Meet NaNoWriMo Accelerator Author: Sabina Zbasnik

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The King's Blood by S.E. Zbasnik

The King’s Blood By S. E. Zbasnik

Magic is returning. Or so say the old prophesies cobbled from wandering soothsayers, women huffing broken gas lines, and the back of comic tomes. The Evil Empire™ of Avar and its perfectly sane, in no way crazy Emperor risks others’ life and limb to stop it from coming to pass.

Ciara, a black servant into her sixteenth year, finds herself on a quest across the countryside to get the second son and only hope of the severed Ostero line onto his throne. Along the way, she and Aldrin — the rather simple and OH GODS KEEP HIM AWAY FROM ANYTHING SHARP prince — find themselves at the mercy of assassins, witches, traveling historians, killer doctors, and the unblinkers.

What first motivated you to write a book?

I wanted to write The King’s Blood after a small scene popped into my head. It pictured a girl chastising a boy for accepting a rusted and waterlogged sword from some half drowned woman lying in a pond. That scene became little more than a toss away joke in the book, but it grew into so much more. An exploration of how often history is rewritten, and though we treat it like stone, it’s really clay. Discovering what it takes to create a Charlemagne like character; young and naïve at first, but shaped by his circumstances to stitch together a shattered country while bringing back literacy. And, as always, poking fun at some of the classic fantasy tropes, especially the self fulfilling prophecy.

What did you find to be the biggest challenge about the writing process?

You know when you have a word on the tip of your brain, the perfect word to slot into your flailing sentence, but for the life of you, you cannot scrounge it up from the depths of your sunken vocabulary? When it happens dozens of times each writing session, wasting time and energy, it becomes a major stumbling block.

If you could offer an aspiring author any piece of advice, what would it be?

Write like no one will read your book; edit like your toughest critic will.

Tell us a little bit about your book…who should read it and why.

The King’s Blood has the bones of a classic epic fantasy, a prince has to get his butt onto his dad’s throne, but the sinew and flesh are satire of those tropes. It’s a book meant to get some color into the medieval fantasy realm that is sorely missing. Not only is the main heroine black, so is the friendly assassin, while the sardonic witch is Asian. If you really love Terry Pratchett or Douglas Adams then you might enjoy my book. There aren’t a lot of long lists of who begat whom and the history of a stone pillar that has nothing to do with the plot, but there are jokes. Argonath sized piles of jokes.

Why did you chose to write in this genre?

Despite satirizing the fantasy genre, I do love it. It’s a chance to explore and examine the human condition, what drives and crushes people, while also throwing in a dragon or two. But no bards, no one wants to put up with a bard.

Has writing and completing a book been the experience you thought it would be?

Writing is always a surprise, getting to the book stage doubly so. It is stressful to chase that dream but, when you hold that finished copy in your hands, it’s all worth it.

What has been the biggest surprise so far in your author journey?

Perhaps the biggest surprise is the community that rallies around. Wonderful friends and people who have already slogged down this journey that are happy to share their advice, their congratulations, and beta read. A beta reader that shares both the good and bad in the form of constructive criticism is worth their weight in gold. Never let them go.

Will you write another book?

I’ve already started another series called Dwarves in Space, to move somewhat into the sci-fi arena. There are plans in my mind to stretch King’s Blood out to another two books, exploring secrets about Ciara and her father to tie them back to the Elven wars, but only time will tell if I ever write them.

Is there anyone you would like to thank who helped or supported you?

My husband offered a great sounding board while writing as well as a useful alpha reader. So many wonderful friends took on the thankless job of beta reading; Dawn, Adam, Rick, I never could have reached even a passable manuscript without their advice and suggestions. Also, a shout out to my fellow Let’s Go Wrimo winners who all came together to help each other out, and Lulu for giving me this opportunity.

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