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Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Tantilizing Tuesdays! Heirs of War by Mara Valderran


Welcome to

Tantalizing Tuesdays!

Heirs of War


Mara Valderran

Book Genre: New Adult/Upper YA Fantasy

Publish date: October 13, 2013    Publisher: Self-published

Book Blurb:  

Seventeen-year-old Zelene doesn't believe in magic or prophecies. When she's told she is part of the prophecy foretelling five powerful girls bringing peace to the war-torn worlds, she scoffs. The idea of other dimensions layered on top of the world she lives in is almost as ludicrous as the idea that she might be able to save them. After she is attacked by magic-wielding assassins, she finds she can't argue with reality.

As their enemies strike, the girls are taken back to their world and discover the ties binding them together. Rhaya has always had an uncanny knack for reading people, but can’t seem to unravel the mystery tying her to Isauria, the new friend she bonded with instantly. For years, Isauria has been dreaming of Terrena, a girl living her life on the run in a magical world ripped apart by the tragedies of war, completely unaware that she is psychically linked to the world she was born in.

Zelene views them all with a distrustful eye, familial bonds or no, and can think of a place or two she’d like to shove the crown she supposedly inherited. When she learns that her long-lost twin Ariana has been captured by the rebels, Zelene’s attitude changes. She doesn’t know how she is supposed to go against an army of magic-wielding rebels when her own ability to manipulate the elements is still locked within her. But can she trust the elders to rescue Ariana when it seems their medieval politics are what brought about the war in the first place? With all that is at stake, the answer becomes clear to Zelene.

Screw the worlds. She’s getting her sister back.


Book Buy links

Author Bio:

Mara Valderran has been coming up with stories pretty almost since she could talk, often commandeering her brother's G.I. Joes to play out her fictional tales alongside her Barbies. Once she hit adolescence and realized playing with dolls wasn't cool anymore, she started putting her ideas to paper. And she hasn’t stopped since.

Mara is more than just a madwoman with a writing box. She lives in the south with her husband and demanding cat. She hopes to one day meet Daniel Jackson from SG1, or at least the actor who played him. When she’s not writing, you can find her reading, playing video games, or spending time at her favorite local coffee shop.

Author Links:


Author Interview:

Welcome Mara and thanks so much for joining us today!

Firstly can you tell us about yourself?
My name is Mara, and I am a newly published author. I’m a Whovian, I worship at the altar of Whedon, and am pretty much an all-around fangirl. I’m also a wife and a cat mommy.

How long have you been writing?
Since I was a teenager, I suppose. Possibly before then, but I really got into writing as a teen with screenplays. I finished the first draft of Heirs of War in 2011 and have been hard at work revising and working on the sequel since then.

What inspired you to start writing novels for your chosen genre?
I love fantasy. That’s really what it boils down to. My favourite books have some sort of fantastical element to them, whether it is magic or vampires. I love engrossing myself in fantasy worlds. They’re very fun to play in because just about anything can be possible.

Are there any other genres you’ve written?
I’m working on a dystopian now, so I suppose that would be sci-fi, but very light. I do have another sci-fi series in mind that I hope to flesh out over the next year or so.

Have you published any other novels, if so can you share the details?
Heirs of War is my first published book, though I do use Wattpad as a medium to share my work with readers as I write it. My dystopian, Altar of Reality, is there right now, but I will take it down when I am ready to query it. Book two in the Heirs of War series (Heirs of War, Destiny of One) will be published in March, and I hope book three will follow not long after.

Are you working on anything new right now and can you tell us more?
Altar of Reality is a dystopian I am working on now. It started off as a standalone but I think it is going to be a series at this point. My character, Madeline, is a sixteen year-old girl dealing with epilepsy. When her seizures escalate to grand mal seizures, something strange happens to her. She wakes up in a world where the Cold War turned hot and America is in ruins. To make matters worse, her parents were killed by the Lord Commander of the southern region for supposedly trying to incite a rebellion, and Madeline was supposed to die along with them. She flips back and forth between both worlds and finds herself torn between two versions of the same boy. As the mysteries surrounding her strange condition start to unravel and the lines between the two realities begin to blur, she begins to question whether or not she is truly caught in the middle of a brewing rebellion or teetering on the brink of insanity.

