Date Published: April 16, 2014

The mystery of other worlds is not one Hannah Winters ever thought she’d solve. However, the day she spots a brown-robed stranger with a magical staff in a neighbor’s field is the day she also discovers Aerisia, a magical land beyond Earth’s sunset.

Here in Aerisia, Hannah is believed to be the Artan, a legendary heroine prophesied to deliver Aerisia from the Dark Powers. Plenty of people, including the Simathe, a race of immortal warriors, and the Moonkind, people of the Moon, are willing to help her discover her true identity, but Hannah’s just an ordinary girl from Earth. She doesn't have any latent magical abilities and she’s not the Artan. However, her allies aren't seeing it that way. Neither are her enemies. In fact, Hannah’s life is in jeopardy nearly from the moment she arrives in Aerisia. And becoming the Artan may be the only way to survive…


  • Where did your inspiration for Aerisia come from?

  • Two things: a love of speculative fiction—be it fairytales, fantasy, paranormal, mythology, or folktale—and a sunset walk down a country road. If you’ve read (or eventually read) Aerisia: Land Beyond the Sunset, you’ll find both influences in the novel. The scene in the opening chapter where Hannah meets Risean Wy’ Curlm, who whisks her away from her Colorado home to Laytrii’s palace in the land of Aerisia, was inspired by an incident in real life. I used to walk/run country roads at evening when it was cooler, I had a neighbor who raised horses and had a huge, old stump in his pasture, and my overactive imagination sometimes tricked me into thinking that stump was something it wasn’t. Once, it was a bear, once a dog, once a stranger in flowing robes…which got me to thinking. What would happen if I actually ran across a stranger from another time period or world? Put all these factors together, and Aerisia was born.

    1. What is your favourite place to write?

    In my dreams, I have a light, airy writing studio in the cupola of a Victorian Era house, with fantasy and historical art and objects surrounding me to offer inspiration. In real life, I usually write sitting on the couch in the living room, my feet propped up on the coffee table, while my kids nap.

    1. Do you like to listen to music while writing?

    Sometimes. If I do, it’s usually movie soundtracks (I’m currently listening to Film Scores radio on Pandora), Blackmore’s Night, Enya, Secret Garden, or anything else I think has a fantasy/adventurous/magical feel.

    1. What is something your readers don't know about you?

    I come from a family of six and was homeschooled, along with my brothers and sisters. I think homeschooling was an advantage for me. My parents heavily stressed the importance of reading. Their philosophy was you can teach yourself to do anything, you can learn to do anything, if you can read. I actually learned to read when I was four years old, and constant reading was a requirement in our home. Now, as a wife, mom, writer, runner, and college student, I don’t have as much time for reading as I’d like to, and that makes me a little sad. Still, I’m always reading more than one book at a time. It simply takes me a lot longer to get through them than it used to.

    5. When and why did you decide to become an author?

    I remember writing my first short story all on my own when I was pretty young. Probably not even ten years old. I wrote several short stories and poems for school and pleasure during the interim, but it wasn’t until I was eighteen and the idea of Aerisia was stuck in my brain that I knew writing was my passion in life.

    6.What is your favourite part of writing a book?

    The beginning! Everything is new and fresh. Ideas flow. I can hardly sit still long enough to get my ideas down on paper, I’m so excited. That’s probably why I have so many unfinished novels lying around, because I simply have the most fun writing beginnings.  

    What I dislike is editing and rewrites, however necessary I know them to be. The Sunset Lands Beyond trilogy has been through at least four or five complete manuscript overhauls since its conception twelve years ago. (That should tell you how awful it was originally.) This has been grueling, to say the least. But at least I have a product that I can now be proud of.

    7. Do you plan your chapters, or do they come to you as you write?

    I’m not much a planner when it comes to my writing. I’ve written six novels and multiple short stories, and have never used an outline. I typically have a file on my laptop with my current novel’s name followed by “Ideas” (i.e. Aerisia Ideas) where I type down any and everything snippet that I think might be useable in the story. Sometimes I organize them into some semblance of order, but that’s about it. I’m afraid I’m very much a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants writer.

    8. Do you believe that reading helps you become a better author and why?

    Absolutely! Not only does it help you comprehend the basics of writing itself, it teaches you what does and doesn’t work in a novel (as far as you’re concerned), and can be a never-ending source of inspiration. For me, personally, I love history and historical fiction. I love to write historical fiction, but I also enjoy weaving different historical time periods into my fantasy novels. For instance, if you’ve read Aerisia and guessed the Ranetron were loosely based off ancient Rome’s military, you’d be entirely correct.  

    9. What would you give up if you could write?

    Cooking and cleaning? Ha! Seriously, there’s not a lot I’m willing to give up or could give up right now. I consider my first obligation to be to my husband and kids, but I also have an obligation to myself, and that expresses itself in my love of fitness, running, and writing. I am also a homeschooling mom, and am very much enjoying doing preschool with my oldest. Last but not least, I’m in the process of going to back to school and finishing up my B.A. There’s a lot on my plate, but I love it. I was born to be busy. It’s hard for me not to multitask.

    10. Do you think of your writing as the best, the worst, or somewhere in between and why?

    Well, it’s not the worst it could be—the original draft of Aerisia was probably about the worst it could be. My writing has changed dramatically during the past 12 years—hopefully for the better. I don’t think it’s the best it can be, because it’s still evolving and is in a constant state of flux as I learn and grow. I hope I never get to feeling like it’s the best it can be, because I always want to be open to improvement. So I guess that means it must be somewhere in between.

    Lastly, thanks again for being here. :D

    Thank you so much for having me!
    Sarah Ashwood grew up in the wooded hills outside the oldest town in Oklahoma. Sarah is author of the Sunset Lands Beyond Trilogy, the poetry volume "A Minstrel's Musings," and the novella "Amana," along with numerous other published works. In her imagination, she soars effortlessly through historical and fantastical worlds. In real life, she lives (mostly) quietly at home with her husband and sons. Find Sarah on her Sarah Ashwood Facebook author page, on her Sarah Ashwood Goodreads page, or on Instagram where she goes by @runnerwritermom.
    Instragram: @runnerwritermom

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