I had the honor to have asked some questions to the author of Assassin’s Heart, Sarah Ahiers! Thank you so much, Ms. Sarah, for agreeing and taking up some time to answer my questions! I am anticipating the second installment! Thank you! THANK YOU!
- Who or What was your inspiration for writing your novel, Assassin’s Heart?
It was a combination of 2 things, really. I’d been reading some YA where the main character has like a single person that is super important to them. Like their whole world. And then that person would die, but the main character wouldn’t overly grieve (usually because there was a new love interest in their life) and it just didn’t ring true for me. And I love to write and read about grief so I wanted to write a story where a character’s grief follows her through the whole book, and irrevocably changes her.
And then I was also thinking about what a world would be like if murder was not only common place and accepted, but also welcomed. Mash those two ideas together and here we are!
- Where did you get the idea of a Family like a guild of sort-of, is worshipping and honoring a God? It is delightful and refreshing at the same time, knowing that there’s new and amazing concept in the Fantasy Genre.
Well, I’m a big fan of mafia families, and the idea that you can belong to a group that’s both related to you by blood but also by action and creed. And I think religion can be a strong influence on people’s lives, so it seemed logical that these Families would be formed in service of a god
- I just need to ask this. How did you came up with their names? Oleander, Alessio, Rafeo, Valentino, Dante, Marcello –those names are manually crafted and it looks like it taken up some time to think of their names.
Some of them I made up, some of them are Italian names or Italian names that maybe I just tweaked a little. Oleander is a flower that can be poisonous but I am a big fan and true believer of nicknames so I knew it would be shortened to Lea. Usually though, I just know what kind of sound I need for a name and I search or run through options until something just sticks. I love naming main characters. But sometimes naming side characters can get tedious after a while.
- How did you come up with the title, Assassin’s Heart? It’s pretty unique, interesting and fascinating. I don’t trust when the two words like “Assassin” and “Heart” is in the same phrase as much as the title but it is really good!
I actually didn’t! The original title was changed because it could have represented any sort of book and we wanted something that would definitely make it clear that it was a fantasy novel. I think Assassin’s Heart definitely does that!
- I like the idea of having nine Families in a kingdom — which is in the Lovero, will we be seeing more of the Families of the future? I want to discover and to seek for other Families too. I wanted to know them and to see what’s unique about them comparing to Da Vias and to Saldanas.
Yes! There will definitely be more Family drama in the future. I wish I had time to write novels for each of the Families. The lesser Families especially I think could be interesting.
- While reading Assassin’s Heart, I could feel that there’s a vibe of a European culture or somewhat near from there – what or who influences you to write Assassin’s Heart like the way you wrote it? I loved it. It feels like I’m on a medieval period. Like, I stumbled upon and teleported in a different era.
It definitely has a pseudo-renaissance Italy feel to it, which was what I was going for. I was lucky enough to visit Italy when I was in high school so I drew on a lot of my memories for the setting
- As we all know, I don’t know but maybe?, that we are lacking male protagonist, so, why write on the perspective of a female protagonist and why a female protagonist aside from being a female author?
I actually more often write male protagonists. But this story just seemed that it belonged to a girl, to Lea. I wanted to write a girl who was strong, but who also was feminine. She could like pretty things and still be a badass.
- How many books should I anticipate with Assassin’s Heart? Will it be a duology? A trilogy? Or more? I definitely want this book at least for more than four books.
Well, another one for sure! After that we’ll see 😉
- The cover of the Assassin’s Heart, I assume, was the symbol of the Saldanas, will your readers seeing the symbols of the other eight families on your next book? And a map! A map of the Kingdom of Lovero would be great as a book end of the second book, will there be?
There will be a map, actually! It’s being finalized right now and it looks really cool. I haven’t seen the cover of the second book yet, so I guess we’ll see what happens
- You wrote a strong female protagonist which is good and I am quite fond of Oleander since, she was not the typical protagonist I usually encounter. I like her guts and fragility. I usually hate female protagonist because they seem choose the wrong decisions or the worst ones but Lea is good with herself and confident. How did you mold her personality between her journeys?
There were a couple things I had to keep in mind when writing and revising. I needed Lea to go through the process of grief and mourning, which I paid especially close attention to in my revision. I also wanted her to be strong, but not infallible. People make mistakes all the time and there are consequences and I wanted Lea’s mistakes to have consequences as well. But mistakes is how people, and characters, grow.
- I search the two main Gods that I believe had an important role on your book which are Safraella and Daedara – I don’t get any results or I don’t have the researcher skills to look upon them deeply on the web. So, how did you came up with their names and with their respective powers? What are your influences on including the Gods on your book? Will we be seeing them on your next book? Will there be more Gods to anticipate with?
The gods are completely made up. I wanted the gods to be literal, that is something that is real and actually can change things in the world. I’m also a huge fan of non-human or monstrous gods. I think it’s easy to worship a god when they’re a beautiful human living in the sky, but it becomes a much different game when your god maybe isn’t beautiful. Or human. And asks dark things of you in return for real, actual rewards. All of that is interesting to me, and so it tends to crop up in my writing.
Safraella definitely plays a part in the next book. And there are more gods as well, with a lot of focus on the travelers and their three gods.
- I see that you focus an important subject of your book and that is family. Why is that?
Almost every novel I’ve written has had themes of family in them. This one is more overt than many of the others, but I suspect it is an eternal theme for me, something that I’ll always return to. I’m really close with my family. And I think really, in the end, what really matters in our lives is how we relate to other people and who take with us along the way.
- There are a lot of genres, so why did you choose to write a Young Adult, Fantasy Novel?
I’ve always written genre fiction when I’ve had the choice, whether it’s fantasy, horror or something else. I think it’s because I live in the real world and so I don’t particularly want to write about it. But I suppose some day that could change.
And I loved being a teenager and a kid. I think writing about teens is a lot of fun. It comes with a lot of challenges but also a lot of fantastic conflicts. And mostly I just write the books that I would like to read.
- I always asked this question, then, Name your top 5 favorite foods!
I love food, so picking only 5 will be hard but let’s go with:
Sushi – specifically maki or rolls
A really good baked potato
- Can you reveal to me the title of the second installment? Pretty please?
It’s still in the works, unfortunately. But once I know, I’ll announce it for sure!
- And for the last question, what is your favorite quote from your book, Assassin’s Heart?
I have a few, actually, but one of my favorites is:
I showed him my conviction in my eyes, so he’d understand I could murder him with no more than a flick of my wrist. That his blood across my face would be like the spray of the sea to me, wet and warm and nothing more.