Sixteen years ago, the strongest of the dragons who once flew free over the kingdom of Auland escaped extinction the only way they knew how; releasing their souls to reside in unaware humans. With a debilitating sickness now spreading through their hosts, time is running out for them once more.
On the streets of the capital city, a gold smuggler named Giselle struggles to survive with the help of the Voice inside her head. Her world is turned upside down when she catches an opportunity to travel to the mountains just as she has always dreamed, but there is a price to pay which she cannot avoid.
In the south, Corran is the youngest son of the dragonslayer who led the battle all those years ago. He clashes with his brothers daily in a battle to prove himself and when he hears of dragon sympathisers in the area he is determined to turn it to his advantage. But with the first footstep outside his home, he sets his destiny to never return.
Two souls can’t live in one body forever. The hibernation is over.
Why We Love It: Kindling Ashes is a wonderfully written and and well-crafted story that delves much deeper than the average dragon-to-human relationship. As far as the Fantasy genre goes, it has all the elements you need to fall in love with the story plus some! The characters are complex, the plot flows easily, and the story has tension in all the right paces to really get you sucked into the story. As part of a series Kindling Ashes leaves us with a cliffhanger and boy is it a good one. We highly recommend this book and if you’re a fan of current obsession Game of Thrones pick up this book, because you’re in for a treat.
Book Talk With Laura Harris:
TLD: Our Author Spotlight today goes to Laura Harris. Welcome Laura! Since you’re new here on our little site can you give us a short bio of yourself for our readers?
LH: Hi, thanks for having me! I’m 23 years old, English, software tester by day and fantasy author by night.
TLD: You sound like a superhero! What made you want to become a writer? Has it always been something you’ve wanted to pursue?
LH: For as long as I can remember. The earliest I can pinpoint writing stories is when I was seven but it may well have been before then. I think as soon as I realised that some people wrote all my favourite books as a job, I wanted to do it. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing.
TLD: Well we’re so happy you did. Now to talk about your book. I thought it was really wonderful! The Fantasy literary genre seems like the hardest genre to write about. What made you want to take on that kind of beast? (No pun intended)
LH: Thank you! Personally I don’t see fantasy as any harder than other genres – for me it’s easier than if I tried to write mystery or horror, because I know it so well. There are extra steps to it like worldbuilding but that’s all part of the fun! I always veered more towards reading speculative fiction and although I do read and write other things occasionally, fantasy is always my go-to genre.
TLD: See I would have said that the wordbuilding would be the hardest. That’s incredible. I thought one of the cool things about your book is that you had a unique take on the dragon-human relationship as far as fantasy literature goes. Did you have to do much research into the history of dragon lore for your series?
LH: I purposely tried not to do too much research into what other people had done because I didn’t want it to influence my own mythology too much. I know the basics of course from fairytales and I’ve read dragon books before, but with something like dragons you don’t have to research because it’s not like there’s any canon that you have to stick by. I tried to put my own unique slant on dragons by adding little details such as the reason for hoarding gold but it’s still based on the standard western dragon mythos.
TLD: I really loved the dual-perspective narration of Kindling Ashes. It made the story have a nice tension to it but kept it gripping to read. Now I have to ask, do you find yourself siding more with the human race in your story or the dragons? Or is that like having to choose a favorite child?
LH: Well… what can I say here without giving away any spoilers? That question is trickier than you realise. I don’t really see it as sides, to be honest. I can relate more to the humans, simply because they’re from a more recognisable culture. That said, especially in the next book you’ll see there are hardliners on both sides, people unwilling to compromise, who I can’t say I side with but are a real part of any society.
TLD: Okay that’s fair. So I liked Giselle as the protagonist of the story. I found really unexpected ways to connect to her as a character. Do you see her getting stronger as the series goes on? It seems like her only option is to get tougher and really make a stand for herself given her upbringing and circumstances in Kindling Ashes.
LH: Giselle is only starting her journey – she’ll make leaps and bounds in the next book when she has to step up to the role she’s accidentally landed in. It’s not going to be easy though – without being too spoilery, the events in the last few pages of Kindling Ashes are going to be difficult for her to deal with. Giselle has a lot to overcome.
