Monday, April 16, 2012

Interview with Malian, Heir to the House of Night

Hello Everyone! Today I have a special treat - an interview with Malian, the Heir to the House of Night herself, and a four book giveaway from myself and Helen Lowe. Enjoy, and post a comment to be in the draw.  

The winners have been drawn! They are:  

The Heir of Night and Path of the Stray to Cher!


Congratulations and thank you all for joining in. Cher and Alainala, can you please contact me at enchantment at kimfalconer dot com to organize delivery?  Thank you! 

Kim: Hello Malian. *small bow* Thank you for coming to chat with us at the Supernatural Underground. First up, to clarify, you are Heir to House of Night in the Derai Alliance. Can you tell us briefly what that means? Why an alliance and what is the Wall? 

Malian: [inclines her head in the Heir of Night's acknowledgment of an equal] Thank you, Kim. It is an honor to be a guest of the Supernatural Underground; I have heard so much that is good about it through my chronicler, Helen Lowe.

“Heir” is a formal title, like crown princess or crown prince in your world, except that the rulership inherited is not that of a “kingdom” but an “earldom” or alternately “House”—think “clan” in your language. And “Earl” or “Count” are translations of words in your world that once meant “elite warrior” or “war leader.” So the earldom of Night is one of the nine Houses of the Derai Alliance—an ancient confederation formed to combat the Swarm of Dark (or Darkswarm) an entity intent on destroying the fabric of our universe and all life that depends on it for survival. Night is also the traditional leader of the nine Houses, which means that as Heir I stand to inherit the leadership of both the earldom and the Derai Alliance.

My father, the current Earl of Night, has described the Der
ai as a people under arms because in battle after battle down the ages, in victory and defeat we have fought to keep the Darkswarm at bay. Now, on this world of Haarth, we garrison the mountain range known as the Wall of Night, which was created on our arrival here to keep the Swarm ay bay.


Kim: I understand you haven’t seen your father the Earl or been back to your home since you were thirteen. Five years? That was a young age to be on the run. Can you tell us what has sustained you?

Malian: Thirteen seems young in your world as it is now, I know, but our Derai society is more like your world five hundred years ago, when a thirteen year old was the equivalent of today’s sixteen or seventeen year olds in social terms. Shakespeare’s Juliet, after all, is just fourteen—a woman grown by the standards of the day.

Also, I was trained to the leadership of Night from birth, both in the warrior skills as well as in languages, politics, philosophy and Derai law—not unlike Queen Elizabeth I of England who was reputedly fluent in several languages by the age of six. Having said that, leaving the Keep of Winds and House of Night, the only home and family I had ever known, was very difficult—but I had always longed to see the wider world so partly I also wanted the adventure.

As you know, Kim, I left under extreme circumstances. I was fleeing my Darkswarm enemies but also my father’s decision to exile me because of the manifestation of my old Derai powers—powers I need to survive but which have become anathema in the warrior caste to which I belong. I had also just found that my mother, whom I thought dead, had been exiled for the same reason—and might even have gone over the Swarm. And that my grandfather had tried to murder both of us when I was still a baby—what you, in your world would call a dysfunctional family!


To add to that, I lost all but one of my sworn companions in that flight… [Malian’s voice trails off, her expression masklike, before she finally sighs.] But these are old sorrows and it does no good to speak of them.

In terms of what has sustained me through five years of hiding from my enemies—mainly it has been my sense of duty as Heir of Night. If the Derai Alliance is to survive, let alone defeat the Swarm, then I must both live and hone my powers.

Kim: You mentioned dreams in our last conversation. Can you tell us a bit more about that? When did you discover the Gate of Dreams? Can you go there at will?

Malian: Dream magic is closely associated with the old powers of the Derai—a power that for the first time in all our long history we have encountered amongst the peoples of Haarth as well. The so-called Gate of Dreams”is a portal into an alternate reality that parallels what we call the “daylight” or waking world. Most people, like the heralds Tarathan of Ar and Jehane Mor, can only access this alternate realm through entering a trancelike state or through their dreams, hence the name “Gate of Dreams.”

