My main inspiration for The Soul Stone was the belief that while fairy tales almost always end in marriage, marriage is only a beginning in real life, and relationships are only a portion of a person’s life. My previous novel, The Goddess’s Choice, is based on a fairy tale and, as is typical of the genre, ends with the marriage of the two main characters. However, finding each other is hardly the end of Samantha and Robrek’s story. The Soul Stone tells the next part of the adventure.
What kept you going throughout the writing process?
The love of the craft. Writing is a high for me.
Who is your most meaningful character and why?
It is a hard choice, but I guess I would pick Samantha, the crown princess and then queen of Korthlundia. I originally created her in The Goddess’s Choice to combat the gender bias in the fairy tale upon which that novel is based. “The Princess and the Glass Hill” was my favorite fairy tale as a child. (Don’t worry if you haven’t heard of it. No one else has either.) It didn’t occur to me until I was older just how negligible the princess in the tale is. The hero tames magical horses of bronze, silver, and gold and rides them up the impossible sheer side of the glass hill. It is with him that I always identified as a child. The princess, on the other hand, does practically nothing. She has no name and no role other than being handed off as a prize to the victorious hero. Samantha remedies this defect. She is a strong and powerful heroine who needs no man to complete her. Still, she has her weaknesses and insecurities at being thrust onto the throne at the young age of nineteen. She is my gift to all the girls and women who long for a fairy tale princess who deserves the name of hero.
Can we expect to hear more from these characters in the near future?
Yes, I have a nearly completed novel that focuses on Samantha’s true father, Darhour. The characters in The Soul Stone only appear briefly, but Samantha’s presence is felt throughout. I’m also working on the third book of the trilogy of Samantha and Robrek novels, which continues their adventures and those of their young daughter. It is as yet untitled.
How has this story touched your life?
It has helped me extend my skills as a writer and find my own voice. While The Goddess’s Choice has its original in somebody else’s tale, The Soul Stone is my own creation.
What motivated you to start writing?
The realization that writing was what I was meant to do and what made me happy. As a child, the only thing I ever truly wanted to be was a writer, but everyone told me that it was nearly impossible to make a living this way and I needed a backup plan. (In their defense, they were largely correct. The number of authors who are able to make their living writing is incredibly small.) My backup plan was to pursue a PhD in literature and teach at the university level. Along the way, I stopped writing and forgot that university teaching wasn’t my primarily plan. One day it occurred to me that I was not happy, and I realized what was missing—the passion and excitement that creativity has always brought me. Beginning to write again may not have made me rich (at least not yet), but it’s made me a much happier person.
Short Excerpt from The Soul Stone by Jamie Marchant:At bedtime, Alvabane sat at her dressing table brushing her long hair. It had once been a bright, rich red, but it had dulled with age and was now mostly grey with only a few strands of color to remind her of what once had been. It seemed a metaphor for her life—small flashes of color to remind her of her once bright purpose.
One of those flashes, Erick, set her nightly goblet of fortified wine next to her hand. She needed the strong alcohol to dull the pain of her joints so she could sleep. Erick had served her for ten years. When her former servant had died, he’d been sent by her people, despite the fact that she’d only been a disappointment to them.
She turned to thank him, but the words died on her lips as she saw the reproach in his eyes. Alvabane turned back to her mirror. Tonight was the night of the new moon. She should have been preparing to perform the rites of the dark gods, not preparing for bed. “They have forgotten us,” Alvabane said. “The Soul Stone does not live.”
In the mirror, she saw Erick’s eyes narrow. He was not yet twenty and still had the optimism of youth. He still believed the Stone would come to life again when the gods willed it. He believed it would again be the weapon it had once been. Created in the far past by magic which had since been lost, it had been used by her people to protect themselves from the barbarians that now ran free over Korth and Lundia.
“I will perform the rites next month,” she promised, but so had she promised last month and the month before that. The stairs to the bottom of the East Tower were agony to her knees. Erick made a mewing sound, reminding her what he’d sacrificed to serve her and the dark gods. She herself had cut his tongue from his mouth when he came to her as a ten-year-old child. He had surrendered it stoically. Only the Bards were allowed to sing the rites of the gods. All others who heard them had to be rendered mute so they couldn’t repeat music not meant for their tongues.
“Do you think you have sacrificed more than I?” She turned to face him. “I submitted to the brutish duke’s bed for years. I gave birth to a child of rape. All so I could remain near the Stone. I performed the rites faithfully every new moon for decades. And for what, I ask you? The power of the Stone remains trapped behind the shield the demon Armunn created from his own soul. That shield can’t be destroyed. I have dedicated my life to trying, but it is impossible. The Soul Stone won’t live again!”
Erick mewed again and looked toward the tapestry on the wall. It showed the map of the desert of Sehra, to the south of Korthlundia, where her people had lived in exile since Armunn and his hordes had trapped the Stone and then driven them from their homeland. Blinking back tears of despair, she turned from him. “Do you think I have forgotten? Every generation fewer of our children are born. Only by returning to the land of our birthright can we be strong again.”
She got up and went to the tapestry, touching it lovingly. “Do you not understand? The dark gods have found me unworthy to be their messenger. I once thought I was the child of the prophecy, the one who would drive the descendants of Armunn’s hordes back across the mountains into Korth and reclaim the land they call Lundia as our own. But I was wrong. I’m an unprofitable servant, an unfit vessel.”
|Soul Stone Pendant|
- A Soul Stone pendant & copy of The Soul Stone (winner’s choice, print or ebook if US, ebook if INT)
- a $10 Amazon gift card (INT)