Author Interview: Christina Weigand
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I would have to say when I was in seventh grade. I took a creative writing class and entered a contest, which I didn’t win, but I was infected.
Do you write in a particular genre or do you like to bounce around to different ones?
I write YA and Middle Grade fantasy. I also read YA and Middle Grade fantasy.
Do you have a favorite genre to read?
I read just about anything although I would have to say fantasy/sci fi are my favorite genres.
Do you have a favorite book or series from another author?
There are so many, it’s hard to pick just one. Chronicles of Narnia, The Lord of the Rings, Bryan Davis’ Dragons in our Midst series, Terry Goodkind’s series (the name is escaping me right now.)
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Read of course. Bible study, theatre, spending time with my children and grandchildren.
What is your writing process?
I am learning that my writing process is a fluid thing and it’s different with each project. Basically I write as it comes to me. With the middle grade series I am currently working on I have a very basic idea in mind. I come up with characters and try and determine what part they play in the story. Once I have the characters I brainstorm about where the story should head and start writing. Once I pick up the pen and start writing is the point where things start to go from liquid to solid, but never easily and never the way I planned.
Do you have a writing routine?
I wish, that also is a fluid process. I am currently trying to find a more productive routine, but it is a work in progress.
How long does it take you to write a book?
It depends on the book. Some of my books are years in the making while others like the middle grade series are taking about two and half months.
What is your preferred method to have readers get in touch with or follow you (i.e., website, personal blog, Facebook page, here on Goodreads, etc.) and link(s)?
Links to the Author:
Favorite Food: Chocolate
Favorite Color: Purple
Favorite Animal: Dragon
Favorite Book: Too many to count
Favorite Drink: Tea
Title: Palace of the Twelve Pillars: Book One, Palace of the Three Crosses: Book Two, Sanctuary of Nine Dragons: Book Three
Author: Christina Weigand
Series Name: Palace of the Twelve Pillars
ISBN: Palace of the Twelve Pillars 978-1-77127-308-4
Palace of the Three Crosses 978-1-77127-410-4
Sanctuary of Nine Dragons 978-1-77127-496-8
Page count: Twelve Pillars: 218 pages
Three Crosses: 247 pages
Sanctuary: 360 pages
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Christina Weigand’s a writer, wife, and mother of three grown children and a middle school daughter. She is also Nana to three granddaughters. She lives with her husband and youngest daughter in Pennsylvania after a short sabbatical in the lovely state of Washington. Through her writing she strives to share the Word of God and help people young and old to realize the love and mercy He has for everyone.
When she’s not writing she’s active in her local Church as a lector, Bible Study, and helping children develop a love for reading and writing. Jesus fills her home with love as she shares Him through her writing.
Palace of the Twelve Pillars: Book One:
The Peace Summit was in shambles, the prince kidnapped.
When the rival king realizes he kidnapped the wrong prince, hostilities escalate. Loyalties to each other and country are tested for the twin princes of Crato, Joachim and Brandan.
Joachim, captive of King Waldrom, faces deception and betrayal as he struggles to find his way home. Brandan, at home with a father focused on rescuing Joachim, wrestles with his own demons as he searches for his place in the world and the favor of his father.
Torn from the safety and peace of their childhood, they are thrust into a world where bonds of family, brotherhood and roles as heirs to Crato are tested. Through war, spiritual journeys, death and marriage, will they choose the path of good or evil? Who can be trusted, as the world they know slips into a whirlpool of chaos?
Palace of the Three Crosses: Book Two:
Brandan and Joachim have returned from the brink of Hell, but everyone questions if they are truly healed and one with Asha.
As each prince tries to readjust to life, they must face the funeral of their father and their missing mother.
They each take on the responsibility of ruling a country with new wives by their sides, but can they and the countries survive the trials that will ensue because of their choices?
Sanctuary of Nine Dragons: Book Three:
Joachim banishes Brandan to prison island of Hyogo. His infant son, Prince Airyn disappears from his cradle. A chain of events is set in motion that will pit brother against brother, friend against friend, parents against children as Brandan and Joachim struggle for control of their sanity and their very lives.
