Monday, August 14, 2017

Blog Tour + #Giveaway: The Tiger's Watch by Julia Ember @jules_chronicle @chapterxchapter

The Tiger’s Watch (Ashes of Gold #1)
by Julia Ember
Publication Date:  August 22, 2017
Publisher:  Harmony Ink Press

Sixteen-year-old Tashi has spent their life training as a inhabitor, a soldier who spies and kills using a bonded animal. When the capital falls after a brutal siege, Tashi flees to a remote monastery to hide. But the invading army turns the monastery into a hospital, and Tashi catches the eye of Xian, the regiment’s fearless young commander.

Tashi spies on Xian’s every move. In front of his men, Xian seems dangerous, even sadistic, but Tashi discovers a more vulnerable side of the enemy commander—a side that draws them to Xian.

When their spying unveils that everything they’ve been taught is a lie, Tashi faces an impossible choice: save their country or the boy they’re growing to love. Though Tashi grapples with their decision, their volatile bonded tiger doesn’t question her allegiances. Katala slaughters Xian’s soldiers, leading the enemy to hunt her. But an inhabitor’s bond to their animal is for life—if Katala dies, so will Tashi.

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Interview with Julia Ember

What inspired you to write The Tiger's Watch?

In the novel, the protagonist, Tashi is bonded magically to a tiger who they use to fight and spy. I think one of my cats would like to believe it’s all about him, and there is a kernel of truth in that.  One of my cats is an affectionate murderer and a lot of Katala’s personality is based off him. Of all the big cats, I’m especially fascinated by tigers. I love their independence and their strength. They are also one of the few predators on Earth that will hunt and kill humans. InThe Tiger’s Watch, Katala does naturally kill, of her own accord, humans that are Tashi’s enemies. She’s incredibly fierce and brutal, but also loving, in a way only a cat can be.  I’ve always loved stories that featured a close bond between a human and an animal, as well as shifter stories. This book is somewhere in between. Tashi both has an incredible bond with Katala, but can also occupy her body and thoughts.

The world of The Tiger’s Watch is a second world fantasy, but there are some strong analogues to Bhutan. I visited Bhutan in winter 2014. It is one of the most magical and enchanting places I have ever travelled. The country’s borders were totally sealed to foreigners until the late 1990s, so it has preserved an incredibly strong cultural identity. Even now, the Bhutanese government only allows foreigners in on a very limited basis. I was floored by its natural beauty, as well as the incredible Dzongs and Buddhist monasteries built across the country. The architecture is stunning. More than that, I found the social system amazing. The state funds all children to go to school. No one lives on the streets. Crime is so non-existent that our guide told us (with horror) about a group of nefarious criminals who had tapped a tree in the forest illegally. Compare that with Chicago, where I’m originally from, and Chicago doesn’t look great in comparison. The world of The Tiger’s Watch is not Bhutan, but Bhutan was a root of inspiration. After returning from the trip, I did a lot of additional research.

Can you tell us a little bit about the next books in Ashes of Gold series or what you have planned for the future?

The series is planned as a trilogy of novellas. The second book is already written, and will be (primarily) from Pharo’s perspective. I don’t want to say much more about it, for fear of inadvertently giving spoilers for the first book. It’s planned release will be in March 2018, approximately six months after The Tiger’s Watch.

I also released a Little Mermaid retelling with another publisher earlier this year, called The Seafarer’s Kiss. It also has a sequel, which I am currently writing, that will release sometime in 2018.

In terms of my works in progress, there are many! My agent is currently shopping my first contemporary story to publishers, as well as a YA Space Opera.

Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in The Tiger's Watch?

The main character is Tashi Pema, a genderfluid trainee spy. Tashi grew up in a poor mountain village before being selected by one of the training masters at the Inhabitor’s academy. They have very little memory of what their life was like before entering the academy. At the academy, they and other children were trained to use magic and create a bond with animals. These bonds allow them to see what the animal sees, as well as use the creatures to attack their enemies. Personality wise, Tashi isn’t exactly suited to this role. They are shy, reserved and sensitive. They enjoy learning and studying languages rather than fighting. But despite this, they are bonded to a golden tiger, so the academy expects them to fight.

Their bondmate, a golden tiger named Katala, could not be more different. Katala is a wild animal. Although she is bonded to Tashi, she lives in the wild, hunts and exists apart from humans. She also relishes murder and bloodshed.

You know I think we all have a favorite author. Who is your favorite author and why?

In all honesty, I don’t think I could decide! I definitely have favourite books, but I read so much that my list is constantly evolving. I also don’t have the best memory, so it’s easy for recent favourites to climb to the top in my mind. Some books I’ve really loved in the past few years are: Three Dark Crowns, The Scorpio Races, And I Darken, The Abyss Surrounds Us, The Girl from Everywhere, Six of Crows and Queens of Geek.

If you could time-travel would you travel to the future or the past? Where would you like to go and why would you like to visit this particular time period?

The past – as long as I could take some antibiotics with me! I would love to visit Viking age Britain. The Vikings are my favourite historical culture to study. They feature heavily in The Seafarer’s Kiss.

Do you have any little fuzzy friends? Like a dog or a cat? Or any pets?

I have three pets. I have a horse, who I have had since I was twelve. He is a loveable, fluffy draft cross. He’ll be 25 this summer, so he’s getting older  I also have two cats. One of them, I’ve mentioned already. Sirius is a huge Ragdoll X. He’s a bit of a one person cat, and has a propensity for hunting. My other cat is a tiny Bengal. You’d think that Luna would be the hunter, given her breed, but she’s way too flaky for murder.

Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to visit with us today.


Originally from Chicago, Julia Ember now resides in Edinburgh, Scotland. She spends her days working in the book trade and her nights writing teen fantasy novels. Her hobbies include riding horses, starting far too many craft projects, PokemonGo and looking after her city-based menagerie of pets with names from Harry Potter. Luna Lovegood and Sirius Black the cats currently run her life.

Julia is a polyamorous, bisexual writer. She regularly takes part in events for queer teens, including those organised by the Scottish Booktrust and LGBT Youth Scotland. A world traveler since childhood, she has now visited more than sixty countries. Her travels inspire the fantasy worlds she creates, though she populates them with magic and monsters.

Julia began her writing career at the age of nine, when her short story about two princesses and their horses won a contest in Touch magazine. In 2016, she published her first novel, Unicorn Tracks, which also focused on two girls and their equines, albeit those with horns. Her second novel, The Seafarer’s Kiss will be released by Interlude Press in May 2017. The book was heavily influenced by Julia’s postgraduate work in Medieval Literature at The University of St. Andrews. It is now responsible for her total obsession with beluga whales.

In August 2017, her third novel and the start of her first series, Tiger's Watch, will come out with Harmony Ink Press. In writing Tiger's Watch, Julia has taken her love of cats to a new level.


·        Two (2) winners will receive a signed paperback of The Tiger's Watch by Julia Embers (INT)


Mindy said...

LOVE the blurb (shifters ROCK!)

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