Author’s name: Katy Huth Jones
Title of book and/or series: Mercy's Prince
Brief summary of the story: As second son of the King of Levathia, seventeen-year-old Valerian desires the quiet life of a scholarly monk. But when he fails to save his older brother in battle, Valerian must instead become crown prince. While a traitorous knight schemes against him, Valerian meets Mercy, a pacifist Healer with whom he can speak mind-to-mind like the great dragons. Their bond emboldens Valerian to seek out the legendary dragons and ask for their help against the monsters who killed his brother. Can Valerian survive the traitor's assassins long enough to find the dragons? And if he does, can he convince them to lay aside their hatred of humans and help him save the land from destruction?
Brief description of the world or location you created for this story:
Levathia was discovered 300
years ago by Valerian's ancestor, who led several ships of people to a "new world" when they had to escape persecution in their homeland. It's a peninsula with a jagged mountain range called the Dragon's Backbone dividing the land in two. The north has rocky hills, evergreens, and lonely moors, while forest blankets much of the south. The land was called Levathia after the discovery of the many large dragon species.
If we were to visit Levathia as tourists, what would you recommend that we see or do there? Definitely visit The Keep, the largest castle and seat of government in the north not far from the Dragon's Backbone mountain range. Castle Westmoor is the most beautiful castle, situated on the western coast, and nearby are many lovely beaches.
What dangers should we avoid in Levathia? Unless you can speak mind-to-mind, you'll want to avoid the sea dragons and be very careful around the great flying dragons. The most dangerous creatures are the river dragons, because they can't be reasoned with.
Is there a distinct or unusual type of food or meal that we might be served in Levathia? If you were to visit the pacifists in The Village of Peace, you would be served vegetarian meals, all rather bland. Mercy makes a great savory potato pie, though. In other places about Levathia one can eat mutton, venison, wild pig, and some fowl supplemented by root vegetables and various types of squash and cabbage. Except for berries, fruit is a rare delicacy. The bread grains are coarse but flavorful. If you visit The Keep, you will most likely get to taste one of the head cook's amazing confections, which are works of art with amazing detail.
What types of weaponry or fighting styles are common in Levathia? Because the original settlers encountered dragons of various sizes, some extremely large and dangerous, swords were abandoned in favor of spears and bows, in order to more effectively defend against the dragons. Now that Prince Valerian has found the 300-year-old sword of his ancestor, the lost arts of crafting swords and fighting with them will be revived.
What types of vehicles, animals, technology, etc. are used to travel in or to Levathia? The society of Levathia most closely resembles Earth's twelfth century, so most people walk, ride in horse-drawn carts, and those who can afford them ride horses. Master Murray, the armorer at The Keep, is trying his best to improve technology, but it's a slow process.
What types of plants, animals, or sentient races might we encounter in Levathia that we don’t see on Earth? The plants are similar with a few exceptions, such as shaggy beard trees, Dragon's bane (a beautiful but poisonous plant), and blue balmflower, which is used to control pain. The most obvious creatures that remind the traveler he/she is no longer on Earth are the many dragon species: the great flying, fire-breathing dragons who are fully sentient but can only communicate with a few gifted humans, the large sea dragons with a limited ability to communicate, the river dragons which can grow to the size of saltwater crocodiles, the scavenger dragons which resemble Komodo dragons, and the smaller ones: gliding tree dragons and crawling burrowing dragons. The reptilian Horde from the neighboring land of Mohorovia use weapons and primitive tools, but their species has a hive mentality and does not value the individual.
|Some authors go to drastic measures to avoid actually writing their manuscripts.
Here's the result of one of Katy's sewing projects: Prince Valerian, Mercy, and the dragon leader Albinonix.
What role, if any, does magic or the supernatural play in the lives of people in Levathia? If there is magic, please give some examples of what it involves or how it’s used. There is no magic, per se, but a very few individuals are supernaturally gifted by the Most High. Valerian is a Seer and has the ability to read people's thoughts and emotions when he makes direct eye contact. Mercy has the gift of Healing which not only enables her to see damage within and mend injuries but to touch plants and know which parts can aid in Healing. Unfortunately she has to be careful, because using the gift takes energy from her. Valerian and Mercy have the rare gift of being able to speak mind-to-mind with the great dragons, and also with one another, a hereto unknown gift.
Tell us about any sports, games, or activities that are available for entertainment in Levathia. Every spring the king holds court at The Keep and during that time hosts a tournament, featuring a joust, individual weapons competitions, Highland games, and races for the squires. Music and dancing are popular throughout the land. Valerian's squire, Kieran MacLachlan, is especially gifted at dancing.
Are the days of the week and months of the year the same in Levathia as on Earth? What holidays or special events are celebrated regularly there? Yes, there are 12 months and 7 days in a week. There is a big feast held in each of the four seasons, and the king's birthday (May 1) is a national holiday.
Is there a particular religion practiced in Levathia? Please describe what it involves. The religion of Levathia is similar to a simplified version of the medieval Catholic church. Since the people fled their homeland and have lost contact, the highest office in the church is a bishop. The pacifists are a sect that broke away from the traditional church because they refused to fight or cause any harm to man or beast.
What is the political or government structure in Levathia? Who is in charge there at the moment, and what kind of leader is he? Levathia is a feudal society, with the land divided into seven provinces. King Orland is supreme ruler, a wise and just man, though he doesn't understand the importance of studying history and law in making judgments, as Valerian strives to do.
Are there any other unique cultural practices that we should be aware of if we visit Levathia? Most people, men and women, wear their hair short, with the exception of the pacifists, who never cut their hair and wear it in a braid of three strands to represent the Triune God.
What, if any, “hot-button” or controversial topics do you touch on in your book? The only possibly controversial topic would be how war and violence affects those with peaceful hearts and backgrounds.
Author Autobiography: Katy Huth Jones grew up in a family where creative juices overflowed and made puddles to splash in. When not writing or sewing or drawing or taking photos, Katy plays piccolo and flute in a regional symphony. She lives with her husband Keith in the beautiful Texas Hill Country. Their two sons, whom she homeschooled, have flown the nest and live creative lives of their own.
Where, and in what formats, can we purchase your book(s)? Please include links. Right now Mercy's Prince is only available through Amazon in paperbackand Kindleformat. The Kindle version is free today (July 20th)!
Where can readers connect with you online?