With Brandan declared dead and his son missing Joachim sinks into despair and anger, where those close to him fear he may never return.
Is Brandan really dead and if he is, who is manipulating the Mantion and enemies of Crato?
Can Maeve save her country and her husband from the tentacles of evil pervading the land?
How long did it take to write the book?
The whole trilogy took fourteen years from the first draft of Twelve Pillars to the release of Sanctuary. Each individual book I would have to say took about a year to write. All three started in NaNo, but I quickly realized that they were not finished at the end of NaNo and needed a lot more work to finish the story.
What inspired you to write the book?
The trilogy started out as a lesson in the writing course I was taking. It was the story of a boy who woke up one morning and discovered he was a prince and wizard instead of a farm boy. After I wrote the story it didn’t feel complete and I started wondering what got him, his name was Aaron, to the place where the book started. In other words I wanted the backstory; I wanted to know his family and the other character that littered the story. So I started writing about his father, Joachim, his mother, Lilia and his uncle, Brandan. It wasn’t long before those three revealed that the story was not just about Aaron, but even more so about the three of them.And in case you are wondering what happened to Aaron, well his story became an excerpt from Sanctuary of Nine Dragons. You can find the entire original story in Sanctuary with a few minor adjustments thanks to his parents and uncle.
Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?
I didn’t do a lot of research for these books, after all they are fantasy. However I did have to make sure somethings fit in the time period I was portraying and I had to do some research on swords and swordplay as well as the time it took to travel on horseback, foot and dragon to reach a particular destination.
What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?
There is a lot of stuff out there for young adults to read, some good and some not so good. So my goal was first to give them alternatives to what was available. And then if just one teen reads the book and makes a different decision than they would have otherwise made, then I have been successful. I wanted teens to see that there will be times in their lives when they are confronted with choices and to see that there are consequences to their choices both good and bad and to hopefully steer them down the good path.
Where can we go to buy your book?
Palace of the Twelve Pillars Trilogy
Any other links or info you'd like to share? Chasing Rabbits Facebook Fan Page: http://facebook.com/chasingrabbitsfantasy
Excerpt from book:
Palace of the Twelve Pillars: Book One
The High Wisdom raised the crown from its golden case. A loud scream tore the silence in the tent. Joachim turned to look at the entrance. A soldier fell through the opening, blood spurting from a slit stretched across his throat.
As he bounded off the dais, Waldrom screamed, “What’s going on here?”
A wild rush of wind ripped the tent flaps open, and a horse and rider burst through. Joachim gaped at the body of the dead soldier. His heart raced and leapt to his throat. His gaze traveled up the horse’s legs. A man’s black boots. A scream caught in his throat, and tears filled his eyes. He stared into blue eyes.
The horse pawed the ground and snorted. The rider dismounted and stood next to the dead guard.
Wriggling free of Waldrom, Lilia ran to the rider. She threw her arms around him. “Brandan, you’re here. You’ve come to free us.”
The prince pushed her aside. “Brother, I see you are trying to usurp me again. It appears I got here just in time.”
“No, you’re wrong. I have no desire to take anything rightfully belonging to you.” Joachim stepped toward his brother and reached out a hand to him. “I want to help you and see what we can accomplish together.”
Swatting his hand away, Brandan laughed. “Help me? You’re the one who needs help. Anything you have to offer is worthless to me. Now out of my way. The king and I have business.”
“No, listen to me. You can’t do this.” Joachim spun him around.
He clouted Joachim, knocking him down. “King Waldrom, we need to talk. He’s deceiving you.” He spat at Joachim then turned and bowed to Waldrom. “I’m at your service, My King.”
Regaining his feet, Joachim pushed Brandan into the guard standing behind him. The guard wrapped his muscular arms around Brandan. “What should I do with him, Sire?”
