Ashael Rising

Ashael is a hunter-gatherer woman, apprenticed to Bhearra, the healer and spiritual leader of their tribe.

The Zanthar are invaders from another world who extend their own lives by stealing the life-force of everything around them. They were last seen on KalaDene 200 years ago. They have returned, looking for The Vessel, a being prophesied to hold the life-force of the land.

Iwan is a slave to the Zanthar, descendant of those taken as slaves the last time the Zanthar visited this world. He is sent out as a spy, while his mother is held hostage to ensure his compliance.

When Ashael meets Iwan in the forest, neither realise that she is the one the Zanthar are looking for. The fate of KalaDene and all of its people rests on her shoulders.

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Author Bio – Shona Kinsella is the author of Ashael Rising, (Unbound, 2017) the first in her series, The Vessel of KalaDene. She is also one of the editors of the British Fantasy Society’s fiction publication, Horizons. When she is not writing or wrangling her three children, she can usually be found with her nose in a book.

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A Year After Publication

On the 6th of February 2017, my dream of being a published author came true and Ashael Rising was published by Unbound. The year since has been a rollercoaster and I can’t believe it’s passed so quickly.

It’s a strange thing, sending your book baby out into the world, waiting to read reviews, watching your family while they read and trying to guess what part of the story they’re at from the expression on their face.

It’s amazing when readers see patterns and themes in the work that I wasn’t aware of in the writing, the way the book no longer belongs only to me.

I recently heard from someone who has now read the book twice and was impressed with the details they picked up on a second reading and I was a little overwhelmed to realise that it’s been out long enough for people to reread it and also that they enjoyed it enough to go back to it again.

I’m hard at work on the sequel now which is a whole new experience. You see, writing the first book, no-one really knew about it. My husband, my mum and sister and my children. That was about it, until I was close to the end and starting to get some short fiction published. With the sequel though, I have people watching, waiting for the rest of the story, asking when they can expect to see it in shops. People are hoping for certain outcomes, that their favourite characters will be safe, that I’ll stick to or subvert some trope.

Ashael Rising was easier to write.

In some ways, I’d like to go back and write it again. You see, even in the year since it was published, I’ve learned more about writing, honing my craft, and I like to think I would make it better now. I suppose that’s the artist’s curse, knowing you could always make it better. At some point you have to let your work stand as it is and just hope that it’s enough.

My day-to-day life hasn’t changed much in the last year. I still spend my days running around after my children and squeezing writing and related activities into the small gaps of free time in my day, only now there’s more to squeeze in since I have to make time for marketing and so on. Some days I don’t even get my laptop open – but that’s ok. I’ve discovered that I’m still a writer whether I write on any particular day or not.

Since the launch of Ashael Rising I have met some of the most talented, kind, supportive people. Writing isn’t a zero-sum game and so often other authors are cheering you on, offering sympathy over the bumps in the road and celebrating with you when you get good news or making sure you’ve seen the review that really sang your praises.

How do I feel a year on? Overwhelmed that so many people have had such nice things to say about the book. Grateful to Unbound for taking a chance on me and my somewhat unusual book. Frustrated at everything that slows my progress on book two. Eager to keep writing – Ashael is calling me and telling me that her story is not finished yet. Delighted that I get to tell this story and share my dreams with you.

This has been one of the best years of my life and I can’t wait to do it all again.

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