You!!

  7. Usually theDragon stories I have read so far had been in dark ages or dragon era but this looks different and I for one always love reading different and unique.
    Thank you for the giveaway :)

  8. I've read several interviews with Rachel and I always enjoy everything she has to say. Usually authors start with the characters, but I love that she started with the world and went from there.
    Can't wait to read Seraphina!

  9. Sounds cool dragons taking the form of humans! Looking forward to reading Seraphina. Thanks for the interview and giveaway!

  10. Thanks for the invite on Goodreads and thanks for the giveaway! I've been wanting this one. =O)

  11. This story look interesting, will happy to win this book. I love stories about dragon.
    Thanks for giveaway :)