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Short Bio

Young adult fantasy author, Abby Arthur, grew up in an imaginary world of glowing magic and dastardly dragons, which has inspired her to write stories that help you escape reality.

Medium Bio

Young adult fantasy author, Abby Arthur, grew up in an imaginary world of glowing magic and dastardly dragons. She loves sharing the adventures of the people in that world with anyone desiring an escape from reality. Her first book is Twins of Shadow.

Long Bio

Abby Arthur spends the majority of her time lost in an imaginary world of glowing magic and dastardly dragons. She started winning writing contests and getting published in newspapers when she was just sixteen. She loves giving readers an escape from reality and is constantly creating new stories. Her magic portal is located in small town Iowa, protected by herself, her husband, and their son. Her first book is Twins of Shadow.

Book Metadata

About Twins of Shadow (Back Matter)

A crown prince and his twin brother are secretly skilled assassins…

…killing for a cause they both despise.

Bound to a dragon by a powerful spell, Tarrek and Albree are sent on their deadliest mission yet: Overcome an archangel, capture an innocent snake whisperer and smuggle him across foreign soil, alive. If they fail to comply with the spell’s demand, it will drive them to insanity. Yet a deadlier force commands their attention when an ice-wielding slave trader freezes several civilians in a local village, ensnaring Albree’s love interest in the process. Will the twins choose to complete their near-suicide mission or fight insanity to save innocent lives?

 

Q&A

  • Why is YA fantasy important to you?
  • What is the challenge of creating a whole world?
  • What is your unique spin on fantasy genre expectations?
  • You have a number of royal characters. Why is that?
  • Your stories seem to push the boundaries of light and dark, taking on more of a gray tone. Can you explain why this is?
  • Often times, the villains are in the background, playing the characters like puppets. Can you share with us why you do this?
  • How did you come up with such a high fantasy world but give it so much modern technology?
  • All fantasy stories have a take on magic. What rules do your stories follow?
  • What currently published books do your stories relate to?
  • When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
  • Who are the author’s you’d fan girl over upon meeting?
  • What would you give up to become a better writer?
  • Why do your books make a great escape for young adult fantasy fans?
  • What fuels your desire for creating this fantasy world?

Author Q&A

  • Why is YA fantasy important to you?

Looking back, YA fantasy has always been a constant in my life. My family moved a lot when I was growing up, but my sister always read me YA stories at night.  Something just clicked when she did that, and I decided I could write stories, too. When Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter came out, I fell in love with swords, epic wars, and magic. A whole new world formed in my mind, and it’s been my escape from reality ever since I was young. That world seems so real now, and I want to take everyone who loves fantasy to the adventures I experience there.

  • What is the challenge of creating a whole world?

I started creating this fantasy world I write in when I was eight. It’s been fun for me because I could daydream forever and see it come to life over the years. I started with one kingdom, which turned into two, which turned into seven. It wasn’t until I was in high school that the other realms in my stories came to life. So if I was to pin-point a strict challenge, I’d say it is the time it takes to create.

  • What is your unique spin on the YA fantasy genre expectations?

First, let me point out what the expectations are. 1) Take your reader to a different world. 2) Give them a hero, preferably unwitting. 3) Create a massive conflict. 4) Make sure there is magic and weapons and a chance to use them.

Although there’re more technical expectations we could list, I’ll focus on these above. My fantasy world is my bread and butter, as I think it is for any fantasy writer. No two people can create the same world with all the same characteristics. The special thing about the world I’ve created is that it has a long, deep history, and magic is woven into everything. Most of my stories take place in the modern times of this world. That means you will experience magic, but also modern technology we are familiar with, only, it’s powered by magical crystals.

Putting my spin on my heroes has become easier over the years. I have an arsenal of characters I’ve developed since I was young. (Tormented princes, evil princesses, ninjas in the wrong place at the wrong time.) What gives them my spin, is the way I’ve come to know their flaws and can now put them in situations where they face those flaws to defy the conflict.

