Author Chat with Lucy Tempest (Thief Of Cahraman) , Plus Excerpt & Giveaway!
Today we're excited to chat with Lucy Tempest, author of Thief Of Cahraman.
Read on for more about Lucy and her book, an excerpt, plus an giveaway!
Meet Lucy Tempest!
With one foot in reality and the other one lodged firmly in fantasy, Lucy Tempest has been spinning tales since she learned how to speak. Now, as an author, people can experience the worlds she creates for themselves.
Lucy lives in Southern California with her family and two spoiled cats, who would make terrible familiars.
Her young adult fantasy series FAIRYTALES OF FOLKSHORE is a collection of interconnected fairytale retellings, each with a unique twist on a beloved tale.
Meet Thief Of Cahraman!
The Selection meets Aladdin
ONE MONTH. FIFTY CONTESTANTS. ONE PRINCE. AN IMPOSSIBLE HEIST.
You have been summoned to Sunstone Palace to compete in our search for the future Queen of Cahraman.
After years on the run, Adelaide thinks her lonely and dangerous life as a thief is finally over. But her world is upended when a witch steals her away to a faraway kingdom, to perform an impossible heist. If Adelaide fails, her newfound family would be sacrificed to a beast.
To complete her mission, she’s forced to assume the role of a noblewoman and enter a royal competition. The prize is the hand of the elusive Crown Prince. Elimination means certain death.
As the witch’s literal deadline approaches, Adelaide has one last gamble to save the day, and to escape to a new life with Cyrus, the handsome and mysterious fellow thief who stole her heart.
But everything falls apart when the prince finally reveals himself…
This is a full-length novel at 80,000 words. Book 1 of 3 in the Cahraman Trilogy
Fairytales of Folkshore is a series of interconnected fairytale retellings. Ada’s story continues in PRINCE OF CAHRAMAN.
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
Whenever I saw fairytale retellings I noticed the usual suspects (Snow White, Cinderella, Beauty & the Beast, etc…) but never saw anyone put their spin on Aladdin. Either because the main character was a man or because the setting wouldn’t mesh with the Medieval European setting most fairytales series are in.
That gave me the idea to swap the genders of the main characters, and to create the Persia-inspired Kingdom of Cahraman for their setting, and to find a way to connect it to the other lands the coming retellings will be set in. And my Folkshore universe was born.
In this book, the first in a three-book arc, instead of suitors coming to win Jasmine’s hand and succeed her father as sultan, there’s a competition to choose a bride for the prince, and that’s Ada’s way into the palace, where she is sent to steal the lamp. This is also where she’ll meet the future protagonists in the series.
Once those core ideas were set, everything else developed from there.
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
Ada’s friend, Cora. I can’t wait to write her book—a retelling of Hades & Persephone—sometime next year.
YABC: Which came first, the title or the novel?
The novel. I went back and forth whether to swap the titles of the first two books in the trilogy. I ended up sticking with what came to me first!
YABC: What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
The scene during the fallout of the second test the prince’s suitors are given. When a possibly fatal problem arises, even expecting the worst, the heroine uses her skillset as a thief and risks everything to resolve the situation. That really defined Ada as a character, to herself, and to everyone else.
YABC: Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
One thing is the importance of rewrites and a second or even third opinion. All that was invaluable to how the story eventually turned out.
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
The bright colors, the dress, and the frame! I designed the cover hoping it would be instantly recognizable alone and as part of the series.
YABC: What would you say is your superpower?
World-building. I love creating lands, histories, family trees and getting involved in the etymology of each name I give to people and places.
YABC: What’s up next for you?
Now that the Cahraman trilogy is done (Prince of Cahraman and Queen of Cahraman are out now) up next is the Beauty & the Beast duology starting with ‘Beast of Rosemead’ sometime this May.
~ Excerpt ~
As I approached the last girl in the queue on unsteady feet, I took out my card. I’d only read until “Queen of Cahraman” the first time and couldn’t go further.
Now I read on.
You have been summoned to Sunstone Palace to compete as one of fifty eligible young women of status, in our search for the future Queen of Cahraman.
Over the course of a month, you will undergo tests, trials, and investigations in an effort to win the hand of Crown Prince Cyaxares of the House of Shamash.
Eliminations will occur in three stages by a panel of royally appointed judges. The five who remain at the end of the month will be tested by the prince himself.
