An Interview with Kathryn Sommerlot

                                  32704637  38374912

So I may have needed a little more insight into what inspired Kathryn Sommerlot for The Life Siphon Duology. Okay, more like I’m just super nosy and like to see what happens in other authors minds.

 

How did you come to decide on the names you used? It’s obvious that they have meaning, at least one character in particular.  

The names are divided by location, since all the varying kingdoms have their own linguistic commonalities. Runon in particular uses the Japanese phonemes as its base, so all the names use those sounds. Both Yudai and Tatsu are Japanese names. For Chayd, there’s a lot of l’s used, and some sounds that don’t show up in the Runonian language, like the ‘sh’ and ‘sch’ sounds. So you get names like Alesh, Ral, Drel, and Hesch. But I tried to keep them fairly short, because it can be difficult for readers faced with long unknown names, and the shorter ones are usually easier to sound out.

The scenery throughout is extremely rich? Do certain real life elements appear in these settings? 

With the scenery, I tried to use combinations of real life climate zones – like Chayd’s subtropical zone, Runon’s moderate mountain climate, and Joesar’s tropical deserts – and more magical settings I could see in my head, because I wanted them to be a realistic fantasy. The Weeping Forest was based originally off Weeping Willow trees you can see in my home state!

Do you have any upcoming projects we can be on the look out for? 

There is a sequel novel coming for The Life Siphon series that is set in the world with many of the same characters, and I’m hoping that I’ll be able to finish that within the year. I’ve also just finished a first draft of an alternative historical fantasy that I’m planning to shop around to agents.

Is there any fun, behind the scene stories you want to share with us from while you were writing this?

It was my beta’s idea to have the trees in Runon laugh and giggle, set up to be the opposite effect the siphon had on areas like the Weeping Forest. Her hand is very visible in the story, and it wouldn’t have been nearly as good without her influence. The importance of having a beta who loves your work as much as you do can’t be overstated.
Want to read more by Kathryn Sommerlot?
She’s got more to read and they are officially on my TBR List. 
Both are available on Amazon and other major retailers.
Ibuki   Roanoke

The Mage Heir by Kathryn Sommerlot

38374912

Four out of Five Stars

The Summary: Traitor: that’s what Tatsu is now. On the run from both Runon and Chayd, Tatsu and Yudai’s only hope for survival is to disappear into the wilds. However, when the siphon’s deadly curse returns, they have no choice but to travel into the desert kingdom of Joesar in search of a cure.

Battling the unforgiving elements of the sands, Tatsu starts to realize that the path towards destroying the siphon may claim Yudai’s life. Time is running out as Nota’s fury—and the siphon’s hunger—begin to spiral wildly beyond their control.

As their options slowly fall away, the only thing Tatsu and Yudai can count on is each other.

The Review

First let me tell you how excited I was to have both books in my possession when I finished The Life Siphon. I immediately grabbed for The Mage Heir and started reading. There was no way I was going to take a break. I needed to know what was going to happen with Yudai and Tatsu as they separated from Alesh and Ral.

The pair are running from Nota but also looking for a way to help Yudai and the way his magic acts as a siphon, stealing the energy and life of the environment around him.  My absolute favorite part of book two was getting to learn more about Yudai as he regained his strength. Yudai was smart, stubborn, a little frustrating at times, but you could honestly see how much he cared for Tatsu.

Their journey into the desert of Joesar is quiet intense. There were times I felt my mouth go dry from the heat and dryness of the sand. It was dangerous and just when you think they catch a break, they don’t. Poor Tatsu, he had thought they had reached safety and instead ended up suffering from the sting of a scorpion. This is where Yudai and Tatsu’s roles are reversed and Yudai has to help take care of Tatsu.

They took care of and pushed each other on wards during their journey. It wasn’t just one man being the savior. They were both saviors and if you didn’t have one of them, I don’t think you would have gotten the result we did at the end of the book.

My heart raced during certain scenes. My chest ached in others because I was worried about what was going to happen. I became invested in seeing this through. I needed them to come out on top. The settings were just as intense and important as they were in The Life Siphon. I would have been disappointed if they weren’t. I’m glad I wasn’t.