Brandan flipped the soldier to the ground and put his black booted foot on the man’s chest. “The one you should be detaining is standing there, you fool.” He pointed at Joachim.
“What are you doing?” Lilia grabbed Brandan by the arm. “Stop this, or Waldrom will imprison us all. Why are you jeopardizing our lives?”
He looked at his mother. “Don’t worry, Mother. The only one in any danger here is the traitor you see standing before of you. First, he betrays me, next he kills Father, and now he would betray you and Waldrom. Guards, seize him!”
The king stepped forward and raised his hands to stop the guards. “What do you mean a traitor, and how do you know this?”
“Because I know my brother, and that’s the way he thinks. He’ll lie, cheat, and kill to achieve his own ends, and his goal is to have both countries under his to rule at any cost.”
“Why should I trust you over him?”
“Because I’m just like you,” Brandan responded.
Walking around the twins, Waldrom rubbed his goatee thoughtfully. “My boy, you present an interesting dilemma. How do I choose one over the other? How do I know which one to believe? Guards seize both of them.” Two guards stepped forward, and each grabbed a twin.
“You’re wrong.” Joachim struggled to break free. “This is wrong. I’m not a liar. I only want what’s best, and that’s for us to be together.”
“You’re the one who’s wrong.”
Brandan pulled his arm free. “I’ve no use for you.” He turned to Waldrom.
“Get him out of here, so we can finish.”
Joachim broke loose, stepped across the gap and grasped his brother by the tunic. Brandan jerked around and punched him. He rubbed his jaw and shoved Brandan, who fell to the ground “What happened to you? You’re not the brother I know.”
Standing up, the black prince pulled his sword. “Nothing is wrong with me. I just realized who I am and who truly cares about me...and it’s not you.” He rested the point of the sword on the cut Waldrom had given Joachim. As Brandan pushed the tip in the scratch, he re-opened the partially scabbed wound. Joa laid his hand on the side of the sword and pushed it away. Guards grabbed Joachim’s arms.
“Enough! I can see you two will not make this easy. I put before you a challenge, which will determine my choice. You will travel to the Cave of Njori and extinguish the flame of Asha. Melvane will accompany you and testify to its completion.”
Brandan replaced his sword and walked over to his horse. “I don’t see the need for this. It’s obvious I am the one, but I’ll go along if that is what you want.” He remounted his horse and reined it around to exit.
Still in the grasp of the soldier, Joachim yelled, “No, Brandan, stop! You can’t do this. We can’t. It’s the light of Asha, never to be extinguished. If you do this, you’ll destroy all hope and any chance we have of defeating this evil.”
Brandan laughed and kicked his horse. “All the more reason to get this done quickly. Guards, find a mount for my brother.”
“No, I won’t go. I can’t do it.”
The king raised his hand. “The choice is made. Guards, take Joachim to the prison tent. Brandan, we will deal with this inconsequential flame later. Right now, we have more important business to attend to.”
He signaled two of the guards to remove Joachim and then, as if it were his own idea, said, “I knew all along he was a traitor. I was only crowning him to draw out the true Prince of Sidramah. Brandan, thank you for arriving so soon and before these Wisdoms regretted what they did here today.”
As the guards dragged him from the tent, Joachim struggled and screamed, “No, he’s lying! Brandan, why are you doing this?” His cries echoed through the camp as Waldrom returned his attentions to those remaining in the tent.
Palace of the Three Crosses: Book Two
Outside the chapel, Waldrom, Brandan, and Joachim stood in a triangle. Waldrom laughed. “So nice to have you two in one place, makes my goal so much easier to achieve. Now I have both of you. Oh, did you know your mother rejoined me.”
Derdrom walked forward leading Lilia in chains.
“We could have been one happy family, but now, I have to kill the two of you along with Lilia. You brats have put me in disfavor with Sidramah, and the only way to regain his favor is to get rid of all three of you. I had hoped to spare at least one, but alas, that is now impossible. The only question is…who’s first? The time has come for a decision.”
Brandan stood beside Joachim, his face working with barely controlled rage. Brandan lunged toward Waldrom.
