Feb 7, 2011

The Sentinel Mage

by Emily Gee

What I'm reading: The Complete Servant, by Samuel & Sarah Adams (1825)

Watching: Glee

Listening to: Salmonella Dub

Making me smile: The baby sparrows feeding outside my window

The release of my latest fantasy novel, The Sentinel Mage, this month caught me by surprise. I spent endless months plotting and writing it and suddenly -- kaboom -- it's on the shelves and I'm standing there blinking and going What? Already?

The author copies have just arrived and I had that surreal flicking-through-the-pages moment when you see the story that spent so much time in your head actually printed in black and white on the pages of a book.
To me, it always looks very one dimensional compared to the 3D colour version that runs like a movie in my head.

The Sentinel Mage is something a new for me ... not only is it the first book in a trilogy, but it has multiple storylines. I wrote each storyline completely separately, from start to finish, and then combined them into a whole, kind of like plaiting flax. (Is that too kiwi a simile? You know what I mean, right?)

My publisher, Solaris, have created wonderful chapter images to separate out the three storylines.

The wolf and flames image marks the mages and Prince Harkeld's story -- which is the story on the back cover blurb.

(In a distant corner of the Seven Kingdoms, an ancient curse festers and grows, consuming everything in its path. Only one man can break it: Harkeld of Osgaard, a prince with mage's blood in his veins. But Harkeld has a bounty on his head -- and assassins at his heels.

Innis is a gifted shapeshifter. Now she must do the forbidden: become a man. She must stand at Prince Harkeld's side as his armsman, protecting and deceiving him. But the deserts of Masse are more dangerous than the assassins hunting the prince. The curse has woken deadly creatures, and the magic Prince Harkeld loathes may be the only thing standing between him and death.)

The sword and crown marks the story of Harkeld's sister, Princess Brigitta, and her armsman, Karel.

Britta and Karel aren't mentioned on the back cover, but I have to confess ... Karel is my favourite character in this book. He's strong, stoic, smart -- and lethal with a sword.

The footprint marks the story of the young orphan, Jaumé, whose story opens the book.

Jaumé is a blacksmith's son, fleeing across a continent ahead of the curse (
the poor kid has bare feet -- hence the footprint).

Two of the storylines are going to collide violently in the second book, and all three will be bloodily entwined by the end of the third book, so my flax weaving is going to get pretty complicated. I'm looking forward to the challenge!

I have one copy of The Sentinel Mage to give away. (That's Innis, the shapeshifter, on the cover, by the way.)

Simply tell me what it is about fantasy novels that you enjoy. The magic, the heroism, the battles, the strange and deadly creatures, the passion...

(The first two chapters of The Sentinel Mage are up on my website, www.emilygee.com, if you'd like a sneak peek!)


  1. I love fantasy novels. They are the only books that my husband and I actually read together. It does not matter if I do not win a copy. I'm going to share this great find with my husband.

    I enjoy fantasy novels because they take me to another world. I enjoy discovering a different culture and people even if they are fictional.

  2. I love the fantasy of the romances.The way the author can put their spin on legends and bring their world to ours.Gives us adventures and romance all in one.

  3. Fantasy novels, whats not to love about a fantasy? Handsome heros, beautiful ladies, evil villians! The hand reaches out to you from the cover of the book and pulls you in where YOU become part of the fantasy! Do you DARE put the book down? If you do will the story change? Will you look at it in a different light? Did the hereo & villian change places because you left them? Oh I LOVE the fantasy! Happy Selling of your new read:) Hoping many more to come!

  4. To be honest I just read my first few fantasy novels in like ages and loved them. Yours too sounds wonderful. I love the uniqueness of them all. I love variety. In fantasy you can take me anywhere (as long as I love the characters) and since it's new worlds, I go willingly.

    OT I have a cat that looks just like the one above. Her name is Kitty (my daughter named her lol).

  5. How cool that you read fantasy novels together with your husband, Alyn! Yes, I agree -- I really enjoy discovering a new world, too. There are some great writers out there with fantastic imaginations!

