Hello everyone and welcome to my stop on the Escapist Book Co. virtual book tour for Melissa Stone’s Sci-Fantasy novel Path of the Warrior! Today, I am excited to help kickoff the tour by sharing an interview with the main character from the book, Ashrinn!
You can find our Q&A below, along with all of the info about the book, the author, and links to purchase a copy of Path of the Warrior for yourself! Also, be sure to take a look at the schedule here or at the top of the post and follow along to see the stops from our other awesome hosts!
Path of the Warrior by Melissa Stone
Intended Age Group: Adult
Published: December 31, 2022
Publisher: Azure Dragon Press (Self Published)
Ashrinn Chimekin is a Fugitive Recovery Agent tasked with helping the crew of the Shrike in their pursuit of the rogue Cult of Atraxia. When something goes horribly wrong during an infiltration attempt on the cult’s compound, Ashrinn and the crew find themselves on a strange, new world. Worse yet, the cultists made their way to this new world as well.
Told that the capture of the cultists will lead them back home, the simple task becomes much harder when Ashrinn and the crew discover the cultists have allied themselves with the Darkriders, people who will stop at nothing to gain total control over their world. And making matters worse, the cultists have gained mysterious, dangerous magic powers.
Ashrinn forges alliances with the Dragonlords, the force in opposition to the Darkriders, in hopes of stopping both the cultists and the Darkriders once and for all. As she fights, she finds herself getting closer to uncovering the mystery behind the black sword that appears when she’s in dire need – and if it will affect her desire to return home.
Eat a Snickers • Strange New Worlds • Space Wizards
Universal Link: http://mybook.to/potw
Could you please introduce yourself to our readers?
Hello. My name is Ashrinn Chimekin.
What music do you listen to?
My taste in music is best described as eclectic. Some days I like listening to classic Swimmer music. On others, I prefer things with more energy.
What are 3 items you can’t live without?
The joke around the Agency is that my blaster must be grafted to my hip. Outside of work, though, my personal DARD (loaded with books and music), hairbrush, and the bracelet my aunt made for me. I can’t wear it on duty, so it lives in my locker on the Shrike, the ships I serve on.
If you were stranded on a deserted island, what is one thing you’d like to have with you?
A mirror so I could signal passing ships.
What is your biggest pet peeve?
People who chew with their mouths open. Seriously, it’s disgusting.
What do you do in your free time?
I do a lot of reading.
What makes you want to get out of bed in the morning?
Not losing my job is a decent motivator. Some days, my job sucks, but I like the crew I work with. They’re good people.
What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
My training officer once told me, ‘Success and failure aren’t permanent destinations, merely rest stops on a long road.’
What do you carry in your bag?
My ident card, candy, personal comm unit, and my credit chip. I don’t like having too much stuff.
What’s your favorite animal?
While I’m fond of horses, I really like these small, slightly venomous critters called hienar. They’re common up where my family lives.
What do you think about [other MC(s)]?
I’ve served with everyone on the Shrike for two and a half years now.
Kenian is still new to the crew, but he seems decent enough. I don’t really know him well enough to have formed any strong opinions.
Jiyandi is my best friend, mostly because I speak Swimmer. Sorry, that’s inaccurate. I understand the Swimmer language. Humans can’t reproduce those sounds without a synthesizer.
I have tremendous respect for Captain Snarevine. The last captain I worked with had this tendency to disregard my advice simply because I was fresh out of the academy. Naturally, Command sided with the more experienced officer and reassigned me to the Shrike. Best day of my career.
Yumori treats me like… well, like a little sister. It was annoying at first, but Jiyandi says it’s just how he is. He’s eased up on that, but still calls me Ash on occasion.
Do you have favorite saying?
There’s no such thing as overkill.
What is your favorite holiday?
Foundation Day. Each Atharian city has their own and I’ve been to most of them, but my home city of Dretha’rel will always be my favourite.
If you could go anywhere in Keverynn, where would you go and why?
From what I hear of Chume’vera it sounds absolutely beautiful. I envy Drianna and Yumori for getting to see it.
What do you do to relax?
What’s this relaxing you speak of?
Actually, no, not really. We don’t get a lot of downtime. At any given time, my crew has at least two open cases requiring our attention. If we’re not pursuing leads on one, we’re dealing with the other.
Or writing up after-action reports.
Or attending mission briefings.
Or debriefing informants.
You get the picture. It’s always something. Sometimes the only relaxation I get is the hot shower before bed.
What is your favorite food?
My mom makes these things called isune. You take ground raebuck and mix it with finely diced herbs and veggies, roll it into balls, dip it in batter, and fry them. They’re best served with a spicy sauce.
What is your favorite season?
I hate the cold, but I generally like winter. We get more downtime.
How would you define happiness?
Happiness is a mug of hot tea on a cold day.
What are you passionate about?
I joined the Agency because I spent most of my life up to that point trying to stick up for the little guy. I hate seeing someone pick on people just because they’re perceived as weak.
I take my job very seriously.
How do you feel about your government?
I feel like the laws against religious organizations are too strict. Landing was so long ago that I feel it’s safe to relax them a little. Adding something into our education system on recognizing cults and the ways they lure people in would also be good.
If you could change one thing about Keverynn, what would it be?
They have a distressing lack of showers. Indoor plumbing, yes, but showers are non-existent. At least, I haven’t seen one and no one I’ve mentioned them to has the faintest idea what I’m talking about.
What’s your biggest secret?
Potential agents are all given a series of screening tests to weed out unsuitable candidates and identify our personal aptitudes. I had an older cousin who was an agent, and he told me what the tests were like, which is against protocol. He ran me through the test and my aptitude placed me either in a leadership role or in the diplomatic core. Neither option appealed to me.
Knowing in advance which answers led to which training branch, I deliberately selected answers that would put me in security and weapons’ training.
If the Agency found out, we could both lose our jobs and face up to five years in prison.
What do you hate?
Arillira paste. It’s packed full of nutrients and is cheap to produce. As such, it’s a staple in Agency food supplies. Even looking at the stuff makes me want to barf.
What’s your biggest fear?
Drowning. I like swimming, but the thought of being dragged underwater and dying before I can get out is the subject of my worst nightmares.
What do you think your best quality is?
I’m willing to give people the benefit of doubt. You could be a mass murderer and I’d still listen to your rationale behind it. I’ll still (most likely) arrest you, but I believe everyone deserves to be heard, even if they’re completely insane.
How would you describe the world you live in?
I’m always baffled by how sparsely populated Atharia is. We humans have been there for fifteen hundred years, give or take, and we still mostly live in one of six big cities. Sure, there are smaller population centers, but for the most part we haven’t spread out much. That’s not counting the Swimmers, who live in the oceans.
Sure, some places are uninhabitable, like the Datroya Plain and the Mechaani Expanse, but most of the planet is viable.
We colonized Itlai—our moon—before even considering building another city. I asked a teacher why once and was told that the reasons for it aren’t for kids to know. I have yet to get a satisfying answer.
About the Author
Melissa Stone lives in Cut Knife, Saskatchewan with her husband, two kids, dog, and two cats. When she’s not writing she enjoys a variety of handicrafts, art, and working at the local library.
She writes primarily in the fantasy genre and currently has a few projects on the go. She’s self-published several novels to date, though none traditionally.