Today I'm excited to be part of the tour for To Dream and Die as a Tanishha Girl, by Benedit Patrick, part of the Yarnsworld Series which is fantasy inspired by real-life folklore. He stopped by for an amazing interview, where he discusses this series, his writing process, has some advice for aspiring and beginning writers, and tells more about his gorgeous covers!
To Dream and Die as a Taniwha Girl by Benedict Patrick
Published: November 2020
Age Group: Adult
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There is a price to pay for becoming a story.
Kaimana has defied the gods and won the freedom to spend the rest of her days travelling the collection of tropical islands she calls home.
But the people of the islands have taken notice of her.
They have started to tell her story; for many children, one of their favourite fireside tales is now that of the Taniwha Girl, the brave woman who befriends monsters.
Some islanders even pray to her.
The gods are displeased, but they are not the only ones paying attention to Kaimana’s rise to fame. On the borders of the island ring, an ancient demon - an old enemy of the Crescent Atoll - spreads its influence, and a spider-faced figure shadows Kaimana’s movements.
To secure her own safety, and that of her island home, Kaimana has to make a choice: turn her back on the people of the Crescent Atoll and continue enjoying the life she has won for herself, or give up all she holds dear to live up to the legend of the Taniwha Girl.
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• Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/53761066-to-dream-and-die-as-a-taniwha-girl
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Interview with Author Benedict Patrick
1. I’ll confess that only now I’m getting familiar with the Yarnsworld series. Can you explain a little what it is about and what kind of readers will enjoy it?
All the books set in the Yarnsworld are standalone fantasy tales inspired by real-world folklore. For darker stories inspired by Brothers Grimm-esque Black Forest tales, readers might enjoy the stories set in the Magpie King’s forest. Those Brave, Foolish Souls from the City of Swords features bands of colourfully masked, moral-free swordfighters. And Where the Waters Turn Black and To Dream and Die as a Taniwha Girl are both set on a ring of tropical islands inspired by real-world Polynesia.
Yarnsworld tales don’t focus on your typical heroes - these characters aren’t the strongest, they aren’t the most loved. But they might be the only ones willing to make the sacrifices needed to survive in a world haunted by stories.
2. Your series has gorgeous covers. Can you tell us a little about them?
I have been blessed with the best cover designer in the business. Jenny Zemanek’s work on Intisar Khanani’s Thorn was one of the reasons I started to take indie publishing seriously as an avenue to get my stories out into the world - seeing such a polished cover on an indie book for the first time instantly dispelled any preconceptions I had that all self published books were amateur affairs at best (it also helped that ‘Thorn’ was an amazing story - recently traditionally republished and available now at all good bookstores!).
After taking that small step, it only stood to reason I would reach out to Jenny to see if she would be available to work on my stories.
I’ve always said, my contribution to the covers is to give Jenny a good idea of what the story is about, and then to get out of her way and let her work her magic.
3. Are you a plotter or a pantser? Any tips on that?
I’m a firm plotter - I spend a crazy amount of time structuring my books before beginning to write them, and have recently started going over my plans with my editor prior to writing, to catch any issues (or possibilities) that I hadn’t accounted for. I find it helps me to be efficient with my writing time if I know exactly what is coming next. That doesn’t mean I’m a slave to the plan - those characters do like to do their own thing - but it is a guide I don’t think I could do without.
4. Could you give an advice for someone who’s starting to write?
Show your work to people. Don’t spend decades doing what I did - I kept it to myself, not wanting to show it to anyone else because I thought it wasn’t good enough.
I was right, by the way - it wasn’t good enough. Not by a long shot. But the feedback I got people (especially those I didn’t know) helped me to get good enough... well, good enough to start, anyway - there’s always more growing to do...
5. Who’s your favorite character in the novel and why?
I don’t think I can share my favourite character to write, as they are a character whose identity is discovered as the story unfolds. I’ve got a massive soft spot for Rakau, though - he’s a wooden cat-dog monster the size of a house, whose body is covered in decorative swirls and seaweed. Rakau can eat an entire canoe of warriors in a single bite... and he’s the Crescent Atoll’s best good boi.
Thanks again for taking the time to ask these questions, and I hope you enjoy the story!
Benedict Patrick is from a small town in Northern Ireland called Banbridge, but has been living and working in Scotland since he moved there at the age of eighteen. Tragically, that was quite a while ago.
He has been writing for most of his life, and has been reading for pretty much all of it (with help from mum and dad at the beginning). Benedict's life changed when a substitute primary school teacher read his class part of The Hobbit and later loaned him the book – he fell in love with the fantasy genre and never looked back.
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NOVEMBER 18TH – THE WELCOMING
Betwixt The Sheets
Beneath A Thousand Skies
Fantasy Book Critic
NOVEMBER 24TH – THE ENCORE