Thursday, April 4, 2013

Bound by Dragonsfyre by Julia Phillips Smith: Character Interview and Excerpt: Black Lion Tour Stop

Today we are beginning an amazing tour with Julia Phillips Smith author of 
BOUND by Dragonsfyre.

Character Interview with Scorpius,hero of Bound by Dragonsfyre
Hello Scorpius!  It's great to get this opportunity to learn a bit more about you. Thanks for agreeing to meet with me.  I know you're to get started......
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Among the other children in the estate nursery, I was raised as they were raised—to be a little lord, waiting to take my place in my noble house once my family came to claim me when I reached the age of seven.

Once I was old enough to understand that no one ever came to visit me on family days, the fear set in that I might never have anyone to come for me. Nurse and the other maids always dressed me in my finest on family days, but then kept me busy so I wouldn’t keep watching the door. I learned to be useful, crushing down my disappointment every time one of my companions left the nursery for home.

As a child, I was trained to speak and act with the manners and bearing of a little lord. I had no idea that it was a longstanding tradition for the fruits of illicit affairs to be conveniently ‘forgotten’ at these nurseries, and that the training they’d received was appreciated in certain levels of service.

So when the local falconer came out to the nursery looking for an apprentice, someone he could train who already possessed intelligence and refinement, in a single moment I realized that all my hopes for my life were ended. Without the protection of my family, there was nothing I could do but follow the falconer.

Tell us about your family.

When the mothers and fathers of the other boys and girls used to come to the nursery, I would imagine that my family was too busy with affairs at the imperial court in the First Dominion, and couldn’t travel so far to visit me. Sometimes I wondered whether they were hiding out of reach of a noble who wanted to be that much closer to the throne. I invented hundreds of stories about them.

In my mind, my father was taller, stronger and more authoritative than any of the fathers who came to call for their sons. Certainly my mother was more beautiful, had warmer embraces and more dazzling smiles than any of the other mothers who took their daughters by the hand and left me standing beside Nurse.

The family who lived in my mind was better than anyone else’s. It was a hard thing to begin serving the nobles out at the falconer’s cottage, for these lords were far more brutal than I could have imagined possible.

If I came to visit early in the morning would you impress me as being more like a chirpy bird or a grumpy bear?

Hardly a chirpy bird. I’ve never had the luxury of acting like a grumpy bear, except for those years at the nursery. It’s best if I keep all of my feelings to myself.

There’s always the fear that if I revealed the true level of my dismay at becoming a falconer’s apprentice, what’s to stop Richolf from trading me for another boy? Who would have me, then?

What do you do to unwind and relax?

*chuckling* There’s only work, and collapsing into our beds before it all starts over again.

I don’t wish to sound like I’m complaining. My master works harder than me. He was never so lucky to spend his first years in a nursery, either.

I’m not foolish--I know full well what sort of master could have come to collect me. It’s not a bad sort of life, going on hunts, and I have grown to admire the hawks. When I’m out in the field or in the forest, I’m close to happiness there.

There’s a sense of everything coming together when the hunt works out well, really well. I know what my master expects of me, and I deliver it before he needs to ask me. I make certain not to upset the nobles, and that in turn keeps my master safe. To be honest, the longer I serve these lords, the more I look at Richolf and think of the years I’ve spent at the falconer’s cottage with him. What if I had been collected up by my family? Would I have turned out to be just the same as the lords we serve, when my master and I rejoice in silence as they ride away from us?  

If you could apologize to someone in your past, who would it be?

I don’t like to say. I try not to think of it. Ever. Even though I can see her face, her face gone completely white even in the torchlight, filled with as much fear as I’ve ever seen. There was nothing I could do to stop it, you see? Nothing my master or I could do but watch it all happen in front of our eyes.

Who should play you in a film?

If a film or a television miniseries was made of my story, British actor Richard Armitage is the actor who most resembles me, I’m told. 
Thanks so much! You've been quite forthcoming and I wish you the best in all your adventures!  :) 

Quick Facts
Release Date: May 30, 2012
Genre: Dark fantasy
Formats: Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Sony, Smashwords

Book Synopsis
No one is safe when the dragon glides low over the Eighth Dominion. Not the high born who plot and spill blood. Not the low born who serve with one eye to the sky and the other glancing back.
Young Scorpius is fetched from the estate nursery, once raised to live among the nobility – claimed finally not by his family, but by a falconer to serve as his apprentice.
Scorpius soon learns that a noble hides his monstrous appetites beneath velvet and jewels, while the leathery-winged dragon is honest about his own. His master does his best to shield Scorpius from the world outside their cottage, but the falconer is merely a servant who must obey his own masters.
An attempt on the life of a young lord while on a hunt sends the falconer’s apprentice on an abruptly different path, bringing Scorpius into the service of the House of Pruzhnino. Court intrigue sinks its talons into everyone, even Scorpius–especially a former falconer’s apprentice once raised to be a lord in his own right.

