About the Book:
Master and Commander meets Tamora Pierce in a seafaring adventure of duty, love, magic, and a princess’s quest to protect her kingdom on her own terms.
After a lifetime of training, seventeen-year-old Princess Nile Greysik, a lieutenant on the prestigious Ashing navy flagship, sails into battle with one vital mission—and fails.
Barred from the sea and facing a political marriage, Nile masquerades as a common sailor on the first ship she can find. With a cowardly captain, incompetent crew, and a cruel, too-handsome first officer intent on making her life a living hell, Nile must hide her identity while trying to turn the sorry frigate battleworthy. Worse, a terrifying and forbidden magic now tingles in Nile’s blood. If anyone catches wind of who Nile is or what she can do, her life is over.
But when disaster threatens the ship, Nile may have no choice but to unleash the truth that will curse her future.
AIR AND ASH is the thrilling first installment of the TIDES series. Recommended for fans of Sarah J. Maas, Tamora Pierce, and Naomi Novik.
Alex Lidell is an avid horseback rider, paramedic and ice cream addict. Born in Russia, Alex learned English in elementary school, where a thoughtful librarian placed a copy of Tamora Pierce’s ALANNA in Alex’s hands. In addition to becoming the first English book Alex read for fun, ALANNA started Alex’s lifelong love for YA fantasy books. Alex’s debut novel, THE CADET OF TILDOR, was an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards finalist. Her second book AIR AND ASH releases in May 2017.
How much research do you put into each story?
It depends on the story, but generally research is maybe 25 percent of the process – even though I write fantasy novels. For AIR AND ASH, which takes place on a tall ship – the kind you saw in Master and Commander – I needed to find out a lot about ship’s life and function. I may decide against using a piece of information, but I want it to be an informed decision. Continuing with Air and Ash – the frigate Aurora that Nile sails is roughly based on specs of a ship in Nelson’s navy. Many of the gun loading commands, discipline protocols, and food are what you would have found on a ship of the time. However I made some changes, big and small, to suit the story. Most obviously, my ships allow women and my world had magic. Less obviously, seamen in Nelson’s navy would be very careful with the word “ship” as a vessel needed to have met certain requirements to be called that. In Ash and Ash, for everyone’s sanity, I overlook this technicality. I also use a Commander rank where Nelson’s navy would have a First Lieutenant. Again, this is for clarity or prose.
Interestingly, the one thing my editors initially called “NO WAY!” on was actually fully historically accurate! – Children really were in positions of power aboard ships. Officers went to sea at age 8, 9, 10 etc and by the time they were in their teens they were in charge of sailors much older than they. I went back several times in the story to explain to the reader how and why this works.
1 winner will receive a finished copy of AIR AND ASH & a hardcover of A COURT OF WINGS AND RUIN by Sarah J. Maas, INTERNATIONAL.