Blog Tour: The Priest (Chronicles of the Riftlands #2) by Rowan McAllister

Welcome author Rowan McAllister to the blog as they visit on The Priest (Chronicles of the Riftlands #2) blog tour! Learn more about the latest in the Dreamspinner Press fantasy series and learn more about the book through the author's visit and their love for the fantasy genre today!

Title: The Priest
Series: Chronicles of the Riftlands, Book Two
Author: Rowan McAllister
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: September 10,2019

Blurb: Brother Tasnerek, one of the infamous Thirty-Six stone bearers, is facing a dangerous crisis of faith after uncovering a secret that could shake the foundations of the Brotherhood of Harot. When Tas is sent to protect a tiny village on the edge of Rassa’s borders from Riftspawn, he struggles to resume his duties, risking his life and the lives of those around him.

Girik has always been an outsider, but to help his sick mother, he agrees to be the village’s offering in a painful ritual deemed necessary by the Brotherhood. But when the priest has a crisis of conscience, Girik offers his help to untangle a web of lies—even if it means getting closer than he ever imagined and committing sacrilege in the process.
With a monster lurking in the forest, a wandering mage mysteriously appearing, and more secrets awakening to unravel the truths of their world, Tas and Girik must make grave decisions. A life without danger seems a far-off hope, but love just might be theirs… if they survive.

Thanks to everyone for joining me on stop number two of my blog tour for the second book in my love letter to fantasy: The Priest!

As I may have mentioned when book one came out, fantasy novels were my first love. My mother read them every night, so I didn’t even have to go out and buy my own as a young tween/teenager. The house was full of them! And even though I may have strayed with romance from my early twenties on, like all first loves, I’ve never forgotten them.

Good news is, I can get both in one now, and I can write both in one too!

One of the things I like best about romance is that the readers aren’t ashamed of the tropes they love. Too often in fantasy circles, I see people talking down about the use of tropes in stories and sneering at them as if they weren’t the very thing that gives definition to the genre. But here in romance-land we celebrate our tropes, we love them for the comfy little slippers, dozen roses, or box of chocolates they are. When we find something we like, we want more and more and more of it, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Tropes are the framework we hang the details of a truly interesting story on and romance is all in the details.

This series is a nod and a thank you to all the things I love about both romance and fantasy rolled together, so I thought I’d share a few of the tropes/pop-culture and fantasy inspirations for book 2, The Priest.

In creating Kita, the world in which the series takes place, Rassa was the first of the three kingdoms that sprang to life in my imagination because it was inspired by one of my favorite series from my teens; The Valdemar books by Mercedes Lackey. Her country of Karse, with its heavy religious influence and its demon monsters in the dark, still strikes a chord with me decades after the first time I read the books. Now, obviously the concept is older than the Catholic Church in Medieval Europe, but something about the feeling of Karse and how it fit in her world stayed with me. It’s not the ultimate looming evil of Tolkein’s Mordor. It’s the all-too-human evil of fanaticism and the people who use it to their advantage.

Tas’s character sprang out of that world, as the crusader knight, the cleric-class hero who receives his power from divine intervention. He evolved from the question: what happens when a true-believer who is good and loyal loses faith in the very thing he fights for? What happens when Captain America has his Civil War or when America no longer lives up to the high standards and mythos he’s created around it? A crisis of faith and tortured hero resonate with us because we’ve all had a trust betrayed or become disenchanted with something at least once in our lives. Anyone who’s ever read “Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong” by James W. Loewen knows exactly what I’m talking about. What does a true-believer do when the object of his faith is proved false?

Girik, on the other hand, sprang from the classic trusty sidekick and loyal companion tropes. He’s the Watson to Tas’s Holmes, the Alfred to Tas’s Batman- insert slash fiction of your choice here. In my previous blog tour post, I mention Bette Midler’s “Wind Beneath My Wings” because that’s Girik. He’s the man who’s perfectly content to stand in the shadows and be overjoyed while the one he cares for basks in the light. He finds joy in others’ successes and others’ happiness. The strong silent type who catches the hero when he stumbles and puts the pieces back together again.

The Wanderer, book one in the series, has its fair share of loveable tropes too, from the old man in the woods/wizard/teacher character of Lyuc to the scrappy young man who comes from nothing, Yan. And I fully intend to continue bathing in the warm pool of the tropes I love as the chronicles continue, but you’ll have to wait for the next books to see which ones!

Author Bio:
Rowan McAllister is an unapologetically romantic jack of all trades and a sucker for good food, good cocktails, rich fibers, a great beat, and anything else that indulges the senses. In addition to a continuing love affair with words, she likes to play with textiles, metal, wood, stone, and whatever other interesting scraps of life she can get her hands on. She lives in the woods, on the very edge of suburbia—where civilization drops off and nature takes over—sharing her home with her patient, loving, and grounded husband, three furry rescues, and a whole lot of books, booze, and fabric. Her chosen family is a madcap collection of people as diverse as her interests, all of whom act as her muses in so many ways, and she would be lost without them. Whether her stories have a historical, fantasy, or contemporary setting, they always feature characters who still believe in true love, happy endings, and the oft-underappreciated value of sarcasm.

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