Check out a Q&A with the author of this YA fantasy... Crownless by M. H. Woodscourt (Interview & #Giveaway) #yalit #yafantasy @XpressoTours

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By M. H. Woodscourt
YA Fantasy
Paperback & ebook, 303 Pages
June 19, 2021 by True North Press


A fugitive storyteller running out of time. A prince hiding from his mother. A kingdom on the brink of collapse. A search for a world of magic.

Convinced his tales are true, storyteller Jinji is determined to find the legendary fae realm of Shinac to save his world from a dread lord trying to cross over—before a fatal illness ends Jinji’s life.

Prince Jetekesh is caught between a controlling mother and his affection for his dying father—until he’s kidnapped and forced to journey with a delusional storyteller and a motley band of fugitives in search of a myth.

Hunted by the queen, hindered by a malady, and invaded by an enemy empire, Jinji and Jetekesh race across a crumbling kingdom to find the alleged gate between worlds.

But even if Shinac exists, how can a humble storyteller and deposed prince hope to stand against a devastating evil?

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Author Interview

What inspired you to write Crownless?

The character of Jinji came to me one day in high school while I was taking a test. Pretty sure I bombed the test, because I became too distracted to focus. The idea of a wandering storyteller whose tales inspire others in their distress made me so happy, because that’s what books have so often done for me.

Unfortunately, it took a lot of years and failed drafts before I landed on the right vibe and cast of characters to accompany Jinji. When I finally settled on a spoiled prince joining Jinji on his journey, everything fell into place and I drafted Crownless from start to finish in just over a single month. It was like magic!

Would you tell us more about the characters who make up the motley crew?

As I mentioned above, it was the spoiled prince who went from full-on antagonist to reluctant traveler that brought things together. He’s really Jinji’s foil. On the other hand, ten-year-old Rille has existed for years in my head. Her no-nonsense, grown-up behavior charmed me early on in my writing. She and Prince Jetekesh don’t get along very well, and their interactions proved some of the funnest to write. Yeshton, self-appointed protector of Rille, is a loyal, quiet, observant sort of man determined to do the honorable thing no matter what. Also along for the ride is Tifen, the prince’s protector, a man with a past of which he’s ashamed but a fierce platonic love for his prince. Later, they’re joined by a dishonored knight whose story is tied to one of the others in the company. These are the motley heroes of my tale.

Which character do you most relate to and why?

In one way or another, I relate to every character (even when I don’t agree with them) but I strive to keep them as separate from me as possible. Self-inserts aren’t my style or preference. But if I have to pick, it might be Rille. She fancies herself all grown up, and she’s very mature for her ten years. I remember feeling that way when I was a child; invisible to most adults, with fully formed thoughts and feelings, but few who took me seriously.

What advice would Jinji and Jetekesh each give about navigating their world?

Jinji would advise anyone not to rush. Take the time to savor your surroundings, whether it be a meadow path, a mighty fortress, or the barren wastes of a desert. Observation is the best method of understanding and navigating the environs of scenery and, most importantly, the human heart.

Jetekesh, on the other hand, would advise you to wash your hands often. And treat royalty and important persons with proper respect.

What part or aspect of this story do you love the most?

Definitely Jinji. He’s special to me and I want to be like him someday. [Laughs.] I’m actually pretty serious about that. Another aspect I love is the world I’ve created, borrowing from beautiful countries and customs from different continents on Earth, then tweaking those to suit my plot. This book has been a special labor of love.

What was a book that made you cry, a book that made you laugh and a book that made you swoon?

Lord of the Rings, specifically Return of the King, had me in tears for the last third of the book my first time through. And every time since, really. Lorna Freeman’s Covenants has me in stitches every time (and I’ve read it more often than I can count). She’s a brilliant and witty writer. For swooning, my favorite read is easily Pride and Prejudice. C’mon, it doesn’t get better than Mr. Darcy. It just doesn’t.

What’s something you enjoy doing when you’re not reading or writing?

Camping! I adore escaping to the mountains (about a twenty minute drive from my house) to hike up to a lake or river and unplug for a week. Although I usually read and write while I’m out there, so does that actually count? [Laughs] I also love watching old movies, and by that I mean 1940’s black and white movies. I’ve also discovered a love for baking and cooking as well as gardening in the past couple years.

What are you working on next?

I’m in the process of drafting Book 3 of my upcoming science-fantasy series (launching this Autumn), featuring elemental magic, ghosts, seers, twin swords, and political intrigue. But I’m unable to work on one project at a time, so I recently wrote Book 1 in a spin-off trilogy following the events of Crownless. So, yeah, Crownless is getting a sequel trilogy, which surprised me in the beginning but makes perfect sense looking back. I want to complete the trilogy before I release it, so it’ll likely come out sometime in 2022.

About the Author

Writer of fantasy, magic weaver, dragon rider! Having spent the past 20 years devotedly writing fantasy, it’s safe to say M. H. Woodscourt is now more fae than human. All of her fantasy worlds connect with each other in a broad Universe, forged with great love and no small measure of blood, sweat, and tears. When she’s not writing, she’s napping or reading a book with a mug of hot cocoa close at hand while her quirky cat Wynter nibbles her toes.

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Tour Schedule

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Tour-Wide Giveaway

Tour-wide giveaway (INT):
- A signed paperback copy of Crownless + $20 Amazon gift card
- 2x $10 Amazon gift cards

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