Yudai and Tatsu … Alesh and Ral … You can’t really have one with out the other, can you?

Ral was a wonderful surprise. Like I mentioned in my previous review, I knew there was something special about her. She always had the ability to make it through perilous situations, understand what was happening around her and she’d know what was coming. There was a reason for that and to see her character as not just a sister with a disability, but someone just like you and I, that made me particularly happy. She wasn’t disabled. She saw and experienced the world differently than those around her.

Tatsu chose to do what he could for the betterment of the world around him, even though he risked his own life to do so. To be faced with a decision of that magnitude, not once but twice, and he still chose the same, it made me proud to consider him one of my favorites.

Now for the romance, oh boy. Those kisses. There weren’t sex scenes but it wasn’t needed and wouldn’t have worked in this book. But those kisses. Yudai and Tatsu were gorgeous together and in a world of fairy tales, I would say they were made for each other. They just had to find each other.

If you’re a fan of fantasy novels, grab this duology. It is well worth it. I was able to lose myself in this world and when I was done reading the books, I was satisfied. You know how it is, where you just curl up in bed and let out a pleased sigh while you think about what could happen next for Yudai and Tatsu.

 

Buy it here!

The Life Siphon – Kathryn Sommerlot

32704637

Four out of Five Stars

The Summary: The kingdom of Runon has created the impossible: a magical energy source that siphons life from the nearby lands and feeds it back into Runon itself. On the edge of the forest lives a quiet ranger named Tatsu who is watching the drain grow closer to his home country of Chayd.

Arrested for crimes against the crown, Tatsu is taken to the capital’s prison, where the queen offers him a deal. If he sneaks into Runon and steals the magical source that powers the drain, she will return his freedom. Caught in the unimaginable aftermath, Tatsu knows that the only hope is to stop the siphon before it swallows the world.

More and more he finds himself at the mercy of the destruction the siphon leaves behind – and everything he has ever known will fall apart in the revelation of its horrifying truth.

The Review

Tatsu has been spent his life in the forest and on the outskirts of Chayd. As an outsider, it’s where he has become most comfortable. It all starts when his childhood friend Alesh winds up on his doorstep, bloodied and exhausted from an illegal venture to earn money. It doesn’t take long before the crown finds her at Tatsu’s house and they both end up imprisoned. The queen offers them a deal in order to retain their freedom: steal the siphon that’s killing the environment and bring it back to Chayd.

They never expected the siphon to turn out to be what it was.

As you track their journey to Runon to acquire the siphon then getting back to the queen, you learn more and more about the kingdoms, characters and the magic of the realm.

One of the things I enjoyed was the fact that I could see their progress in my mind like a movie as I read. The settings and character reactions are extremely vivid from page one. I would love to be able to visit a place as rich as Chayd and Runon are. And the settings were just there in the background. Each setting was a character as well. What I will never forget is how menacing and horrifying the dead forest to be. It still gives me the creeps.

The pacing of this book was a little slow in parts but I found that it didn’t bother me. In fact I was thankful for all the little details I picked up when the rush of an ending hit. Do your self a favor and have The Mage Heir ready. Because that ending, WOW! I stayed up late to finish reading and when I was? It took a bit to calm down enough to fall asleep.

Tatsu was a character that I could really relate to. He is an outsider and isn’t exactly what the rest of his community of Chayd was. He was different and there was so much more to him then what you could see upon first glance. I think that was probably true for all of the characters but I understood Tatsu in a why I didn’t expect to.

Alesh and Ral, a sibling relationship that goes to show you how far you would go to take care of your family. Alesh, she was stubborn to the core but when it came to Ral, she’d do whatever in order to make sure her sister was happy and safe. Ral was enchanting. I knew from the moment we were introduced to her, there was something special about her. I couldn’t wait to figure out who she truly would end up being.

Now, for those of you looking for the M/M romance. It doesn’t appear in The Life Siphon buuuuut there’s book two, The Mage Heir. All that tension has to lead to something, right? If you like fantasy, a journey with a heavy task guiding it, then grab this book. There’s something about the writing that drew me in and made me want to be next to Tatsu, Alesh and Ral.

 

Go buy it here!