Friday, March 29, 2013

Interview + Giveaway: The Ryn by Serena Chase

Please join me in welcoming debut author Serena Chase to Let Them Read Books! I had the privilege of working professionally with Serena on The Ryn, a fantastic story of a young woman's dangerous journey to discover who she is and fulfill an ancient prophecy in order to save a kingdom on the verge of ruin. The Ryn was released on March 26th and all week long Serena has been celebrating the launch, and I wanted to help spread the word about it to all of my book buddies! Without further ado, here she is, talking faith, fantasy, and fairy tales!

What is "edgy inspirational romance"?

Thanks for inviting me over, Jenny! My definition may be different than some, but to me, EIR is romance fiction that is written from a faith-based world view, minus the preaching; it accepts and presents real, identifiable characters, whose rougher edges remain unsanded while their emotional, physical, and spiritual needs are portrayed in more true-to-life ways than what was the norm in Inspy fiction a few years ago. "Edgy Inspirational" also encompasses those sub-subgenres of inspirational (a.k.a Christian) fiction that have, in the past, been labeled by some as "unChristian" -- or unacceptable for Christian readers -- because they take place in another world or dimension and/or imbue characters with superhuman or unusual abilities.

What inspired you to write the Eyes of E'veria series?

My eldest daughter is a voracious reader, and when she was younger I would often pre-read books for content before sending them her way. She asked to read Gail Carson Levine's Ella Enchanted, which was on my bookshelf. Since it had been a while since I'd read it, I decided to read it again with a third grader in mind. When I finished, I handed the book over and thought, "I wonder if I could re-imagine a fairy tale?"

I had read several fairy tale re-tellings by other YA authors and several by my favorite, Robin McKinley. But I wanted to tackle a story that no one ever talked about -- or at least not much. It sort of took the pressure off, you know?

As a little girl, my favorite fairy tale was Cinderella, but as popular as that choice is for re-boots, I wasn't brave enough to throw my own glass slipper into the ring! Instead, I sat down at the computer, and thought of two other tales, my favorite fairy tales from a pink, well-worn book called Fairy Tales and Rhymes (The Little Golden Book Library) that my mother had read to me when I was small. Over and over I'd asked her to read the same two tales: The Twelve Dancing Princesses, and Snow White and Rose Red. In the end, I decided to re-imagine Snow White & Rose Red, but with a little more emphasis on girl power than what Grimm had envisioned. Five months later, I had a 181,000 word, poorly crafted manuscript with a few nuggets in which God had inserted himself into the story. (Seriously. I was not expecting the tale to have a spiritual component. It just happened.)

Seven(ish) years and many re-writes later, we have THE RYN and soon, THE REMEDY. The only scene from that first draft to survive those revisions intact (but for a few grammatical and sentence tweaks), however, was the one in which Rynnaia's soul was romanced in Tirandov Bay. That scene "came through", for lack of a better term, at three o'clock in the morning while tears streamed down my face and my fingers flew across the keys, trying to capture the inspiration being breathed into my soul. I cannot imagine that there will ever be another scene in anything I ever write again, that will so move me every time I read it.

What sort of challenges did you face in creating a fantasy world from scratch?

I had the basics from the original fairy tale: royalty, a little old man who can fling magic/curses, and a prince who was turned into a bear. But it wasn't until one day, when I was thinking about the definitions of the word "inspiration" that I imagined Veetri (one of E'veria's provinces) and its gifted Storytellers (who literally "inspire" their tales into existence by breathing across their hands) that E'veria really came to life. Once Rowlen told his first tale (a now-deleted scene), I was hooked on the magic of this Kingdom-in-my-head. Apart from "discovering" Veetrish Storytellers -- and the basis of the original tale -- however, are the volumes and volumes of backstory in my head. So I'd have to say, the biggest challenge I faced was bringing the ideas born in backstory into The Ryn... without having to write a prequel!

Were there any scenes in The Ryn that were particularly difficult or challenging to write?

In anything I write, the prologue or first chapter, specifically the first paragraph, is where I most struggle and spend the most time revising. I want it to be so perfect, so able to draw a reader in, that they simply can't live without reading on to the end.

Okay, maybe that was a little too dramatically put, but... it's sort of true.

Do you have a favorite moment from The Ryn?

