Title: All or None
Series: Star Stories Book 1
Author: Aurora Lee Thornton
Genre: Adult Fantasy
Release Date: 15th May 2020
About the Book:
In a world where everyone has a soulmate, uniquely powerful mage Royiora and reluctant assassin Kalo collide in the worst of ways.
Royiora Daralkaen, the only mage alive able to use all five kinds of magic, has a near idyllic childhood in the country of Porescalia – before war breaks out with their antagonistic neighbors, Kloria.
Kalo Porla, a naturally magic-proof individual known as a Null, is trained to be as an assassin by the authoritarian empire known as the Domain.
When Kalo and his partner assassin are sent to kill a mage and his apprentice, it starts a journey neither man was prepared to begin.
Content warnings: harm to children, physical and psychological abuse, implied (off-page) rape, violence, mature language, minors in implied sexual situations (teenaged romance), implied sexual situations, bigotry towards fictional races, and suggestive language.
Universal Buy Link to multiple online platforms:
1: Tell us a little about yourself and what got you in to writing?
I’ve honestly always been writing, even before I realized I wanted to be a writer, ha ha. I’m lucky that I had a really supportive family and educators that guided and encouraged me through contests and other writing opportunities.
I’m also lucky that after realizing I’m asexual, I found a group for aspec writers that’s equally welcoming and encouraging. I love being able to talk with other writers, not just about craft, but life stuff in general.
2: Do you have a favourite time and place where you write?
Usually at home on my desktop. Typically late at night. Especially if I should be sleeping, or doing something else.
3: Where do your ideas come from?
A lot of places, honestly. I very much related to the short story version of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.
This book, in particular, happened in part thanks to fanfiction. I had wanted to write an original story about soulmates, so I started one about a prince and a thief. While writing that book, I created a background wizard character mainly to help exposit about a third main character’s magical research.
I tried to think about an interesting soulmate for a wizard and came up with a magic-proof assassin, and after three lines, the pair had a clear relationship dynamic. And then about a month later I had a first draft, and the original soulmates book – which was meant to be a standalone – became the second book in a series. Oops.
(Funnily, this means that my mage, Royiora, was accidentally named after me – when I’m creating minor characters I don’t intend to appear much, I sometimes name them by rearranging and tweaking the syllables in my name. Double oops.)
4: Do you have a plan in your head of where the story is going before you start writing or do you let it carry you along as you go?
For some stories, yes. Others I’ll just have a character or one particular scene, or even just an idea for a world in general that a build a story around.
All or None seemed to spring fully formed from the ether, and practically wrote itself. There were still surprises, of course – characters who took on bigger roles or had unexpected development arcs, things like that. But I knew where things were going in the big picture sense most of the time.
5: What genre are your books and what drew you to that genre?
Adult fantasy, because it’s my favorite genre. Well, fantasy, in general, is something I’ve always been drawn to – I love magic and different worlds, and I especially love dragons (even though there aren’t any in this story).
I mainly write adult books because I’ve always had a sort of… macabre fascination with dark themes and characters with very dark pasts. A lot of that can translate to YA/MG, and as much as I enjoy books in those age ranges, it’s not how I want to explore those themes.
I still prefer happy endings and levity to an all-out grimfest, though!
6: What dream cast would you like to see playing the characters in your latest book?
So I have a few ideas, but I’ll say upfront I would actually prefer my books to be animated than a live-action feature, so my “dream cast” are the voice actors I would like to see in those roles. I’ll stick with just the main cast for each of the two MCs, to keep things brief:
(Honorable mentions: Mark Hamill as King Falopestrian, who prefers to be known as “Loppy”, and Jacob Tobia as Hoiroilu, a very minor but very fun nonbinary character.)
7: Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?
Not as much as I used to, or want to. I would say Diane Duane and Tamora Pierce had a big influence on my early writing, and Brandon Sanderson is a newer favorite.
8: What book/s are you reading at present?
A friend bought me K.D. Edwards’s The Last Sun, and I hope to start it very soon!
9: What is your favourite book and why?
Probably The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge. I don’t know, I think something about the careful balance between magic and reality – making it so close that the reader really does get to decide if they believe the events were magic or just fantastic circumstance – is incredibly intriguing. Animal characters that are character in their own right, character-driven storytelling that takes its time… there’s a lot of things I like about it.
10: What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?
Figure out the best way to write the way you want to write – experiment and have fun. A lot of advice from famous authors is really good… for writing like those famous writers. But honestly, it’s trial and error. Figure out what’s fun for you to write and then figure out how to keep doing it better. Don’t get bogged down in the idea of the “right” way to write something.
11: What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work?
I’m pretty frequently on Twitter, and I put my books on Goodreads as well.
When he woke up a second time, he was aware of a particularly red hot, throbbing pain in his ankle and that something had been draped over him.
Roy sat up again, feeling even more drained than before – but in a strange, floating state of mind. The thing draped over him was his soulmate’s coat. He looked around and spied the horned man attempting to pull out a long, thin earring.
The assassin noticed him, and tensed.
The mage shook his head, pushing the coat aside to look at his ankle. He felt it out with healing magic – broken. He winced, then realized he wouldn’t be able to set it himself to heal it.
Biting his lip, Roy looked to his unfortunate soulmate. Hesitantly, he waved him over.
The man approached as cautiously as before, as if trying not to spook an animal.
That’s probably apt, the mage thought, and something about it struck him as terribly funny. He cleared his throat to stop an inappropriate giggle, and pointed to his ankle.
The assassin seemed to know what he was asking. The man explored the swollen joint with his hands, gently but methodically.
He’s been trained in medicine, Roy thought, hissing at the knowing touch, Must be a good idea for a killer.
His soulmate looked up at him.
The mage leaned down to put his hand over the break, and nodded.
With a quick jerk, the assassin set the bone.
Roy grit his teeth as he healed it in place, though it was still sore and would be for a while. He reached out to stop the other man from moving immediately.
His soulmate froze.
The mage sighed, taking hold of the earring. Tracking rune, he thought, destroying it, So he answers to someone.
The assassin pulled back then, moving to the opposite end of the cave. He gingerly tried to pull the rest of the earring out, and found it gave now.
Roy studied the man. On his now exposed upper arms were scars, the rest of his body covered. He had a tail ending with a large tuft of gray fur matching the color and texture of the hair on his head.
“Do you have a plan, here?” the mage asked, then laughed, “What am I saying? You can’t understand me anymore than I can understand you.”
And then he couldn’t stop laughing, doubling over with the force of it. When he noticed he was about to cry, he shot up, rubbing at his eyes.
No time for that, he thought, Survive now, grieve later.
About the Author:
Aurora is the author of the Wildflowers books, a series of queer fantasy novels. Allaha of the Mountain (book 1) follows a lady knight named Allaha and an unlikely group of allies on a quest to uncover a prophecy. Dandy (book 2) continues Allaha’s adventures but also follows an unlikely pair of bounty hunters.
Aurora likes books. (A lot.) She’s been reading and writing since kindergarten and hasn’t yet tired of them. From cyberpunk to high fantasy, she indiscriminately devours all forms of genre fiction: Isaac Asimov’s Foundation books sit next to Tamora Pierce’s Tortall series her shelf of favorite books. (Well, not exactly physically as she sorts her books by genre first, but you understand her meaning).
The one thing that has always captured her interest and stayed close to her heart, however, is dragons. If you have any dragon sightings you would like to share, she’d love to hear about them on the contact page.