  6. Emily

    This books sounds wonderful I have really only recently started reading fantasty novels and find them so interesting learning about the different worlds and characters in them. I am really enjoying them

    Have Fun

  7. dlynnpen, you've put your finger on my favourite kind of fantasy novel -- one with adventure AND romance! That's my favourite kind of movie, too ... the romantic zing gives an extra edge that makes a good book/movie superb.

  8. Jacque, I love the image of a hand coming out of the cover and pulling you into the book! I agree, it is a total immersion experience and it really does feel as if you're living the story alongside the characters. It's a sad moment when a good book ends!

    Thanks for your good wishes!

  9. Hi catslady! Yes, variety and uniqueness are the hallmark of a good fantasy novel, aren't they? The author takes you somewhere you've never been before -- and the only limitation is their imagination!

    P.S. The white cat in the photo belongs to my parents and her name is Sessan (which is Swedish).

  10. Hi Helen -- I'm glad you've discovered fantasy novels -- and that you're enjoying them! I grew up reading fantasy, so it's been a part of my reading diet for a long time. Keep on enjoying them!

  11. My daughter enjoys fantasy novels... I know this will keep her occupied this summer

  12. I like fantasy, because it's an escape from the norm. Dragons, Knights and Wizards...love them all!

  13. Emily, I love the sound of your The Sentinel Mage. I don't read as many fantasy novels as I did as a teenager, but what I really love about them is how high the stakes are -- not just lives but entire kingdoms are at risk. Good is seriously good and Evil is pure evil. It makes for riveting reading!

  14. As a lonely housewife, I find it a great relief when a book takes me on a journey. The highs, lows, struggles and triumphs, mixed together give me a place among the characters. I love the element of becoming one with the story, sitting in the background watching as the plot moves forward. But what I love most, is looking up from the book at any time and seeing my family, but knowing when they drive me insane, I can returned to my fantasy word, and all I need is my glasses. *grins*

    This looks like it is going to be a amazing series and am looking forward to reading it.

  15. I love fantasy and yours certainly sounds interesting. It must be tricky to keep all those threads straight but make them work together!

  16. I like that fantasy novels take me out of reality and create a new universe. When an author can world build so well that I am drawn into that world and hate leaving it then the author has done his/her job. The Seventh Mage sounds great. Can't wait until the whole trilogy is out.

  17. Hi Kohsamui14 -- good to hear your daughter loves reading fantasy novels. I was a kid when I started reading them -- they're a great escape from daily life!

  18. Cindy L -- I totally agree! I love reading for the escape it gives me, and I love movies for the same reason. It's wonderful to step outside your day-to-day life and take part in a marvellous adventure.

  19. Hello, Michelle! Yep, fantasy tends to be high stakes -- good and evil can be so much more potent than in ordinary life. Lots of fun to read (and write!).

  20. Emily, I loved fantasy when I was a teenager - I remember being totally obsessed with the Dune series on Christmas holidays. But haven't read as many recently. I think The Sentinel Mage might just change that for me. :)

  21. Hi Danielle -- and thanks for your comment. I can just see you looking up from your book--and then sneaking back into your fantasy world! I have to admit that I use reading as an escape. I love entering another world and forgetting my problems!

  22. Hi Beck -- glad you love fantasy! It was fun weaving the story threads together, but it's going to get trickier in the next books, when the characters start colliding and tangling with each other!

  23. Thanks, She. Yeah, I agree with you about leaving a world that's well-drawn. Sometimes, when I finish a book or series that I've loved, I almost feel like I'm mourning the characters, because I know that's The End Forever. (And when it's really hard to let go, I often continue their stories in my head!)

  24. Hi there, Rachel -- I just about missed your comment! I read the first Dune book when I was a teenager and reread it again recently. Fabulously written, but a lot darker than I remembered. So many people die! But boy, did Herbert know how to world-build. He was a master at it!

