IN THE SPOTLIGHT – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – Healing Glass by Jackie Keswick #Interview #Excerpt

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🌟 Please join me in welcoming author Jackie Keswick to Stories That Make You Smile. Jackie is here today celebrating the recent release of her fabulous new epic fantasy, Healing Glass. Pull up a chair and join us for a chat about Jackie, her writing, and her reading habits! 🌟

Healing Glass by Jackie Keswick

They thought to bury us. They never saw that we were seeds. Seeds of glass and steel, stronger and more resilient than either.

Series: Gifted Guilds
Publisher: Self-published
Cover Artist: Pavelle Art
Release Date: May 13, 2019
Length: Novel / ~87,000 words / 282 pages
Heat Rating: 3 flames
Pairing / Genre(s) / Keyword(s): M/M Fantasy, Fantasy Romance, Epic Fantasy

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Blurb

A dying city.
An ancient, forgotten accord.
And two gifted men caught in a web of greed and dark magic.

Despite belonging to different guilds, glass master Minel and warrior captain Falcon are friends. Their duties keep them apart, but when Minel falls ill and chooses death rather than the only known cure, nothing can keep Falcon from his side.

As their friendship grows into more, old wrongs and one man’s machinations threaten the floating city and leave both Minel and Falcon fighting for their lives. Can they learn to combine their gifts to save the city and its magic, or will everything they know and love perish before their eyes?

Healing Glass is an LGBT fantasy adventure with its head in the clouds. If you like medieval backdrops, impressive world-building, three-dimensional characters and a touch of magic, then you’ll love Jackie Keswick’s socially-conscious adventure.

Buy Healing Glass to visit the floating city today!

Excerpt

The glass carafe spun on its chain, propelled in slow swirls and small circles by the gentle breeze drifting through the wide-open doors to the roof garden. A rainbow of sparkles washed over the room’s white walls with each of its movements, bringing memories of the endless sky, of sun and sea, and the expanse of green that reached from the shore towards the horizon.

Minel lay on the floor and watched his masterpiece sway and spin. The carafe was perfect. Graceful lines and flawless material marked the craftsmanship as that of a true artist. Joy poured from each facet and curve and suffused the room until Minel felt the hum against his skin. A fitting tribute to his imagination, the carafe showed his mastery of that most difficult, fragile, and most expressive of all materials: glass.

He’d designed and crafted it to bring joy to others. Now it swung on its chain over Minel’s head, bringing joy to no one but Minel. The carafe would never be used. It would spend its days nestled in a bed of velvet, displayed as a testament to Minel’s command of his craft. A tombstone to the joy he’d thought to create.

Because Minel was dying.

Fever burned under his skin, the breeze from the terrace insufficient to quench the inferno. Instead of cooling the blaze in his chest, the eddies of air brought scents to torment him: the vibrant green bouquet of the plants he grew and studied for his designs and the sweet fragrance of their many-coloured blooms, the acrid bite of seared meat, and the throat-clogging miasma of reflected heat and dust on sun-baked rooftops. And fainter, more insidious smells that were even harder to escape: hope, desire, arousal, sweat… satiation.

Those scents raised images in his mind of things he knew nothing about. Or too much, depending how he looked at it. He played with them for a while, pictured ocean-dark eyes fringed by long lashes and dishevelled locks the colour of old gold. His memory added plush lips, the lower one fuller than the upper, and both as delicate a pink as an early winter sunrise. He imagined a broad-shouldered shape looming over his prone form and smooth limbs tangled with his. Thought of touching soft, warm skin, and of calloused palms grazing his aching sides. He dreamed of meshing lips and exploring tongues. He wished for the nip of teeth in sensitive places, the tiny pain a prelude to pleasure. He visualised core-deep shivers and heat, and joy so strong it blocked everything else from his mind.

When a sliver of regret pierced his joy, he pushed the images aside, pleasant and intriguing though they were. He’d never acted on his dreams. And he’d never dealt in regrets. His designs, and the pieces he fashioned, radiated joy, peace, acceptance, healing and any other emotion Minel aimed to convey. Regret had never been amongst those.

He wouldn’t start changing the way he worked. Wouldn’t start changing the way he saw the world now that his time grew short.

The tell-tale tingle in fingertips and toes had been his first warning. Then his surroundings appeared brighter, louder, and more fragrant every time he woke. And the slight shortness of breath grew harder to ignore as time passed.

He’d felt the onset of the disease and had turned his knowledge into a challenge, a race to finish one last piece. Finish it in a manner that would leave people wide-eyed and make them remember him in years to come.

Now the light’s rainbow caress brushed his skin like a velvet glove. The air sang with the carafe’s gentle movements. And Minel knew that he’d achieved what he’d set out to do.

☆ Author Interview ☆

Hi all, I’m Jackie Keswick and I’m very grateful to Addison for giving me a chance to chat a little about my newest book, Healing Glass.

💎 Congratulations on your new release. Please tell us a little bit about it. What’s your favourite aspect or part of the story?

