Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Laura Bickle

Laura Bickle grew up in rural Ohio, reading entirely too many comic books out loud to her favorite Wonder Woman doll. After graduating with an MA in Sociology – Criminology from Ohio State University and an MLIS in Library Science from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, she patrolled the stacks at the public library and worked with data systems in criminal justice. She now dreams up stories about the monsters under the stairs, also writing contemporary fantasy novels under the name Alayna Williams. Her latest project is the Wildlands series, a contemporary weird west contemporary fantasy series for Harper Voyager.

Bickle's latest book, her first novel in the Wildlands series, is Nine of Stars.

Recently I asked the author about what she was reading. Her reply:
I recently finished Alice Hoffman’s The Red Garden. I’ve always admired Hoffman for building characters with complex motivations and the beautifully-wrought settings that surround them. In all of Hoffman’s books that I’ve read so far, the setting is a character in itself, and The Red Garden is no exception.

The Red Garden is a series of interlinked stories, spanning three centuries, that touch upon the legend of a mysterious red garden. The human characters in the book experience push-pull relationships with the town surrounding the red garden. Some seek to escape beyond the confines of the town, yearning for the world outside. Others seek to sink into it, rooted in place. History, suspense, and magic are intricately layered in through each story, and the effects of characters’ actions haunt the town they live in for centuries to come.

Robin McKinley’s Chalice has been in my TBR stack for a while, but I was thrilled to finally get to read it. Chalice reads like a well-loved and timeless fairy tale infused with modern sensibility. The heroine, Mirasol, is reluctantly thrust into the role of magical advisor to the Master. In this capacity, she must draw the otherworldly Master, a former fire priest, closer to a land faced with upheaval and instability. Mirasol and the Master both struggle with their new roles, with their needs for individuality conflicting with the desires to serve their community. It’s a thoughtful story about the correct application of power and the sacrifices leadership entails. I loved this one every bit as much as the first book of hers that I read when I was thirteen, her incredible The Hero and the Crown.
Learn more about the book and author at Laura Bickle's website, blog, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

The Page 69 Test: The Outside.

The Page 69 Test: Dark Alchemy.

The Page 69 Test: Nine of Stars.

--Marshal Zeringue