Hello everyone and welcome to my stop on the Escapist Book Tours virtual book tour for A.E. Bennett’s Sci-Fi Fantasy novel Gathering of the Four! Today, I am excited to help kickoff the tour by sharing an interview with the main character from the book, Leora of Mae!
You can find our Q&A below, along with all of the info about the book, the author, links to purchase a copy of Gathering of the Four for yourself (it’s only $.99 for the month of August!), and a chance to win a copy in our giveaway! Also, be sure to take a look at the schedule here or at the bottom of the post and follow along to see the stops from our other awesome hosts!
Gathering of the Four by A.E. Bennett
Series: The Serrulata Saga #1
Genre: Sci-Fi Fantasy
Intended Age Group: Adult
Published: April 2, 2021
Publisher: Self Published
“In the Realm, every citizen knows their place.”
Leora of Mae is a young woman orphaned at birth and raised on a remote farm. As a wielder of Xanthcraft, her abilities set her apart from her adoptive family and the other villagers.
Shortly before her twentieth birthday, she learns of her family’s plot to sell her into servitude. Fearing for her life, she flees from the only home she’s ever known—defying societal conventions and breaking the edicts of the Realm.
As she runs, Leora meets Roland Shallowbrook, a traveler on the Thieves’ Road; Lady Aurora Verte, daughter of a powerful member of the gentry; and the White Rider Leopold, a soldier with a secret.
Together, this found family will have to band together to survive.
Set in the distant future during the return of the Hale-Bopp comet, Gathering of the Four is the first book in the Serrulata Saga.
Universal Link: https://books2read.com/u/mZZ59J
What music do you listen to?
I do enjoy tavern music, but I haven’t really heard much since I was forbidden by my adoptive mother from going into the village. Now that I’m on the run, we haven’t really had time to settle down and relax anywhere.
What are 3 items you can’t live without?
(laughs) Food and shelter, though shelter isn’t always a given. And my Xanthcraft, though I am still working on learning to control it!
If you were stranded on a deserted island, what is one thing you’d like to have with you?
My new pal Roland has taught me the importance of keeping knives around, so I suppose I’d want a longknife like his.
What is your biggest pet peeve?
I was raised on a farm where everyone worked. I get annoyed when people don’t pull their weight.
What do you do in your free time?
If you mean leisure time, I don’t think I can recall what having that is like. On the farm, there were always more chores to do – and the work piled up this past winter when the red fever was spreading through the village. Now that I’m wanted by the sovereign, I’m more concerned with staying hidden than having fun.
What makes you want to get out of bed in the morning?
I’ve never had an actual bed. Must be nice…
What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
My pal Roland once said, “Always watch where you’re going before jumping out of a window.” I think that’s pretty good advice (laughs)
What do you carry in your bag?
As many supplies as I can. Now that we’re on the run, we have to be ready to run at a moment’s notice. I like to have at least two days’ worth of food on me, as well as a canteen full of water, and my blanket. Even during the summer months, it can get cold sleeping on the ground.
What’s your favorite animal?
I never really thought about it. I liked the horse we had on the farm. He was useful.
What do you think about [other MC(s)]?
Well, Roland is my best pal. He’s been very nice to be and helped me get away from those bounty hunters at that tavern. Aurora is… alright, I suppose. She’s a lady, though, and it’s evident she is not used to getting her hands dirty. I hope she starts chipping in more. Leopold is cold and doesn’t say much. I’m not really sure what to think about him. He’s a former White Rider, so I thought he was going to be cruel, but he’s just… quiet.
Do you have a favorite saying?
What is your favorite holiday?
Summer Solstice! I love warm weather and the village always had such fun celebrations.
If you could go anywhere in [the book’s world], where would you go and why?
The Border, I suppose? That’s where we’re headed, anyway.
What do you do to relax?
When I get some free time, I’ll let you know.
What is your favorite food?
Currently, anything that’s not rotten. Ha! I’ve always been partial to hard cheeses and, yeah, any well-seasoned meat. And ale!
What is your favorite season?
I’ve always liked warmer months. Sleeping in the bar is easier when it’s not cold out.
How would you define happiness?
All I ever really wanted was to be left alone. I’d really just like a nice cottage where I can grow my own food and not be bothered.
What are you passionate about?
I really want the Realm to be a safe place for everyone. The edicts we currently live under are old fashioned and I don’t like how the gentry control everything. Peasants and servants should have more of a say in how the Realm is run.
How do you feel about your government?
The sovereign is a tyrant. Down with the gentry!
If you could change one thing about [the book’s world], what would it be?
Well, this is why we’re headed to the Border. We’ve heard that there are special weapons we might be able to acquire if we can lower the Border and contact people on the outside. These weapons could help us defeat the sovereign.
What’s your biggest secret?
I don’t keep things from my friends, if that’s what you’re asking. I’ve told Roland and Aurora I think there’s more to Leopold than meets the eye. I guess, well… I haven’t told them that I think he’s kind of attractive. Pleasant to look at. Ah, let’s just keep that between us, huh?
What do you hate?
Down with the sovereign!
What’s your biggest fear?
That we’ll get caught by either the coppers or the White Riders and executed.
What do you think your best quality is?
I’m a loyal friend… though I’m still kinda learning how to be a friend. I’ve never really had friends before.
How would you describe the world you live in?
The Realm is a large swath of land that is cut off from the rest of the world by the Border. The gentry say that the Border protects us from what’s beyond it, but I’m not so sure…
About the Author
A.E. Bennett lives in Washington, D.C. She is originally from North Carolina.
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