So many, for so many different reasons. I love the scene in Tirandov Isle's bay, of course. And when Julien talks to Rynnaia about the tide and the stars, that is so romantic. But for comedy, any scene in which Rowlen or Cazien appears makes me smile. Especially Cazien. I simply adore that cheeky pirate!

Can you tell us a bit about your creative process? What's a typical day like for you as a writer?

I'm laughing a little about the word "typical" -- I've yet to really discover what that is. Weekdays, I get everyone fed and off to school, and then I sit down at the computer (sometimes before they're actually out the door), sometimes having made the mistake of forgetting to get dressed and then... I go visit my imaginary friends. Suddenly, the noon whistle is blowing (I live in a small town) and I'm like, "Oh, crap! I'm still in my pajamas!" Sometime around 1:30 or 2:00 I actually act on that revelation and either go jump in the shower or eat lunch, whichever seems most pressing. *laughs* But I'm trying to change. For instance, sometimes I sleep in yoga pants so that if I forget to get dressed, I can just pretend I was working out when the UPS man comes.

For some reason, I don't think he's buying it.

What are you working on now?

Marketing is taking a lot of time right now. Honestly, I'm amazed at how much writing time it's eating. But when I'm not doing that, I'm mapping out Books three & four and getting ready to dig into the writing of those stories. I wrote the first two books pretty organically, so this is new territory for me. But I'm really excited to get back to E'veria and to write new(ish) characters to whom comedy and snark come more naturally. Also, I'm trying to finish up the spit and polish process on a contemporary YA coming-of-age romance that should (hopefully) be hitting virtual bookshelves November 2013.

Great interview, Serena! Thanks so much for stopping by!

Win a kindle copy of
The Ryn!

Leave a comment on this post with your email address (for notification purposes only), and you're entered!

This giveaway is open internationally and ends at 11:59pm Friday, April 12, 2013. Winner will be selected at random. Thanks, and good luck!

This giveaway is closed and the winner has been selected. Stay tuned for more great giveaways!

DESTINED by prophecy. GUARDED by deception. PURSUED by Love.

Centuries ago, an oracle foretold of the young woman who would defeat E’veria’s most ancient enemy, the Cobelds. But after two centuries of relative peace, both the prophecy and the Cobelds have been relegated to lore—and only a few remain watchful for the promised Ryn. 

Finally, a child is born who matches the oracle’s description, but a Cobeld curse accompanies her birth. Led to believe they succeeded in killing the prophesied child, the Cobelds emerge from hiding with plans to overtake the Kingdom.

But the child survived.

Secreted away and called “Rose” for the first nineteen years of her life, Rynnaia E'veri has no idea of her true identity until a chance meeting with an injured knight reveals not only her parentage and true name, but the task assigned her by the oracle: discover the Remedy that will destroy the Cobelds' power. 

Now, her time has come.

Offered the assistance of pirates, scribes, storytellers, a young woman who died centuries ago, and the knight who is quickly working his way into her heart, Rynnaia is fortified with friends. But if the Ryn is to complete her task, she must come to terms with not only who she is, but for whom she must be willing to die. For the kingdom’s survival depends on her. 

Sounds good, doesn't it? I think ya'll are going to love it!

A lifelong lover of fairy tales, Serena Chase is the author of THE RYN and THE REMEDY (April 2013). Together, these two novels comprise an expanded re-imagining of the classic Grimm fairy tale, Snow White & Rose Red and are the first two books in the Eyes of E’veria series.

A frequent contributor to USA Today’s Happy Ever After blog and Edgy Inspirational Romance, Serena lives in Iowa with her husband, two daughters, and a white goldendoodle named Albus. She has been known to live vicariously through her hair, however, so don’t be too surprised if she looks a tad different from one day to the next. We all have our vices.



  1. Thanks so much for having me here, Jenny, and for featuring THE RYN!

  2. Wow this book sounds amazing! I cannot wait to read it! Congrats on you first book! :)

  3. I love fairy tale re-tellings! I can't wait to read this one. Thanks for the chance to win!


  4. Thanks for the giveaway! Love me some fairy tales!

    mestith at gmail dot com

  5. This book sounds AMAZING!! :) Whether I win or not I am reading this book!! :)
    Lisa Medeiros


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