Those of you who read my reviews or are former students know how much I love the novel Eolyn by Karin Rita Gastreich. Today I have the honor of hosting the next stop on the blog tour for the audio book version of Eolyn. Below you’ll find a post by Karin, links to purchase, and lots of other goodies.
I am especially thrilled to post this article about how the forests of the Pacific Northwest inspired Karin’s forest in Eolyn. I spent many wonderful camping trips in similar forests when I was a child, so I connected even more strongly to East Selen.
Born of Fire: The Forests of East Selen
By Karin Rita Gastreich
Earlier in this tour, I talked about the forests that inspired Eolyn’s childhood home in the South Woods. Before we close our official celebration of the release of the audio edition of EOLYN, I want to spend some time talking about the other great forests of the Kingdom of Moisehén.
The eastern border of Eolyn’s homeland consists of a vast, crescent-shaped swath of woodland that extends from the Paramen Mountains in the south to the towering peaks of the Surmaeg in the north.
The southern reaches of this forest, where Eolyn was born, are dominated by ancient oaks and other deciduous trees. As one travels north, the oak-dominated forests give way to dense stands of towering firs, reminiscent of the Pacific Northwest of the United States.
During the summer of 2011, I had the opportunity to participate in the Long Term Ecological Reflections program at Andrews Experimental Forest in the Cascade Range of Oregon. This fantastic experience immersed me in the type of forest that I have always associated with East Selen, the birthplace of Akmael’s mother, Queen Briana.
Mage Corey, an important character in Eolyn’s journey, is also a child of East Selen. By the time Eolyn meets Corey, the powerful clan that comprised his family and once ruled these forests is gone, having perished under the wrath of the Mage King Kedehen. Through a special concession secured by Queen Briana, these lands nonetheless remain in Corey’s hands. Though Corey spends most of his life elsewhere, he forever considers the forests of East Selen his true home.
Like Andrews Forest, East Selen is dominated by ancient fir and hemlock. Each tree stretches in a stunning pillar toward the sky, trunks solid and wide at the base with a dark and deeply furrowed bark, living records of the passage of time. Moss drapes over high branches, large stones, and fallen logs. The breeze is cool and crisp during the summer months and bitterly cold at the height of winter.
Crystalline streams cut through this landscape in sparkling ribbons. One of the untold stories of Eolyn’s world is that Briana and Kedehen, like Eolyn and Akmael, began their friendship on the banks of one of these rivers.
According to the beliefs of Magas and Mages, forest streams are places of meeting and transformation. Here the sun breaks through the dense cover of trees and mingles freely with earth and water along a thin corridor of open air. With the forest canopy held at bay, there is very little that can hide. Plants and animals that wouldn’t stand a chance in the forest deep often find a foothold here. Streams provide unique habitats where creatures from different worlds can coexist.
According to the legends of Moisehén, the great firs of East Selen have a special relationship with Dragon, the entity that brought High Magic to humankind. Firs are ‘conceived by fire’. Their seeds only germinate after flames have ravaged the forest, leaving open stands of charred trunks and prickly undergrowth. Among Eolyn’s people, wildfires are believed to be started by the breath of Dragon. This breath confers upon fir seeds a magic and power shared by no other tree in the forest. It is through the use of the fir branches that mages and magas achieve the power of flight.
If you would like to experience something similar to the forests of East Selen, visit the ancient woodlands of the Pacific Northwest. With some patience and a little imagination, you will hear the voice of magic on the wind. Perhaps you will also catch a glimpse of the spirit of Maga Briana, laughing while she dances through forests she loves.
Intrigued? You should be! If not, here is a teaser for Eolyn: Sole heiress to a forbidden craft, Eolyn lives in a world where women of her kind are tortured and burned. When she meets Akmael, destined to assume the throne of this violent realm, she embarks upon a path of adventure, friendship, betrayal and war. Bound by magic, driven apart by destiny, Eolyn and the Mage King confront each other in an epic struggle that will determine the fate of a millennial tradition of magic.
And here is a link to my review of Eolyn
And here are the people behind the new audio version:
About the Narrator:
With experience of 34+ years as a Speech-Language Pathologist, more than 20 years as a stage & film actor and over 20 years as a trained singer with knowledge and insight into the mechanics of the voice and speech, Darla Middlebrook brings a wealth of experience to bear to develop character voices (male, female, mature, extremely elderly, creepy, bright exotic, etc) with an impressive emotional range.
Currently, Darla is one of many voice actors who narrates podcasts for AIRS-LA (an audio internet service for individuals with visual challenges) in addition to narrating audio books. She is able to produce retail quality audio books from her home studio in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan – Canada.
Narrator Web Links:Website: http://www.darlasvoice.net/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/damiddlebrook Twitter: @GypsyCatVoice
About the Author:
KARIN RITA GASTREICH lives in Kansas City and Costa Rica. An ecologist by trade, her past times include camping, hiking, music, and flamenco dance. Karin’s first fantasy novel, EOLYN, was released by Hadley Rille Books in 2011. The companion novel, HIGH MAGA, is also available from Hadley Rille Books. Karin’s short stories have appeared in Zahir, Adventures for the Average Woman, 69 Flavors of Paranoia, and A Visitor to Sandahl. She is a recipient of the Spring 2011 Andrews Forest Writer’s Residency. Follow Karin’s adventures into fantastic worlds, both real and imagined, at http://eolynchronicles.blogspot.com and at http://heroinesoffantasy.blogspot.com.