I stopped reading again. A prince. And he was holding some kind of elaborate competition, gathering girls from all known corners of this world to find a bride.
These girls were here in the hope of becoming a princess and future queen.
And supposedly, so was I.
Dread surged within me again. Nariman had said nothing about dealing with anyone, let alone getting into a competition that lasted a month. I needed to be in and out of that palace tonight!
But what if I couldn’t? A palace that size could not be searched in a few hours. So was I supposed to enter the competition, stick around for a whole month, as they thinned out the herd, so I could sneak about the palace to search for Nariman’s lamp?
This was far more than I’d bargained for. Not that I’d had time or mind to even think what I’d been getting myself into when I’d agreed to help Nariman.
Agreed? I’d been blackmailed then literally shoved into this.
Did Nariman not consider that I could be eliminated on the first day? Or, even in the first hour?
What was I thinking? Of course, she knew I wouldn’t really enter the competition. This was just a pretext to enter the palace. Once inside, I would disappear and hide. With forty-nine more important girls to take note of, the judges would consider that one candidate failed to arrive. And while they were occupied with their tests, I’d search until I found that lamp, then I’d slip out to meet Nariman. I’d exchange it for Bonnie and her father and a portal back home to Aubenaire.
Shaking off the nerves, feeling a bit steadier now that I’d reached that conclusion, I continued reading:
You will be required to participate in:
Any dishonorable activities will result in your immediate expulsion from the competition and the disgrace of your house.
Arrive at the new crescent moon and await admittance.
I wondered what ranked up there with theft as a dishonorable activity. Getting drunk and sliding down the palace steps on a goose-feather mattress then throwing up on the prince’s shoes? And what skills did I have besides lock-picking?
Good thing I wouldn’t be there long enough to be shoved into any of those pompous tests.
I tucked the letter into my cloak and approached the nearest of the ‘eligible young women.’ A petite girl no older than myself stood loudly chatting with three others. Her hair was thick, glossy dark blonde and held up in a bun by a silver coronet, showing her dangling abalone earrings. From the elaborateness of her outfit, she seemed to be of a higher status than most of the girls.
She had a round face dotted with freckles, a small chin and cheeks heavy with baby fat that rose up to almost shut her eyes in an involuntary squint when she smiled.
The smile was seemingly for me, as she jumped up at my approach. “Hello! You were chosen for the contest, too? Well, of course, you were, or you wouldn’t be here otherwise, now would you? How are you? How was your trip? Am I talking too fast?”
She did talk so fast I expected her to bite her tongue.
“Yes, I was. I’m pretty worn out. And my trip had…let’s say a few bumps and unexpected turns, but I’m here now. And yeah, you kind of are,” I answered her questions in descending order then held out my hand. “Hi, how are you and how was your trip?”
She forwent the handshake and launched herself at me in a body-slam of a hug, nearly tipping us both over. Though she was much smaller than me, I wasn’t exactly steady on my feet.
“Oh, it was dreadful!” she whined with her face buried in my chest. “I’m from the other side of the mountain and I didn’t know it was going to be so hot. I hope this is just a heat wave because I can’t survive this weather for much longer.”
Honest, enthusiastic and chatty. I was sticking with this one.
She released me and took my hand to shake it. “I’m Cherine! Nazaryan! Daughter of Lord Gaspar Nazaryan. I’m from Sunstone’s sister city, Anbur. It’s a bit smaller but even more lively.” She looked up at me, interest gleaming in her big hazel eyes. “Anyway, who are you and what family and land are you from?”
As basic as those questions were, they were ones I had no answer for. Nariman sent me off the deep end without even a basic cover story.
If I wasn’t so used to lying I probably would have outed myself as an unwilling tourist, or as a loon, by blurting out “I’m Adelaide of Ericura, a land I thought to be the whole world until I got dragged into this one by a witch in the woods to get her a fancy incense burner.”
But I’d had years of practice making up stories on the fly. Now I had to come up with something that sounded convincing to someone from both The Known World and this lifestyle.
The only place I knew of, beside this city, was where Nariman had said she’d sent Bonnie. It sounded like a place too far for anyone from here to know much about. I could use that.
“I am…Lady Ada of…Rosem…Rose Isle. It’s near the woodlands of Arbore.”
“Ooh! Arbore! I’ve been there once!” I held back a panicked yelp. Cherine, giving me no time to worry, poured on. “I’ve heard there are roses that bloom on trees there. Is that what it’s like on your isle? Is that why it’s called that? I’m afraid I’ve never heard of Rose Isle, or else it would have been my ultimate destination. My mansion gardens could use a rose tree.”