What motivates and inspires you to write?
The characters I get to play with, and my readers. I’ve had such a wonderful experience on Wattpad, and it is so rewarding and encouraging to have so many people voice their opinions on your work, and get so involved with your characters. I recently had someone tell me they will stop voting if Ariana from Heirs of War doesn’t get out of this unharmed. I love it! It makes me want to drop Altar of Reality and play with Heirs of War now.

I get really inspired by my relationships too. I never base characters off of other people (mainly because I never see their deaths coming and don’t want to end up killing someone I know in my books), but some of their relationships might get transferred to my stories. And some variations of my own experiences get tossed in there as well.

Can you offer any advice to the fledgling authors, just starting out?
Since I am one, I will say to keep learning. One of the most beautiful things about being a writer is that it is a skill that is ever-growing, which means you are constantly honing it and learning new things. Don’t take criticism as something bad, but as an opportunity to learn something. Oh, and if you are thinking of self-publishing: Hire an editor. Trust me, it will be worth it. You couldn’t pay me to give up my editor now.

What is/are your all-time favourite novel/s?
I have so many favorites, it is hard to list them all! I’m a Jane Austen fan, though I have yet to get through all of her works. Mansfield Park is probably my favorite so far. I’m guilty of re-reading the Harry Potter series and the Sword of Truth series every other year or so.

Who is/are your all-time favourite author/s?
Besides the obvious ones I’ve already hinted at (Jane Austen, J.K. Rowling, Terry Goodkind), I also really enjoy Richelle Mead, Rachel O’Laughlin, and Katie Hamstead.

Can you tell us who your favourite indie author/s is/are?
Rachel O’Laughlin. I’m not sure if small press is considered indie, but if it is then you can add Katie Hamstead, Jessa Russo, and Kalayna Price to that list as well.

What are you reading at the moment & would you recommend it to us?
I am getting ready to start reading the second book in the Kiya series (Mother of the Pharaoh), and if it is anything like the first then YES, I would urge you to read it. I’m not usually a historical fiction fan, but Katie Hamstead has managed to take this historical figure that is theorized about and bring her to life, creating this intriguing character that you can’t help but admire despite some of her flaws.

If you could Time Travel -  what year would you visit and why?
As long as I was with a madman in a police box, it wouldn’t matter. ;)

Do you have a favourite quote, if so what is it?
Die when I may, I want it said of me by those who know me best, that I always plucked a thistle and planted a flower when I thought a flower would grow.” –Abraham Lincoln

If you could be any character in any novel, who would it be and why?
Hmm…that’s a tough one. I’d probably go with Kahlan from the Sword of Truth series. She has issues, but she’s a great example of a strong female hero in literature today. She’s flawed and has vulnerabilities, but she’ll also paint herself white and ride naked into battle just to spook the locals into thinking she’s a ghost warrior.

How do you come up with the Titles for your novels?
I am rubbish with titles. A friend helped me come up with Heirs of War and my husband helped me come up with the titles for the individual books (they are all named now). I actually came up with Altar of Reality on my own, but I don’t have a series title for that yet.

Do you decide on your book title first, or do you write the book and then the title is decided later?
It really depends. With Heirs of War, that title didn’t come about until I had written a rough draft for book two. With Altar of Reality, I came up with the premise and the name sort of popped into my head. If I have the premise, I might be able to come up with a name. Or I might need help. J

When working on your current novel, were there any moments when you thought:- OMG  what am I doing with this plot line? Or:  Who are these people I created? etc…
I just had one of those moments where I sat back after writing the last two chapters and went “This is crap.” So I mulled it over for a few days and then finally figured out how to fix it. Sometimes I look back on Heirs of War and am amazed by how the characters came to life on their own. When I first started writing it, I was trying to force them into being something they weren’t. When I relaxed my hold on them, that’s when the story came to life.

Do you have a day job, other than writing – if so can you share?
This semester I don’t. I was working part time and going to college while writing, but I decided to take this semester off and try the writing thing professionally since I was about to publish my first book. I’m glad I did—I’ve had to do a lot of work to get Heirs of War ready thanks to an amazing editor who knew how to push me to my best, and it’s helped me to be more disciplined when I do sit down to write. Less Candy Crush and more words.

