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Friday, August 17, 2012

Interviewing Irina Lopatina about her fantasy book White Raven

I'm happy to have the chance to interview Irina Lopatina about her wonderful new fantasy release, White Raven. Her answers give a view inside this amazing fantasy world. Please join us.
 
A terrifying stream of monstrous creatures has begun to emerge from the secret depths of the earth, bringing danger to everyone in the magical kingdom of Areya. Briefly describe these fearsome creatures.

A: These monstrous creatures are various predatorycreatures that attacked the land of Areya in packs. They combine the most formidable attributes of local predatory animals – large teeth and jaws and terrible claws. They are very strong and bloodthirsty. However, these monsters are much uglier than normal animals. And they don’t just hunt; they tear to pieces everyone and everything they meet.The most powerful of these monsters are black monsters with glossy shiny skin. They are huge and move without noise. Even a well-armed soldier riding a horse cannot overtake such a monster.

What allowed these dangerous creatures to enter Areya?

A: These monsters live in other layers of the universe, and they enter Areya through the passages that have beenopened for them. Exactly who is opening the passages is part of the mystery that our hero, Vraigo, must solve.

With the aid of Urart, the magical sword that has been passed down from the time of the ancient northern ancestors, Grand Duke Vlady can offer temporary protection to his people. How does that magical sword allow him to protect them? Why will the magic only offer short-term protection?

A: In fact, Urart is a very effective weapon against the monsters. There is a magical crystal in the sword’s pommel. This crystal can accumulate the energy of the magic veil, and then this enormous energy shoots up from the blade in the form of a piercing blue ray. When this blue ray touches a monster, the monster is burned. The problem is that the monsters can attack any human settlement at any time, but there is only one magical sword. The Duke, who has this sword,is simply not able to protect everyone at every moment.

But Prince Vraigo, Vlady's nephew known as the White Raven, who is endowed with magical power himself, understands that the source of the evil monsters must be found if there's any hope of survival. Along with a motley crew of his forest-dwelling friends, Vraigo sets off on a perilous quest. Who are among his crew?

These are two druid twins (Belsha and Vasilinka), a young human magus (Evstarh), a werewolf (Kenush), a drevalyanka (a forest magus that looks like a tiny green dog) by the name of Shi-Shi, and some other inhabitants of the Eternal Forest who all give good counsel to the prince.

They are in search of the koschei, the powerful, corrupt Archmagus whose mission is the destruction not just of Areya, but of the entire world. How can this Archmagus help Vraigostop the evil monsters?

A: This Archmagusis not going to help Vraigo stop the evil monsters. The koschei is the “bad guy” who created the passages for these monsters to penetrate into Areya. So, Vraigo and his friends understand that if they can get rid of the koschei, then the monsters will stop attacking Areya.

Facing a complication, the Urart sword disappears and Vraigo is the only one who can get it back. Why is he the only one able to retrieve it?

A: The sword is stolen and hidden somewhere in the many layers of the universe.One must have a very strong endowment in order to travel through the universe’s layers and find the sword.Vraigois in the right place at the right time, and with the aid of his friends he’s able to discover who stole the sword.Theoretically, it would be possible to find a skilled magus or even a squad of magi to search for the sword, butthereis simply no time to do this – the people are busy with preparation for a battle against the monsters. And the thievesthemselves would be working quickly - they would hide the sword, so that no one would find it. In the end, retrieving the sword falls on Vraigo and his magical abilities.

In order to complete all this, he must ally with some dangerous creatures. Please describe some of these he must befriend.

A: Vraigo was in a great danger in his confrontation with the koschei. His close companion is Kenush, a werewolf who has her personal vendetta against the koschei. This is quite an unprecedented alliance because werewolves are considered bad forest magi and humans are wary of them. Besides, the prince doesn’t hesitate to seek advice from a terrible forest witch – a yaga. Usually, the yagawould act on the side of the koschei,as she knew many of his secrets, but she hated and feared him, so she chose to helpVraigo from time to time.Sometimes, the prince also finds support from other bad natural magi of the Eternal Forest.

What dangers will the world of Areya face if Vraigo fails?

A:   The monsters will destroy all the people, and the koschei will seize all the energy of the magic veil, giving him omnipotence and ultimate immortality.It will mean the end of all humankind.

Briefly describe the magical systems of your world. How do those who are empowered gain their abilities?

A:  The magical power of the world is contained in the magic veil thatencircles the Earth like astratosphere. This magic veil has the energy that enables people to increase and enhance their abilities. However, in order to use this energy, a man should have an innate ability to come into contact with the veil and to take a portion of its power. These people were called endowed. Such people could become magi (if they were trained and knew spells with the help of which one could do a lot of wonderful things). They could just be endowed individuals who did not know how to practice sorcery, but could achieve a lot if they could properly direct the energy of the magic veil.If someone had an especially strong endowment with stable, durable, powerful feed from the magic veil(likeVraigo, for example), such a man would be able to compete with higher magi even without any knowledge of spells.