Both Kalan and I are among the very few who can pass the Gate in our physical bodies and also take others through with us. This saved our lives in the surprise attack on the Old Keep, five years ago. We also encountered some powerful allies in that alternate realm, including the dead Derai hero, Yorindesarinen, and the Huntmaster with his wild Hunt of Mayanne.

Kim: The divisions between the Derai and the rest of Haarth interest me. Am I correct in assuming you are not native to this land?


Malian: Yes, we came from the stars, opening a great portal in the fabric of the universe to reach this world. As I said, we have been fighting the Swarm for aeons and during those long ages have used other worlds as the basis for our operations as well. But Haarth is the first world where the indigenous inhabitants appear to have magical powers of their own. 


Kim: What about Kalan? The Winter Land Shaman foretold of your separate paths. Though you promised each other you wouldn’t change, after five years, is that a promise you can keep?

Malian: Kalan is the only friend of my own age I ever had on the Derai Wall. Neither of us wants to lose that friendship—that is why we pledged never to change to each other. But now we are older and know we have to live in the real world. We are also caught up in a life and death struggle. Sometimes, in such a world, adult responsibilities and duties to House and Keep, as well as to the Derai Alliance, can erode or even override personal loyalties. I know this from my father’s example, his willingness to sacrifice first his wife and then his daughter to his duty as Earl of Night and leader of the Derai Alliance.

Kim: But what about the heart? Do your feelings for Kalan . . . run deeper?

Malian: Friendship can also be of the heart and sometimes more enduringly so than romantic love. Both great friendships and the Emerian tradition of “springtime” or romantic love are part of my story, but beyond that—well, a great lady of the Derai may kiss, but she does not kiss and tell.

Kim: Finally, can you tell us who are the Lost? Do you still feel your duty is to Night and the Derai Alliance?


Malian: It was Kalan who first told me about the Lost, those Derai with the old powers who have fled the Wall—as we did—to live in hiding amongst the peoples of Haarth. In order to have any hope of defeating the Swarm, I need to find them and recruit them to my cause. I also need to find the magical weapons of the dead hero, Yorindesarinen. So far I have only found her helmet, but I must have the sword and the shield as well—otherwise I fear that Night may truly fall everywhere. As Heir of Night I remain committed to my duty and to the Derai cause, but I have also sworn an oath to try and save the wider Haarth world as well—if I can. And if I can, I will.

Kim: Thank you, Malian! It’s been a pleasure and a privilege to talk with you.

Malian: [inclines her head again] I thank you, Kim, for the invitation to speak with you here on the Supernatural Underground and share something of my hero’s journey and the darkness of the Derai.

Kim: I believe Malian will be within reach for a while so if you have any questions for her, post them in the comments and perhaps she, or her scribe, Helen Lowe, can answer. Everyone who comments will be in the draw to win one of two book packages 1) Helen Lowe’s The Heir of Night and my Path of the Stray 2) Helen Lowe's The Gathering of the Lost and my Road to the Soul.

About the Interviewer: Kim Falconer is a Supernatural Underground author writing epic science fantasy novels set in the worlds of Earth and Gaela. Kim’s latest series is Quantum Encryption.

You can find out more about her at kimfalconer.com or her blog The 11th House. She posts here on the 16th of every month.
About the Author: Helen Lowe, official chronicler for Malian of Night, is a novelist, poet, and interviewer, and the current writer-in-residence at the University of Canterbury. She has received the Sir Julius Vogel Award for achievement in SFF for Thornspell (Knopf) in 2009, and The Heir of Night (The Wall of Night Book One) in 2011. She posts every day on her Helen Lowe on Anything, Really blog and on the 1st of every month on the Supernatural Underground. You can also follow her on Twitter: @helenl0we.

47 comments:

Paul Weimer said...

Hello Malian.

I have not yet read of your more recent adventures, so forgive my ignorance of certain aspects of your story.

