Stinger and Bow (The Sedumen Chronicles Book 4)
by Orren Merton
Publisher: Darkling Books
Publication Date: February 15, 2016
Genre: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Thirteen year-old Rachel Silver—or as she’s known to the world, Stinger—needs a new crossbow. Her last bow failed her when she needed it most. Besides, Firebird Alex, her aunt and fellow Seduman—half-human, half-spirit being—wields a Sedu blade, made with spirit magic.
So Stinger designs herself a magic crossbow, then convinces her best friends to accompany her around the world and into the universe of Sediin to find the right craftsmen to have it made. Trouble is, warriors attract people who want to challenge them, whether they’re ready or not. Stinger is still tormented by her last battle—she’s suffering night-terrors, shakes, and cold sweats. When the situation turns deadly, will she be able to come to grips with her trauma and become the warrior she needs to be to save her friends?
Q&A with the Author
1) Can you tell us a bit about your background?
Let’s see…I’ve been writing fantasy since I was about thirteen. I’ve been a musician since I was about eighteen. I’ve always managed to include both writing fantasy or science fiction, and playing and wiring music, no matter what I’ve done. And the things I’ve done have always involved writing and music, whether that’s been teaching English, writing for audio publications, or editing music technology books and videos.
2) Where and when did your writing journey begin?
I came by it honestly, my dad was a writer! But I think it was after I read J.R.R. Tolkien’s _Lord of the Rings_ at about thirteen that I decided I wanted to create worlds and the characters that live in them for myself.
3) Who are your favorite authors and how have they influenced your writing?
Most of my favorite authors are fantasy and science fiction writers like Tolkien, Neil Gaiman, Isaac Asimov, Vernor Vinge, Ray Bradbury, John Scalzi, Seanan McGuire, Kevin Hearne. I love how they create worlds, characters, and stories. I think the novels I read when younger influenced me in showing me what was possible. I’d like to think however I’ve always worked at finding my own voice—or should I say, the voice of my own characters.
4) What does a typical day in your life look like? And how does your writing routine fit into your day?
We have three dogs: an Irish wolfhound, and two giant schnauzers. They’re all pretty big dogs, the Irish wolfhound biggest of all. So a typical day consists of lots of dog care! Depending if they’re being demanding or not determines how fun it is. But it’s definitely a fun break, and gets me off my duff. I write every night, for at least an hour, after everyone’s asleep.
5)How did you come up with the idea for your novel?
I came up with the idea for _The Sedumen Chronicles_ series because I wanted to write a YA staring an eighteen (now nineteen) year-old half-human, half-spirit creature heroine named Firebird Alex. As for _Stinger and Bow_ specifically, the idea came very organically. Rachel—AKA Stinger—is Firebird Alex’s right-hand-girl. She’s got a great personality, and she’s one of my favorite characters. I was thrilled to get feedback that she’s many of my reader’s favorites as well. So when I started plotting out this new story arc, the first thing I thought was that Rachel needs a brand new crossbow, and that would be a great and fun way to start this new trilogy.
6)What do you think sets your novel apart from others current on the shelves?
I think a lot of YA urban fantasy books today use similar mythology right out of folklore—they take what people already know about demons, vampires, werewolves, and so on, and trade on those, just putting a unique “secret society” on top of it. I don’t, I created my own spirit universe and turn what people think on it’s head—the “demons” in my story aren’t really “demons” at all, for example. And the Sedumen are all self-aware, they make fun of it, jokingly referring to themselves as demons when they’re not, etc. Also, I think the whole “love triangle” thing is way overdone. Everywhere you look, there’s another love triangle. I avoid them. Some people connect to others, some people don’t, but no triangles.
7) Which character in your book is your favorite and how much of yourself is reflected in that character?
Which is my favorite is tough, because in a way all of my characters reflect some aspect of my personality. I think I always tend to put a lot of myself in my protagonist, which in this book is Rachel.
8) Which scenes in your book did you have the most fun writing?
The scenes I had the most fun writing are the ones that I don’t really want to reveal—spoilers! But I will say that one of my favorite was the first chapter, because it seems to be starting the novel out one way, and then it doesn’t.
9) What do you hope for your readers to take away after reading your book?
I hope my readers feel like they enjoyed the story, and that their time was well spent. I hope they walk away appreciating Rachel, her struggles as Stinger, and how she’s overcoming them. I hope readers are excited to continue reading the second story arc in _The Sedumen Chronicles_. And for readers who haven’t read the first three books in _The Sedumen Chronicles—, I hope this inspires them to give them a read, too.
10) What are your hopes for this novel?
My hopes? Let’s see…I’d like this novel to help young girls and boys feel empowered and powerful. To show girls that they don’t need to trade on their looks, and boys that they can be emotional. And, of course, to promote acceptance of half-demons everywhere. If that might be a bit much, I hope that a lot of people read it, enjoy it, and it opens their minds to not just my stories, but urban fantasy and reading in general.
11) What do you have in store next for your readers?
Thanks for asking, Michael! _Stinger and Bow_ is the beginning of the second story arc in _The Sedumen Chronicles_. As such, I introduce elements and characters that will be important in the next two novels. The next novels go back to focusing on Firebird Alex as the main character, and they definitely get darker and heavier than this one. I’m currently in the midst of working on _Watcher and Firebird_, the follow-up to _Stinger and Bow_, and it picks up a couple of months after _Stinger and Bow_. Things may have been quiet after _Stinger and Bow_, but they don’t remain quiet for long…
About the Author:
Orren Merton started writing fantasy and science fiction at an embarrassingly young age. In high school, he picked up guitar and start playing up and down California in a few loud and moody bands, culminating in his current project Ember After. During that time, magazines, developers, and corporations began to pay him to write and edit music software related articles, manuals, and books. Since then he has written the urban fantasy novel The Deviant and the science fiction novel Skye Entity before working on The Sedumen Chronicles, his current series of urban fantasy YA novels. He lives in Southern California with his family, pets, collection of sci-fi/fantasy memorabilia, and curiously large stuffed animal collection.