Monday, March 26, 2018

Guest Post with Tessa Gratton

Photo Content from Tessa Gratton

Tessa Gratton is the Associate Director of Madcap Retreats and the author of the Blood Journals Series and Gods of New Asgard Series, co-author of YA writing books The Curiosities and The Anatomy of Curiosity, as well as dozens of short stories available in anthologies and on Though she’s lived all over the world, she’s finally returned to her prairie roots in Kansas with her wife. Her current projects include Tremontaineat Serial Box Publishing, YA Fantasy Strange Grace coming in 2018, and her adult fantasy debut, The Queens of Innis Lear, from Tor March 27, 2018. Visit her at

Hardcover: 576 pages
Publisher: Tor Books (March 27, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0765392461
ISBN-13: 978-0765392466


“I adore this—rich, epic, blood-soaked—a glorious and grand sweeping fantasy.” —Kate
, author of The Poisoned Blade

“A gloriously symphonic, thematically rich variation on the story of the daughters of Lear. The danger of seeking certainty makes this a tale for our time; the power of truth and mercy makes it a tale for all times. Prepare to devour every word, for Innis Lear will consume you.” —Karen Lord, author of Redemption in Indigo

"Messy, beautiful, and dark, darker than Shakespeare could have dreamed." —E. K. Johnston, author of Star Wars: Ahsoka

I often say that the three books that influenced my youth the most are: Beauty by Robin McKinley, The Witching Hour by Anne Rice, and Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton. I read them all around the same time, between ages 8-11. Beauty I discovered on my own, wandering the stacks at our local bookstore; The Witching Hour was recommended by my fifth grade teacher (don’t worry, she only did so after seeing me reading Clan of the Cave Bear in class); Jurassic Park was what my mom was reading and raving about to all her friends.

They’re three very different books. An elegant fairy tale, a luscious historical horror novel, and a science-based thriller, but I adored each of them, and have reread them all regularly throughout my life. (I find that Jurassic Park holds up the least, but that’s only because of the science and technical aspects—as a narrative it’s just as exciting as it ever was.)

I loved Beauty so much I made my own audio-book, recording myself reading it on several cassette tapes. McKinley’s prose and delicate, slow-burn characterizations captured me, as well as the atmosphere of magic that infiltrated every aspect of the novel. This book lives and breathes magic—and it’s a gentle, glittering magic with danger in the shadows, rarely overt. While the magic in The Queens of Innis Lear is not glittering, and the danger is always overt—woven into the fabric of the magic—I know my desire to infect the prose itself with a haunting, present magic traces all the way back to Beauty, as well as McKinley’s other work.

Jurassic Park was the first book that kept me up all night long. The first seventy-five pages or so were a lesson in tension, as pieces of a weird puzzle came together from a variety of angles, but once I hit the second quarter, I found it impossible to stop reading. I stayed in the bath for hours, re-heating my water, and then curled up in my bed to read until dawn—despite it meaning I was too sleepy to pay attention in class all day. I had to finish! I had to know what would happen to my favorite characters (and the poor dinosaurs!). While Queens is not a thriller, nor fast-paced, I hope I managed to weave the disparate pieces together in a way that creates a gathering tension for readers: you must keep reading because the climax is approaching and the nearer it gets, the sharper and harder the tension becomes.

My favorite thing about The Witching Hour, even as a child, was the moral ambiguity. The villain is a spirit named Lasher who haunts the daughters of the Mayfair family over the course of several hundred years. He—it—is not human, and he’s presented as a devil. He brings power to his witches, but at a price. Some of the witches manage to maintain some goodness, but others give into Lasher’s danger and ambition. There is a lot of moral ambiguity in The Queens of Innis Lear, and it was one of the points of writing the book—to explore the shades of gray in relationships women in particular have with patriarchy, and with their own oppression. Some of the characters in my book are good—or strive to be—while others embrace their darker sides, or dive into ambition eagerly because they believe it’s the right choice. There are spirits in the woods of Innis Lear, just as Lasher haunted New Orleans, and the spirits create and reinforce not only the magic, but the fates of everyone in my book just as Lasher manipulated and loved the Mayfair witches. I hope I managed to capture some of the same creeping temptation.

