Guest Post (& Giveaway): Jane Kindred, author of The Midnight Court

Please welcome Jane Kindred to the blog today! Jane is the author of The Midnight Court, The Fallen Queen, and more! Jane is here to tell us a bit about her worldbuilding and she’s also offering 2 copies of The Midnight Court (one physical and one ecopy) to 2 lucky winners, so check out the giveaway details at the end of the post.

Over to Jane!

Monasteries, Murder Holes, and Mountain Cities

Thanks for having me today on My Bookish Ways—I’m excited to be here on the official release day for The Midnight Court! If you’ve read The Fallen Queen, you know there are some unusual settings in my books. This second book in my House of Arkhangel’sk trilogy gave me the opportunity to expand on the world of Heaven I’d touched on in Book One, as well as to explore more of modern Russia, where the first half of the book takes place.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have the chance to visit Russia again as research for this book, although I would have loved to. Instead, I explored Russia virtually via Google Earth and numerous websites on the Karelia area where many of the scenes take place. I needed something relatively close to the city of Arkhangel’sk, where my characters are living at the beginning of the book, where someone could be hidden away, and I wanted it to be something uniquely Russian. That was when I happened upon the monastery on the Solovetsky Islands in the White Sea.

As soon as I saw images of it, I knew this was the place. The Solovetsky Monastery is surrounded by a fifteenth-century fortress that protected it from attacks by numerous enemies over the centuries. It looks like a little kingdom of its own in the middle of a starkly beautiful archipelago. Its history, like Russia’s is tumultuous. The site of religious uprisings and a place of exile for anti-tsarists, the monastery was turned into one the most notorious labor camps of the gulag system after the Bolshevik Revolution.

With the fall of the Soviet Union, Solovetsky was returned to the Orthodox Church, and is now once again a working monastery with a small number of monks in residence, as well as a museum. I can only hope the monks of Solovetsky will forgive me for the license I took with it.

To parallel the earthly stronghold, I created a Heavenly one in the frozen north, and once I had a fortress to defend, I realized it couldn’t just sit there; I had to defend it. That was when I dove into research on the layout and functions of a fortress—fun things, like how to open a portcullis, and the purpose of a sally port (raiding parties would “sally forth” from a fortress under siege to attack the enemy), and murder holes. Because who doesn’t love saying “murder holes”? Then I had to figure out the strategy of a siege, and how medieval war engines were constructed, and how much grain your horses had to carry so that you didn’t end up eating them on a month-long trek over frozen tundra.

But my favorite part of Heaven that I got to create for this book was Aravoth City, high up in mountain country, where the angelic order of Virtues live. Oddly enough, their buildings and homes are based on ancient Roman architecture. Those Romans were pretty clever—central heating right in your home, plus an “impluvium” to catch rainwater. And of course, the Roman-style Aravothan public bath, which is to die for. I confess I patterned it pretty closely after Lynn Flewelling’s Aurënfaie baths, but in my own defense, I didn’t realize I had until I’d gone back to reread her Nightrunner series. She is clearly a woman after my own heart, and loves a good bath.

These are just a few of the places and things you’ll discover in The Midnight Court—along with the Midnight Court itself—as Anazakia, Belphagor, and Vasily take the next step of their journey.

As a special Release Day bonus, I’m giving away two copies of The Midnight Court today (or The Fallen Queen if you prefer)—one ebook and one paperback.

So tell me, what unusual place in the world would you most like to visit?

GIVEAWAY DETAILS:
1. Answer Jane’s question above in the comments and specify ebook or physical copy (we’ll pick one of each!) Please don’t leave your email address in the body of the comment (as long as you fill it in on the WordPress form, you’re good to go-I may delete email addresses left in the comments)
2. Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY
3. Giveaway ends 9/8/12

About the author:
Jane Kindred began writing fantasy at age 12 in the wayback of a Plymouth Fury—which, as far as she recalls, never killed anyone…who didn’t have it coming. She spent her formative years ruining her eyes reading romance novels in the Tucson sun and watching Star Trek marathons in the dark. Although she was repeatedly urged to learn a marketable skill, she received a B.A. in Creative Writing anyway from the University of Arizona.

She now writes to the sound of San Francisco foghorns while two cats slowly but surely edge her off the side of the bed.

You can find Jane on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and on her website.

About The Fallen Queen, Book One of The House of Arkhangel’sk:
Heaven can go to hell.

Until her cousin slaughtered the supernal family, Anazakia’s father ruled the Heavens, governing noble Host and Fallen peasants alike. Now Anazakia is the last grand duchess of the House of Arkhangel’sk, and all she wants is to stay alive.

Hunted by Seraph assassins, Anazakia flees Heaven with two Fallen thieves—fire demon Vasily and air demon Belphagor, each with their own nefarious agenda—who hide her in the world of Man. The line between vice and virtue soon blurs, and when Belphagor is imprisoned, the unexpected passion of Vasily warms her through the Russian winter.

Heaven seems a distant dream, but when Anazakia learns the truth behind the celestial coup, she will have to return to fight for the throne—even if it means saving the man who murdered everyone she loved.

The Fallen Queen is available now at:  Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BAM | Books On Board | Diesel | IndieBound | Powell’s Books.

About The Midnight Court, Book Two of The House of Arkhangel’sk:
Against the pristine ice of Heaven, spilled blood and a demon’s fire will spark celestial war.

The exiled heir to the throne of Heaven, Grand Duchess Anazakia and her demon companions, Belphagor and Vasily, have made a comfortable home in the Russian city of Arkhangel’sk, but their domestic bliss is short lived. When their daughter Ola is taken as a pawn in Heaven’s demon revolution, the delicate fabric of their unorthodox family is torn apart—threatening to separate Belphagor and Vasily for good.

