Monday, March 28, 2011

Come Read About an Epic Tale of Love, Romance and Fantasy by Rachel Haimowitz from Her Book Entitled "Counterpoint"

Scribal Love Welcomes Rachel Haimowitz

Rachel Haimowitz is an author of M/M erotic romance.  Her M/M epic fantasy, Counterpoint: Book I of Song of the Fallen, is available from Guiltless Pleasure Publishing.

How did you come up with the title?

As with most titles for me, this was a pretty painstaking process. Music plays a huge role in the book—it’s both the foundation of elven magic and the filter through which elves perceive the world—so I knew I wanted the title to reflect that. I made a huge list of musical terms, and wavered between a good half a dozen of them, but “Counterpoint” kept standing out as the one truest to the story, which is very much about two individuals and two peoples who are in opposition to each other but also deeply linked together. 

What is this book about?  And what genre is this book in?

Counterpoint is an epic fantasy adventure wrapped around a gay love story. It’s found traction among fans of both M/M romance and fantasy, including a surprising number (to me, at least) of straight men. 

In this world, elves and humans have been enemies for three centuries, and the humans are fighting (and losing) a war of survival against a race of dark beasts whose creation they blame on the elves. Ayden is an elven border guard, bitter and solitary but for his younger sister, whom he loves more than anything. She gets captured by humans, and in trying to free her, he gets captured as well. They’re both presented as gifts to Freyrík Farr, the crown prince of the human border province. 

Things sort of go downhill there for a little while, but Ayden and Freyrík end up teaching each other a lot about their respective cultures and the danger (and foolishness) of prejudice and preconception. Hatred turns first into grudging respect, then affection, then love, all against the backdrop of a coming surge of dark beasts upon Farr and an intolerance among the Farr people that puts not just Ayden’s life in danger, but Freyrík’s as well. 

Who is/are the main characters?  And why did you choose them?

Freyrík and Ayden are definitely the stars of this show. In a way, they’re the best and worst of their respective worlds, and also represent some of the largest and smallest thinking: Freyrík as the fair, noble, open-minded ruler wearing the weight of an empire on his shoulders; and Ayden as the bitter, sarcastic, closed-off, xenophobic soldier concerned primarily for his sister’s safety. They’re both deeply wounded in their own way, but again, on completely different scales—Freyrík by the slow but seemingly inevitable death of humanity, and Ayden by the shocking and honorless death of his father at human hands. They make for lovely contrasts all around, and in almost all cases, they teach each other how to meet in the middle, how to balance love with duty, the personal with the greater good. 

What is the coolest or best part about your book?  (Any Favorite scenes, the world-building etc.

For me, that’d be the elfsong. The primary sense through which elves perceive the world is hearing (whereas humans rely first and foremost on sight). Everything has its own song, some simple (like water), some insanely complex (like people). This is the foundation of elven magic, since elves can interact with and manipulate the songs around them. For instance, they can draw water from the air by untwining the airsong from the dewsong; or alight a pile of leaves by speeding up the leaves’ song until they burst into flames. In a way it’s just simple physics—the faster molecules move, the hotter they become—but the elves don’t understand it that way; they understand it as a function of music. They can also “hear” emotions in others once they’ve learned to recognize how things like sadness or excitement or joy affect the tone or tempo or timbre of a person’s song, which makes it very difficult to lie to (or sneak up on) an elf. 

Do you have a favorite character in the book?  If so, why?

Definitely Ayden for me. He’s so snarky, and despite being 802 years old, he has his childish moments. But he’s fierce and loyal and full of surprises, and there’s quite a bit of hidden depth beneath the armor he puts on for others.

Is this book part of a series?  If so? What can we expect in future books?  

Yes. The second book releases this fall, and will conclude the story of Ayden and Freyrík. But it’s not the last book I have planned in this world, and hopefully over the next few years readers will get to see both a younger and an older Ayden than the one they knew from Counterpoint.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in Counterpoint?

Actually, no. I’m very pleased with it, thanks in large part to my amazing editor at Guiltless Pleasure, Tal Valante, who rooted out issues from the macro structure to the smallest line detail.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

Writing is a constant learning process. I certainly learned to become a better writer through my experiences working with my editor; she had a way of charting (literally!) the flow of beats in a scene that got right to the heart of any problems you might have with it. Her technique was a totally new way of looking at things for me, and helped me to evaluate a scene less on gut feeling and more with clear logic. 

I also did quite a bit of research for the book, so I picked up a lot of useless trivia.  :)

Do you have a publisher?  And if so, why did you choose them?  

Counterpoint is published with Guiltless Pleasure Publishing. They’re a new house, and though writers are generally warned to avoid new houses for at least three years, Tal presented such a compelling business plan—including marketing support and the most brilliant editing I’ve ever seen—to entice me in. I haven’t regretted that decision for a single second, either artistically or financially. 

What are the current writing projects that you are working on?

It’s a pretty long list, although Crescendo: Book II of Song of the Fallen is taking up most of my time these days. I have a full list of projects in all their various stages of conception and completion at my website, here:

Do you write full time?  If not, do you hope to do so one day?

Yes and no. I don’t write novels full time, but my day job is writing and editing for other people, so I suppose in a way that is writing full time. I do very much hope to be a full-time novelist one day, and though I only have two novels out so far, my experience with those two books has shown me it may well be possible to make a living with it. It probably won’t ever be a particularly lush living, but that’s not so important, especially if I’m getting to do what I love every day.

A quick blurb from Counterpoint:

It is the twilight of mankind. Depleted by generations of war with a dark race, the human kingdoms and their ancient alliance stand on the brink of extinction. The outlands are soaked with the blood of the fallen. The midlands are rotting with decadence and despair.
Elfkind, estranged by past crimes, watches and waits for nature to run its course.

And then the two collide.

Ayden's life has long been guided by two emotions: love for his sister, and hatred of all things human. When he's captured in battle, he must for his sister's sake swallow his pride and endure slavery in the service of a human prince. To his dismay, this close-up view of his enemy is nothing like he expected. Now curiosity and contempt make a battlefield of his soul, even as he struggles to pick up the pieces of his shattered worldview.

Freyrik Farr, Crown Prince of Farr Province, finds his new elven prisoner puzzling. He's always known elves to be beautiful and dangerous, but never has one affected him as deeply as Ayden. Can his life of service to his people leave room for this attraction? Dancing on a dagger's edge between duty and high treason, Freyrik discovers that some choices can change a life, and some an entire world.

Between prejudice, politics, pride, and survival, Ayden and Freyrik must carve a new path, no matter how daunting. For nothing less than the fate of both their peoples rests on the power of their perseverance -- and their love.

Thanks Rachel for dropping by!

You can find Rachel on the web at:

My website is, my blog is (updated M/W/F), and I'm on twitter as @rachelhaimowitz.

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