“Julia Phillips Smith’s voice is elegant, spare and powerful, her characters compelling. Smith has created a harsh world where commoners are bound by the whims of a corrupt nobility, nobles are ensnared in a web of intrigue and violence, and all live in fear of the shadow of the dragon. If you enjoy masterful world-building, a tightly-woven plot and characters that will capture your imagination, this book is for you.” – Jennie Marsland, Amazon

“Are you troubled, my lord?”
The young noble glanced quickly at Scorpius, fixing him with an appraising stare . After a long moment, Lord Thibault chuckled. “I dare say I have a dominion’s worth of trouble.”
“We’re pleased to offer this small consolation, then.”
“You know, ever since our last conversation, well…frankly, I’ve been dreaming about what it would have been like to have never been collected up from the nursery, as you were not.”
Scorpius looked at Lord Thibault, trying to gauge the young man’s mood before looking away in time to avoid eye contact. The noble gazed out over the woods, lost in troubled thought.
“Surely not, my lord,” Scorpius said finally.
“Do you even know what’s brewing?” Lord Thibault asked. He turned and looked at Scorpius as though the lighthearted noble who had arrived earlier had been merely a front for the sake of his companions.
Wishing he could dart a glance at his master for any kind of sign or direction, Scorpius took a breath, gathered himself and made his choice. “Can’t say that I do, my lord.”
Nodding his head toward Richolf, the noble said, “Wonder if he knows, and he just hasn’t told you.”
It was Scorpius’ turn to chuckle. “That would be just like him, my lord.”
“Really. Perhaps our masters aren’t very different after all.”
Hearing this noble try to bridge the gap between them made Scorpius’ heart ache with such unexpected force that he took a step back.
“Well, I shall tell you a little something, then. Something your master should know, if he doesn’t already.”
“My lord.” Scorpius looked into Lord Thibault’s eyes, surprised to see the depth of weariness suddenly exposed.
“The Troubles have begun.” Lord Thibault’s voice caught as he said it. He blinked rapidly and looked away.
It all made sense now.
His master had not glared at him when Lord Thibault swept Scorpius to the hunt, leaving the rest of his retinue behind. That look had been a warning, the only kind permitted between a falconer and his apprentice.
Suddenly Scorpius’ hands shook. His master seemed so very far away across the field, rather than not far enough.
Lord Thibault swiped a hand across his face, turning to gaze at Scorpius. It no longer seemed possible that they were close in age, not with the weight that seemed to bear down upon the noble.
Memories tumbled forward, stopping Scorpius’ breath.
They jumbled through his mind–a noble’s rod slicing the back of Scorpius’ head, the lords fighting on the doorstep, the sword plunging into the royal brother. They were all part of The Troubles, weren’t they?
Across the field, Richolf appeared to be calmly collecting the braces of game, but he was staring over at Scorpius. Was he trying to tell him something, give him some further warning?
His master still carried the wounds from those days and nights of torture. He’d been put to the question because the royal brothers had decided the falconer’s cottage was tucked away enough to settle their score out here. Nothing to do with the falconer, and yet his body held the torment even now.
Of course, not even that could compare to the Hunt of Screams.
Scorpius met Lord Thibault’s gaze, suddenly angered by the noble’s tears. “The Troubles, my lord?” he said, his voice tight as he fought to control himself. “Yes they’ve made their presence known, even to those who try to live apart from them.”
Once again, instead of taking offense to such a tone from a falconer’s boy, Lord Thibault dropped his reserve even lower. “Am I in danger here?” he asked plainly, staring deeply into Scorpius’ eyes.
Glancing over at his master, he saw his attempts to gather the courtiers and head from the field. Yet there were two laggards.
Scorpius busied himself with his own braces of game. “My master warns of it, my lord.”
Lord Thibault started to turn, to look toward the others.
“Don’t!” Scorpius hissed.
The noble froze.
“Carry on as you would, my lord,” Scorpius ordered, not caring that he did so. He risked another glance as he crouched to tie the games hens together. Those two courtiers bent their heads together. More to the point, one glanced in Lord Thibault’s direction.
“We must run for it.” Scorpius stopped his work but remained in position. “Will you do it?”
He wished he could look at Lord Thibault, but doing so now would plunge the knife in.
“Where do we go?” the noble said, his voice calmer now that it had come to this.
“They are in my forest, my lord. I know these trees, I know the hills, and they do not. Just follow me.”
Scorpius rose, leaving the brace of game and catching Lord Thibault’s eye. At his nod, they bolted toward the treeline.

Julia Phiilips Smith has been telling stories since she figured out how to prop all of her dolls in a row, creating a wide-eyed and enraptured audience. A love of the arts led to passionate participation in dance, choir, musicals and plays. Her curiosity led to wearing as many hats as possible, from performing to stage managing and directing, from theatre to television and film.
After graduating from Ryerson Polytechnic University in Toronto with a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Film, she discovered there were stories bubbling to the surface that wanted to be novels.

Julia spent the next decade and a half learning the craft of novel writing.
She lives with her husband, their dog and her mom on Canada’s east coast, where the rugged sea and misty forests feed her thirst for gothic tales.

Learn more about the author at:

Tour Schedule 
April 1: Black Lion Tours Blog: Introduction.
April 2: Makayla's Book Reviews: Interview.
April 3: Bunny Reviews Blog: Interview.
April 4: Laurie's Non Paranormal Reviews: Interview.
April 5: Le Vannity Victorienne: Review and Interview.
April 6: Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer: Interview.
April 9: I Know That Book: Interview.
April 10: Pure Jonel: Review and Interview.
April 11Deal Sharing Aunt: Interview.
April 13: Bookworm Babblings: Review
April 14A Book Lover's Library: Review.
              A Novel Idea Live: Live Interview.
April 15: A Novel Idea Live: Promo Stop.
            Black Lion Tours Blog: Wrap-up.


Julia Phillips Smith said...

Thanks for having Scorpius here at your blog today, Laurie. He was very intrigued with this 'dominion'.

Nikki McIntosh said...

I love that even Scorpius thinks Richard Armitage should play him!!

Great character interview ... and I love that he wouldn't answer that last question :)