[Manga Maniac Cafe] Good morning, Lara! Can you please describe yourself in 140 characters or less.
[Lara Morgan] mum, reader, writer, tea addict, toddler wrangler, scifi & fantasy tragic
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Awakening?
[Lara Morgan] In the lands of Saranthium, where flying serpents and their riders rule the skies, and the Clans of the Desert rule the sands, a two thousand year old peace has begun to shatter. Rogue serpents attack villages and rumours swirl of a banished god’s return.
Shaan works in the serpent yards of Salmut and has seen more than most, yet nothing can explain why her dreams have become haunted by blood and death. She believes she is ordinary, until she discovers she can speak with the oldest serpent in the yards. It’s a skill she should not have and brings her to the attention of sept leader,Balkis. Handsome, arrogant and seductive, Balkis is also a man with powerful and dangerous alliances and Shaan becomes the target of the city’s most feared armsmen: the Faithful.
Meanwhile in the deserts, a young man named Tallis defends his clan against rogue serpents driving them off with supernatural force. When he faces being outcast because of it, his mother reveals the truth of his birth and he is forced on a journey to understand the power locked within him.
Drawn together, Shaan and Tallis become ensnared in the resurrection of an ancient conflict, but on whose side that of the serpents or the people?
[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?
[Lara Morgan] It took a long time! As with most epic fantasy there was a lot of world building involved but the core of the story came from the kind of characters I’m interested in; people, or gods, who are flawed, who must face terrible choices and great odds to discover the truth about themselves, and the sacrifices people will make for the people they love. I wanted it to be a romantic epic. And I wanted to explore what would happen to a world if the gods people believed to be invisible mythic deities actually came back, in the flesh, to rule them.
Plus I think I read so much fantasy as a child that it was impossible for me not to write something on a mythic supernatural scale. I have to pay my dues to Papa Tolkien, who introduced me to those wonderful other worlds.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had a theme song, what would it be?
[Lara Morgan] Probably an odd little song called, I’ll Still Be A Geek After Nobody’s Thinks It’s Chic, written by a singer from Alaska named Marian Call. It’s from her album Got To Fly which she wrote as a tribute to the tv shows Firefly and Battlestar Galactica, the rebooted version. As a worshipper at the altar of Joss Whedon and lover of all things sci fi and nerdy, I think it sums me up pretty well. Though I don’t own any argyle socks or wear glasses – yet.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing you won’t leave home without.
[Lara Morgan] A notebook. Writer mad woman that I am I must have something to note things down on, even if it’s just that I need to buy more wet wipes.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?
[Lara Morgan] Tea, tea and tea. I also need my laptop but nothing gets done unless I’ve had my tea system topped up .
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?
[Lara Morgan] With a toddler I don’t have much time to read anymore, but I did love Margo Lanagan’s Tender Morsels. She is a beautiful, beautiful writer and her stories are filled with such lyricism and tragedy, she’s a true inspiration.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?
[Lara Morgan] Such a long time ago now! But as a child The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton was a special tale and it opened up a whole world of possibility. It makes me furious and sad now that SOME people think her books need to be altered to be more PC for this modern age.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?
[Lara Morgan] I love to travel the world, basking in the sun of foreign lands and drinking cups of tea at little cafes in ancient towns…..oh no wait that was a dream I had of what I did before I had a child. Now, I’m usually at the kitchen sink or weeding the garden or toddler wrangling. I do love to read when I can though and catch up on tv shows like Hart of Dixie or The Walking Dead – my tastes are eclectic to say the least.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!
About the book:
High fantasy and romance mix with adventure and magic in the first of Lara Morgan’s Twins of Saranthium series.
For two thousand years, the serpents of Salmut and their riders have kept the people of Saranthium safe — but the pact between human and serpent is failing. Rogue serpents are attacking villages, and rumours abound that the banished god of the serpents, Azoth, has returned to resurrect his empire of slavery.
Orphan, thief and survivor Shaan works in the serpent yards of Salmut and wakes from dreams of blood and death. The surprising discovery that she can speak with Nuathin, the oldest serpent of the yards, brings her to the attention of sept leader, Balkis. Handsome, arrogant and seductive, Balkis is also a man with powerful and dangerous alliances and Shaan becomes the target of the city’s most feared arms men: The Faithful.
Meanwhile in the deserts, a young man named Tallis defends his clan against rogue serpents, driving them off with supernatural force. When he faces becoming an outcast because of his power, the truth of his birth is revealed and he embarks on a journey to understand the strength locked within his mind.
Drawn together, Shaan and Tallis become ensnared in the resurrection of an ancient conflict, but on whose side will they stand — that of the serpents or the people?