This week I’m welcoming fantasy mistress Elaine Isaak (aka E.C. Ambrose) to the #NoContact Book Tour! While we all stay inside and stay safe, books have become even more important – and books that include a touch of magic in their adventures are even more welcome. So please read on (or sail off) with Elaine/EC on her latest, The King of Next Week!

Tell us about your book!

My latest release is The King of Next Week, from Guardbridge Books!, It’s a historical fantasy novella about a Civil War veteran who sails from Maine with a load of ice and comes home with a Djinn wife.  The story sprang from a vacation in Phippsburg, Maine, the location of the Popham colony, where the first rigged wooden vessel in North America was built in 1609. The penninsula has a rich history, densely packed into rocky shores, pine forests—and ice ponds.  I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of New Englanders in the 19th century making fortunes by shipping ice to India.  It’s historical, it’s romance. . .three wishes, and a woman who can literally set fires with a touch.  What could possibly go wrong?

Are you working on anything now? Is your process or routine different?

I am putting the finishing touches on The Assassin’s Throne, the third volume in my Bone Guard series of international thrillers—those are a blast to research and to write. I hope to get that book out in September, by which point book one, The Mongol’s Coffin, will be out in audio.  And I have begun researching and brainstorming a historical novel revolving around the technology of the early Greco-Roman period.

The most difficult adjustment for me has been my family being home all the time now. I used to wave goodbye at the door and send my husband off to work, my son off to school (or occasional summer camp). My daughter’s freshman year in college transformed rather abruptly, as did her summer opportunities.  We’ve found a decent balance at this point, but it’s different accomodating other people during the day, when I used to have the house all to myself to write. I think it has ultimately made my process more robust—when I have the time, I try to take full advantage.

Do you think your writing will be changed by this crisis?

The Covid crisis has brought along with it a number of other flashpoints that are making me consider more deeply the kinds of things I want to write about and where my energy is best spent.  I’ve never been a light-and-fluffy kind of writer in any case (my Dark Apostle series is about medieval surgery, and ends in the plague years) so I think this period of deeper contemplation will help me develop more layers—polishing the sparks of joy we’ve come to cherish, as well as being unafraid to face the wells of darkness.

What’s the first thing you’re going to do when we’re free to be social again? 

run away!!!!  Oh, maybe not.  But seriously, I am very much looking forward to being comfortable travelling again. I’ve missed my conventions, and my in-person writing groups, even locally.  And when I do see them, I want to be able to hug.

E. C. Ambrose writes knowledge-inspired adventure fiction including The Dark Apostle series about medieval surgery, The Singer’s Legacy fantasy series as by Elaine Isaak, and the Bone Guard international thrillers as by E. Chris Ambrose. . In the process of researching her books, Elaine learned how to hunt with a falcon, clear a building of possible assailants, and pull traction on a broken limb.  Her short stories have appeared in Fireside, Warrior Women and Fantasy for the Throne, among many others, and she has edited several volumes of New Hampshire Pulp Fiction. A graduate of the Odyssey Writing Workshop, Elaine has returned there to teach, as well as at conventions and writer’s groups across the country. She has judged writing competitions from New Hampshire Literary Idol to the World Fantasy Award.  Elaine dropped out of art school to found her own business.   A former professional costumer and soft sculpture creator, Elaine now works as a part-time adventure guide.  In addition to writing, Elaine creates wearable art employing weaving, dyeing and felting into her unique garments.