Kron Evenhanded is an artificer, able to enchant any man-made object, but he finds people more difficult to work with. When he visits the city of Vistichia, he encounters Sal-thaath, an extremely magical but dangerous child created by Salth, another magician Kron knew at the Magic Institute. Kron attempts to civilize Sal-thaath, but when his efforts lead to tragedy, Kron is forced to ally himself with a quartet of new deities and their human Avatars. Together they must defend Vistichia as Salth attempts to drain its life and magic. But Salth has Ascended halfway to godhood over Time. Will Kron’s artifacts be enough to protect the Avatars, especially the woman he loves, or will Time separate them?
- Thank you for joining us today, Sandra. To start off, please tell us a little about the world you created for your book, Season’s Beginnings.
In Seasons’ Beginnings, the world of the Season Avatars has a technological level similar to the Bronze Age. The biggest cities are ruled as city-states by kings with harems. (Salth grew up in a harem.) However, the common people have had to endure plagues and war. They need magic that can help them.
- For what purpose did the magician, Salth, create the dangerous magical child, Sal-thaath?
Salth created her son partly as a magical experiment and partly to remember her half-brother, Tham, the only one of her many siblings who was kind to her.
- Do all magic users in your world attend the Magic Institute? What subjects are taught there?
Up to Kron’s time, all magic users attend the Magic Institute, where they learn subjects such as healing, magical transport, artifact creation, and transformation. In addition, magicians also learn mundane subjects such as astronomy.
- How does magic work (what are the rules) in your world?
The rules of magic actually change during Seasons’ Beginnings. Initially, a small percentage of people are naturally born with the gift to wield magic. Some, like Kron, have a specialized type of magic, while others, like Salth, can use a broader range of magic. However, when a new type of magic descends from the stars, it creates a variety of local deities who take control of magic. Each god or goddess gifts a mortal or mortals with magic to use on the deity’s behalf.
- If you could be any of your characters, which one would you choose, and why?
If I restrict myself to the Season Avatars series (so I don’t spoil my other series), I would choose Gwendolyn lo Havil, a Spring Avatar and the heroine of Scattered Seasons, the sequel to Seasons’ Beginnings. Gwen has both touch telepathy and healing magic. A noblewoman and the leader of the other Season Avatars, Gwen is determined and practical. I’d like to think there’s a lot of me in her already.
- What do you do when you aren’t writing?
I read a lot of science fiction, fantasy and non-fiction. I also spend a lot of time with my family, doing things such as taking my seven-year-old to museums, practicing archery, or watching improv comedy shows with my husband. My son is very much into Star Wars, and my husband and I are thinking of joining the Rebel Legion, a group of Star Wars costumers that appear for charity. Unfortunately, neither of us can sew, so we’ll have to find someone who can make our costumes for us.
- How do you market your books?
I’ve tried a lot of marketing techniques, but I’ve found the most effective way to sell my books is to advertise them on free/bargain book websites and mailing lists. I’ve made Lyon’s Legacy, the first book in my SF Catalyst Chronicles series, permafree on Amazon, Smashwords and other sites. Hopefully, readers will move on to Twinned Universes, the next book in that series.
- What do you hope readers will gain from reading Seasons’ Beginnings?
I hope they enjoy it and want to keep reading about the characters and the world. In addition, perhaps readers will have new ideas about how love can make people use or abuse power and what makes gods different from strong magicians.
- Do you have any advice for other authors?
Read a lot and always try to improve your craft. If you’re an indie author, don’t expect instant success with your first book. Most authors will need to publish several books to develop a fanbase, so be patient, write the next book, and write what moves you.
- When can readers expect the release of Book 2 in the series?
I’m currently revising Scattered Seasons and plan to release it next spring.
About the author:
Sandra Ulbrich Almazan started reading at the age of three and only stops when absolutely required to. Although she hasn’t been writing quite that long, she did compose a very simple play in German during middle school. Her science fiction novella Move Over Ms. L. (an early version of Lyon’s Legacy) earned an Honorable Mention in the 2001 UPC Science Fiction Awards, and her short story “A Reptile at the Reunion” was published in the anthology Firestorm of Dragons. Other published works by Sandra include Twinned Universes, Seasons’ Beginnings, her haiku collection Life at Seventeen Syllables a Day, and several science fiction and fantasy short stories. She is a founding member of Broad Universe, which promotes science fiction, fantasy, and horror written by women. Her undergraduate degree is in molecular biology/English, and she has a Master of Technical and Scientific Communication degree. Her day job is in Quality Assurance for an enzyme company; she’s also been a technical writer and a part-time copyeditor for a local newspaper. Some of her other accomplishments are losing on Jeopardy! and taking a stuffed orca to three continents. She lives in the Chicago area with her husband, Eugene; and son, Alex. In her rare moments of free time, she enjoys crocheting, listening to classic rock (particularly the Beatles), and watching improv comedy.