Character-driven high fantasy in the vein of Janny Wurts and Robin Hobb
'The Wild God's Gambit'
Tip the balance, break the pact.
Halla Williams is represented by @JJBker at Bell Lomax Moreton
Magic, long mistrusted and restrained, is rising. On a night when three moons shine, in a storm seemingly invoked by the storm god himself, a young silver-haired fae woman flies naked among the clouds. As powers of different kinds combine, Ashari’s dance with the storm transforms her, and she hurtles to the ground outside her sylvan people's borders. She wakes with her memories gone, sure only of two things: her voice contains a hidden power and the marsh is her deadly enemy.
She is exactly the unwitting force for chaos the rebellious gods need. Restrained by a pact to protect the Balance, they chafe under the restrictions. Upheaval in the world may allow them to shake free of the chains that bind them. Abernon, god of the wild, the Forest Lord, will ensure she does not return home - if she goes out into the world, he is sure she will stir it into chaos.
But Ashari has her own purpose. Choosing not to speak while she discovers who she is and what she is capable of, she conceals her powers. Finding the unlikely safety of a troop of mercenaries, she joins forces with the enigmatic Captain Westorr, who is concealing powers of his own. With his military might, and the potential power in her voice, they are a force to be reckoned with. But a job that leads them into the forbidden marsh will shake their faith in themselves and leave them reeling, just as something ancient and terrible from Ashari's homeland catches up. If she uses her voice to destroy it, the wild god's gambit may just pay off.
Old enmities are coming to the boil and ancient forces, held in check for so long, are about to be unleashed.
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Halla Williams is also a developmental/copyeditor and sings in an acoustic duo called Telhalla.
Having grown up in the small Somerset town of Nailsea, Halla studied Drama at Exeter University. She then toured as an actor for six years, performing in everything from Shakespeare to comedy musicals to children's theatre.
Although she discovered many wonderful places, she came back to live in Bristol, near where she grew up, to work as an English teacher. After 16 years, she left teaching to become an editor and finally finish The Wild God's Gambit.
Bristol's live music scene is a particular joy for her and she sings regularly at the 'famous' open mic at The Oxford pub in Totterdown. Her favourite local band is the Dusk Brothers.
As a fantasy reader, her favourites include Robin Hobb, Janny Wurts, Steven Erikson, Joe Abercrombie, Mercedes Lackey, Kate Elliott and Brandon Sanderson. She has a Facebook page and you can follow her on Twitter.
From concept to novel
These characters have been in my head for many (many) years. When I left English teaching in 2017, I had the time to get them to the page.
As soon as I started writing, Ashari threw a spanner in the works and decided she wasn’t going to waste her powerful voice by actually talking to anyone. That provided quite a challenge as I really enjoy dialogue!
But other characters decided the story wasn’t going to be just about her. Captain Tyril marched herself right into the centre of the story and former courtesan Gerna stole a crucial plotline.
And suddenly I was also writing from the point of view of several others: Jeneia, reincarnated guardian of the Balance between order and chaos; Crag, the retired soldier who finds the silver-haired young woman; the ageless mercenary captain, Westorr, who kidnaps her; his aide, the diffident Griff; and Bealian – bard, messenger and spy.
So it’s a multi-perspective novel set in a time of both political and magical upheaval. The question of who Ashari decides to be and what she can do is the arc of the whole series.
The whole story, from chapter three onward, evolves over only a few weeks and the plot-lines are closely tied together but it's really a character-driven novel.
I’m what Brandon Sanderson calls a ‘discovery writer’. I’m starting on book two now because I just have to find out (and tell you) what happens next.
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