Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Review and Interview - Journey to Landaran by Judy Goodwin

About the Book

Young Adult Fantasy
Date Published: 

Aidah begins seeing visions through her brother’s eyes. He’s a Firestarter, gifted with the Talent to control light and heat, destined to become a Sun Mage in the great city of Landaran. But he doesn’t want to leave without his sister. As storm clouds gather, Aidah dreams of a beautiful man, a frightening man, calling to her. 

She fears the truth. That she may developing a Talent of her own, one that will change their lives forever. 
The power to read minds. To possess bodies. To travel inside dreams. In the world of Ernid, Spirit is the ultimate power. 

Nations will go to war over them. 

About the Author

Judy Goodwin has been writing since she was a child, when her fourth grade English instructor told her, ‘You should be a writer.” She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona, and a Master’s in Education from Argosy University. Over the last ten years she has appeared in several small press magazines and anthologies with her fantasy and science fiction short stories and poetry. Her first novel was published in January 2013, entitled Heart of the Witch. 

When not working on her fiction, Judy works as a technical writer in a healthcare services firm. She enjoys bullying the sheriff at the local renaissance festival, volunteering at local charities, and catching up on the latest movies. She lives in Gilbert, Arizona with her partner and teenage daughter, four cats, and three small dogs. 

Twitter: @judygoodwin6



EM: Judy, tell us a little about yourself.

Judy: Well, I'm an Arizona native (meaning I was born in Arizona, which around here seems to be abnormal), I've always loved fantasy books, and over my lifetime I've had WAY too many pets. Dogs, cats, rats, fish, chickens, horses, sheep, rabbits, finches, parakeet, cockatiel, an iguana, newt, gecko, snake, turtle . . . pretty much if you can own it, I've had one! And here's the sad thing. I'm allergic to dogs, horses, and rodents. But not cats, happily.

In terms of writing, I've been doing it for a long time. I personally think my pets are much more exciting than talking about my writing career. 

EM: I love talking about my animals too! But I won't because then we would never get back to the book! Do you try and incorporate some of your pets into the stories you write?

Judy: I actually did. I've always loved the idea of the "Companions" in Mercedes Lackey's books--intelligent spirit guides in the forms of horses. My world had mages who could control life energies, both physical and metaphysical. So I could see these mages using their magic to create fantastic creatures, basically through genetic mutations. One of the creatures they invented was the Lupas, an intelligent dog who looks like a large greyhound with long toes on its paws to be able to grasp things. The Lupas started out as companions to mages but eventually formed their own society.

In the book, there is a Lupas who has been assigned as a guardian and sort of nanny to the twins, named Derg. He's very formal and frets a lot. 

EM: Yeah, Derg cracks me up. Such a worry wort. I love all your descriptions of magical creatures in both books of yours I've read. Your a very vivid writer. Where do you get the inspiration for these grand things and places?

Judy: I've always been something of a history buff. I grew up reading a lot of the classics, and then wanted to know more about the time periods where they came from, so I studied everything from the history of England going back to Anglo Saxon times to ancient India and Japan. I've always been fascinated by different cultures and languages. (I speak German fairly well, and understand some French and Japanese.)

I also have made it a point to travel. I was an exchange student in Germany in high school, then in college my last class I took an archaeological tour of England, Ireland, and France. I've been to Japan, Scotland, Italy, Canada, and to the Mayan ruins in Mexico. I think having these experiences has enriched me and allowed me to think of greater possibilities when I'm writing.

As far as the magical creatures go, that goes back to all those pets. I just try to come up with things that are different than what's already been done.

EM: Wow! That sounds so exciting. I'm a little jealous. LOL! But I see now where much of the realism in your fantasy stories comes from. What part of the world and which era is Landaran supposed to come from?

Judy: Well, Journey To Landaran is the first of what I plan to be a five book series. While this book focuses on the Doane Republic, there are other lands all around that eventually are all going to become part of the series.

The Doane Republic is reminiscent of Europe in the Renaissance, but with some important differences. In the book, Jardan Thorne, a Sun Mage, alludes to a much older civilization that was destroyed centuries ago, that had technology beyond what is currently known. So there is this mixture of a pre-industrial civilization with hints of other things.

Most of the countryside is inhabited by simple peasants--farmers, herders, miners, etc. There is a lot of wilderness, including a great mountain range to the north, a forest to the south and west, and the Krimean Sea, formed by a major earthquake long ago. Towns have both nobility as well as mayors and city councils. There are primitive guns, but they aren't used much because a Sun Mage can instantly set fire to the gunpowder, so they're pretty useless near mages.

Some of the other cultures in the book include the Gedar, who resemble Gypsies in that they dress colorfully, are tinkers and entertainers, and suspicious of strangers. There is also mention of the Innis Empire, a vast collection of territories stretching all the way south to the "Spice Lands."

EM: Very detailed! That's what I love about your stories. Okay, one more question. Do you remember that you were one of the first people ever to read the first chapter ever of my first book ever?

Judy: Lol! I was, wasn't I!  It pulled me in right away--I loved the combination of steam punk and romance. I have a few friends who are really into steam punk as well. It's something I may toy with in the future.

Thanks for having me!

EM: Thanks for taking time to chat with me,, my story didn't pull you in right away. In your first review of my writing, you quit less than have way through the first chapter because it was so poorly written. Lol! You were very honest and very tough with me and I'd like to thank you for that. You've been such a great teacher to me and have helped make me a better writer.  So, readers, if you liked Fate War, know that it is that good because of guidance from Judy Goodwin and others like her. So go check out Journey to Landaran and her other works! They are phenomenal! 

Review! This is what I think when I think about Journey to Landaran. Twins, Tavish and Aidah are on the run for their lives throughout the book. Ms. Goodwin takes us through a familiar, yet not, world of magic and war. I love the details of the creatures and magics in the book. I had to crawl under a blanket to read her descriptions of a snow storm they were so vivid! I also loved learning about the different peoples in this world and hints of lands to come. 

I do have a huge caution for readers though. This book is listed as YA, and while the protagonists are both 14, there are some heavy duty issues they face. Death and war are the least of them. While blood and gore are kept to a minimum, they are there. 

The biggest caution is the themes of rape, torture, and grooming of a child. This is ongoing and a major part of the story. I think Ms. Goodwin handles the topic well with not too much visual to the reader. She handles the emotions well and this story could be a boon for those who are dealing with similar hurts in their lives, but readers should be aware of the graphic nature in order to discuss with younger YA, or limit reading to older YA.

Overall this was an extremely fulling read, that was intense both in action and emotion that any fantasy reader will enjoy. Then ending tied up this first book but left much to be discovered in the next and I can't wait!



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  1. Sounds great! I'll have to check this one out. After I finish my long list of books waiting to be read, lol!

  2. I like the idea of traveling inside dreams. Thank you for the giveaway!

  3. I haven'tn quite finished it yet, but I'm really enjoying it!

  4. I love the thought of being able to be more connected to a dream.

  5. Thanks for having me! And I'd forgotten all about that first draft! By the time you put out the revised version, it had become so much better.

  6. Sure thing! And thanks for giving Fate War another chance. I just kept thinking...if she'll come back and read it, I know I'm getting better! LOL!

  7. I'm intrigued by the idea of Sun Mages and the magical city. Will add to the TBR pile!