20 Jul 2015

Restless Earth and Blessing Sky by Emily Mah

Restless Earth and Blessing Sky by Emily Mah is a YA/NA high fantasy series.  This is book 1 and 2 of The Sky Chariots Saga. The tour runs July 20 - 31 with reviews, author interviews, guest posts and excerpts. Check out the tour page for the full schedule.

For over a thousand years, the Tanoa have relied on their Earth Shamen to bring rich harvests, temper stone tools and weapons, and imbue pottery with strength like metal. Now, though, the bloodline has dwindled to one Shaman, Tuwa, who is trapped high in the mountains, holding bedrock together to prevent a volcanic eruption while the rest of her people flee to safety. The only way to save the village is for her to sacrifice herself and buy them the time they need to evacuate.But her grandson, Ahote, refuses to abandon her to die. Rather than do as she asks—marry and bear daughters who might inherit her gift—he sets out to find the one person who might be able to save Tuwa’s life.Kasha is a Tanoa girl in who lives in Solace, a city of the pale-skinned Andalanos. If the Engineers Guild ever discovers her gender or race, they could order her execution—for in violation of the King’s law, Master Engineer Seamus trained Kasha as his apprentice. She is a genius in all things mechanical and earned her master certification when only fourteen years old. Since Seamus’s death, she has been discreetly working his job as the City Engineer.She knows there is no machine or technology that can save Tuwa. In order to complete this task, Kasha must invent a vehicle unlike anything the world has ever seen, and risk exposure and death in the process.
Blessing SkyBlessingSky
Master Engineer Kasha lives in hiding. As a Tanoa and a woman, she has no legal right to her title, and risks expulsion or even execution if the Guild discovers her identity. For over a year she has served as the City Engineer of the Andalano city of Solace, home to the Winged Riders and their pegasus mounts.Now, though, her people need her. The last of their Earth Shamen is trapped in the mountains, holding back a volcanic eruption so that the rest of her people can escape. It is a job for only the greatest of all engineers, and that happens to be Kasha.But when her kinsman, Ahote, breaks the most sacred law of the Winged Riders, an alliance with him means certain death. Kasha must work alone to solve the most difficult engineering problem of all time before the summer months are done and winter comes to claim the life of the Shaman and the hope of her people.

Hi Emily! Can you tell us a little about your latest book?

Sure! The Kingdom of Andalia is a fantasy kingdom in the tradition of Tolkein and Martin, based on Medieval Europe, but living within its borders is another race, the Tanoa. They are based on the Native American pueblo dwellers here in New Mexico, and they are second class citizens at best.
Kasha is a Tanoa girl who lives in an Andalano city, and is in a very tough situation. Against the law, the City Engineer took her on as an apprentice and trained her up, never bothering to disclose to the guild that she was both female and Tanoa – neither of which are allowed to learn trades. When the City Engineer died, he left her to work his job, which she does in secret. She’s only fifteen years old, but she’s a prodigy, the greatest engineer in Andalano history.
The Tanoa have a tough situation that they need an engineer to solve, and the only engineer who cares is Kasha, but helping her own people means she risks exposure, and even death.
Oh, and there are flying horses too. But those come into the story later!

What inspired you to write it?
I’m always writing something. In this case, I’d just read my best friends PhD dissertation on Navajo language evolution. It was full of all kinds of insights about cultures coming together and finding ways to coexist – or failing to find ways sometimes.

How did you come up with the idea for the cover?
It’s a pretty literal cover. Kasha and a flying horse in front of some rugged mountains. Pretty much shows you the characters and setting.

If it was made into a movie, who would you like to play the main characters?
Unfortunately, there aren’t many Native American actresses, so I’d want to hold auditions to find ones to play both Kasha and her cousin Ahote.

Is it part of a series or is it a stand-alone novel?
It’s part of the Sky Chariots Saga, so yes, part of a series.

Where is the novel set and why did you choose to set it there?
I made up the Kingdom of Andalia because I thought it’d be a fun twist on the northern New Mexico cultures I’ve lived around my whole life. Each one was made more fantastical, and they have castles and flying horses.