Waldrom sensed the presence of magic and glanced behind him. Rupert and Lukan stood behind him. He grabbed Lilia and pulled her close, placing his short sword at her throat. “I suggest you stop, or I will cut her throat,” he warned Brandan. To emphasize his point, he pressed the sword against her skin puncturing her flesh.
Brandan, with sword drawn, took another step.
“I wouldn’t do that, unless you want your mother's corpse on your hands.”
Brandan advanced, as Waldrom muttered a spell to compel the king to keep moving and cut a little deeper drawing blood. He felt Lilia quivering in his arms.
A woman stepped out of the chapel, carrying a sword covered in blood. “Brandan, what are you doing? There’s a battle being fought. Why are you out here and not inside helping me?”
Waldrom glanced at the new arrival. He did not recognize her and turned his attention back to Brandan, who was still advancing. “Well, I see you’ve gone and made yourself right at home. You even found a strumpet to help warm the place up. I should have known you wouldn’t waste any time. Sorry to break up this little party, but it’s still my kingdom. I would greatly appreciate if you would all leave. But, since you won’t go, I’ll have to remove you myself. Where were we? I was deciding which of you to kill. I see, though, a few have been added to the numbers. All the more fun for me. Although it may be a little more painful for you, but that doesn’t matter. Should Lilia remain my first choice?”
* * * *
Magda grabbed Brandan's arm. She recognized Waldrom and had as much against him as Brandan and her father. “Wait, Brandan, I will deal with this.”
She moved toward Waldrom, but a voice in her head cautioned her. “Don’t reveal yourself. This is not our battle. Walk away. Let Waldrom do what he will.” She glanced around. Whose voice did she hear? It sounded like Melvane, but he was nowhere in sight. Upon further consideration, she realized this wasn’t her battle. She had every reason to want Waldrom out of the way, and if she let him get rid of these humans and the Kningrad, then she could deal with him at my leisure.
The voice spoke again. “That is right, let Waldrom do what he may, and then we will take care of him.”
Magda dropped her sword arm. “Brandan I don’t know what’s going on here, but I don’t want any part of it.” She turned and walked back into the chapel. “Hurry up and finish out here. I’ve taken care of those in the chapel so we can begin the joining once you’ve ended things. we’ve a joining to conclude. I’ll be waiting.” She slammed the door behind her. Waldrom’s voice followed her into the echoing chamber of the chapel.
Waldrom laughed. “Brandan, I would say you haven’t made a very good choice. You should be grateful I am going to end your life so you don’t have to put up with her much longer. Now where was I?”
* * * *
Joachim wanted to run to Lilia, but his head whirled. Stars floated in front of his eyes, their motion making him sick with dizziness. He stepped up to stand beside Brandan. “Waldrom, I’m afraid you’re mistaken. First, you are seriously outnumbered. Second, what makes you think you can use Mother to blackmail us? Such childishness, using a woman to negotiate, instead of dealing on a man-to-man level. Let her go, and we will discuss your surrender. I don’t want to kill you.”
Brandan pushed Joachim aside. “You may not, brother, but I do. He will stop at nothing to destroy me, and I can’t let that happen.”
A group of Brandan's personal guard came charging down the hall. Waldrom pushed the sword point a little further into Lilia's throat. “I see you boys still don’t agree on anything. I suggest you stop the group of soldiers from attacking me. Rupert, I know you’re back there, trying to form a spell to stop me. That wouldn’t be a good idea either.”
The tableau unfolded before Joachim's eyes. Waldrom, in the center of the circle holding Lilia with a short sword slicing her throat and Brandan, his long sword drawn, advancing on Waldrom. Rupert and Lukan stood motionless behind Waldrom. Lukan had his sword drawn. Conflicting voices rang in Joa's head. “Kill them all. You don’t need them.” Other voices calling, “Joachim save them. They need you.”
Lukan yelled, “Sire, watch out behind you.”