That brings me to the massive conflict. I’m constantly writing stories faster than I can publish them. One of the things I love to start with is the massive conflict (the challenge the character has to face). Since I start this way, I’m able to make the challenge different for every story and special to each character. If she’s a warrior, of course I’ll give her battles to face, but I’ll take it deeper. What emotional challenge can I give my warrior? I’ll make my conflict pull on that too.

As for the magic and weapons. Gosh, those are just the icing on the cake! Once the previous things are established, I think my spin on magic and weapons sources from the character driving the story. Is he an assassin? Then the way he uses magic and his weapons will be different than a war hero that doesn’t have to hide.

  • You have a number of royal characters. Why is that?

This sources from something my literary teacher said in high school. He told us that back in the middle ages, most of their stories were about royalty because that status was a stranger to the poor. The poor didn’t get to experience royal life for themselves, so to escape their reality of hard work and labor, they told stories of the rich. This inspired my first royal characters.

Over the years more characters were added around my first set. The people my first royals would know and be closest with, in my mind, were their family (more nobles) and other nobility in neighboring kingdoms. It’s how they do politics, networking and such. Those other people outside of my main set grew inside me, becoming their own heroes in their own stories.

  • Your stories seem to push the boundaries of light and dark, taking on more of a gray tone. Can you explain why this is?

I’ll be honest here. I grew up in the church. I’ve seen a lot—people thinking they’re “good” but doing so much evil. Then people who don’t do what those people think is “good” but are actually pure in heart. It’s caused me to realize that I, and anyone else, can’t judge what is good and what is evil. I have characters who are assassins, but not by choice. Characters who are predominantly thought as good but are hiding something dark. I do this because it adds depth to the stories, and I think it makes them more real.

  • Often times, the villains are in the background, playing the characters like puppets. Can you share with us why you do this?

First, let me say I don’t think this will always be the case. Eventually they will have to do their own dirty work. BUT, and that’s a very big but, I personally think someone pulling the strings in the background is a very powerful person. If they don’t have to show themselves, I think this also makes them patient. Patience is dangerous in a villain. If they can wait, what are they scheming? How far ahead of our heroes are they? And, if they are “behind the scenes” how close to the hero are they actually positioned? Are they, in fact, the hero’s best friend?

You don’t know, because you don’t fully see the villain and don’t know their thoughts. I love how this is a mind game, and therefore, love to play with it.

  • How did you come up with such a high fantasy world but give it so much modern technology?

This goes back to when I was first envisioning the world. As a child, I saw the Lord of the Rings movies, and that was my first inspiration for my world. That said, my world started off as a medieval place. But as I grew up and got cell phones, loved music, and learned video games, I wanted to bring that into my world too. So I developed a way for magic to be used for their phones and music and every modern thing we might have that my characters also have. Therefore, my world is a thrilling place where the weapons are medieval swords enhanced by magic, but you can also see a rock concert and call your best friend on vacation three kingdoms away.

  • All fantasy stories have a take on magic. What rules do your stories follow?

I like to keep my rules simple. The base is, everyone in my world can do magic, but you have to learn how to use it. Learning magic isn’t easy, so few are masters. Those who are masters are only that way because of hard work and dedication.

  • What currently published books do your stories relate to?

For the amount of magic in my world, I’d relate my stories to Sarah J Maas’s Throne of Glass series.

For the relationship with magical creatures like dragons, I’d relate them to Eragon by Christopher Paolini.

With my stories’ depth, I’d related them to Lord of the Rings, but if it took place in a modern world with cell phones and skyscrapers.

  • When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

When I was eight years old, my sister started reading books to me. Something inside just clicked, and I knew I could do that. I’ve been writing ever since.

  • Who are the authors you’d fan girl over upon meeting?

O goodness. If I had the chance to meet Cassandra Clare, author of all things Shadowhunter, I’d be so giddy. She was my biggest inspiration because of how beautiful her worlds are and the way she writes them.