TLD: So I did some research and this book is getting a lot of great well-deserved press on the Internet! Do you think a lot of that comes from the fascination with books and shows like Game of Thrones? I couldn’t help but make some connections between the two. Do you read/watch Game of Thrones at all?
LH: Game of Thrones does seem to have exploded the last year or so, it’s great! Anything to get more people into fantasy! I think it’s quite a misunderstood genre at times; I’ve had quite a few people (mostly family/friends) read my book who wouldn’t normally read fantasy and find that despite expectations they actually liked it. If I can get more people reading and appreciating fantasy through my book I’ll be very happy – but I’m digressing. I do watch Game of Thrones, I think it’s wonderful if a bit gory/sexualised. I’ve bought the first ebook but to be honest I’m wary of starting it – I can look away from the screen if it gets too much, but I hate skipping ahead when reading and my brain will summon much nastier images from the books.
TLD: So you’ve already given us the title of the second book in this Firesouls series: Fanning Flames. Can you give us any spoilers or details on what we can expect from that one?
LH: Well if you haven’t read Kindling Ashes yet you should look away now.
Fanning Flames starts several months after Kindling Ashes so dragons have had time to grow, but the resting period is over. The Ikjorians we met at the end of the last book are raising an army to invade, and dragons have to find a way to settle back into the country that killed them to start with – and persuade everyone that another war is not what they need. Corran and Giselle remain on separate paths but they’re both going to have to fight in their own ways to overcome their pasts.
TLD: Ohhhh I can’t wait for that! How many books are you planning to have total for the series?
LH: About Corran and Giselle, only two. There is a prequel novella ‘Dragonslayer’ about Corran’s father, explaining how the Dragon War came to be, which I’ll be writing on Wattpad and releasing as a free ebook. Beyond that… I have ideas in the same world. Lots of ideas, actually. But for now, Firesouls is two books.
TLD: Are you working on any other literary projects in the future besides this series? If so, tell us a little bit about them so that we can share with our readers!
LH: Ha ha… so many. Let’s get my chart out (I’m not even joking, I have a gantt chart of all my writing projects). Here’s a few brief summaries:
Magic Al’s Circus: A children’s chapter book about a girl who runs away with a magic circus – except the circus is falling apart and she has to fix it all or be sent back to the orphanage.
The Day the Empire Fell: Four characters’ lives collide on the day an empire collapses; the assassin, the necromancer, the widow and the bastard. Adult fantasy.
Nahim: Already ¾ written, a YA fantasy about a thief forced to become a spy who uncovers various plots and has to prove who’s behind it to save his friends.
TLD: You ARE a superhero I knew it! Wow. You’re going to be really busy for the next few months I would say. Those all sound really great though! Okay so obligatory questions: What books are you reading right now and what is your favorite book (or books) of all time?
LH: I started The Emperor’s Edge by Lindsey Buroker the other day – it’s a little different to what I was expecting from the cover but enjoyable so far. I’m also partway through Heir of Fire by Sarah J Maas. My favourite book series is Harry Potter, no question, but other than that it’s the Trickster duology by Tamora Pierce – spies and revolution on a colonised island.
TLD: Do you have any suggestions or words of wisdom for anyone wanting to become a first time author out there?
LH: Reaching the end of a novel is a fantastic achievement – but unfortunately it’s not the end. Don’t hold back on editing. That first draft you may or may not want to coddle needs ripping apart and carefully piecing back together, then it requires frequent and intense polishing. Kill your darlings. Beg your writing friends for criticism. Test the story on people who don’t know you and won’t spare your feelings. Purge the adverbs. Attack it with a spell checker (yes, I know how long that takes on a full manuscript and yes, it will be worth it when you find stupid mistakes). Don’t send it out till it’s the best you can possibly make it.
TLD: That is excellent advice! Well we really enjoyed speaking with you today and reading your amazing book! We’ll follow up and keep our readers up-to-date on any projects you might be working on in the future. Any last remarks before you go?
LH: Thanks for having me! My only other remark is that as much as you apologise for being slow, you respond quicker than pretty much every other website I’ve been to about my book. Thanks for your time, good luck with the site!
TLD: Thanks so much to Laura Harris! Check out the book Kindling Ashes and be on the lookout for new projects soon!