“You live in a mansion?”
“You don’t?” Cherine asked, looking genuinely confused.
“I…uh, not anymore. Not for as long as I can remember. You see, my family, while noble, isn’t wealthy, having lost most of its fortune to my grandfather’s gambling. We had to sell all our valuables and downsize to an old summer home on Rose Isle.”
When in doubt, repackage the backstory of a character from a tragedy.
“Oh, you are from an impoverished house. Is it a cadet branch of the Amarants?”
Not knowing who or what the Amarants were, I just nodded. Better for her to fill in the gaps than for me to get caught in an inconsistent lie.
Another girl approached us, diffusing Cherine’s expectant silence. A tanned and toned leggy blonde with sun-streaked hair and a body that straddled the line between well-fed and sinewy. All she was missing was a wreath of peach blossoms and a bundle of wheat to become every depiction of the Field Queen I’d seen in Ericura.
The illusion of her perfect divine glory shattered when she stumbled and crashed into Cherine, sending them both to the ground in an awkward mass of limbs.
I caught them both by the elbows and heaved them up. “Are you alright?”
The blonde girl’s full lips twisted as she tucked a stray lock of hair behind an ear with multiple empty piercings. “Sorry, I’m not used to wearing shoes, let alone these.”
She kicked out a foot to show us her heeled sandals. Why a girl her size needed heels was beyond me.
“It’s fine,” I said with a smile.
“It’s not fine!” Cherine protested, dusting off her dress. “She could have crushed me.”
The girl made a show of looking way down to spot her. “So that’s what I tripped over.”
Cherine raised a finger to her face demandingly. “What land and family are you from?”
“Do you ask everyone that?” I asked her.
“But, of course. I have to know what to expect from you and if we can socialize.”
I frowned. “What do our lands or families have to do with whether we can be friends?”
Cherine patted me on the hand. “Ada, darling, I know your family is disgraced but you’re still noble. Maybe you’ve gotten slack in following rules because of your situation, but if you’re from a land that warred with mine, or if there is any rivalry between our families, then we can’t possibly be friends. Don’t you think so, um…what was your name now?”
“Cora,” the girl said nonchalantly. “My mother is Mistress of the Fields in the Granary.”
“Oh. A farm girl,” Cherine said with waning enthusiasm.
I gestured between us and the rest of the girls. “Aren’t we all rivals now, though? We can’t be friends since only one of us can get the prince.”
Cherine tossed her head and laughed. “Oh, that’s only if you take it personally.”
“And why wouldn’t you?” a loud, disapproving voice cut in.
A fourth girl had arrived, this one flanked by two others.
If Cora was the glowing embodiment of my local fertility goddess, this girl was the face in every storyteller’s mind as they told of glamorous fairies whose unearthly beauty lured men to their deaths. Her beauty wasn’t simply enviable like Bonnie’s or Cora’s, it was practically intimidating. Between all three of them, I felt ugly, insignificant, a weed among flowers.
Under the newcomer’s belittling gaze, Cora squaed her shoulders in a confrontational stance. Cherine sported a full-on defensive glare. “Fairuza, fancy seeing you here.”
Fairuza tutted at Cora’s dress and messy hair, wrinkled her nose disparagingly at Cherine’s everything then raised her perfect eyebrows at me. “A bit over-confident, aren’t we?”
I blinked. “Excuse me?”
Fairuza quirked her lips. “Only brides wear gold dresses in Cahraman.”
Barely ten minutes here and I already committed a—what did they call it? A social grievance? What had Nariman been thinking, sending me here in bridal gold?
I carefully picked my words. Nothing good ever came from antagonizing rich girls. “That’s news to me, seeing as this is my first time here. Where I’m from, brides wear white.”
Fairuza hummed interestedly. “And where is it that you’re from?”
I had to give her the same story I told Cherine. “An island near Arbore.”
Fairuza came closer, lowering her chin so her glittering, turquoise eyes drilled into mine. “Really? I’m from Arbore and we don’t have islands.”
Thief Of Cahraman
By: Lucy Tempest
Publisher: Folkshore Press
Release Date: July 21st, 2018
Five winners will receive an e-copy of Thief Of Cahraman (Lucy Tempest) ~ (US Only)
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