Your interview with Kim suggests that you know something of Earth, perhaps from your connection to Helen. What do you think of our world? What do you think our people have in common with the Derai, or the other peoples of your world? How are we different, even alien, to you?

Kim Falconer said...

Great questions, Paul. Can't wait to see what Malian says. She's outside pacing the driveway right now . . . I'll see if I can coax her in. Where's Helen?

Helen Lowe said...

Very many greetings, Paul.

Looking at the constellations above Byron Bay from Kim's driveway (she tells me to tell you that it is night here) that she must live even further south in your world than I traveled in my most recent adventures in Haarth.

When I first interviewed Helen as my chronicler I asked her a great many questions about your world--both because I am curious about the wider universe but also because we Derai may need another world to garrison should we lose the Wall of Night and retreat from the Swarm.

I find your world beautiful, almost as beautiful as Haarth in places, but fragile -- and your many peoples numerous and warlike enough to be potential Derai allies. (Although normally we don't ally with outsiders, as you may know.)

Differences--the main one would be that you do not have any magic, or if you do, it is buried deep. I shall have to question Kim and Helen further on this point.

SandyG265 said...

I have the Heir of Night but haven't had a chance to read it yet.

Sharon said...

That was a fabulous interview! give great info about the series. Thanks :) I already have a copy of both of Helen's books so don't enter me to win those.

Llehn said...

Ihis is such a fun interview. Thanks to Kim and Malian for doing this!

Helen Lowe said...

Because Malian's Swarm enemies are never far behind her, she extends her apologies that she has had to go back into hiding and cannot stay longer to answer questions. In the meantime, she has asked me to pass on the following comments:

SandyG265: she understands that these matters are not so 'life and death' for those outside her own world and story--but hopes you will enjoy both my chronicling of her early years, in HEIR, and more recent events in GATHERING.

SharonS: Malian says that if you were ever to find yourself on the Wall of Night she would definitely want you in her Honor Guard!

Llehn: Malian wanted you to know that last time she slipped through a portal in the Gate of Dreams and visited me here she also watched several seasons of Dr Who and "Blink" is her favorite episode too. She was sure, as well, that the 'angels' were a form of Swarm minion ...

Kim Falconer said...

Blink! That is an amazing episode!

Helen, do you think Malian will come back in the next few days, even if just briefly? I wanted to ask her about the horses. It's in my notes somewhere . . . They sound amazing. And, do the Derai ever bring animals with them when they move to other worlds? Or is all left behind?

Helen Lowe said...

Kim, she said she would try and get back if she could shake off those following her.

Also, she was interested to see if you could 'divine' an Earth-based astrological sign for her. Apparently Haarth stars are quite different ... And also I was right when I thought that she might not know her actual hour of birth.

Kim Falconer said...

Frustrating not to have that birth time, but I have a feeling if she discovers her name sponsor,they will know!

Meanwhile I'm exploring some ideas - Aquarius Sun, Scorpio Rising and Cancer Moon . . . or maybe Libra moon! Will play with it!

Cher said...

This is the best (and worst!!) thing about Author recommendations/interactions...I don't need help finding more books to read! Yet another Author to add to my ever growing wish list...

Andrew said...

Well what I wanted to ask Malian, is how she is going to win!

And what does winning look like?

Jan said...

You have a lot of well wishers Malian.

Your adventures in the gathering kept me enthralled and hoping you win.

(don't enter me for Helen's books as I have both)

Gillian said...

Hi

I would very much like to ask Malian what her five years at home would have looked like if she had been leading the normal life as Heir that she had expected. What sort of occasions would have marked her passage to adulthood? Are there any parts of it that she's relieved to have missed?

bn100 said...

Very fun and informative interview. The books sound very good.

bn100candg(at)hotmail(dot)com

emmad said...

Wanting to ask a meanful question but at work with a stinkin headache so really only capable of saying hi and thanks for making me look at Kim's books.

Helen Lowe said...

