Inside the Book:
Author: Emily B. Martin
Release Date: June 14, 2016
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Genre: Fantasy/Coming of Age
Exiled from the Silverwood and the people she loves, Mae has few illusions about ever returning to her home. But when she comes across three out-of-place strangers in her wanderings, she finds herself contemplating the unthinkable: risking death to help a deposed queen regain her throne.
And if anyone can help Mona Alastaire of Lumen Lake, it is a former Woodwalker—a ranger whose very being is intimately tied to the woods they are sworn to protect. Mae was once one of the best, and despite the potential of every tree limb to become the gibbet she’s hung from, she not only feels a duty to aide Mona and her brothers, but also to walk beneath her beloved trees once more.
A grand quest in the tradition of great epic fantasies, filled with adventure and the sharp wit—and tongue—of a unique hero, Woodwalker is the perfect novel to start your own journey into the realm of magical fiction.
Meet the Author:
I am an author, illustrator, and environmental educator. My favorite genre to write is fantasy-adventure, while my favorite reads are usually detailed, thought-provoking historical fiction. Digital painting is my usual art medium, but I also love keeping watercolor journals and pencil sketchbooks. Writing and art aren't my only passions. In fact, they're not even my official expertise (at least on paper). In 2012, I earned my Master’s degree in Parks and Protected Area Management from Clemson University. During the summer, I work as an interpretive park ranger with the National Park Service (with the hat and everything). I love to hike, camp, and backpack with my family, and while I call southern Appalachia home, I have a not-so-secret love affair with the Rocky Mountains. I live in South Carolina with my husband and two daughters. I am represented by Valerie Noble of Donaghy Literary Agency.
Tuesday, May 17 - Guest blogging at Books for Books
Wednesday, May 18 - Book featured at The Reading Queen
Thursday, May 19 - Book featured at A Title Wave
Friday, May 20 - Book featured at Bound 2 Escape
Monday, May 23 - Book featured at The Literary Nook
Tuesday, May 24 - Book featured at The Dark Phantom
Wednesday, May 25 - Book featured at The Review From Here
Thursday, May 26 - Book featured at Write and Take Flight
Friday, May 27 - Book featured at Voodoo Princess
Monday, May 30 - Guest blogging at Kindle and Me
Tuesday, May 31 - Book featured at The Bookworm Lodge
Wednesday, June 1 - Book featured at I'm Shelf-ish
Thursday, June 2 - Book reviewed at Natural Bri
Friday, June 3 - Book featured at CBY Book Club
Monday, June 6 - Book reviewed at 100 Pages a Day
Tuesday, June 7 - Book featured at The Recipe Fairy
Wednesday, June 8 - Interviewed at Deal Sharing Aunt
Thursday, June 9 - Book featured at Harmonious Publicity
Friday, June 10 - Book featured at Book Cover Junkie
It started with a sketch.
It usually starts with a sketch.
Before a word of Woodwalker ever manifested on a screen, my characters had already made their debuts in the pages of my sketchbook. In fact, the second sketch—one I can’t show you—was actually a rough illustration of the climax of the book. After that came pages and pages of character sketches, scene illustrations, and wardrobe design. I’ve storyboarded critical scenes and even diagrammed stage directions to figure out the physical relationships between my characters. Oh, and the kissing pictures—lots of romantic fluff. But I can’t show you those yet, either.
I’ve always considered myself an artist first and a writer second, despite the fact that I’ve been telling stories just as long as I’ve been drawing pictures. Maybe it was the fact that I felt more comfortable sharing my art than my writing as a teen. Maybe it was because I started doing freelance art and design years before I ever wrote professionally. Whatever the reason, I now see that the two go hand-in-hand for me. I can’t think of a single story I’ve written that I haven’t also illustrated, even if it was just doodles in the margins of my spiral-bound middle school novels.
But there’s a hitch—my art generally reflects what’s going on in my personal life. As a kid, this meant it was easy for an outsider to tell what book or movie I was currently obsessing over—the reams and reams of Legolas or Weasley twins or Eugenides or Aang made it blatantly obvious. But as I got older, that kind of all-consuming fervor was replaced with a more mild interest in the world around me. Books and movies didn’t incite the same level of fangirldom. My time and energy were commandeered by other, adultier things. I fell in love and got married—I drew wedding invitation designs and dress patterns. I completed my Master’s degree—I drew frazzled self-portraits. I became a mom—I drew comics about parenting, when I had the time.
My art production slowed to a trickle, with only a few meager sketches every couple of weeks. I became a ghost on DeviantArt, where I used to post finished digital pieces every week as an undergrad.
And then—Woodwalker. That initial scrabbled sketch above was the first crack in the dam. Then came the next sketch, and the next, and soon the dam burst altogether. In just a few weeks, I burned through the rest of a sketchbook that had taken me over a year to fill halfway. The next one I blazed through even faster.
And not only did the quantity of my art increase, but the quality improved as well. I took more risks and tried new techniques. Some I mastered, some utterly defeated me. But I didn’t stop. I couldn’t stop. The same currents of artistic creativity so prevalent in my childhood were running again, and that’s not the kind of thing I can just turn off. When my editor asked me to draw up some drafts for my cover art, I worked through the night—every time I lay down to go to sleep, the illustration filled my head, calling me to come back and change the composition here or tweak the bounce light there.
Art has had an undeniable effect on Woodwalker. Beyond just refining what my characters look like and what they’re wearing, it’s helped me dive deeper into their personalities. How does Mae, the protagonist, cope with her exile from her beloved Silverwood Mountains? Sketching her lonely campsites and menial labor helped me find out. How does Queen Mona keep herself and her brothers alive and hidden while fleeing the invasion of their country? Storyboarding their escape showed me. How has King Valien’s past affected his current desperation to hold onto his throne? Drawing snapshots of his childhood helped me get to know him better. Why is Colm so sad? Why is Arlen so angry? Sketching the world through their eyes helped me find out.
I’m on my third full sketchbook now since I started writing Woodwalker, and I have no plans to slow down. My art is every bit as essential to plotting and building my novels as my notes, outlines, and character profiles are. I’ve already met new characters and storyboarded new scenes for the companion novels and beyond. Eventually I will include a “spoiler” portfolio on my website, where I can post the majority of my sketches for people who have already read the books (including those kissing pictures). Perhaps even someday readers will draw some art of their own inspired by Woodwalker, and I hope they send me links when they do. In the meantime, I’m excited to share my work and connect readers a little more intimately with the characters and world of Woodwalker.