  25. Emily your book sounds fantastic!!
    What's not to love about a fantasy? It's something so very unique created straight out of a person's imagination.
    And shape shifters *sigh* gotta love that!

  26. Thanks, Mel -- and yes, I totally agree about shapeshifters. They definitely have that X factor! If I could pick a special power, it would definitely be shapeshifting!

  27. I love fantasy. Discovered it as a teenager and still love it now. Why? I think because I can lose myself totally in the world - doesn't matter what is happening in my life on Earth, in the book there's magic, sword fights, quests etc - completely removed from this reality.

  28. I wish I had the imagination for a world of fantasy. I'm a true sucker for the forever after though.
    Well Done and the cover looks great!

    Eternal Press 7th feb 2011

  29. Yes, Anita, that whole completely-removed-from-reality thing is fabulous, isn't it! You can forget about the laundry and the shopping and the dishes and hang out with guys who wield swords and mages who can cast spells. Wonderful!

  30. Thanks, Kerri, so glad you like the cover -- she really draws the eye, doesn't she? Oh, yes, I'm a sucker for happily-ever-after endings too -- whatever the genre!

  31. I love the complexity of the story lines and the fact you (the author) has the freedom to explore secondary characters and weave their stories into the main plot.

    More simply, I love getting lost in another world and the adventures of the characters. The sign of a good book is when I'm interrupted during the reading of it (for whatever reason) I look up and it takes me a few seconds to orientate myself to reality.

    It's great being so sucked in to the character's world you have trouble distinguishing your own! LOL

    Emily, your cover for the book is gorgeous and the chapter marks are excellent. They're like the added little touch that completes the experience.

  32. Thanks, Kylie! I was very pleased that my publisher decided to go with the chapter images -- I had them in my manuscript, but it was their call to include them in the book.

    Yes, the getting lost in another world is absolutely the sign of a good book, regardless of genre. Fortunately, there are lots of good writers out there. I look forward to reading one of your fantasy novels one day!

  33. Hey Emily

    Waves from sunny Napier!!!

    I'm so happy that your new book is out - you know what a massive fan I am!!!! I've been reading fantasy books for as long as I can remember - my dad made me read The Hobbit when I was ten!!!! There are so many things I love about them but for me the best bit is the quest - gotta love a good quest!!!!

  34. Waving right back at you, Amanda -- lovely to see you here! It sounds like you come from a fantasy-loving family and were trained at a young age! Yeah, I agree -- a good quest makes all the difference!

  35. Oh Emily, your book sounds breath-taking and your process hair-raising! Wow... writing three threads and weaving them together must be quite a feat. I can't wait to read your trilogy.

    I love fantasy because it blends humanity and real life so completely into a new world or dimension. It's like fantasy stretches reality to the very limits. I love that.

    Happy release day, Emily.


  36. I love your comment about blending humanity and real life with a new world, Catherine. Yes, fantasy does stretch reality to its very limits -- I'd never thought of it like that before!

    The weaving was fun with this first book, but I have a feeling it'll be a whole lot more challenging for the next books, when the storylines start colliding with each other!

  37. Awesome to read about your latest fantasy novel, Emily, and to hear a bit about how you combined the story lines for the trilogy. I imagine it must have been demanding work but also incredibly rewarding!

    I love the three pictures - the foot made me smile but it's a perfect symbol for a shoeless orphan's story.

    I enjoy reading fantasy - it's that pure escape to another world.

  38. Em, what a fabulous sounding story!! :Robbie clears her throat before reciting her answer because she wants to win the book: I love fantasy because fiction is all about escaping into another world and fantasy is that times a thousand. =)

  39. Thanks, Sharon! Yeah, I love the three images -- and the footprint is perfect!

  40. Good try, Robbie, but alas ... it was not to be ;-) You're absolutely right, though -- all fiction is about escaping into another world -- which is why I love it so much!

  41. Hi Emily --
    Just wanted to say congrats on your release and that I absolutely LOVE your cover. Defintely going on my TBR.

  42. Loved the book When is the next one coming out?