Healing Glass is a fantasy novel set in a medieval world and featuring a glassmaker, a warrior and a semi-sentient floating city. The city came as a complete surprise as I started the story. I didn’t have to think about it or try to work out where Minel lived. My subconscious mind just handed me the whole thing packaged up like this:

Four levels of squat glass tiers and elegant spires connected by sweeping stairs and graceful bridges, suspended high above the waves by a raft of near-invisible columns… the floating city had stood waiting at the edge of the ocean when the Craft Guild arrived in need of shelter. Nobody knew its builders. Nobody quite understood how it worked. The city kept its occupants warm and dry, the glass walls closing or receding depending on the weather. Fountains supplied water in every square, and in all the buildings. The middle tier of the city—a wide, level space between the double-story, flat-roofed dwellings of the lower level and the skyward-reaching spires of the top tier—had been given over to growing food. All other goods the inhabitants needed came via the trade guilds and the Merchant Guild. The craft masters could have anything that fit into one of the eight large elevators, whether it came by land or sea.

And then, to make it even more fabulous, it handed me a sweeping invisible staircase stretching out and up from a wide golden-sanded beach… and I was hooked.

💎 What was the inspiration for your latest story?

The actual inspiration for Healing Glass was a dream that stayed with me when I woke and niggled at me until I’d grabbed the laptop and had written it down. The image of Minel watching the swinging carafe was so vivid, I didn’t even need to close my eyes to see it, and the end left me with enough questions to keep me digging. Even after numerous rounds of edits, the scene is still the beginning of the whole story.

The glass carafe spun on its chain, propelled in slow swirls and small circles by the gentle breeze drifting through the wide-open doors to the roof garden. A rainbow of sparkles washed over the room’s white walls with each of its movements, bringing memories of the endless sky, of sun and sea, and the expanse of green that reached from the shore towards the horizon.

Minel lay on the floor and watched his masterpiece sway and spin. The carafe was perfect. Graceful lines and flawless material marked the craftsmanship as that of a true artist. Joy poured from each facet and curve and suffused the room until Minel felt the hum against his skin. A fitting tribute to his imagination, the carafe showed his mastery of that most difficult, fragile, and most expressive of all materials: glass.

He’d designed and crafted it to bring joy to others. Now it swung on its chain over Minel’s head, bringing joy to no one but Minel. The carafe would never be used. It would spend its days nestled in a bed of velvet, displayed as a testament to Minel’s command of his craft. A tombstone to the joy he’d thought to create.

Because Minel was dying.

💎 Are you a planner or a pantser? How much do you know about your story before you start writing?

I’m a little of both. When I get bitten by a plot bunny, I tend to sit and just write, let the story take me where it wants to go. The first rush takes me about a third into the story, but then I need to stop and work out the end or I meander aimlessly or get terminally stuck. I usually read what I have, make notes for research I need to do, and then signpost major events, both on the story and the emotional arcs until I can decide on the end – to the point where I write the last scene. And then I go back and write the rest.

💎 Did your story turn out as you’d originally planned, or did it veer off in another direction?

Healing Glass is mostly as it came to me, though the way the end turned out surprised me. My notes only said “deal with the council”, and I hadn’t even considered how to do that. What has changed dramatically is the scope of the story. Initially, Healing Glass was a standalone love story. Then, as I was thinking about characters and motivations, all these themes introduced themselves and then, of course, I had a floating glass city with a mind of its own! That was just too good to pass up. So, now, there may be three books, all with a standalone story at their heart, but connected by one large story arc.

💎 Did any of the characters in this story lead the story astray of your original plan?

Minel did, the moment the story grew past him and Falcon. He started out as a quiet, industrious artist who disliked confrontation and was happiest by himself, making glass, or observing people from a distance. As the story grew, Minel needed to grow with it, and I really loved where that went. We’ve not seen the last of him yet.

💎 What is your favourite underappreciated novel?

I love quiet, reluctant love stories, and they don’t have to have happy endings to stay with me. Think The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. LeGuin or Irene of Trapezunt by Johannes Tralow. These two have been with me forever, but a few years ago I found another one: Late Summer, Early Spring by Patricia Correll. It’s absolutely gorgeous, and I keep pulling it out and re-reading it when I need comfort or a boost, or even just a break from the crazy. Patricia Correll writes Japanese-mythology inspired stories and her prose is as beautiful as her characters are memorable. And as for wonderful, offhand declarations… this book should win an award.

💎 What are you currently reading?

A lot of fantasy. I love Melissa Scott’s Astreiant books and keep listening to them when I’m out walking or driving to appointments. Then, I’m stuck in the middle of Across the Nightingale Floor. A character I adore is about to die – I think- and I can’t bring myself to read on and make it so. It’s quite possible I start at the beginning again. And I’ve just started reading Witchmark by C.L. Polk, which has some lovely twists and turns right from the beginning.

Meet the Author

Jackie Keswick was born behind the Iron Curtain with itchy feet, a bent for rocks and a recurring dream of stepping off a bus in the middle of nowhere to go home. She’s worked in a hospital and as the only girl with 52 men on an oil rig, spent a winter in Moscow and a summer in Iceland and finally settled in the country of her dreams with her dream team: a husband, a cat, a tandem, a hammer and a laptop.

Jackie loves unexpected reunions and second chances, and men who don’t follow the rules when those rules are stupid. She blogs about English history and food, has a thing for green eyes, and is a great believer in making up soundtracks for everything, including her characters and the cat.

And she still hasn’t found the place where the bus stops.

For questions and comments, not restricted to green eyes, bus stops or recipes for traditional English food, you can find Jackie Keswick in all the usual places.

Website | Newsletter | Twitter | Facebook | Facebook Group | Instagram | BookBub

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