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Interview with Gillian Bronte Adams


Gillian Bronte Adams is a speculative author from Texas who shares her love of horses and fiction by creating fantasy worlds shaped by memories of stories read in childhood.

Since Songkeeper is Book 2 in the Songkeeper Chronicles, give us a brief blurb about the series. Also, are the characters are connected?

The Songkeeper Chronicles tells the story of a world that was created through song by Emhran, the Master Singer. That same melody still flows through everyone and everything, but it has been broken, buried, and forgotten. In each generation, a Songkeeper arises to uphold the memory of the Song against those who want it silenced forever.

There are three consistent point of view characters throughout the series: Birdie, the Songkeeper; Amos McElhenny, the outlaw; and Ky Huntyr, the thief. As the Songkeeper, Birdie can hear the Song that weaves through everyone and everything in Leira. She can also hear the individual songs of each person she meets—broken melodies, incomplete and twisted by suffering.

From the toes of his salt-battered boots to the tip of his feathered camp, Amos McElhenny embodies the word unique. He is a self-made man, and he is proud of the man he has made. Deep down, Ky is a rebel, a thief who cares. He is indomitable. If you knock him down, he gets right back up, and he just keeps on coming.

Don’t ask me to pick a favorite because all three of them are so fun and challenging to write!

For those who haven’t read Book 1 of the Chronicles, Orphan’s Song, tell us how “song” works in the series. Is it strictly in a musical sense, or is it a metaphor for something more?

Both, in a way. Music forms the magic of the storyworld. So Birdie’s song is music but it is also magic, or a powerful force, if you will. Stories are always rife with metaphor, but I’ll leave anything further up to the readers to discover.

What is the setting for Songkeeper?

Overall, it’s set in a medieval-like era on a large continent that’s populated by several different “tribes” or people groups. The first book had a fair range of settings, but there is a lot of traveling in Songkeeper, which meant that I got to do a lot of world-building and dream up a whole host of settings, including aboard ship, a jaunt through the desert, a desert city, moorland and peat bog, and several other cities, keeps, and fortresses, all inhabited by people groups with distinct cultures or ways of life. So much fun!

Does the book contain a spiritual thread?

Woven throughout Songkeeper is the struggle between walking daily in trust and the desire to seize control of your own life. I wrote this novel during a bit of a rough stretch. Our lives are never truly in our hands, but sometimes that’s more painfully apparent.

It seemed such a long time since I had felt true peace, and I longed for it with every aching beat of my heart. That longing knitted itself throughout Songkeeper and led the story to an ending scene that I personally think is the most beautiful scene in the entire book.

By all accounts, Songkeeper is more violent and intense than Book 1, and yet you have more female readers/reviewers than males. Does this surprise you?

Not necessarily. Statistically, you tend to find more female than male readers purchasing books, and there’s a good number of us gals who love an epic battle tale. But I’m always on the lookout to reach more guy readers, too. Given the nature of the story and the varied cast, I think it’s a book that can easily appeal to a variety of readers, regardless of gender.

Did you plot out Songkeeper and write it accordingly, or did you change course as the story took you in a new direction?

A little bit of both, actually. Before beginning the writing, I created an outline that included all the big plot points. Then I wrote my way from plot point to plot point. Sort of like road tripping through the novel. By the time I finished writing, the actual story had diverged a good bit from the outline, but those changes all turned out to be for the best!

What was the hardest part of creating this story?

Getting it written! I was under a pretty big time crunch with Songkeeper and toward the end, there was an intense month where I downed a lot of caffeine, barely slept, and wrote like a thundering gale. It was a painful process, but oh so rewarding when I was finally able to hold the finished product in my hand.

Can you tell us what, and/or who, was involved in creating your breathtaking book covers?

Aren’t they gorgeous? The cover artist’s name is Darko Tomic, and I’ve been so thrilled with the job he’s done. Typically, the process involves me sitting down with a pad and pen and jotting down scenes or pictures from the book that I think would make intriguing cover images. That list gets sent to my publisher and then it’s on to the cover artist!

What message do you hope readers take away from this book?

I don’t know if it’s a message so much as a feeling. I want them to close the book feeling inspired to stand when standing in itself requires all the strength they have. I want them to live in hope in the midst of brokenness and to walk in peace when everything within and without feels shattered by turmoil.

What was your favorite book before you started writing?

Picking a favorite book is hard! I think I’ll have to go with the three Lord of the Rings books. My dad started me on J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit when I was five and The Lord of the Rings soon after, so I essentially grew up on those books.

What books are on your nightstand right now?

There are three—and I’m desperately trying to resist them so I can meet my next writing deadline! But they all look amazing, so it’s really hard. Shadow Moon by S.D. Grimm, Golden Son by Pierce Brown, and The Story of With by Allen Arnold.

Finish this statement: My favorite fictional character is …

Aragorn from The Lord of the Rings. This was another incredibly tough question. It was a pretty close race there for a while, but at the end of the day, Aragorn is hard to beat.

Any parting words?

Call it a reader’s blessing, if you will. I use it to sign most of my books. “May you lose yourself in the storyworld and find yourself again in the characters within. That is the magic of reading.” Happy reading, folks!


Anita Mae Draper is retired from the Canadian Armed Forces and lives on the prairie of southeast Saskatchewan, Canada with her hubby of 30 plus years and their youngest of 4 kids. She writes historical romance set in Canada and the United States.

Romantic Refinements, Novella 2 in the Austen in Austin Volume 1 collection by WhiteFire Publishing released in January 2016. This 4-novella collection of stories set in historic Austin, Texas is based on the novels of Jane Austen.

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