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.
Title of book and/or series:
The Witching Hour Series
Brief summary of the story:
The lights are going out.Part One: As shadows encroach on the city of Lite, one cat stands between humanity and the hounds of darkness. Romeo takes it upon himself to find a suitor for his human Isabel in order to save the city and sets his sights on the unlikeliest of candidates. Will Romeo find that perfect match for his human before it’s too late? Can true love really save the day?
Part Two: When Isabel disappears in the middle of the night, the city of Lite is once again plunged to the brink of disaster. This magical cat finds himself trekking through the dangerous wildlands to rescue the young queen with a clownish wizard, a sassy she-cat, a pretty healer, and a mysterious soldier. However, their only hope may be the very thing Romeo fears most. Can Romeo and his friends save the day before the shadows consume them?The Witching Hour is a frolicking fantasy adventure with fairy tale themes and clean romance. Perfect for fans of Diana Wynne Jones and Lloyd Alexander.
Brief description of the world or location you created for this story:
The Witching Hour takes place in a world that strongly contrast light and dark. Darkness has taken over most of the world, so that even in the middle of the day, the wild lands are covered in shadows. The city of Lite is one of the few safe havens left in Romeo’s world. (Romeo is a magical cat, if you’d like to know). Lite is known especially for its glass rooftops and glittering lights. The city is protected behind a towering wall that is kept secure by a magical connection to the king and queen.
If we were to visit Lite as tourists, what would you recommend that we see or do there?
You definitely need to go see the royal palace. It’s a breathtaking structure of vaulted rooms and glass rooftops. Romeo would also suggest you visit the kitchens. Cook is stingy and won’t give you treats, but the maids will slip you a snack when Cook’s back is turned. He also says the mice are quite tasty in Lite and ought to be sampled. (I don’t recommend that, however).
What dangers should we avoid in Lite?
Don’t leave the city. Ever. There are shadows and hounds and other beastly things beyond the city walls that will drag you away, where you’ll never be found.
What types of weaponry or fighting styles are common in Lite?
The weapons in Lite are of the usual sort in a fairy tale setting—swords and knives and the like—However, magic is the greatest weapon at your disposal. There are wizards and magical cats to keep the city safe from the hounds of darkness lurking outside in the shadows.
What types of vehicles, animals, technology, etc. are used to travel in or to Lite?
Due to the dangerous conditions outside the city, travel rarely occurs in Lite. If you simply must venture outside the city, you will have to travel by horse or on foot, I’m afraid. I don’t recommend it.
What types of plants, animals, or sentient races might we encounter in Lite that we don’t see on Earth?
There are several species you will encounter in Lite. Magical cats are the most important ones (so they say), but you will also find sentient hounds in the wild lands, and other creatures like golems and a positively horrid monster known as the darkening king. He’s rather an unpleasant combination of tree and shadow and pure evil. The shadows are also alive. They have the power to influence your emotions and thoughts, luring you away from what you ought to be doing and into dark places you shouldn’t go.
What role, if any, does magic or the supernatural play in the lives of people in Lite? If there is magic, please give some examples of what it involves or how it’s used.
As I’ve already mentioned, magic is very important in Lite, as vital as air and water to the people and creatures who live there. Without it, they’d be overrun by the shadows and lost to the darkness. The magic system isn’t spell based and doesn’t require the use of wands or anything of that nature. It’s more instinctual—a gift that some people and creature are born with. There is also a very special connection between the royal couple and the city. If something happens to the king and queen, the lights begin to go out and unpleasant things happen. Light is the primary source of magic and keeps everyone safe.
Are the days of the week and months of the year the same in Lite as on Earth? What holidays or special events are celebrated regularly there?
The days and months are pretty much the same, as are many of the major holidays. However, there is one special event that happens in Lite that doesn’t happen anywhere else in the real world (or other fictional ones, that I know of). There is this special Alignment, and a new king and queen can ONLY be chosen on the day of the Alignment, also known as the Witching Hour. They even wrote a song about it. When the moons merge, the magic activates, and the light chooses the people who are destined to rule and keep the city safe.
Black is the Glass at midnight,
Strong the shadow’s power,
Blacker the soul that falters
When strikes the Witching Hour.
This stanza of the “Witching Song” refers to the moment of choosing—if the man or woman the light chooses to become the next king or queen falters or runs away from their calling, the city would fall prey to the darkness. It’s a very serious matter.
What is the political or government structure in Lite? Who is in charge there at the moment, and what kind of leader is he/she?
When the story begins, an elderly woman named Sylvia is struggling to rule the city on her own. The magical strain of keeping the lights on by herself is causing her to buckle, though. She’s a very determined and gentle soul. Young Isabel was chosen years ago to replace her, but a king needs to be found first before the young couple can relieve Sylvia of her duties. That’s where Romeo comes in. He takes it upon himself to find a suitor for Isabel, but the bloke he chooses isn’t the most likely candidate.
Are there any other unique cultural practices that we should be aware of if we visit Lite?
I suggest you be careful what you say around the animals. You never know which ones are magical and which are just normal cats and dogs. If you accidentally insult the magical variety, you’re likely to find mice on your pillow for the rest of your life or get beaned on the head by small flying objects.
Has anything in your actual life inspired the locations, cultures, etc. in your book?
The animals in my story were inspired by own dogs and kitties. The mannerisms, likes and dislikes, and general temperaments of Romeo, Pursy, and Ash are blatant reflections of my own dear fur babies. You’ll also find some subtle Cinderella influences in Part One of the story: the glass rooftops, the magical cat in place of a fairy godmother, a gender-swapped chimney sweep and princess, the grand ball where a prince is to be chosen, and things of that nature. Also, the whole concept of the Alignment, of the king and queen being chosen, light versus darkness, good versus evil, is heavily influenced by my Christian upbringing. I had planned for the original tale to be more heavily allegorical in nature, but the story and characters wanted to take a lighter, more fairy tale spin. So I slipped in some Christian themes where they fit naturally and let the story run its course. Besides, who am I to argue with magical cats?
Savannah Jezowski lives in Amish country with her Knight in Shining Armor and a wee warrior princess. She is the founder of Dragonpen Designs and Dragonpen Press, which offers author services such as cover design, developmental edits, and interior formatting. Her debut novella “Wither” is featured in Five Enchanted Roses, an anthology of Beauty and the Beast, and is a prequel to The Neverway Chronicles, a Christian fantasy series filled with tragic heroes and the living dead. She is also the author of When Ravens Fall, a Norse Beauty and the Beast retelling. She is featured in several Fellowship of Fantasy anthologies, including Mythical Doorways, Tales of Ever After, and Paws, Claws, and Magic Tales. When she isn’t writing, Savannah likes to read books, watch BBC miniseries, and play with cover design. She also enjoys having tea with her imaginary friends.
Where, and in what formats, can we purchase your book(s)? Please include links.
Where can readers connect with you online?
You can enter to win a FREE paperback of THE COMPLETE STORY, Parts One AND Two in one cute paperback. To enter, simply enter the rafflecopter giveaway. Winner will be chosen March 30th. This giveaway is US ONLY. Enter the Giveaway!
Be sure to check out all the stops in The Witching Hour Blog Tour. There will be fun character interviews, guest posts, book reviews and more!
I hope you all enjoyed the trip to Lite. Questions about the world or the book? Ask them in the comments and the author will get back to you!
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-Annie Douglass Lima