Joachim started and turned as a Mantion rushed at him. He pulled his short sword from his scabbard and stood before the coming onslaught. As the attacker reached him, he swung his weapon cutting and angering the Mantion. The foe sliced at Joachim's knees with his knife, leaving a gash in his thigh. When Joachim doubled over in pain, the Mantion leapt on his back and pummeled the king. Suddenly, the weight of the attacker lifted from his back. Joachim fearfully turned his head, expecting to see the Mantion standing over him ready to deliver the kill stroke.
Sanctuary of Nine Dragons: Book Three
Joachim cringed as he thought about what he had to do. The council had decided. He didn’t agree completely, but in the end, Joachim knew it was the only way; something had to be done. Maybe Brandan would give him a reason not to send him away.
King Brandan stomped into the room. “Why, Brother, have you no throne prepared for your poor, missing brother? I’m hurt. I expected more from you and my sister-in-law. Maeve, dear, couldn’t you have helped him prepare better?” He stepped toward her, quickly grabbed her hand, and kissed it.
Joachim lunged at him, pushing him from the dais. Brandan staggered then regained his balance and gazed at his brother. “Why such violence, especially when I am so recently injured?”
Stepping off the dais, Joachim stood eye-to-eye with his brother. “Enough! You’re no more hurt than I am. And you have no business touching my wife, or sitting on Crato’s throne.”
Brandan laughed, pushed him aside, and stepped up to claim his throne. Joachim grabbed his twin's shoulder, spun him around, and punched him in the mouth.
Rubbing where Joa’s fist had landed, Brandan smirked. “Well, my brother has finally developed some stones.” He raised his other hand to hit Joachim.
Matthias stepped forward, sword in hand and grabbed his arm before he could hit Crato's king. He pulled the king’s brother away, so Joachim could reclaim his throne.
Jerking himself free, Brandan straightened his tunic. “This has been fun; but as you seem to be in no mood to visit, I shall take my leave. Come to me when you’re in a better frame of mind.”
“Stop! You are going nowhere until I say you can.”
Brandan stopped and looked at his brother. “What did you say to me? Is that how you talk to a fellow king and brother?”
“Yes, it is. As of this morning, you are no longer a king, and I’m not sure I should even call you brother.”
“Why dearest brother, whatever do you mean?” Brandan asked.
“Ever since we were boys, you have done everything you could to make trouble. I was always willing to forgive you and hoped you would change your evil ways. But no more! You have pushed me—pushed this country—too far this time,” Joa thundered at him.
“What are you rambling on about?” Brandan sneered and bit a fingernail.
“Brandan, I should sentence you to execution, but there are two things keeping me from that. First: you are my brother, and I hold onto a hope, however faint, you can be reformed…”
Brandan chortled. “Not a good bet, brother.”
“Second, I strongly suspect you of making two attempts on my life. Unfortunately, I don’t have enough evidence to prove it was you. I punished one innocent man because of the little evidence we do have. I do not wish to make that mistake a second time.”
Brandan laughed again. “So, if we’re finished here, I’ll be leaving.”
“As I said before, you won’t be going anywhere until I say so. I may not have what I need to sentence you to death, but after your actions toward the queen this morning, I have some recourse.”
“What are you talking about? I did nothing she didn't ask for.”
Maeve rose from her throne. Joa put his hand on her arm to stop her.
“Brandan, I suggest you remain quiet until I finish.”
“Brother, you do not have the authority to do this. We are equals.”
“Do you not see the Adept Council before you? We met and discussed this matter at length... They have given me the authority.”
“This tiresome group of old men?”
Brandan laughed. “They have even less power over me than you do.”
Ignoring Brandan’s comments, the king continued. “First, I strip you of your title. You are no longer King Brandan but will henceforth be known simply as Prince Brandan.” He paused and swallowed. He didn’t know if he could continue. The lump in his throat felt as big as a koali fruit. He swallowed again. Maeve grasped his hand. Warmth and reassurance enveloped him. He knew what he had to do.
