Second Skin by Sue Bentley
Format: Kindle Edition
Publisher: Endeavour Venture (18 July 2019)
Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
BLURB The moon was being devoured.
Estranged from birth and raised on tales of the great mountain castle of Idrith-Core, where her distant
father serves as Lord Commander and confidante of the King, Aledra Jewel-Wing was now going there to court.
As one of the Drakkoni, a race of powerful shape-shifters and conquerors of a wild land, she joins her
stepmother at the festival for all peoples. But when in attempting to save a life, Aledra shifts into her
Drakkoni Secondskin – her beautiful second soul: a giant flighted lizard with flaming breath – she breaks
an ancient oath, and the tremulous peace between the Drakkoni and Esrans is shattered.
Branded a fugitive, hunted by her father, and aided in escape by the master-mancer who raised her,
Aledra begins a journey for survival across a war-torn continent.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Sue lives in a house surrounded by a wildlife hedge so she can pretend she lives in the countryside. She enjoys reading, walking, cinema, researching her books, and painting and printmaking, when she’s not writing – which isn’t very often!
Second Skin – Sean’s book reviews
Yes, the Drakkoni are a shape changing race. I’ve always been interested in the concept of being able to shape-shift. As I developed the idea of the Drakkoni as a race they became more complex and their physicality had to reflect this. They are human, but also much more. This is why they have two hearts; one for each persona. Their physical form, and their soul-double – which ‘lives’ inside each of them and is the creature they can morph into. As for other special abilities, I’m still finding these out as I write about them.
Writing fantasy is indeed one of the hardest genres to make something seem new and fresh. I approached writing ‘Second Skin’ in the same way I do with any of my books. Building them gradually and adding layers of complexity as I get more deeply into them and develop the plot. I had the idea for the Drakkoni, who would be a strong conquering race of people and thought it would be interesting to tell the story from their perspective, and also from the oppressed people they rule over. This is a universal theme and it just happens to play-out against the backdrop of an imaginary continent called, Esra. I don’t think of myself primarily as a writer of fantasy, except in the sense that all fiction writing is fantasy. Authors make things up. We create imaginary worlds from our imaginations. I find the right shape, setting and purpose for each book or series. ‘Second Skin’ happens to have been classed as Fantasy. If it seems new and fresh, then that’s brilliant and I’m happy.
Yes, the premise of this novel is very strong. ‘Second Skin’ was also inspired by my interest in Native American culture and the rich stories and traditions of the many tribes, particularly those dwelling on the Great Plains and in Woodlands. I’m no expert and do not profess to be, but the clash when cultures collide has always fascinated me. In the Drakkoni we see a race of people who feel entitled to behave however they wish and dismiss the tribes they rule over as savages. A story repeated over and over in human history. There are many tribes throughout Esra, each of them with an affinity to a particular nation, but with individual and cultural characteristics.
If I could write another genre what would that be and why? Hmm. I already write across many genres! I didn’t plan this, it just happened. I have a wide range of interests and if something captures my imagination I might begin to work it up into a book. My previous novel ‘We Other’ was born out of my fascination with real fairy tales, the dark and gritty warts-and-all versions, not sanitised Disney ones. I’m presently at work on a gothic mystery set in Victorian Northamptonshire. I started out by writing for adults, and I’m best known for my series of books for children aged 5-9 featuring animals with magical powers. For me it’s about getting the book out of my head and onto the page. The industry likes to categorise authors into crime-writer, fantasy-writer, historical fiction writer, I’m apparently all of those. Which means I’ve given myself a difficult job. But that’s just how it is. Hopefully if people read a Sue Bentley book and enjoy it, they might pick up another one.
Have I ever thought of writing with another author? Yes – for about five minutes. It wouldn’t work for me. I’m not organised enough.
Who I’d choose to read an audible book? Stephen Fry’s the best there is. If he was available, I’d be over the moon. Are you interested at all, Mr Fry?
Do my characters speak to me? Definitely. I hear them clearly. Each has a different voice – which is how it should be. I want my readers to know instantly who’s speaking from the tone and words they choose. Each character is an individual, just as people are in life. My characters become very real to me when spending so much time with them during the process of creating a book.
What inspired me to become an author? My enduring love of books. I love everything about them. I’ve been an avid reader from a young age. I read them for the pleasure of losing myself in a new world or situation, but each book good or terrible has taught me something. I learned how to craft a book from reading.
The target audience for my books? Ah, that’s not easy to answer. Obviously the audience for my children’s series is clear. But as I’ve mentioned I’m not primarily a genre fiction writer – so I would have to say my audience, is anyone who enjoys a good read. If you enjoy fantasy read Second Skin. Prefer fairies and urban fantasy? Read We Other. Historical crime – you’ll have to wait for my book-in-progress. My audience is wide. Many of my reviews for YA fiction have come from Adults. It’s out of my hands!
My choice of one actor to play the role of one of my characters? Young-Lady Aledra Jewel-Wing, to give her full title is the main character in ‘Second Skin.’ She’s complex and Rooney Mara, Noomi Rapace, Claire Foy – Ok that’s three but they all played the part of Lisbeth Salander in ‘The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo’. They have a look that fits well with Aledra. Any one of them would be perfect for my complex, brave and unconventional character and portray well her difficult journey through the book.
I enjoyed answering the questions. Many thanks to Sean’s Book Reviews @seantalbot1977 for taking part in the blog tour for ‘Second Skin.’