What is your preferred method of writing:-  The plot pre-planned from day one, or just go with the flow and see what happens next?
I’m a mix of both. I usually have a rough plan in my head, but sometimes my characters take me elsewhere and the plan changes. I rarely sit down and plot everything out—I work from my head. Sometimes this can be bad. The Lord Commander in Altar of Reality was supposed to have some big nefarious plan to take over the country (or so I had one of my characters cryptically say), but now I can’t remember what that plan was. I had to delete the line because I remember coming up with the idea and getting excited, but I never wrote it down.

Are there any little tips or tricks you use to get to know your characters better?
I just listen to them, really. That sounds crazy, but when I write what comes to mind when thinking about their reactions to scenarios, it works much better than trying to force them to act a certain way. I’ve done some character interviews for my blog tour last month, which was a lot of fun and a great way to get to know them outside of the confines of my story.

If you don’t like a character you’re writing about, what do you do?
            a. Kill them off instantly
             b. Get over it and learn to like them
             c. Give them a whole new personality
            d. or something else – do tell?! Please!
I don’t necessarily like every character I write. Personally, I think Ariana is a bit of a spoiled brat. Zelene I could hang out with, but Ariana would probably get on my nerves. So I suppose I just push through with the mentality that I don’t have to like everyone I meet, so I don’t have to like everyone I write about. If I only wrote about people I liked, I think my stories would be really boring.

Do you like to write while listening to music and if so, does your book have particular playlist you’d like to share?
I have playlists for Heirs of War and Altar of Reality on Spotify. Music is a big part of my creative process. Sometimes I need the quiet, but most of the time I have the playlist on in the background. I especially use it when I’m in my thinking moments, trying to sort out a scene.

If you were stranded on a faraway island:-  which of your characters would you like to be marooned with and why?
Varrick from Heirs of War. And not just because I picture Gerard Butler for him. Okay, maybe a little. He’d also be very handy, though. He’s strong, fast, a skilled warrior that could protect and hunt, and he’s not overly chatty. He’d be content to let me write out my stories in the sand while he just watches silently.

Which type of book do you prefer to read?
           a. ebook
            b. paperback
            c. hardback
            d. Non – I listen to audiobooks!
A. I’m not all “death to the paperback” but I have freakishly small hands, so reading thick paperbacks can be uncomfortable. Plus, I can take books anywhere with me without taking up much space.

Do you have any weird writing rituals? (Such as, you can only start writing after you’ve scoffed all the choc-chip cookies and drank 3 cups of full-caff coffee?  Or only after you’ve listened to a certain song or playlist? etc… do share)
I usually listen to my playlist while playing some kind of mind-numbing game when I first wake up so that I can get into the zone. I’ve had a few mornings where inspiration hit right away, but normally I have to work up to it and wake up enough.

Do you have any input in the Cover design of your novel?
Yes, but I do trust a lot to my cover artist, Gretchen Byers. She’s phenomenal. She’ll send me what I have in mind, but then send me something else that ends up being 100x better than what I imagined.

What is the very best thing about writing for you?
I’d say it is a tie between interacting with readers who fall in love with your world, and getting to play in your own world.

How many novels/books do you typically read in a month?
Normally one or two. I spend most of my time writing, but I generally have at least one book that I am supposed to review a month. That’ll probably change when classes start back.

What is your favourite genre to read at the moment?
Fantasy in general.

Who’s your greatest inspiration/s to date?
Jane Austen. She wrote because she absolutely had to. It was in her, and she risked her future to do it. It was most certainly not about fame or money for her, and that’s something I try to keep in mind now that I am published. It should always be about the stories.

Which of the following suits you best?
a.      Thrill Seeker
b.      Mildly Meek
c.       Totally Chilled
d.      All of the above
C. I’m a pretty laid back person. I do have a bit of a so-called “Irish temper” but it takes a lot more to set it off now than when I was younger.

Apart from writing, do you have any other hobbies that you’d like to share with us?
I love to play video games when I have the time, and I used to knit. Does that count? Most of my hobbies (like blogging over at There & Draft Again: A Fellowship of Fantasy Writers /endshamelessplug and hosting blog tours) have to do with writing.

