Hello everyone and welcome to my stop on the Escapist Book Co. virtual book tour for N. C. Scrimgeour’s Dark Fantasy/Folklore Fantasy novel Sea of Souls! Today, I am excited to help kickoff the tour by sharing an interview with the main character from the book, Isla Blackwood!
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 Sea of Souls 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!
Sea of Souls by N. C. Scrimgeour
Series: Sea of Souls Saga
Genre: Dark Fantasy/Folklore Fantasy
Intended Age Group: Adult
Published: August 4, 2023
Publisher: Alcruix Press (Self Published)
Dark be the water, and darker still the creatures that lurk within…
Free-spirited Isla Blackwood has never accepted the shackles of her family’s nobility. Instead, she sails the open waters, searching for belonging on the waves.
But when tragedy calls Isla home, she realises she can no longer escape the duty she’s been running from. Selkie raiders have been terrorising the island’s coasts, and when they strike at Blackwood Estate, Isla is forced to flee with her hot-headed brother and brooding swordmaster.
To avenge her family and reclaim her home, Isla will have to set aside old grudges and join forces with an exiled selkie searching for a lost pelt. The heirloom might be the key to stopping the bloody conflict—but only if they can steal it from the island’s most notorious selkie hunter, the Grand Admiral himself.
Caught between a promise to the brother she once left behind and an unlikely friendship with the selkie who should have been her enemy, Isla soon realises the open seas aren’t the only treacherous waters she’ll need to navigate.
As enemies close in on all sides, she must decide once and for all where her loyalties lie if she wants to save what’s left of her family—and find the belonging she’s been searching for.
A Compass that Doesn’t Point North • Under the Sea • How Dangerous Can a Seal Really Be, Anyway?
Universal Link: https://mybook.to/SeaOfSouls
Could you please introduce yourself to our readers?
I’m Isla Blackwood, and I am—or rather, was—ship navigator on the Ondasta. Now… I’m not sure what I am now. I suppose I’ll find out when I make it back to Silveckan… Back home.
What music do you listen to?
There’s not much in the way of music on a ship apart from the odd sea shanty or two. And it’s not like I listen to those by choice—there’s just no stopping Lucrezia after a tankard of grog.
What are 3 items you can’t live without?
My charts, my sextant and my compass. Wouldn’t last long out here without them.
If you were stranded on a deserted island, what is one thing you’d like to have with you?
A ship, I suppose. Failing that, probably Lucrezia. At least she’d be good company to pass the time with. [Pauses] Don’t tell her I said that, please. Her head is already swollen enough.
What is your biggest pet peeve?
People who’d rather I stay safely anchored to shore than risk the promise of the open sea.
What do you do in your free time?
Free time? On this ship? [Laughs]
What makes you want to get out of bed in the morning?
The smell of salt and spray on the wind. The promise of the faint blue line of the horizon. The hope of something being out there to find.
What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
My bosun often tells me that honour won’t stop a blade between the ribs, but a hole in the head might. [Pauses] Sometimes I truly think Lucrezia might have been a pirate before the Ondasta.
What do you carry in your bag?
My navigation instruments, mostly. Oh, and the letter that my mother… [trails off]. Well, the letter spends most of the time in my hand at the moment. Can’t seem to bring myself to put it away.
What’s your favorite animal?
There’s nothing more spectacular than watching a whale breach the waves. They’re beautiful creatures. Peaceful. Not like some others I could mention.
What do you think about your friends on board? What about the people waiting for you back home?
I think I’ve said enough about Lucrezia already. As for who is waiting for me back home… I haven’t seen my wee brother Lachlan in seven years. He’ll be a grown man now, not the lad I left behind. In truth, I’m not sure how he’ll take to me coming back. He can be…difficult, sometimes. As for my mother and father… [swallows]. I just hope I’m not too late.
Do you have favorite saying?
“Tides be kind.” It’s an old Silvish saying—a prayer for luck or good fortune.
What is your favorite holiday?
[Chuckles] The only holiday that matters on the Ondasta is shore leave.
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
I… That doesn’t matter anymore. On the Ondasta, I could have gone anywhere in the world. But I’m going home, back to Silveckan. Not because I want to, but because… [scrunches letter] Because I have to.
What do you do to relax?
I do enjoy a good Breçhon vintage when I can get my hands on a bottle. Not much chance of that on this ship, unfortunately.
What is your favorite food?
Oysters. Proper oysters, from back home. The Vesnians like to garnish them with lemon and vinegar, but there’s nothing like a Silvish oyster fresh out of the shell.
What is your favorite season?
Spring. The waters are usually calmer then. You don’t want to be caught on the Strait of Silveckan during a winter storm, that’s for certain.
How would you define happiness?
Full sails and a favourable breeze. No shore in sight, only the horizon. Freedom.
What are you passionate about?
Sailing. There’s something about being on the water that calls to me.
How do you feel about your government?
The Admiralty? [Grimaces] As I said, it’s been years since I last set foot on Silveckan’s shores. Don’t know if they’ve changed much, but I can’t say I have much time for them after that they did to my uncle.
If you could change one thing about Silveckan, what would it be?
I’d want our shores to be safe. No more raids. No more creatures coming from the water to torture and flay innocent villages. No more tides-damned selkies.
What’s your biggest secret?
[Looks at letter]. I don’t know. I suppose that’s what I’m going home to find out.
What do you hate?
Those willing to hurt people who can’t defend themselves.
What’s your biggest fear?
An anchor chaining me to shore.
What do you think your best quality is?
Probably the same as my worst quality—I’m stubborn. I know it makes me a right pain in the arse sometimes, but it also means I don’t give up.
How would you describe the world you live in?
Cold. Dreich. Grey. [Smiles] And that’s on a nice day.
About the Author
N. C. Scrimgeour is a science fiction and fantasy author whose books focus on character-driven stories in vibrant worlds, from folklore fantasy to space opera.
After completing her Masters in English Literature, she went on to work in journalism and marketing and communications while pursuing her passion in writing.
When she’s not writing, she enjoys playing story-driven RPGs, watching and reading all things science fiction and fantasy, and getting outdoors with the dog for a good walk!