“When we have finished here, Rupert, Salochin, and Master Frederick will take you to Rupert’s tower. There, they will strip you of your magical powers. When they are finished, Matthias and Wilhelm will escort you to the Port of Wyrzburg, where you will be put on a ship bound for Hyogo, the prison island. There you will remain for the rest of your life. You are never to return to Crato or Mahorg. You will live in the mountain abbey with the monks and work side-by-side with them.”
“You’re a misguided fool.” Brandan sneered. “If you believe that by exiling me, you are saving yourself from evil—think again. You may have peace and rest comfortably for a short while, but don’t assume I won’t find a way to come back and destroy you.” He stepped up to the thrones and leaned forward, placing a hand on each. The guards on either side of the king stepped forward to stop him. Joachim raised his hand signaling them to stop.
Brandan glared at the guard and muttered, “Freisen!” The man froze where he stood.
Brandan turned back to his brother and sister-in-law. “No, Joa. This is not over and what I did to your guard is nothing compared to the evils you will suffer by my hand.”
While he was speaking, Rupert chanted a binding spell. Matthias came forward and placed his sword tip to Brandan’s back.
The king put his good hand on his brother’s shoulders and pushed him upright as he stood. “You have done enough! Matthias, escort him to Master Rupert’s tower.”
As the prince was escorted from the room, Joa slumped back into his throne. It was done, he thought as remorse washed over him. A tear crawled down his cheek as Maeve squeezed his hand.
What is in store next for you?
The trilogy as far as Brandan and Joachim’s story is finished, but Airy, Tomas, Ciara, Enit and Gorou still have a story playing around in the back of my mind.Currently the five of them will have to wait as I am working on a middle grade series of six books the first of which will be released at the end of the year. So they are taking up all of my time.I also have a series of books with my dragons travelling through the history of Christianity while protecting and guiding God’s people. Right now I have three books in the first draft stage and am planning for a couple of more that need places in history.
Tell us about your cover - why you chose that concept and who the artist is.
Since my books are traditionally published I didn’t design the covers. The publisher MuseItUp Publishing had two very talented artists do the covers. Marion Sipe did the first two books and Charlotte Volnek did the cover for Sanctuary. With a little input from me these two women were able to capture the essence of the stories as well as maintain the continuity in the three covers while changing artists.
If you could turn this book/series into a movie, who would be your dream cast? Dream director?
Brandan would be played by Chris Hemsworth and Joachim by Tom Hiddleston. While Myrria would be voiced by Cate Blanchett. Orlando Bloom would play King Theodric. Unfortunately the actor that I saw as King Waldrom is dead, but if he weren’t I thought Alan Rickman would be perfect for that role. Since he is unavailable Wentworth Miller would be a good choice. Queen Lilia would be played by Mariah Carey.
How did you pick the characters names?
The character names were a journey. I started with names I knew and did them backwards, but some critiquer picked up on that, so I decided to change the names. Almost every character went through several name changes before I settled on the right one for them. My final process: I was using three base nationalities; German, Irish and Japanese; then I looked at each of the characters and their personalities and how they fit into the nationalities, then I went to naming sites in the nationality and looked for names that said something about each characters character.
Who is your favorite character? Why?
It depends on the day. It is either Joachim or Brandan. I love the journey that each took to reach the end of the book. Each twin was challenging to write because they were so different and I couldn’t have one be totally evil or totally good, so I had to make sure that they were well rounded with both good and evil inclinations in each.
What was the hardest part about writing this book?
Wrapping up the stories. Although the first real challenge was realizing that the story was about Brandan and Joachim, because in the early stages I thought the story was about Airyn, Joachim’s son. Once I realized that then it was telling THEIR story. At one point I tried to tell the story that I thought should be told, but Bandan and Joachim would have no parts of that. So I had to sit back and let them tell the story. At the end of the books I knew one character had to die so the children could continue. It was hard to kill him and I wrote the death scene several times as well as deciding how it would happen. That was tough because the character kept telling me it wasn’t right.
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