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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Character Interview from Breath of Angel by Karyn Henley

Today I'd like to welcome Karyn Henley, author of Breath of Angel. Karyn stopped by to share with us a character interview with Iona, one of the novice priestesses from the world within her novel. Read my review here.  Let's get started!

Breath of Angel (The Angeleon Circle)

1. In Breath of Angel, the world’s fate rests on the shoulders of a young priestess Melaia as she  finds herself caught in an epic battle between earthbound angels and immortal humans. Iona,  you are a fourteen-year old novice priestess. What do you think the advantages/disadvantages  of living in an immortal body would be like some of the characters from the book?

    I think an immortal body sounds wonderful when you first look at it. Think of all the good you could do. I’m a priestess with skills of healing. I could help so many people. But then I think about the people I can’t help. How many times could I watch people die? If my friends and family were not immortal, I would eventually lose them. I might even be tempted to stop allowing myself to get emotionally involved with anyone, because of the certainty of grieving their loss someday. So I don’t know. I have mixed feelings about it.

2. There were a lot of intense events that occurred in Breath of Angel. Was there one scene in particular that was the most emotional for you?

    Yes, but it’s hard to even think about without tears. You see, Melaia, Nuri, and Peron are priestesses I’ve grown up with, and we’re like sisters. What happened . . . well, you’ll have to read about it, but I could hardly bear it. I would have taken Peron’s place in the blink of an eye, but it wasn’t possible. I don’t know if things will ever be the same.

3. Iona, can you talk to us about what you feared the most during the events of Breath of Angel  and how that fear motivated your choices?

    I was most afraid of what would happen when we were taken by the hawkman to be concubines. Being the oldest (after Melaia), I felt I could bear it even though I would hate it. But my heart broke for Nuri and Peron. I would do anything to spare them. So I tried to be strong, to be the comforting voice and keep everyone’s courage up. But inside, I felt like shriveling up and blowing away.

4. What is the most surprising thing you learned about angels during the course of your  interactions with them?

    The most surprising thing was that not all angels have wings. I guess I thought they all flew. In a way, they do, because they are forms of light and speed through the air. But since the Tree has been destroyed, they’re trapped in their human forms and look like normal people. I also thought angels would command and direct our decisions, but it turns out they don’t interfere in human will. They quietly counsel and suggest, but it is usually we who make the decisions.

5. Melaia often had mixed feelings about important choices to be made in Breath of Angel. Why  do you think she had a hard time struggling with her feelings—such as whom she could trust,  issues with forgiveness and most importantly, the awareness of her destiny?

    We were trained as priestesses to do what’s right, but what’s right seemed so easy to discern when we were in Navia at the temple simply doing the duties assigned to us. Melaia had always been told that she would be the high priestess of Navia, so to us, her future was assured, her life lined out for her. When that changed, our secure world turned head over heels. None of us had experience with people who were intentionally deceitful toward us. Yes, we knew there were people like that, but we were sheltered by the temple and our reputation. I guess we hid from the world behind our priestess’s robes.

6. Melaia was raised in the temple by the high priestess. How do you think your time as a priestess shaped who you and Melaia became?

    First of all, we were taught to work. So we’re not afraid of hard work. We were taught to care for people and to live a life of integrity. People depend on us, so duty is very important to us. I don’t think we’ll ever stop caring about people. We’ll leap in to help wherever help is needed. But I think we’ve come to see that the world is a lot bigger and wider and more complicated than we thought it was. Decisions between what’s good and what’s bad are easy to make. But what about deciding between two goods? Worse, how do you decide when either way you decide, the outcome seems bad? That’s when it really gets hard.

7. In Breath of Angel, there is a legend that differs from what is actually true. Without giving too  much away, can you discuss this with us, particularly why legends tend to be different from  actual historical events and how they can shape people’s beliefs and actions?

    I’ve come to see legends as stories based on something true that happened long ago. In our world, most legends have been handed down for generations by storytellers around the hearthfire or campfire. Of course, storytellers add some details and forget others. Eventually the story is exaggerated and embellished so that in one kingdom it’s told one way and in another kingdom it’s told another way. Some stories get scribed on a scroll, and then the telling doesn’t change as much. Still, I’ve learned not to rely on the details of a legend, but to look for the truths that lie under the story, for it’s those common truths that are most valuable.

8. What do you hope readers will take away from Breath of Angel above all else?

    I hope readers will see that there’s hope even when you feel like everything has gone against you. Keep trying. Keep hoping. Keep moving forward. You can push through the hard places and get to the beauty and peace that’s on the other side. The beauty and peace are there even when you can’t see them.

  Breath of Angel (The Angeleon Circle)

Reading level: Young Adult 
Paperback: 272 pages 
Publisher: WaterBrook Press (June 21, 2011)
Download sample chapter HERE

The stranger’s cloak had fallen back, and with it, a long, white, blood-stained wing.
When Melaia, a young priestess, witnesses the gruesome murder of a stranger in the temple courtyard, age-old legends recited in song suddenly come to life. She discovers wings on the stranger, and the murderer takes the shape of both a hawk and a man.

Angels. Shape-shifters. Myths and stories—until now.

Melaia finds herself in the middle of a blood feud between two immortal brothers who destroyed the stairway to heaven, stranding angels in the earthly realm. When the feud turns violent and Melaia becomes a target, she finds refuge with a band of angels attempting to restore the stairway. But the restoration is impossible without the repayment of an ancient debt—the “breath of angel, blood of man,” a payment that involves Melaia’s heart, soul, and destiny.

Karyn Henley

Award-winning author Karyn Henley has written over 100 titles, which include a mix of children's books and articles, parent-teacher books, articles, and curricula, and preschool musicals and CD's/DVD's of original music for children. An accomplished songwriter, Karyn has been a Dove Award nominee, and received a regional Emmy Award as Music Composer for a Christmas television special. She has traveled worldwide speaking to parents and teachers and entertaining children and their families in storytelling/active movement sessions and concerts. Most of her work has been in the area of spiritual development. She is best known as the author of the original version of The Beginner's Bible, which during the fifteen years it was in print (1989-2004), sold over 5 million copies and was translated into 17 languages.

A graduate of Abilene Christian University (BSEd), Karyn received a Master's of Fine Arts degree from Vermont College of Fine Arts in 2004. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee.
Official Website

Check out the Teen Book Scene for more tour stops along the way.
You can also read my review of Breath of Angel.

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