Today marks the official kickoff of the TUYO Book Tour presented by Storytellers On Tour, and throughout the week we’ve got a great lineup helping us spotlight this incredible Epic Fantasy tale! TUYO is the first installment of Rachel Neumeier’s Tuyo series, and perfect for those who love and appreciate classic fantasy tales. I’m very much looking forward to seeing what our hosts have to say in the coming days, so be sure to keep an eye out for some incredible content.
Rachel was kind enough to stop by to chat about what led to the creation of this book, her favorite characters she’s written, and what lies ahead for her, so keep scrolling for the tour schedule, more info about the book, and the interview.
For the duration of this book tour TUYO is on sale for $2.99, so go pick yourself up a copy!
We’ve enlisted a group of wonderful and talented bloggers and Bookstagrammers to help us feature TUYO. This is what we have going on, so make sure to check out each and every one throughout the week for some brilliant content, including reviews and more.
AUGUST 30TH–THE WELCOMING
Whispers & Wonder
SEPTEMBER 5TH–THE ENCORE
For more about this tour visit Storytellers On Tour.
Raised a warrior in the harsh winter country, Ryo inGara has always been willing to die for his family and his tribe. When war erupts against the summer country, the prospect of death in battle seems imminent. But when his warleader leaves Ryo as a sacrifice — a tuyo — to die at the hands of their enemies, he faces a fate he never imagined.
Ryo’s captor, a lord of the summer country, may be an enemy . . . but far worse enemies are moving, with the current war nothing but the opening moves in a hidden game Ryo barely glimpses, a game in which all his people may be merely pawns. Suddenly Ryo finds his convictions overturned and his loyalties uncertain. Should he support the man who holds him prisoner, the only man who may be able to defeat their greater enemy? And even if he does, can he persuade his people to do the same?
Meet The Author
Rachel Neumeier earned a master’s degree in ecology before deciding she preferred writing fiction to doing research. She now lives in southern Missouri, dividing her time between writing, reading, and gardening, always assisted in all three activities by a lot of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. She has been writing young adult and adult fantasy for twelve years. This is her sixteenth book.
Thanks so much for stopping by for a chat, Rachel. Since we already have your official bio, care to tell us about yourself in ten words or less?
I’m a hermit by nature, but I’m surrounded by dogs.
What’s a day of writing like in the shoes of Rachel? Do you have any quirks, routines, or rituals?
If getting up super early is a quirk, then that’s an important quirk for me. My best, most energetic writing time is early morning, so ideally I’m up before five, have taken all the dogs for walks before six thirty, and I’m about ready to flip open my laptop by 7:30AM. I’m usually hopeless between two and five in the afternoon, except Tuyo was a nonstop project. I could work on it productively at any time of day. That’s very unusual for me.
Give us an idea of how TUYO came to fruition.
I literally wrote the entire 195,000 word first draft in forty days. I’ve never done that before and doubt I’ll ever do that again, but it’s an intense story that pulled me through it from front to back without taking time to breathe.
Can you share with us something about TUYO that isn’t in the blurb?
I hope this isn’t too much of a spoiler, but “sorcery” in Tuyo is actually much more about telepathy and mind control than about summoning demons or throwing fireballs.
Was there any specific research you’ve done or inspiration you’ve pulled from for TUYO?
Nearly the whole plot of Tuyo was handed to me on a platter by a conversation on my blog about whether it’s possible for a powerful telepath, capable of mind control, to be non-evil. I argued that although some authors seem to think their characters are good people, actually those characters are way too casual about rearranging people’s minds, so there were zero examples of this kind of powerful telepathic character in SFF. (Now there is at least one.)
What comes first, the plot or the characters?
For Tuyo, characters and plot appeared synergistically almost from the first moment. I suppose the two primary characters stepped on stage a fraction before the plot wrapped around them, but it was close.
Do you have a favorite character you’ve written? If so, who? What about them sets them apart from all the others?
Well, I have about fifteen novels and collections out now, so by this time I’ve got a fair number of favorite characters. In Tuyo – it’s tough to pick, but probably Aras is my favorite. He’s at once one of the kindest and probably the most ruthless character I’ve ever written. But, let me see … Neil, from my debut novel The City in the Lake, is a favorite of mine. So is Buguchren from Land of Burning Sands. So is the Wolf Duke from Winter of Ice and Iron. I guess I should pause here and just say I have a weakness for ruthless characters.
I like clever, competent female characters, the sort who accept responsibility and do what has to be done, so Oressa from The Mountain of Kept Memory and Kehera from Winter of Ice and Iron are also favorites even though they’re nothing alike. Oh, Tehre in Land of Burning Sands was an enormously fun character to write. She’s a genius with a certain kind of physical science, and since I’m not, I had to do plenty of research for just about every word she speaks.
