Fire and Ice has invited author Kelli Swofford Nielsen today to talk about her book which was given at BEA last week and is an awesome YA fantasy debut for 2012 from Shadow Mountain. Here’s a little about the first in the Stone Mage Wars series as well as an exclusive post from the author below the summary.
Journey to the Fringe
Stone Mage Ward Book 1
by Kelli Swofford Nielsen
Paperback, 368 pages
Published May 1st 2012
by Shadow Mountain
Summary from Goodreads: Long ago, Stone Mages were revered in Lyria. They were men and women who could use powerful tradestones to harness their unique gifts of wind, rain, and earth to help those around them. But war with the Southern realm has threatened the mages with extinction. The truth about the tradestones has been lost, and the remaining magic is dwindling. When Princess Ivy, the beloved daughter of the king, is abducted, it seems that all hope for Lyria is lost as well. But when an unlikely group of loyal subjects embarks on a dangerous journey to the far-distant Fringe, the hope of restoring crown and kingdom is renewed. Among the group is Simon, a fool with wisdom beyond his years; Gilda, a nonmagical witch; Burr, a young thief; and Merrick, a jaded sea captain. Their quest will test their courage, their strength, and their friendship. But at the Fringe, they encounter a truth that will change everything they thought they knew about themselves, and this small band of heroes must embrace the power that is their birthright and stand together as Stone Mages of Lyria
Author guest post:
“I want to thank Heather for featuring my book, Stone Mage Wars: Journey to the Fringe on her website, and am excited for the opportunity to do a post for Fire and Ice.
I have always been a big reader. I read a wide variety of genres—classics, contemporary adult fiction, mysteries, some nonfiction, but I have long been especially fond of fantasy—particularly YA fantasy. I remember reading and re-reading Robin McKinley’s books The Hero and the Crown and The Blue Sword during my difficult middle school years, and gaining an appreciation for honest, character-driven stories that feature brave heroines, magic, a little romance, and deeply-woven settings with a sense of history and authenticity.
Although I spent years developing ideas about what made great fantasy, I never considered writing my own until after I left teaching high school English to stay at home with my infant son. During that time, I read a collection of short stories by Garth Nix called Across the Wall. Before each story, Nix told a little about why or how he had written it, and I found that the way he described his thought process felt a lot like mine. I thought, maybe I should write short stories, and then I thought, maybe I should just write short chapters, and so I did. I began writing the kind of story that I found I liked reading, and over the space of a couple of years my short chapters eventually became a novel.
When I started writing Journey to the Fringe I had a basic storyline in mind driven by a few key characters—chiefly Princess Ivy, who was captured and whisked away to the perilous Fringe, only to find out that the end of the world was only an edge, and that her adventure was just beginning. I liked the idea of the magic in the novel centering on these common objects, stones, that the characters wore all the time—and took for granted. Only later would they discover that they each possessed a unique gift, in connection with their stones, that they could use for the good of their kingdom. As I wrote, more characters emerged and occasionally took the story places I hadn’t planned. They included a brave local fool, a jaded sea captain, a rejected witch, a young thief, and others. I felt that the characters grew as the story went on, and so even though I originally wrote Journey to the Fringe to stand alone, I was excited to let it continue when the publisher suggested a trilogy.
I am very excited to have Journey to the Fringe now in print! I feel pleased with my first novel and the way it turned out. However, as I am now almost finished writing the second book in the Stone Mage Wars trilogy, I am happily anticipating the opportunity to allow the story to further evolve in interesting and fulfilling ways.”
~Kelli Swofford Nielsen
About the author: Kelli Swofford Nielsen graduated from Utah State University with a bachelor’s degree in teaching English. She and her husband, Jeff, live in Chicago, Illinois, with their two sons. Journey to the Fringe is Kelli’s debut novel.
Find out more on Goodreads/ Shadow Mountain/ Deseret Book