Are you a morning person or a night owl or an inbetweener?
I am most definitely a night owl. I get most of my work done after 2pm, and usually not ready to call it quits when it is absolutely time to go to bed.

What’s your least favourite part of the writing process?
Editing. There’s a neat trick of reading your manuscript out loud to catch errors and bad sentences and such. I did this with Heirs of War before I sent it back to my editor for the final round, and I wasn’t sure what I was more tired of: My voice or my words.

How long does it typically take for you to write a novel?
I can usually hammer out a first draft in about a month or two, but I end up doing rewrites. Editing takes a bit longer, but I think I’ll be able to cut down to around 6 months for that now, maybe shorter.

How many hours a day do you dedicate to your writing?
8-12 depending on the day and the plans. I try to treat this like a full-time gig.

What is the one book you can’t live without?
Crikees, I could never choose. My heart breaks at the thought of not being able to read my favorites.

Are you a:
a.      Laptop Writer
b.      Desktop Writer
c.       iPad Writer
d.      Pen and Paper Writer
A, B, and C. I bounce between my laptop and my desktop, but I also use my Windows Tablet as well. I did rewrites for Heirs of War at Dragon Con using my tablet, so it definitely comes in handy.

If you didn’t write or you went through a dry spell (aka a bit of writers block), what would you do to fill the creative void instead?
For me, it is about getting lost in worlds, so I tend to read books or marathon a show.

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
I’d love to visit Ireland or New Zealand just because pictures I’ve seen are absolutely gorgeous. So much green! I love it.

Who would be your dream cast if your novel was made into a movie?
I have a huge cast, but I did write a blog post about that back in the day, so if you want the long version you can go there. For the sake of space, I’ll keep it to the five girls and their Cynewards here. Zelene: Emma Stone, Ariana: Brenna O’Brien, Isauria: Alyson Hannigan, Rhaya: Zooey Deschanel, Terrena: Anne Hathaway, Liam: Hugh Jackman, Kenward: Viggo Mortensen, Raemann: Simon Baker, Varrick: Gerard Butler

If you had a choice  – a dream come true - which would be your preference: Your books serialised  -  a weekly show or made into movies?
I would say made into movies, but only if I had creative control. You can usually tell when an author doesn’t have anything to do with their works being translated to screen. Legend of the Seeker was a fun show, but when I read the Sword of Truth series, I could hardly see how the show was based on the books. Whereas with Harry Potter, even the additional scenes and changes that were made still felt like the style of J.K. Rowling.

Tell us one thing that no-one else knows about you – your darkest secret if you dare!
I’m a wannabe runner. My personal trainer (that I’m on hiatus from, I might add, because I clumsily keep breaking myself with crazy stuff that has nothing to do with him every time I’m supposed to train—Murphy’s Law at work) knows this, but most other people don’t. I would love to run, but I generally put off getting started until tomorrow. Because nothing helps you get fit like procrastination at its best. :P

Can you tell us why you think we’d love to read your novel?
Hopefully the characters. I’m a better story teller than I am writer, so I don’t think it has anything to do with my prose or style. It’s all about the characters for me. These five girls  have no idea what they are getting into when the fate of the worlds is thrust on their shoulders, but the strength and determination they show with the choices they make and that they are faced with…I’m in awe of them sometimes. I’m not nice to my characters, so for them to come out of what I put them through relatively sane and stronger for it even, well, that makes them worth it to me.

Finally, what 7 words best sum up your novel?
This is worse than the Twitter pitches! Five girls save the worlds and themselves.


There you have it, a fabulous novel and awesome author, what more do you need to fulfil Tantalising Tuesdays -  Absolutely NOTHING! 

Many thanks to Mara for such a great interview and don't forget to join me again tomorrow for a Book Blast.

Until then

Keep calm and eat more chocolate [I am!!]


  1. Thank you so much for having me, Bella! It was a lot of fun! =)

    1. What an awesome feeling to find myself on your list of favorites, Mara! Thank you! <3

    2. Any time Mara, it was great to showcase your work! :)


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