Living in the quaint farming village of Brittendell offered a simple life of home and family. When Aislynn, the daughter of a local farmer, and Rorin, the son of a wealthy horse trader, married, another charming love story enlivened the tranquil town. Aislynn and Rorin were profoundly connected, but their relationship came to a screeching halt when Rorin was killed in a tragic accident. Their bond sends Aislynn into a spiraling depression as she continues sensing Rorin’s presence. Soon, Aislynn finds herself thrust into a dangerous world of magic filled with hobgoblins, elves, and wizards. When Aislynn is captured by the future king of Venallis and forced to help him uncover a mysterious magical artifact she discovers that fate has far greater plans for her than she ever imagined. Perhaps death is not always the end.
What does fate have in store for Aislynn? What does this mysterious magical artefact hold in store? Meet Aislynn on her adventure, as I chat with Christen Stovall, the mind behind ‘Soulbound’. Christen, I want to hear all about the journey of ‘Soulbound’ today, where does it start?
It’s actually a sad story. When I was 28 my husband ended his life after a long battle with chronic pain and depression. In a year and a half I went from a newlywed to a widow. I’ve always loved writing, and as I worked through the devastation of my husband’s death I turned to the sanctuary of imaginary worlds. Soulbound, and the entire Song of Souls trilogy is ultimately a love letter. It’s a farewell, and my attempt to give my time with my husband a legacy beyond simple memory.
I’m very sorry to hear about the passing of your husband, but I’m glad to hear that you’ve found that writing a love letter has helped you build a beautiful legacy. Is this book drawn from your own experiences?
I absolutely did! Though the book is not a memoir, some of the details are things from my life. For example, Aislynn’s pet name for Rory is, Dearheart. I often used that term of endearment for my husband, Dustin.
The experience of loss, and moving forward is directly tied to my own experiences. Although, I’m sad to say, I’ve not manifested any magical abilities, lol.
*Laughs* That’s a shame, you really could have used the ability to fly or walk through walls. Perhaps you’ll get some magic if you keep sharing more of your work with us. Let’s see if we can get some magic flowing by sharing how the characters came to life.
It all started with a single scene between a young woman and the spirit of her dead lover. I built the characters and the world around that one scene.
Once you were started and had this scene established in your mind, what did you think about as you keep writing?
Oh, I mentally “cast” all of my characters when I write. It helps me focus on the details and world building. In a more profound way, I focus on my husband, and my hopes for the future.
Did focusing on this combination and contrast of your past and your future make writing exhausting, or were you energised?
It depends on the day and what I’m writing. It always leaves me feeling fulfilled.
I love it when writers are fulfilled from each and every writing session. What did learn from taking your experiences and turning into a legacy through words?
Discipline is, coffee is crucial, and your editor is there to tell you how to improve, so listen!
Do you have a pre-writing ritual to help get that discipline flowing?
It’s a little embarrassing, but I listen to the theme song from Neverending Story, over and over, like a complete dork.
*Laughs* I understand the power of a good theme song. I have to admit I have a few theme songs like that that get my power of concentration going too. How do you feel that your ability to harness your concentration to write has helped improve your voice as an author?
I’ve grown more confident, and more critical of myself. The answer to this question changes, depending on how harshly I’m judging myself. I would say that my voice as an author has matured and grown deeper with each book that I write. At least, that’s my hope.
Have you started to think about how to brand your work to tie both your author voice and books together?
I have. I publish under Boundless Fantasy. The word Boundless had significance to my husband and I wanted to incorporate that. I use the title on all of my social media. One day I’d like to expand it into providing a sort of author’s resource for other self-published authors. I think having a brand like that helps to focus your writing, and can make it easier for readers to follow you.
Indeed it does. So, what projects are your writing focus centred on at the moment?
I’m currently in the process of editing the third book in the Song of Souls trilogy, Boundless.
That’s wonderful! I’m glad to hear that you’re working on refining your love letter. We’ve spoken so much about love today, I’d like to do a little of what I love, asking some unexpected questions to showcase your creativity. Let’s get started with the question, if money doesn’t grow on trees then why do banks have branches?
That fits. Can you cry underwater?
I think it’s like the question about a tree falling in the woods with no one to hear it. That makes no sense, but I’m sticking with it.
No, it makes sense to me, and I think it’s a great answer. Can we get another great answer with the question, if space is a vacuum, who changes the bags?
Somebody is supposed to, but it always falls to nobody.
*Laughs* So true. Have you ever been on a literary pilgrimage?
I’m not entirely sure what constitutes a “literary pilgrimage.” I have certainly made points to immerse myself in trips and experiences in order to recharge creatively.
Why is a square meal served on round plates?
Because someone didn’t watch enough Sesame Street as a kid.
What is your favourite word?
If you invented a monster what would it look like and what would you call it?
Nice try, you’ll have to read my books to find that out.
Damn, I thought we might be able to get some sneaky spoilers out of you, but you’re just too quick! Okay, so we can’t focus on your monsters, how about ones that are already out there in the public eye? What do you think happens if Batman gets bitten by a vampire?
The vampire starts fighting crime.
I really like that idea, it would certainly get criminals some pause for thought. If you could breed two animals together to defy the laws of nature what new animal would you create?
Probably a peacock and a horse, because why not?
Does that mean the combination would something like an iridescent pony? Because I’m all for that! You should totally write about that, but before you do, can you share your favourite line from this book?
The problem is that is changes every time I go through the book. Cop out answer, I know, but true.
Fair enough, it can be hard to pick just one line. If you can’t tell us a favourite line. How about the most important message instead. Is there a clear message that you keep returning to?
That love can transcend death, and that no matter how terrible something is, you can come out of it a stronger person.
What a wonderful message. I hope we’re gotten you a little closer to become magical Christen, and I’d like to thank you for sharing your boundless love and writing journey with us today. I can’t wait to hear about the next chapter of your author adventure!
Excited to read the book we discussed today? Find it here on Amazon: ‘Soulbound ( ASIN: B014QQC1MI )‘.
Want to find out more about Christen Stovall? Connect here!