What is it about this genre that appeals to you so much?
I think fantasy and science fiction are just in my blood. I’ve always loved them and always wanted to write them. It’s been that way for so long, I couldn’t say why it is.

What made you want to become an author?
I’ve always wanted to be an author, since the day I knew I could ever be anything.

How do you come up with character names?
I use a lot of baby name websites in general. In this case, the main characters names are all Hopi, and I chose Hopi names to mix it up a little bit. Hopi are not Tanoan, but they and Tanoan speakers share some superficial similarities in how they build their homes and such. I didn’t want it to look like I was trying to copy one Native American tribe exactly, but rather that these races were inspired by Native America in general.

Name one of your all-time favourite books?

King of the Wind, by Marguerite Henry. I used to read it over and over and over again. Loved that book!

Who, or what, inspires you?
Given I’ve always wanted to be a writer, I’ve practiced being inspired by anything and everything. If you make yourself write every day, your brain figures out how to extract inspiration from all kinds of sources.

Where is your favourite place to write?
I don’t have the luxury of favorite places and such. I’m a full time mom, so I write wherever and whenever I have time!

What is your favourite movie that was based on a book?
The Neverending Story, even though Michael Ende, the author, didn’t like it, apparently, I think it’s one of the best examples of how to turn a book into a movie. It’s so very faithful to the story, which wasn’t easy to do in that case.

Name two of your favourite authors.
That’s always such a hard question! Stephanie Burgis would be one – she’s fresh in my mind because I just beta-read a novelette by her. I’ve loved almost everything I’ve read by Alexander McCall-Smith, but it’s been a while since I’ve read one. Too many other books in the world!

Tell us a random fact about yourself.
I’m half-Chinese and a quarter-Italian. Despite this, I cannot cook worth anything.

Who would play you in the movie about your life?
I seriously doubt anyone would ever make a movie about my life!

Tell us an interesting fact about where you live.
The house I live in is about 100 years old and has adobe, or mud brick walls, and big logs or vigas that hold up the ceiling. I love it. It’s so New Mexican.

What are your (writing) plans for the future?
To keep on working!

Tell us one thing that's on your bucket list.
I’m not a bucket list kind of a person. I prefer to find ways to enjoy what I’ve got and what I already get to do, than to set goals beyond that. As it is, I’ve had a very varied life already. I’m not ready to die yet, but if I had to, I couldn’t say that I hadn’t lived a full life.

Favourite myth / fairytale?
Probably the Coyote legends. A local storyteller, Joe Hayes, used to tell them to us when he’d visit our school, or be working at a local event. He always brought them to life.

Who/What did you want to be when you were a kid?
A writer!

Emily writes as both Emily Mah (for science fiction and fantasy) and E.M. Tippetts (for chick lit). Her short stories have appeared in Analog Science Fiction and Fact, The Black Gate, and anthologies like The Dragon and the Stars, Shanghai Steam, and The Change: Tales of Downfall and Rebirth.  Her E.M. Tippetts novels have been on the Amazon Top 100 numerous times, and her novel, Someone Else's Fairytale was semi-finalist for the Best Indie Book of the Year -  Kindle Book Review, and a runner up in Romance for the Best of the Independent Book Awards - eFestival of Words. She is a graduate of the Clarion West Writer's Workshop for Science Fiction and Fantasy and Viable Paradise Writers Workshop, and she often teaches the unit on self-publishing at the Taos Toolbox Writers Workshop.When she is not writing or chasing small children, she manages E.M. Tippetts Book Designs, her company which offers formatting, cover design, and editing services to authors and publishers.

GiveawayThree (3) winners will receive signed ebooks of Restless Earth and Blessing Sky by Emily Mah
INT. Ends Aug. 5th
Prizing provided by the author, hosts are not responsible in any way.

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This event was organized by CBB Book Promotions.


  1. Fantastic interview! I LOVED these books and really felt like they were based on Native Americans (the Tanoans) and this answered those questions. Thank you so much for hosting a tour stop!

  2. Thanks so much for this interview! Great questions :-)


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