Anazakia is prepared to move Heaven and Earth to get her daughter back from Queen Aeval, risen in Elysium from the ashes of temporary defeat. But Aeval isn’t the only one seeking Ola’s strange power.

To conquer the forces amassing against them, Anazakia is prophesied to spill the blood of one close to her heart, while Vasily’s fire will prove more potent than anyone suspected. In the battle for supremacy over Heaven’s empire, loyalties will be tested and secrets will be revealed, but love will reign supernal.

The Midnight Court is available now in ebook and paperback from:  Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books On Board | Powell’s Books

28 Comments:

  1. I would like to visit what some might think is unusual is graveyards all around the world and take photos. As well as Dracula’s Castle in Transylvania.

  2. I would love to visit Transylvania and do the whole Dracula tourist trap sightseeing! I’m a sucker for anything Dracula!

  3. There are so many places I want to visit. I love to go on “haunted tours” in particular because they show you a different perspective on a city’s history and offer really neat stories that you wouldn’t get otherwise.

    (If I win I’d like paperback.)

  4. Just *one*?

    How about Ayers Rock in Australia? Not allowed to photograph it from some angles because of Aborigine religious beliefs, but still…

  5. I’d like to visit the the unusual and strangely beautiful terraced pools of Pamukkale in Turkey. There is something haunting about them in pictures and it’d be an awesome thing to experience in real life, I imagine. I’d love a copy of your physical book 🙂

  6. I would like to visit the Tombs in the Pyramids, and the City of the Dead under Paris… I wouldn’t mind getting into the catacombs of the Vatican also. Lots of stolen treasures down there.

    If I’m chosen I’d like a paper version of book 1 The Fallen Queen.

  7. I dont know if its considered unusual, but I really want to go to Scotland, check out Loch Ness and see some castle’s. Thx for giveaway. Either version would be fine with me.

  8. I am loving these answers guys! Thanks for making Jane so welcome!

  9. Thanks for a great post and congrats on the newest release! I’d love to visit antartica or Easter Island 🙂

  10. Victoria Zumbrum

    I would love to see Dracula’s castle or Juliet’s Place in Italy. Thanks for the giveaway. Please enter me. Tore923@aol.com

  11. When I travel, I like to visit graveyards and look for beautiful monuments.

    lag110 at mchsi dot com

  12. First and foremost definately Dracula’s castle that would be my ultimate my second choice would be if physically possible to dive to the titanic and see itwith my own eyes .I would love it in ebook if I won.Have a great week

    flanagan@mebtel.net

  13. Ohhh!! Dracula’s castle, taj mahal, and various places in Ireland 🙂 (Would love to find a fairy ring!!)
    Print copy if I win 🙂
    Ashley A
    ash_app@hotmail.com

  14. Dracula castle is one. New Orleans graveyard tour is another.

    Either print or ebook is good.

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

  15. I’d like to visit the two poles – north & south – the Arctic & Antarctic before global warming does its worst.

  16. I would love to visit Stonehenge. It seems like it would be a very interesting place to see.
    If I should win, I would like a print copy.
    Thank you for the opportunity!

  17. Hooray for release days!!! *cheers* Many congrats~ and thanks for the lovely opportunity. ^^

    I suppose I don’t really know any particularly unusual places to know if I’d like to visit them or not, I still live a little more “under a rock”[ so to speak] than I’d like to, though I’d like to know/visit all kinds of places — unusual, or otherwise! But…some people tell me it’s unusual( because I’m a girl) that the absolute number one place I’d most like to travel to someday is Arabia.
    (( Though old architecture, and fortresses, and monasteries, and less-human-inhabited places, like various mountainous areas, or The Amazon Rainforest, have always fascinated me — so I’d like to see as many of those-like places as well, if I could. ))
    One day…I’d really just like to be able to travel. – To as many places, everywhere, that I can possibly manage. 🙂

    A physical copy of The Fallen Queen would be lovely, should I win. But..if I shouldn’t..you can rest assured I will be going to the bookstore at the soonest opportunity. 😉 This really sounds like a book/world I’d love to explore!


    Good luck to all ~
    : }

  18. I’ve always wanted to visit Stonehenge. I guess that’s an unusual place, because of it’s history and mystic atmosphere.

    Thanks for the opportunity to win.

  19. I forgot. It doesn’t matter which kind of copy it is.

  20. Dracula’s Castle….LOL!!!
    I always want to know all place like Taj Mahal, Niagara’s Fall etc.

  21. I would love to visit Angel Falls in South America. It looks spectacular.

    The Fallen Queen in paper or ebook form would be great. Thank you for the giveaway.

  22. Congrats on the book! I’d like to visit the pyramids.

  23. I would like to visit Egypt, see the pyramids and the Nile.
    Please enter me for the paper copy.

  24. I’d love to visit the Catacombe dei Cappuccini. It sounds like a fascinating, if morbid, place. When I was quite a bit younger, I wanted to be buried there just in case my soul didn’t leave my body after I died. I figured I’d have something interesting to look at, even if I couldn’t move any more!

    (I was a peculiar kid.)

    If I win, I’d love an e-book copy of THE MIDNIGHT COURT.

  25. I would love to go to Greece, I know it is not that unusual, but I think there is so much history to been experienced. The most unusual place I have been was in Egypt, I visited an old ruin that had a house filled with mummified crocodiles – truly a sight I will never forget. Thank you for sharing with us today and for the giveaway fun 🙂

  26. I would like to go to Xi’an and see the terra cotta soliders.

    I’d like The Fallen Queen in ebook.

    Thanks!

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