I am excited to bring you a sneak peek of Michelle Hauck’s new book, Kindar’s Cure as well as an interview with the author herself.
First, allow me to introduce you to Kindar’s Cure.
Princess Kindar of Anost dreams of playing the hero and succeeding to her mother’s throne. But dreams are for fools. Reality involves two healthy sisters and a wasting disease of suffocating cough that’s killing her by inches. When her elder sister is murdered, the blame falls on Kindar, putting her head on the chopping block.
No one who survives eighteen years of choke lung lacks determination. A novice wizard, Maladonis Bin, approaches with a vision—a cure in a barren land of volcanic fumes. As choices go, a charming bootlicker that trips over his own feet isn’t the best option, but beggars can’t be choosers. Kindar escapes with Mal and several longtime attendants only to have her eyes opened that her country faces dark times.
Her mother’s decision to close the prosperous mines spurs poverty and joblessness, inciting rebellion and opening Anost to foreign invasion. As Mal urges her toward a cure that will prove his visions, suddenly, an ally turns traitor, delivering Kindar to a rebel army, who have their own plans for a sickly princess.
With the killer poised to strike again, the rebels bearing down, and the country falling apart, she must weigh her personal hunt for a cure against saving her people.
Kindar strode forward alone. As the door closed after her, she sank into a deep curtsey before moving forward to the center of the room. Empress Eugenie Stefanous sat before a large mirror, clothed in her undergarments. Seventeen when her first daughter was born, the empress was still young, her belly and hips pleasantly rounded. Her auburn hair fell in a thick mass of long curls around a delicately painted face.
After bearing three daughters, Empress Eugenie had retired her husband, not wanting to ruin the fortunate omen with another child. Now she confined herself to her own amores. The empress’ two current favorites lounged on a chaise. Young enough to be her children, they sported more paint than their mistress. Kindar pushed down irritation that these wretches sat while she must stand.
Behind her mother, the First Minister Hayden wore a military uniform which had never seen a day’s fight. He held a sheaf of papers from which to report his latest information. Information his extensive team of spies provided. “… and the disposition of the Cushwair rebels remains unchanged.” Minister Hayden cut off as he saw her, stooping to whisper into her mother’s ear.
Eugenie lifted her eyes to Kindar’s reflection in the mirror. “I hear your humours are clean this morning, Daughter.”
Suddenly, answers clicked in Kindar’s mind. The physician had been suggested by Minister Hayden as punishment for failing to show him favor. Kindar narrowed her eyes. From such men as this, her mother sought the advice that would dictate her children’s futures. But this meant her mother might be well-disposed toward her. Her optimism grew to a painful intensity. After all, Eugenie needed all three daughters to give weight to the omen. Kindar curtseyed again. “Yes, Majesty.”
“Strange.” The empress turned her eyes from contemplating her own face in the mirror to favor her daughter with a glance. “Your humours are seldom clean.”
“It is more auspicious for the wedding, Majesty, if I’m not bled.”
“Perhaps.” Empress Eugenie set down a thick rope of diamonds and picked up a necklace of pearls. “That gown doesn’t suit you. You look like a scrawny washed-out rabbit. Why did I ever choose it? Never mind, I suppose it will do for you. I have made a decision about your future.” The minister bowed, looking suitably impressed.
“Yes, Majesty.” Kindar waited with a fluttering heart. The throne could not belong to an unmarried woman; the law made that clear. In addition to making her a legitimate heir, a betrothal would give her certain freedoms, such as the end of these painful morning visits. Even if she did not care for the peer chosen by her mother, a betrothal would give her status. She would be higher than Ceria, instead of equal, and able to overrule her actions.
1. What gave you the idea to write Kindar’s Cure?
Kindar’s Cure had the very unromantic start of a bad cold. I was propped up with a terrible, out-of-control cough and though what if a character had to live like this all the time. Voila, the whole book started with the main character and her cough.
2. Kindar shows incredible strength. Can you tell us more about how you created such a strong female heroine?
I was genuinely tired of the so-called Disney princess heroines who have to be rescued all the time. I wanted a female character to rescue herself. That’s not to say Kindar is some kind of super badass like Agent Carter and can punch your lights out. She just a girl who doesn’t give up. Kindar gets along on pure stubbornness and grit.
3. A great deal of world building goes into fantasy books. Can you give your readers more insight into how you created Anost?
Anost is an empire of three countries joined into one and is based loosely on England, Welsh, and Scotland. I have characters from each section and they have their own characteristics. Thus Henry (Kindar’s love interest) is proud and rather touchy. Lindy was brought up on a horse and is totally outspoken, while a character like Duchess Clotilde is more moderate and “civilized.”
The monarchy in Anost takes a lot of characteristics from the reign of Henry VIII. There’s the same lack of trust and paranoia only set within a matriarchal society. The Empress distrusts her own children and things go downhill from there.
4. Do you have a favorite character in Kindar’s Cure, other than Kindar?
It would have to be the old nurse Lindy. Somehow Lindy gets away with saying whatever she wants. She’s very protective of Kindar and would go to any length to shield her darling girl.
5. What drew you to the fantasy genre?
I write what I love. Fantasy is my favorite read because it offers an opportunity to escape the real world, yet still says a lot about truth and people.
6. What is your favorite fantasy book?
I couldn’t begin to limit myself to one. I love the Dresden series by Jim Butcher as an example of amazing urban fantasy. I equally love the high fantasy of The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. Brandon Sanderson is masterful with bringing all his characters to life. Narnia. The Green Rider series. There’s really no end to favorites.
7. What aspect of writing to you find the hardest and is there anything that you find comes easily?
Dialogue and character creation has always been effortless for me. My characters could talk to each other all day. Time for some banter and my fingers fly across the keyboard. Action scenes would probably be the hardest for me. So much description and he/she did this, than that. Maybe I’m more attune to scenes you can hear than ones you have to picture.
8. Is there a genre that you haven’t written in yet, but you would like to?
I think it would be fun to write a satirical, tongue-in-cheek memoir. Maybe a fake one and not necessary about myself, but just to let fly with commentary would be interesting—to myself if nobody else.
Michelle Hauck lives in the bustling metropolis of northern Indiana with her hubby and two teenagers. Besides working with special needs children by day, she writes all sorts of fantasy, giving her imagination free range. A book worm, she passes up the darker vices in favor of chocolate and looks for any excuse to reward herself. Bio finished? Time for a sweet snack.
She is a co-host of the yearly query contests Query Kombat, Nightmare on Query Street, New Agent, PitchSlam, and Sun versus Snow. Her epic fantasy, Kindar’s Cure, was published by Divertir Publishing. Her short story, Frost and Fog, was published by The Elephant’s Bookshelf Press in their anthology, Summer’s Double Edge. Elephant’s Bookshelf Press also published another of her short stories, The Unfinished Task, in their winter anthology, Winter’s Regret. She’s represented by Sarah Negovetich of Corvisiero Literary.
Win a paperback copy of Kindar’s Cure here!