Strands of wormwork and the thin light of daytime stars sparkled as they reached for each other, but fell short and dropped instead to the ground. Little imaginary flowers, born of bruised hearts and silly hopes, blossomed for just a few brief moments, lifted in pairs like the wings of tiny moths, then sank home to the earth and died.

Regan remembered all their kisses, for they were as close to stars as she could get. a burst of light against a dark floral tapestry; bonfires kindled in a low feather bed; flickering quick as night-bugs, here and gone, there and gone, anywhere darkness lived; consuming and constant as a heart fire.

This star-shadow man had on boots and a soldier's trousers., a linen shirt molded by water to his shoulders and back like a think second skin. No coat or hood, no sword even. Hi black, choppy hair stuck out in thick twists and tattered braids, all of it heavy with rain. An earth saint, regurgitated b the storm.

He did not know if the pain growing inside him was love or longing or something far worse. She was glorious. Bold and beautiful like her sisters, but stumbling in her passion, because it was new. He thought he was witnessing the birth of s star.

"Do we know why?" Regan whispered. "Some moments lately, I don't remember."
"For love," he said. And there was his lie.
For love, the witch whispered back, in the language of tress.

The storm slowed to a chum. It stretched its cloudy wings.Innis Lear sighed: cleansed, restored, and more than prepared for what came next.

"This will not happen," Gaela said. Her voice shook, from fury and a swelling panic. "I am changing the way this process works, changing ritual and the relationship between the crown and the land. I will not poison myself to suit dead ways of dead kings. I will be my own sacrament."

Elia nodded but closed her eyes in dismissal. She wanted to be alone with the night. Brona's steps creaked gently on the old wood, and the sound of the trapdoor closing settled the shadows in Elia's heart. She breathed, listened to the angry night, and said to the wind, Thank you Eat the flower, drink the rootwater, the wind snarled back.

Mars felt the breath of her words slide along his chin, and he finally kissed her.He kissed her slowly and desperately, as if her lips were his destiny, shaping him with every glancing touch or press or bite. An inexorable progression from who he'd been before, to who he would be now.

A star blinked in and out, revealed and covered and revealed again, hanging there bright as a pearl. Elia did not want to care, did not want to think on it, but she knew and felt she had always known: it was the silver face of Saint Terestria, the Star of Secrets, giving her homecoming benediction.Elia would not leave Innis Lear again.

A kingdom at risk, a crown divided, a family drenched in blood.

The erratic decisions of a prophecy-obsessed king have drained Innis Lear of its wild magic, leaving behind a trail of barren crops and despondent subjects. Enemy nations circle the once-bountiful isle, sensing its growing vulnerability, hungry to control the ideal port for all trade routes.

The king's three daughters—battle-hungry Gaela, master manipulator Reagan, and restrained, starblessed Elia—know the realm's only chance of resurrection is to crown a new sovereign, proving a strong hand can resurrect magic and defend itself. But their father will not choose an heir until the longest night of the year, when prophecies align and a poison ritual can be enacted.

Refusing to leave their future in the hands of blind faith, the daughters of Innis Lear prepare for war—but regardless of who wins the crown, the shores of Innis will weep the blood of a house divided.

THE QUEENS OF INNIS LEAR Audio Excerpt. Listen Now

You can purchase The Queens of Innis Lear at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you TESSA AND TOR for making this giveaway possible.
5 Winners will receive a Copy of THE QUEENS OF INNIS LEAR by Tessa Gratton.
MARCH 26th MONDAY Book Lady's Reviews REVIEW
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MARCH 28th WEDNESDAY Sabrina's Paranormal Palace SPOTLIGHT
MARCH 28th WEDNESDAY Literary Meanderings EXCERPT 
MARCH 29th THURSDAY Reading for the Star and Moon REVIEW
MARCH 30th FRIDAY LilbooKlovers REVIEW 
MARCH 30th FRIDAY Adventures Thru Wonderland EXCERPT

APRIL 2nd MONDAY Lisa Loves Literature REVIEW
APRIL 2nd MONDAY FantasyRaiders REVIEW
APRIL 3rd TUESDAY Mary Had a Little Book Blog REVIEW 
APRIL 3rd TUESDAY Omg Books and More Books SPOTLIGHT
APRIL 4th WEDNESDAY Sara is Reading and Listening to What REVIEW
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  1. I went to the movies with my friend, and it tuned out good and then we went to Red Robin.

  2. All I did today was clean house. Now, time to read a good book.