Friday, 18 January 2013

Ailsa Abraham comes to visit, bearing a gift of Shaman's Drum

I'm welcoming fellow Crooked Cat Publishing author, Ailsa Abraham, today. I've read some of her great writing already, and have just had the pleasure of reading her newly released novel, Shaman's Drum (January 11th 2012). She's answered some quick-fire questions for me about her writing, and about herself.

Ailsa is giving away an e-copy of Shaman's Drum to a lucky commenter, so make sure to leave your question, or comment' for her, and your email address to enter the draw!

You can read my review of Shaman's Drum in My Promotions and Book Reviews Blog. (Use the tab above to access the link.) 

England in the near future. 

Mainstream religions have been outlawed, and the old gods rule again.

Iamo has been a priest of the Great Mother and is sworn to celibacy, but his love for Riga, a Black Shaman, a magical assassin, caused him to break his vows. After being imprisoned apart from each other for three years, Iamo accepts an offer to earn them both a pardon and the possibility of marriage. If they survive.

Iamo and Riga must discover why demons are breaking through from the other side. Which of the cults are renegades who allow the demons through? Who can they trust?

Combining their powers, they face the ordeal with the help of a band of eclectic pagans, spirit creatures, Riga's Black Shaman brothers, an undercover Christian granny, and three unusually energetic Goths.

It's a tough assignment, but the hope of a life together keeps them fighting.

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Hello Ailsa. 
Your most recent release is Shaman’s Drum. If required to fit it into only one genre what would that be?
Agggh – that's so hard! Most people would classify it as fantasy but as I practice a lot of things that appear in it, I wouldn't. For me it would be futuristic fiction but that makes it sound too science fiction. It really is a hard one to pin down.
If another three subsequent sub-genres are required for promotional purposes what would your priorities be, in order of most important first?
Pagan fantasy, romance, adventure.
Which parts of Shaman’s Drum have you liked writing best of all?
Without a doubt the ceremony at the Black Shamans' Guild where the three juniors are promoted from Cadets to Full Drum status. When I was writing I could see it as a scene from a film and I was nearly crying with the emotion of it all, but that's not unusual. I regularly laugh out loud or burst into tears while writing.

How many major drafts do you think it took to get Shaman’s Drum to publication standard?
Two. I originally wrote it for NaNo2011. I then did a rather ham-fisted edit. When I submitted to Crooked Cat Publications, under Stephanie Patterson's kind direction, I re-wrote it almost completely.

What was the time duration between first concepts for Shaman’s Drum and your offer of a contract for it?
Less than a year. The idea came to me. I jotted a few notes. I wrote it for NaNo and then submitted. Yes, about 8 months.

Do you have a particularly favourite character in Shaman’s Drum?
Apart from Riga the female lead, tough, sassy but hopelessly in love and her gorgeous monk lover, Iamo?  Yes I do. Dagda, the head of the Black Shamans' Guild who is Native American and just so cool and laid back despite being a very powerful magic user. He's laconic and has a very dry sense of humour and apart from the main characters, he is the one I'd like to spend some time with.

Was there much research required for your novel? 
No. I based it on things I know. I'm a shaman and have been a Wiccan priestess so the rituals, wordings etc were all too familiar. The only bit of research I had to do was for the Mediaeval Christian church's view of demons.

What’s your most favourite thing to do when you are not writing?
Honestly? Riding my motorbike around the lanes. That is my release valve. I hurtle around the countryside singing at the top of my voice, sometimes alone, often with friends, but that is a very re-charging experience for me. Although when I want to switch off and veg-out I watch TV and knit or crochet.

Have you done some jobs that would lend themselves to a great book concept? 
I've had so many jobs that I lost count some time ago. I have a low boredom threshold so I move on. The jobs that would make excellent background for novels would be the time I spent in the Merchant Navy or when I was a Veterinary Nurse. My short stint working as a manager in a zoo would be too heartbreaking and I'm already using my experience in the military in another genre.

Having read Shaman's Drum I personally would like to read about how Riga and Iamo first met. Is that a likely prospect?

Yes. a few readeers have asked that same question and I'm currently writing a prequel, the story of how they got together and fought their first battles together. And if there's a prequel there just might be a third...

Thank you, Ailsa, for being here today. Best wishes with all of your writing.

Originally Scottish/Irish, Ailsa is now naturalized French and has lived there for over 20 years although she travels all over Europe. Her passions are  motorbikes (a broken spine having put paid to her dressage and eventing career with horses) and animals. The only time she will get violent is when confronted with cruelty to animals. Her two dogs are probably the most spoilt creatures in the world. 
She has worked in many different jobs, including the RAF and the Merchant Navy which has given her a great insight into “men only” worlds which may be why she now considers herself genderless. She’s as at home with a chainsaw as she is with a crochet hook and makes a mean Victoria sponge cake. Early retirement due to health problems has given her the chance to write full time, which, of course, is what she always wanted. Ailsa also writes gay fiction under the name, Cameron Lawton.
She would still like to return to the States to ride a Harley across the wide open spaces … but there’s time for that.
Ailsa can be found at:

Here's a tiny extract form Shaman's Drum:

Brother Iamo turned and addressed me as if we had never met.

“I am to take you from here, Reverend Mother. We have a long journey to make, so I am given dispensation to use extreme healing on your injuries. Do you have any objection?”

I nearly laughed. Part of my punishment had been to carry the disability from our previous adventure with me for the rest of my life, with no chance of a life shortened. I was unable to walk unaided due to a demon bite on my leg which had withered every muscle in it.

He picked me up and carried me as if I were a child, no weight at all, into the Temple. As I put my arms around his neck to be lifted, I buried my nose just under his ear. With physical contact made, he opened up my powers just a little so that we could converse psychically. He sent me a picture of us, just as we used to be, lying together in perfect peace. At that moment, I knew that he had kept his promise to me; the promise he had screamed at me in the Council as I was dragged away in chains. “I will never desert you, Riga. Keep faith with me.”

To enter the draw please leave a question, or a comment for Ailsa to answer! It that's simple. If we have your emnail contact address tht winner could be you! 

Thanks for visiting!



  1. I really enjoyed reading Shaman's drum, Ailsa! O hope other readers do, too.


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