I’d also love to meet Sabaa Tahir, author of An Ember in the Ashes series. If she’d accept a hug from me and a cup of coffee so we can talk about her books, I’d be thrilled. (And do my best to keep my glee held inside so that I didn’t annoy her. (Smiley face))

  • What would you give up to become a better writer?

As serious as this question is, I’m not sure I have anything left to give up. In high school, the only thing I cared about beyond what I needed to make good grades was writing. My social life was reserved for those who showed an interest in what I wrote. Even dating my husband was because he liked my books. Fast forward to now, and any extra time I have is given to learning the writing craft. Heck, I even lift weights to keep my forearms healthy so I can write 2,000 to 5,000 words a day.

So the short answer: If there is something I need to give up to finish my current story, I will… Is that obsessive…? I’m sure it is. But that’s me, and I’m okay with that.

  • Why do your books make a great escape for young adult fantasy fans?

The world my stories take place in is so beautiful and complex. It is an adventure to explore. So are the characters that live there. They are teenagers just like you but are presented with obstacles I hope you’d never have to face (like an overbearing sorceress-dragon, or a high school mock-battle in the sky). Experiencing how the characters overcome these obstacles is the greatest escape from the mundane.

  • What fuels your desire for creating this fantasy world?

Other than the shear addiction I have towards the rush of a good story? Golly, I’d say it’s my love for my tormented characters and the desire to see them conquer their villains and live in peace.

Feature Article

Get the YA Fantasy book Twins of Shadow by Abby Arthur FREE
And learn why you want to read it

Abby Arthur starts her days unlike anyone else because she gets to portal to a whole new world every morning. A world of magic and dragons. A world of dastardly villains and unwitting heroes. A world that is an escape from reality, living inside her mind. Now, Arthur is sharing this world with fantasy fans everywhere in her debuted story, Twins of Shadow, which is available for FREE on her website, www.AbbyArthur.com

At the age of eight, Arthur decided to start writing books because of the stories her sister read to her. Something inside her clicked when the world of books opened up, and she knew writing was what she was made to do. Fantasy became her niche when Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter came out. Because of them, she fell in love with swords, epic wars, and magic.

As Arthur grew up, the world she escaped to grew with her. It started off as a medieval place and evolved into a modern society. It is now immersed in magic and medieval weapons, but also has cellular devices (powered by crystals, of course), skyscrapers, and rock bands.

When asked what fuels her desire to create this world, she says “It’s the love I have for my tormented characters and the desire to see them conquer their villains and live in peace.”

Arthur’s stories seem to push the boundaries of light and dark, taking on more of a gray tone. She does this because she thinks it makes the stories more realistic and adds depth to them. She has characters who are assassins, but not by choice. Characters who are predominantly thought as good but are hiding something dark.

Arthur also has an interesting idea about her villains. She likes to have them play her characters like puppets.  She does this because, if the villain doesn’t have to show himself, that means he’s patient. Arthur says, “Patience is dangerous in a villain. If they can wait, what are they scheming? How far ahead of our heroes are they? And, if they are ‘behind the scenes’ how close to the hero are they actually positioned? Are they, in fact, the hero’s best friend? … You don’t know, because you don’t fully see the villain and don’t know their thoughts. I love how this is a mind game, and therefore, love to play with it.”

Arthur’s stories are like Sarah J Maas’s Throne of Glass series, when it relates to the amount of magic involved. The depth of her world is as woven as the history of Tolkien’s Middle Earth. But the setting is like modern day USA, with exceptions like swords for guns and dragons for pets. The relationship between magical creatures can also be related to Christopher Paolini’s Eragon series.

The world of Arthur’s stories makes a great escape for young adult fantasy fans. With countless adventures to explore, it is beautiful and complex. So are the characters that live there. They are teenagers just like you, presented with obstacles you’d never want to face (like an overbearing, sorceress dragon, or a high school mock-battle in the sky).