Kim,

Jan has suggested a Leo rising or sun sign as well, which may be worth thinking about ...

Helen Lowe said...

Cher--Malian is a rare personality, as Kim has alluded too, and her story a fascinating one: I was hooked from the moment I first encountered it--and her. She was scaling the precipitous heights of the Old Keep of Winds at the time, absolutely fearlessly, and dreaming dreams of glory: a daunting but also fascinating young girl then, and young woman now.

Helen Lowe said...

Andrew--Malian is all too well aware that Darkswarm agents lurk everywhere, even potentially here on the Supernatural Underground so I doubt she would reveal her plans so publicly. And I could not betray her confidence by revealing anything of our private discussions.

In terms of what winning looks like--I will pass on that question to her when she is able to get back here safely.

Helen Lowe said...

Jan--I will pass on your well wishes. Malian did ask me to inquire wehther you had enjoyed meeting your namesake in her world ...

Helen Lowe said...

Gillian--Malian has frequently remarked that difficult as she found leaving the Keep of Winds, being freed from the Heir's archaic wardrobe for formal occasions, as well as not having to sit through meetings with her father's council, have been consolations. And because she is the last of the Blood of her House she would have had to make a strategic marriage and have children young as well--to avert the ancient prophecy that "If Night falls, all fall."

Llehn said...

OMG! I'm so glad Malian loved Blink! Maybe she can visit me sometime and we'll do a Dr. Who marathon and watch all the episodes that I'm too scared to watch alone!! Does she like popcorn?

Helen Lowe said...

bn100 -- if you like an adventurous, magical, and heroic tale then you may enjoy Malian's story ...

EmmaD -- I hope the headache is better soon. Kim's books are imaginative and magical, well worth a look!

Kim Falconer said...

Leo rising? Like Mio? She could be, or maybe more Leo sun with Scorp rising. I keep going back to Scorpio because she used to scale the heights in the old keep, like extreme climbing, and love it. There is something about Scorpio that loves to live on the edge, make things life or death . . . if it's not a risk, it's not an adventure! lol

I am loving all these questions!

Helen Lowe said...

I think you may be right about the Scorpio, Kim, because despite Malian's high sense of duty there's a love of adventure and hint of recklessness there as well... But I feel she's definitely an Aquarius sun sign: that tallies with the high ethical standards as well. How would a Leo moon sign work though? (I'll have to read up on this.)

Kim Falconer said...

Leo Moon is naturally regal, a queen in her own right, regardless of her station at birth. It's creative and fiery and fun. Playful. Dramatic. I know she's shouldered a lot (That Aqua sun does fit with traditional ruler Saturn as task master)so we only see her moon when she is with her most trusted others. When she lets her hair down. I was thinking Cancer in the way she protects her feelings (she can't see this post, right?). I think we'll spot the moon sign when we see her . . . fall in love.

You can tell I want to see that :)

Kim Falconer said...

Helen, I have another question for Malian, if you can contact her.

Malina, I keep thinking about your father, the Earl of Night. Do you think he understood why you left against his will? Have you imagined what it would be like, meeting with him again?

June said...

Thinking of astrological signs, duty and loyalty tend to be Cancer traits, but it is not a naturally adventurous star sign, so it does need another influence.

Question to Malian - did you have a lot to do with your almost step-mother when you lived at the Keep ?

Your story started just as you were forced to leave home.

Helen Lowe said...

Kim, I wouldn't rely on Malian not reading this: she's already mastered the remote to watch those Dr Who series on her last visit. ;-)

As for love, Malian is five years older in 'The Gathering of the Lost' and there is that tradiiton of "springtime love ..."

Malian of Night said...

My greetings to you, Kim. Despite some peril I have managed to elude my pursuers and return, opening a portal through the Gate of Dreams.

You ask about my father and how he will feel about my leaving against his will.