There were many natural magi who were fed by fragments of the magic veil who were scattered all over the world. There were quite a lot of such natural magi (werewolves, drevalyankas, pikshas, rusalkas, etc.) whohad their own magic with their own abilities that humans didn’t have. In general, these natural magi were weaker that human magi, but their amazing specialabilities were often beyond those of human magi. For example, no one was able to unravel tracks and to find the right way better that pikshas; no one knew how to make the world more harmonious by taking the right decisions better than drevalyankas, and so on. On the whole, it was a very comfortable magical world to live. That is, until a koscheiwould appear from time to time…

 
White Raven: Sword of Northern Ancestors
By Irina Lopatina

Genre: Fantasy

The fate of Areya rests with the lost sword Urart. Will White Raven retrieve it before it's too late?

In the kingdom of Areya, humans, animals, and the magical creatures that inhabit the Eternal Forest have long coexisted peacefully, but now something is horribly wrong. A terrifying stream of monstrous creatures has begun to emerge from the secret depths of the earth, terrorizing all of Areya's native inhabitants. From the tiny, wise drevalyankas to the bellicose cave-dwelling gnomes to the devious kikimoras who gather roots and herbs in the marsh, everyone is in danger.

With the aid of Urart, the magical sword that has been passed down from the time of the ancient northern ancestors, Grand Duke Vlady can offer temporary protection to his people. But Prince Vraigo, Vlady's nephew, who is endowed with magical power himself, understands that the source of the evil monsters must be found if there's any hope of survival. Along with a motley crew of his forest-dwelling friends, Vraigo sets off on a perilous quest in search of the koschei, the powerful, corrupt Archmagus whose mission is the destruction not just of Areya, but of the entire world.

As if this weren't bad enough, Urart disappears from the duke's stronghold. Without it, Areya is doomed, and only Vraigo, the White Raven, can possibly get the sword back. This journey requires Vraigo to use all of his keen wits and magical abilities, as well as to ally himself to dangerous creatures like yagas and werewolves, natural enemies of man, and precipitates the young prince into the most bewildering, complex challenge he has faced yet: life in the twenty-first century.





About the Author:

Irina Lopatina lives and works in Siberia, Russia, but her homeland has an even more wonderful and exotic name: Altai. It is a unique place where old Altai Mountains rise high up to the sky, centuries-old forests stretch out as in ages past, and mighty Siberian rivers flow along the plains. Altai is one of the few places in the world where huge, densely populated cities coexist with pristine wild places. Moreover, this is an area of the earliest human civilizations, through which the great migration of people from eastern lands to Europe once took place.

While studying at the Altai State University, Irina devoted much attention to the past of her native land. As a student, she went to the archaeological sites of ancient settlements located on the mountain plateau, where it was only possible to arrive on foot. She remembers moments when it was quite easy to imagine how the ancient people had lived, what creatures neighbored them, and what adventures took place in these vast spaces. Irina needed take only a small leap from there to White Raven, his friends, and his enemies who were ready to begin a journey through the Eternal Forest of Areya.

Of course, it would have been much more difficult for her to create her stories if Irina had not been inspired early on by the works of many excellent fantasy and science fiction writers such as J.R. Tolkien and Ursula Le Guin, the Russian authors Nick Perumov and Svyatoslav Loginov, as well as the wonderfully charming Russian fairy tales where a brave prince, his faithful grey wolf and the evil koschei always live. And so it happens that Irina's novels are the stories of a distant, semi-fantastic land which, who knows, may still exist next door to us.


About the Illustrator

Even as a child, Igor Adasikov knew that he would be an artist.

While studying at an art school, he devoted much of his time practicing classical drawing, seeking to depict the world around him as fully as possible. His works often won awards in Russian art contests, and he continued his education at Moscow Art Institute. After graduating from the Institute, Igor worked as an artist preferring realistic painting, such as portrait and landscape. However, his rich imagination still needed an outlet and manifested itself in full while illustrating the fantasy novel, White Raven: The Sword of Northern Ancestors.

Here, in the surprising fairy-tale world, void of any boundaries, the artist found the nourishment to feed his creativity. Having traveled with the heroes through the whirlwind of adventures, he worked to give readers a visible image of Areya, bringing to life the magical creatures that inhabit the land, and making friends with the heroes of this fascinating story.


Praise for White Raven:

"Areya always needed a blade to protect it, but only a few can truly wield it. White Raven is a fantasy novel surrounding the Kingdom of Areya, enjoying its own harmony. Vraigo, known as the White Raven, knows it is up to him to recover Urart, the sword that blessed Areya with protection for quite some time. As time grows short, Vraigo realizes it all falls to him. White Raven is an excellent pick for lovers of fantasy and adventure, much recommended.” ~ The Midwest Book Review, Small Press Bookwatch: June 2012

 
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Marsha A. Moore is a writer of fantasy romance. The magic of art and nature spark life into her writing. Read her ENCHANTED BOOKSTORE LEGENDS for adventurous epic fantasy romance: Book One, SEEKING A SCRIBE, and Book Two, HERITAGE AVENGED. She has also authored the Ciel's Legacy series, with fast action mermaid/pirate storylines: TEARS ON A TRANQUIL LAKE and TORTUGA TREASURE.  For a FREE ebook download, read her historic fantasy, LE CIRQUE DE MAGIE, available at Amazon and Smashwords.

2 comments:

Irina Lopatina said...

Thank you so much, Marsha, for the opportunity to talk to your readers.

Marsha A. Moore said...

Irina, I'm so happy to have been a help on your tour.