It has been Arthur’s pleasure to share this world with YA fantasy fans everywhere. Get your copy of Abby Arthur’s first book, Twins of Shadow, at www.AbbyArthur.com for FREE when you join her mailing list. You can also purchase it at Amazon.com. Keep your dagger close and your magic closer as you watch the adventure unfold.

Excerpt

TWINS OF SHADOW
By Abby Arthur
Sample Pages

Tarrek

Snakes slither through the grass. Dry, rough scales brush against tall green blades, hiding them from view. My magic counts five. Venom drips from their fangs. Tongues shooting from their mouths seek me, Tarrek Vaydmehn, Crown Prince of Jasikx. The mask I wear over my nose and mouth hides my identity. I’m not here on matters of court. I’m here on secret business—and not by choice.

Standing in the center of an open field, I have a bow in one hand and arrows in the other. Magic spins around me, in vain, to hold my invisibility. Bending light and dark only works on those who have eyes to see, like the man controlling the snakes. He’s running on the edge of the field, using a staff to deflect needles shooting out of the shadows behind him. He’s my target, a Jäyûn with the gift to control snakes. His staff skills are a surprise, but mortal. No magic is involved there.

The needles are from my twin brother, Albree, a Jäyûn who can walk in the shadows. Let him take down the man. I’d rather deal with the snakes. Perhaps by facing them, the man can get away. I always hope my targets run to a place I can never find them. It’d be better for us both.

The snakes’ tongues nip through the energy around me, bringing me back to the situation at hand. One lunges. I drop my powers, since they’re useless in this fight. I snap my bow in a flash. An arrow shoots through the creature’s mouth. It falls dead.

Three more strike. I have four arrows left in my hand, so I fire three within two seconds. Two snakes die like the first. The last I merely clip. I spin out of his way, but the final snake lunges and devours my calve.

I scream. Its fangs dig deep, its venom dripping into me. Before I can think, I draw a dagger and chop off its head—which remains stuck to my leg. The other snake strikes again. I move to slice it, but a hand materializes out of the shadows and three needles shoot through the snake’s eyes. Another hand appears with a dagger and stakes the creature’s head into the ground.

“That went well,” Albree says as he forms his entire figure in a crouch before me. He’s cloaked in black. A mask like mine covers his face. A purple eye stares at me, the other is hidden behind his hair.

“You could’ve been sooner,” I say and sink to my knees. I pry the snake head out of my leg.

“You know how the spell works. I couldn’t just let him go.”

Indeed, I do. The spell from the dragon runs through my veins like this venom. It controls us, makes the princes of Jasikx her personal assassins.

“But he did get away,” I say. The spell pulls at my chest, beckoning me to follow the man. Bring him to me, it demands. Alive.

“Someone jumped him out of here,” Albree says, his tone flat. “He has powerful friends, it would seem. We’ll continue this another day.”

Because we have no choice but to fulfil the mission. The spell will drive us crazy if we don’t.

My heart’s drumming, and my head’s starting to spin as the venom claws at my calf. I hiss and pull up my pant leg. My veins are turning green and popping out a little.

“Here.” Albree takes a flask from under his cloak. “Drink this. It’ll slow the venom.”

“From Csharynn?” I ask as I reach for it.

Albree tilts his head. The only brow I can see is lifted. “The dragon knew what she sent us after.”

“Of course she did.” I pull my mask down and take a swig. A dry burn grinds down my throat. My nose scrunches and my lips pull with a grimace. It burns in my stomach too, then through my veins. Even though I can’t feel anyone else around, I pull my mask back up.

“Come on.” Albree holds out a hand. “Let’s find someone to heal you.”

“Ever thought of just letting me die?”

“And leave me alone with the mission? You’re crazy. Besides, what would Dad say if I brought you home dead?”

I chuckle, though it lacks humor, and take his hand. “Maybe I’d be the nudge he needs to kick Csharynn out of our lands.”

My brother’s purple eye darkens. “It would take more than your death to get rid of her.”

Albree grips my hand tightly and suddenly everything’s black.