I know he loves me, but he is also Earl of the House of Night and a stern man of unbending principles. He may only see that I broke our Derai code that says every member of a warrior House owes their Earl a soldier’s obedience as warleader. So even if he sees the bigger picture, my need to survive and learn to use my powers, he may still hold to the letter of that law. So I can only imagine that our next meeting will be difficult. He is, as I said in our initial interview, an unbending man.

Malian of Night said...

Greetings, June.

I think you mean my father's consort, Rowan Birchmoon of the Winter People?

I knew her, of course, and what I knew, I liked. We did not have a great deal to do with each other in an everyday way though, because Derai Earls and their Heirs always live in separate households within a keep, situated well apart in order to prevent both being easily killed in assassination attempts or surprise attacks.

But as you may know, Rowan Birchmoon played a major part in helping me escape the Wall of Night and I owe her a considerable debt for that. And the Derai set great store by payment of such debts.

Malian of Night said...

Andrew, salutations.

You asked what winning looks like -- an insightful question since the Derai have been locked in our struggle with the Swarm for so long that I fear many of us can imagine no other mode of existence--or see beyond putting an end to our enemies, once and for all.

But I have been in other realms of Haarth now and seen something of what peace may look like--for example, the famed "peace of Road and River" in the River lands. I see that as the beginning of what we might hope for as a people, should we prevail against the Swarm.

Although without our old powers and the Golden Fire in particular, that does not seem likely right now.

But I am the Heir of Night and while I live will not give in to despair.

Kim Falconer said...

Inspirational, Malian. Thank you!

Andrew said...

I want to thank Malian of Night for taking the time to answer my question (I hope she did not find it impertinent!)

I do hope that she finds the peace that she is seeking.

alainala said...

what an awesome interview!!! sounds awesome!!! thanks for a great chance to win!!!

Malian of Night said...

Andrew: "each question must find its own answer; each questioner, their own" I hope I helped you find your answer in this case. My thanks for your best wishes.

Malian of Night said...

Greetings, Alainala, I hope you may find awe, magic and adventure, mystery and romance, inside the covers of my story.

Jan said...

Malian, hello.
I enjoyed meeting my namesake greatly.
The blacksmiths growling at Jan has everyone ho knows me laughing.

Helen Lowe said...

Salutations, Jan--in the brief time I spent in your home village of Butterworth I found that Baz the smith had something of a reputation for being "short." But like Jan at the inn, my observation during our brief encounter was that he has a good heart.

Jacqui R said...

Thanks Kim for getting Malian to come out of hiding and giving us an interview, its always interesting to hear answers to others questions.

Kim Falconer said...

My pleasure, Jacqui! I've enjoyed every minute of it.

Malian, one last Q if I may?

I know you were trained as a warrior by the Honour Captain, Asantir. Have you had to use that training over the last five years?

Thanks for being so generous with all our queries!

Helen Lowe said...

Kim: Your questions, as my host on the Supernatural Underground, are always welcome, but I can’t say anything about what I have been doing in specific terms because that could betray my hiding place and lead my enemies to me. I can only tell you that both Kaan and I been learning to use our powers and developing further fighting skills during that time--but the where and how must remain a closely guarded secret.

Tara said...

The Swarm will have no chance against a wonder such as yourself Malian, look forward to hearing more of your adventures.

Thank you for such an engrossing interview!

Helen Lowe said...

Tara: honor on you and on your House. I am glad you enjoyed my answers to Kim's questions, although I fear the Swarm may prove more difficult than you hope: Kalan and I had to flee for our lives from one of their Powers in one of my most recent adventures in the Southern Realms.

Malian of Night said...

Llehn [bowing gravely)]--My apologies for missing your earlier invitation to do a Dr Who marathon and eat (speaks briefly over shoulder)... ah, yes--the corn that pops. I have to leave again now and may not be back for some time--but should I prove equal to the task ahead and finally prevail over my enemies, I will be delighted to accept your invitation and try this popping corn with you.

Paul Weimer said...

To go OOC for a moment, you really do capture Malian well in these comments, Helen. You make her undeniably real.

Helen Lowe said...

Thank you, Paul--& thank you, too, for participating.