Title: The Sidhe (The Heart of All Worlds #1)
Author Name: Charolotte Ashe
Publication Date & Length: July 21, 2015 – 442 pgs
Since his childhood, Brieden Lethiscir has admired The Sidhe, the beautiful and magical beings native to the Faerie world outside his homeland of Villalu. Though he grew up in a culture accepting of Sidhe enslavement by Villalu’s elite, Brieden finds that he can no longer tolerate the practice when he becomes a steward to Prince Dronyen, who is viciously abusive of his sidhe slave Sehrys. Captivated by the handsome and mysterious sidhe slave, Brieden vows to free and return Sehrys to his homeland.
As they escape the capital and navigate a treacherous path to the border, Breiden and Sehrys grow close. Breiden soon learns both the true power of The Sidhe, and that the world that he thought he knew is not what it once seemed. If they survive to reach the border, he will have to make a choice: the love of his life, or the fate of his world.
The sidhe was tall, supple and lithe, as all sidhe tended to be, with milk-pale skin that glowed like moonlight over lean, taut muscles. Like all the others before him, he was naked, giving potential buyers a full picture of what they were bidding on.
And he was extraordinary, head to toe.
His chin-length hair was violet-red and it gleamed in the afternoon sun. His lips were pink and delicate with a pronounced bow, his nose had a narrow, smooth slope and his eyes…
It wasn’t that they were the most incredible color imaginable: a storm of deep, contrasting, impossible greens unlike any Brieden had ever seen. And it wasn’t that they were large and almond- shaped beneath a fan of plum-colored lashes.
It was that they were full to the brim with life.
Never before had Brieden seen a sidhe slave with such lively and expressive eyes, even as he stood for auction. Those eyes were not dull or defeated in the slightest. Wary, yes, and utterly devoid of trust, but also blazing.
Blazing like the eyes of that sidhe Brieden had seen at the riverbank when he was twelve years old— the only freesidhe Brieden had ever had the chance to behold.
The elf stood on that platform as if he owned it. As if he were judging every human man before him, and not the other way around.
He tucked a lock of hair behind a delicately pointed elfin ear, then jutted his chin to reveal a chiseled jaw that contrasted beautifully against his tender features.
And though he knew it was insane, Brieden was quite sure that he was in love.
1) Can you describe in detail what your writing environment is like?
I mostly write at home, in a little writing nook off of my bedroom. My desk is clear glass with a purple metal frame, and I use one of those balance ball chairs because I have a bad back and it helps me keep good posture. I don’t keep much around my desk–clutter is distracting–but I do have a small shelf of fantasy, mythology and fairytale reference books
and chalkboard on the wall beside my desk, where I write myself notes when I don’t really have time to sit down and write. One thing that is essential to me is the ability to look out the window while I’m writing–for some reason gazing out the window helps me when I’m ruminating on something. If I get antsy I’ll sometimes go to the library or a coffee shop to write, but I love my little nook and do most of my work there.
2) Is there one of your characters that you relate to (from any of your works)? Why?
I relate to a lot of characters in little ways, but I’d be hard-pressed to identify one character I identify with more than others. I identify with Brieden’s struggle to make hard choices rather than let the tide of his life carry him; I identify with Sehrys’s resistance to any and all forms of authority; Tash’s struggle to find a sense of self-worth in the wake of horrible past mistakes; Cliope’s warrior spirit; Firae’s need to leave a legacy; Brissa’s idealism, and Jaxis’s penchant to make everything into a joke. There are little pieces of me in every character. Except Dronyen. I really, really hope I’m nothing whatsoever like Dronyen.
3) If you couldn’t be an author, what would you do instead?
I have a day job that I very much enjoy, and I would absolutely still do it if i weren’t a writer. I’m a social worker and I manage a transitional housing program for homeless and street-involved teens and young adults, and although the work is often difficult, it’s very rewarding. No two days are remotely the same. If I am ever lucky enough to become a writer full-time, I plan to continue doing volunteer work with homeless teens.
4) Is there anything that you learned during the writing process that you wish you had known before hand?
Before I began writing professionally, my tendency was to write when I was inspired. I wish I knew how unbelievably difficult it can be to treat writing like a job, however pleasant a job it can sometimes be. I can’t wait for inspiration to hit anymore, and I have to push myself through blocks and frustrating passages even when I’d rather take a break and do something else. I’ve also learned not to go back and self-edit as I write, but to get the words down on the page and go back and develop/improve them later. This is ultimately a much more productive approach for me, and I wish I’d learned it years ago.
5) Is there anything that you wish you could change about your book now that it is out?
Yes and no. I don’t think there is ever a point at which I will look at a book I’ve written and believe that it is flawless and cannot be improved upon in any way, but if I wait until I think everything is perfect, I’ll never get anything published. I am very happy with my first novel, and I’ve learned to look at the whole book as a successful project rather than focus on what I perceive to be its flaws.
6) How do you come up with new ideas for your story?
Coming up with ideas is never a problem for me–it’s keeping track of my ideas, keeping them organized, and working them into a well-paced story that I find challenging. I come up with my ideas the way I always have: by daydreaming. I have an insanely overactive imagination, which got me into trouble as a kid when I sometimes didn’t pay attention in class, but I find myself creating fantasy worlds, stories and characters in my head as a matter of instinct rather than a matter of effort on a daily basis. There is something very satisfying in taking something I’ve always been told is a weakness and turning it into not only a strength, but an achievement.
7) What’s next for you as a writer?
I am currently working on The King and the Criminal, which is book 2 in The Heart of All Worlds trilogy. It will be released in 2016.
8) Where do you live? Do you think this influences how or what you write?
I live on the coast of Maine and I love it. I definitely think it influences me as a writer; I grew up here, and Maine is famous for its beaches and natural beauty. The natural world plays a huge role in my writing, especially when I’m writing fantasy, and I sometimes take long walks in the woods for inspiration.
9) What is your favorite genre outside of the one you write in? Why?
Science fiction. Sci fi and fantasy have a lot in common, but sci fi is particularly fascinating because the concepts and technologies in good sci fi frequently change as humanity’s understanding of the universe, time and the fabric of reality changes. Smart, socially aware sci fi can get under my skin like nothing else. It’s a genre I’d like to try writing in eventually.
10) Do you have any vices? Shoes, coffee, shopping…etc?
COFFEE. I have given up many vices over the years, and smoking was the hardest–I was a smoker for 13 years, but it’s now been almost eight years since I’ve used any form of tobacco. I let myself keep coffee in my life to soften that blow, and while I’ve quit drinking it for periods of time, I always come back to it. As vices go, I figure it isn’t the worst by a long shot, and I do generally limit myself to one or two cups a day.
Charlotte Ashe is a social worker by day and a writer of romantic fantasy by night. A long-time fan of speculative fiction that skews feminist and features LGBTQ characters, Charlotte loves writing stories that are sexy, heartfelt, and full of magic and adventure. She has put her B.A. in literature and creative writing to use over the years as a writer of online fan-based fiction, and her most popular work has drawn more than one million readers worldwide, been translated into several languages, and been featured in online publications including The Backlot.
Charlotte lives in Portland, Maine and can be found sleeping at the beach all summer and clomping along the cobblestones in her Bean boots all winter, writing fairytales in her head to distract from the cold.