I recently tried to pick a favorite character from my Black Dog series and just gave up. It’s a continuing series because I really like a lot of the characters and I like being able to focus on Natividad, who’s responsible and earnest and somewhat impulsive, and then on her brother Miguel, who’s almost as smart as he thinks he is, and then on bitter, angry Carissa, and so on. I think by now about a dozen characters have taken an important point-of-view role in some novel or story in that series, though of course not nearly that many in any one book!
What do you think makes a good story?
Although I can intellectually appreciate a book that’s got a clever style or plot, I personally have to be emotionally engaged with at least one character in order to really be absorbed by the story. That’s what I like best, so I’m primarily a “character reader.”
Is there one particular book you hold dearest to your heart?
Of mine? Tuyo, no question about it. Ever? I’m not sure I could even narrow it down to a top hundred. I re-read favorites a lot, and return again and again to literally dozens of books, including those by Patricia McKillip and Robin McKinley and Martha Wells and Andrea K Höst and Lois McMaster Bujold and Gillian Bradshaw and Guy Gavriel Kay … this is starting to look like a top ten list, so let me add three more authors whose work is dearest to my heart.
Okay, Nicola Griffith, Sharon Shinn, and … I could add another ten, but the list would start to get ridiculous … let me stop with CJ Cherryh.
Writing can be a stressful pursuit. Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?
Get a dog.
I’m not really serious, because of course you should only get a dog if you like dogs. But my dogs keep me from shutting out the world and focusing too much on my writing. Even at my most obsessive, they make me go for long walks in the woods and at the park.
Yes, I like cats too and generally I’ve had both, but it’s the dogs that get me out of the house.
Let me see, practical advice … well, everyone is different, but personally, I suggest that you never read reviews of your work that are below four stars. It’s highly motivating to read good reviews. It’s demotivating to read negative reviews, so just don’t.
Ok, let’s see what kind of person you truly are.
Coffee or Tea?
Um, actually, ice water or hot chocolate. I dislike all coffee, tea, and soda. I do need caffeine – it cuts down on otherwise chronic headaches – so I actually take a caffeine tablet first thing in the morning. Too bad I don’t like coffee!
Winter or Summer?
No no no, spring and fall! As far as I’m concerned, in a properly run world, we’d have five months of April, a brief hot summer, five months of October, and a short winter with plenty of snow.
Physical books or Ebooks?
Ebooks all the way! Now that I need reading glasses, it’s a chore to read a paper book. I love being able to resize the print for an ebook. And when driving, I love audiobooks. By the time you read this, an audio edition of Tuyo should be out or nearly out. That will be the first audiobook I’ve brought out myself, so it’s kind of exciting!
Mountains or Oceans?
Both, either, but I really love Big Sky country. Not that I live in the Great Plains, but I love land that rolls out forever.
Beer or Wine?
Ah, as with coffee and tea, I honestly dislike both beer and wine. A friend who didn’t believe this once set me up with a wide variety of both and made me try a sip of each and nope, everything ranged from awful to REALLY awful.
Books or Movies?
Books, all the way. I hardly ever watch a movie. However, The Hunt for Red October was much better as a movie than as a book.
Cowboys or Aliens?
Aliens, especially extremely well-drawn aliens, like the ones in CJ Cherryh’s science fiction.
Pie or Cake?
Rural or Urban?
Rural! I live literally in the middle of the woods. If you look off my back deck, you are looking into a state park. I have no neighbors in sight. When I occasionally stay with my brother in Chicago, I look at his neighborhood and think, how can you possibly, possibly stand it?
It’s true that if I want Indian food, I have to make it myself. But I like to cook so that’s no problem. I have half a dozen Indian cookbooks and every now and then I drive an hour and a half to a global grocery store.
Work hard or Play hard?
Both. When I’m writing, I work hard. When I’m not writing, I’m taking a complete break from my laptop.
Thank you again for taking the time have a chat, Rachel. Tell us what lies ahead for you!
Lots more books, I’m sure! By the time you read this, I expect the second book of the Tuyo series will be out. I trust the third will be ready to go some time next year. I’ve also got … let me see … four other projects I’m either working on now or will probably be working on in the near-ish future.
That’s all I got for ya! Be sure to keep an eye on the official Tuyo tour page over at Storytellers On Tour (https://www.storytellersontour.online/2020/07/30/tour-schedule-tuyo-by-rachel-neumeier/) to see what the other bloggers and Bookstagrammers have to say!