Welcome to Realm Explorers! In this weekly series, we visit a variety of unique worlds created by talented science fiction and fantasy authors. Enjoy your travels! And don’t forget to read to the bottom of the post to find out more about each author and see how to purchase the featured book.
Katy Huth Jones
Title of book and/or series:
Leandra’s Enchanted Flute
Brief summary of the story:
Fourteen-year-old Leandra is brought to a magical land by a talking Carolina wren named Songcatcher. He believes she can save them from a canker destroying the land, since she beat cancer and her flute has been transformed by the magic of Finian Jahndra.
Brief description of the world or location you created for this story:
Finian Jahndra is the magical heart of a distant world, bordered on three sides by ocean. The only land border is formed by mountains and a wide, swift river. Most of the inhabitants are sentient birds. For millennia they have remained isolated from humans except for a trusted few who help protect the realm from invasion.
If we were to visit Finian Jahndra as tourists, what would you recommend that we see or do there?
Definitely begin in the Enchanted Forest, where you’ll find trees with bell-like leaves, flowers that smell like chocolate, and rainbow-colored birds who will sing along with you in a delightful chorus. Next visit the humans’ lovely castle made of stone, and if you have time, travel north to the eagles’ Aerie in the mountains. You may want to avoid the plains in the west; the ostriches are not very hospitable.
What dangers should we avoid in Finian Jahndra?
Since only the great eagles are larger than their Earth counterparts, if you see anything else larger than usual, such as vultures, cockroaches, worms, etc., then RUN!
Is there a distinct or unusual type of food or meal that we might be served in Finian Jahndra?
If you’re not partial to insects (live or cooked), there are starberries and graflax cakes available, which taste like honey granola.
What types of weaponry or fighting styles are common in Finian Jahndra?
The humans use bows and arrows, slings, and catapults as defensive weapons. The birds use beaks and talons to great advantage, especially when flying in formation or running, in the case of ostriches.
What types of vehicles, animals, technology, etc. are used to travel in or to Finian Jahndra?
The only way to travel to Finian Jahndra from Earth is via a song discovered by Songcatcher the Carolina wren. Within Finian Jahndra one must walk, fly, or ride an obliging ostrich.
What types of plants, animals, or sentient races might we encounter in Finian Jahndra that we don’t see on Earth?
The trees are sentient, even though their language is felt, not heard, so don’t even think about cutting firewood. The birds are also sentient, with some being more verbose than others. All species are similar to those on Earth with the exception of the great eagles.
What role, if any, does magic or the supernatural play in the lives of people in Finian Jahndra? If there is magic, please give some examples of what it involves or how it’s used.
The magic of Finian Jahndra emanates from the life force of the trees and birds, radiating out from the Enchanted Forest. As long as the balance of nature remains, so does the magic, extending long life to the birds. Allseer, for example, is over 2,000 years old. Since the humans are not indigenous to Finian Jahndra, their health is merely improved so most of them live a full 70 or 80 years, barring accidents.
Tell us about any sports, games, or activities that are available for entertainment in Finian Jahndra.
For most of the birds, music is the most important activity (after eating), and because of this the humans all learn to sing and/or play a musical instrument.
Are the days of the week and months of the year the same in Finian Jahndra as on Earth? What holidays or special events are celebrated regularly there?
The days are close to 24 hours, and a year is similar to ours, but the birds don’t reckon time as we do; because they live so long, only the four seasons of each year matter to them. The humans do celebrate birthdays as well as the anniversary of the king’s reign.
What is the political or government structure in Finian Jahndra? Who is in charge there at the moment, and what kind of leader is he?
There is always a bird who is Lord of the Enchanted Forest; in Leandra’s Enchanted Flute it is Allseer the wise owl. The humans have a king who consults with him. Currently on the throne is King Willow Bunting, but he is absent for most of LEF.
Are there any other unique cultural practices that we should be aware of if we visit Finian Jahndra?
Never forget that the birds of Finian Jahndra feel themselves equal to or a little better than us humans, so we should never treat them like “wild animals.” After all, they were here first.
Has anything in your actual life inspired the locations, cultures, etc. in your book?
My three years living in Hawaii inspired the Enchanted Forest to be a colorful paradise.
What, if any, “hot-button” or controversial topics do you touch on in your book?
Not sure if it’s “controversial” but some might be uncomfortable with a main character who has incurable cancer.
When not writing, Katy Huth Jones plays flute and piccolo with a regional symphony. She’s been a published author since 1992, mostly for children, and her favorite genres to write and read are fantasy and historical fiction. She and her husband Keith live in the beautiful Texas Hill Country, and their two sons, whom she homeschooled, have flown the nest. Like Leandra, Katy is a cancer survivor.
I hope you all enjoyed the trip to Finian Jahndra. Questions about the world or the series? Ask them in the comments and the author will get back to you!
Click here to read other posts in the Realm Explorers series.
Please join us again next Monday for a trip to the planet Caren in Realm Explorers Part III!