Please welcome author Arley Cole, whose Young Adult Fantasy, The Blacksmith’s Daughter, won the Oklahoma-RWA IDA Award for best YA novel in 2011.
Arley treats us today by interviewing feisty character Nerian Elidor, who will star in the sequel, The Merchant’s Son.
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Character Interview - Nerian Elidor from
The Blacksmith’s Daughter
The Blacksmith’s Daughter
How did you come to be part of The Blacksmith’s Daughter?
I came to Brenaelgin to train my friend Acwellen’s army. We served together for years before he had to return home to serve as liege lord when his father died. I am glad to be of help to him, but his army consists of part-time soldiers who care more about their farms than their military training. His land has been at peace for so long, the men cannot see a use for drills and exercises. Unfortunately, this peace I fear is at an end.What do you think of Enith Roweson?
Enith Lex’Magen, you mean. Acwellen would have my head if I failed to address his wife properly. I admit having my suspicions of Lady Lex’Magen at the start of our acquaintance. She possesses uncommon gifts such as I have never seen in all my years of dealing with magic. I’m still not convinced that she isn’t using some sort of power over us all. Yet I no longer believe she means Acwellen any harm.What’s your greatest fear?
I do not wish to answer that question.Why not?
Never offer your enemies a tool against you. My fears do not prevent me from doing what has to be done. That will have to be sufficient answer for you.Are you seeing anybody?
No.Well, that was certainly an insufficient answer! Why not? Did there used to be somebody?
I do not wish to discuss the past.So there WAS somebody.
Your questions are irrelevant to Enith’s story. Can we please move on?Okay, okay. Well, is there anything you wish Arley had left out of the book?
She did not have to be quite so specific with some of the details of my brush with death. I’d rather that had been less personal. Much like your questions.Last one then, are you coming back for the sequel, The Merchant’s Son?
Certainly. I am after all the merchant’s son she speaks of. She plans to delve into all manner of details regarding my personal history and my distaste for magic. Many of your more annoying questions will be answered there.Sounds gross. Yes, you probably need to see to that. But thank you, Nerian, for being my guest today.
This interview is gone on long enough. There are threats to the land that I must attend to. We’ve been finding large burrows around the countryside containing the remains of various animals. In each case their bellies had been torn open as if something ate its way out of them. Very disturbing.
You are welcome, I suppose.
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Blurb for The Blacksmith’s Daughter:She believes she is only a blacksmith's daughter, but he must discover the truth or risk losing his land—and his life.
Acwellen Lex'Magen rules as liege lord of a small country bounded by forbidding mountains and powerful neighbors. When the neighboring baron, allied with a powerful wizard, attempts to take over his land, first by political, then by covert means, Acwellen finds an ally of his own in Enith Roweson, an unassuming blacksmith who possesses powers he's only known of in legends. As he attempts to unravel both the plots against him—including the nature of the monsters sent to assassinate him—and the mysterious powers Enith is only beginning to understand she has, he also finds himself falling in love with the blacksmith's daughter.
"I finally remembered how I know you," said Acwellen after a pause. "You are Boyce Roweson’s little Enith. I used to see you hanging around his forge when you were just a girl. You have his eyes and, apparently, his talents at smithing." He glanced around the room at the stored plowshares and wagon wheels. "You do good work."
Enith glanced around her at the disorganized racks and the grimy walls, angry that despite the compliment, her work had been defined by the clutter and mindless labor around her.
"I helped him forge that sword you wear," she responded defensively. "This is my uncle’s shop—not my father’s."
"Truly, I meant no disrespect," he answered, moving closer as she began to pull items from the trunk. "What do you have here?"
Enith paused a moment, then decided to just brazen it out. If she wished to be judged on her own merit, she would have to reveal the work she’d truly put her heart into. If Acwellen were as disturbed as her uncle was by the thoughts of a woman crafting weaponry, then so be it.
"These are mine," she stated as she brought out several daggers, two battleaxes, and three swords. He watched as she wrapped each carefully in oiled cloth and packed them into a wooden crate for travel. "I bought the steel myself and I forged them. But they aren’t completed."
One sword lay apart from the others, and Acwellen lifted it, swinging it briefly to check its balance. She knew the sword to be nimble and light and was gratified by his smile of appreciation as he handled it. Then he ran a finger over the leather wrappings on the hilt. They were a lovely yet unexpected shade of violet. "This one seems finished to me," he offered as he passed the blade to her.
"That one is. It is mine," she responded.
"You are a swordswoman as well as a blacksmith and a diplomat?" He smiled at her as he took a seat on the edge of the workbench.
Enith had expected Acwellen to be derisive of her occupation and interests, but instead he seemed genuinely interested. "My father was not just a weapons maker, if you recall. He also served as weapons master for your grandfather," she answered seriously. "He trained me to fight. But I fear my skills are rusty after years of practice without a sparring partner."
"I shall spar with you," stated Acwellen, removing his jacket.
"Now? In here?" Enith squeaked.
Acwellen shrugged and picked up his jacket again, then she called his bluff.
"Come out back," she said as she picked up her purple-hilted blade and headed out into the shop. "There’s more room."
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Arley Cole lives with her husband and kids in the wilds of West Alabama along with her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Bruno. Now on her fourth career, she has spent most of her life writing for other people, but these days she is writing for herself.
The Blacksmith’s Daughter is her first novel, but not her last as she is already at work on the sequel, The Merchant’s Son.
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The Blacksmith’s Daughter / Available from