Regular blog readers know I have a particular soft spot for young adult fiction and I’m so pleased to discover a new book today from A.J. Tamko as A.J. stays in with me to tell me all about it.
Staying in with A.J. Tamko
Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag. Thank you for agreeing to stay in with me A.J.
Thank you for having me! It’s a pleasure.
Tell me, which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it?
I’ve brought along Daughter of the Sun, my epic YA fantasy. It’s my first and thus far only published novel. I’m working hard on books 2 and 3 of the trilogy, but they are not yet complete.
(How exciting to have a whole new series underway.)
What can we expect from an evening in with Daughter of the Sun?
You can expect a really great coming of age story. I had been wanting to write this book ever since I first read The Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin, which to me was the ultimate coming of age story within the fantasy genre.
(That takes me back. I used to teach The Wizard of Earthsea many moons ago.)
But I wanted my book to not just be a coming of age story in the sense that a young boy or girl is learning to become a man or woman; I wanted it to be the kind of coming of age that can happen to a person at any point in their life. Though my main character Gabriella is age 15 for most of the book, the kind of thing she experiences could happen to someone in their 20s, 30s, or heck, even 50s or 60s. I wanted it to be relatable to anyone of any age.
(I think that is true of young adult fiction in general actually A.J. The messages can be applied at any age.)
And what Gabriella experiences is a kind of self discovery based on an awakening of what’s happening in the world around her. Now it is a fantasy so part of that is her learning about mystical creatures and magical powers that she either didn’t know existed, or misunderstood in some way. But there is also the more practical side to her journey, as Gabriella learns about different races and cultures, and people from distant island countries she barely even knew existed, and what life is like for them on a daily basis. She has some really eye opening experiences throughout this book.
Also, you know, I just wanted to really write a good ol’ fashioned fantasy epic. I feel like I don’t see as many of those anymore. Everyone seems to want to write these dystopian or urban fantasies, which I also love, but I wanted to write something that took place entirely in a fantasy world but at the same time was very reflective of ourselves and our own world.
(I love that. Never mind write what you know, but write what you want!)
What else have you brought along and why?
I brought this horse with me. Because in Astadia, where my book takes place, horses are hard to come by, especially for the poorer folks. Many of them have to travel around dragging their stuff around in carts. Gabriella, as a Princess, is wealthy. However she is forced to leave her castle abruptly and is unable to take a horse with her. And she is constantly being hunted or chased down by people on horses. It’s a huge disadvantage for her until she finally gets one. So the lesson is if you are traveling through Astadia, always be sure to bring a horse with you. It will come in very handy.
(It’s a while since I’ve been on a horse A.J. I think I might need a few lessons first!)
I think Daughter of the Sun sounds a wonderful book for readers of all ages. Thank you so much for staying in with me to tell me all about it A.J..
Daughter of the Sun
Princess Gabriella of Astadia enjoys nothing more than talking to the stars. They have voices but they do not use words, or at least not in any conventional sense. She never understood how or why this was possible, until one day she receives a visit from Ja-Ded, an unusual wizard from the mysterious distant eastern island of Dinia. His only possessions are a dirty old cloak and a crooked staff with an unremarkable brown rock dangling at its end. He tells her of a mysterious force from the heavens known as Ra, from which one can create something called Light Magic. He promises to teacher her all this, as well as the secrets of the stars themselves. But before he can complete his lessons, he vanishes in a flash of light.
Gabriella must search for Ja-Ded in a town no one seems to have heard of. Along the way she must confront a witch who would offer her great power, a circle of faery who would trap her in their music for all of time, and an eerie red-eyed shadow creature who whispers creepy chants into her ear late at night. Worst of all, she will have to confront the Asura, a horrific, six-armed, winged beast who aims to enslave all of human kind by turning their own hatred and lust for violence against them. But in order to succeed, Gabriella must first find herself, her true self, before it is too late…..
Daughter of the Sun is available for purchase here.
About A.J. Tamko
A.J. Tamko was born in Washington D.C. and raised in Annapolis, Maryland. Currently he lives in the Mt. Hood area just outside Portland, Oregon. He has been a lover of the fantasy genre in all its forms since he was a small child, and has been a student of writing for most of his life.
Daughter of the Sun is his first completed full-length novel, with two sequels on their way. He is an avid hiker and backpacker, and as a day job, he is a Special Educator for students with autism between the ages of 18 and 21. He also has a youtube channel under the name Akton Tamko, in which he reviews television and movies primarily in the genre of sci-fi and fantasy, including Game of Thrones, Westworld, Star Trek, and others.