Medieval high fantasy has always been my favorite subgenre of fantasy to read, and I knew I wanted to write a story in that world. However, one of my biggest issues with fantasy across all subgenres is the lack of strong female heroines who are also identifiable. I wanted to write a story that was the antithesis of a fairy tale about a damsel in distress – but also didn’t turn my heroine into a superhero.
What is your favorite thing about being an author?
I love hearing from readers about how they relate to my characters. As an author, you spend so much time with your characters – thinking about them, describing them, having them banter with one another – that at a certain point they become almost real to you. When a reader is able to connect with my characters on a deeper level, I feel like I’ve done my job.
What is your least favorite thing about being an author?
That I can’t do it full time! It’s definitely hard to balance being an author with my day job. Writing takes an incredible amount of time, energy and creativity, but it’s my greatest passion. If only I didn’t need sleep!
If you could jump inside the world of your favorite book, who would you be and what would you do?
My current favorite book – well, series of books, really – is the Kate Daniels urban fantasy series by Ilona Andrews. Set in a post-apocalyptic world that shifts back and forth between magic and technology, the series follows Kate Daniels, a sword-fighting mercenary with magic in her blood and a big mouth. Naturally, I would want to be Kate – she’s strong, smart, funny, and beneath her hard exterior, she has a good heart. She’s also dating my number one book boyfriend, Curran, a sexy were-lion and one of the most powerful men in her world. If I were in the Kate Daniels world, I’d like to fight (and win) a battle, and then follow it up with a hot date!
Could you tell us a bit about your main character, Sam, and which actress you'd want to play her in a movie?
Sam – or Lady Samantha, as she is formally known – is the daughter of the seventeenth Duke of Haywood in the kingdom of Thule. At the beginning of the book, Sam starts off knowing that she wants more out of life than the future that has been laid out for her – marriage, children, etc. – but she’s not quite sure what more looks like. A tragic event leads her to run away from home and join the Paladins, the kingdom’s most elite warriors…disguised as a man.
As the daughter of a duke, Sam is undeniably a little sheltered and unprepared for the world outside of Haywood. But she’s also fiercely determined, talented and smart. Those are the qualities that enable to her to pass as a boy among the Paladin trainees. She’s also a loyal friend and has a sharp tongue that sometimes gets her into trouble.
As far as casting goes, I could see someone like Rachel Hurd-Wood playing Sam (although Rachel is a little too pretty!).
Tell us something about you that we would not expect from your bio.
My dream from age 9 to 18 was to be an actress and singer. I’m a classically trained dramatic soprano and used to be able to sing the heck out of an aria (now I’m sorely out of practice). I didn’t discover creative writing until my senior year of college, when one of my professors informed me that I’d be miserable for the rest of my life if I didn’t choose a career where I could write.
Brash, cocky, and unbeatable with a sword (well, almost), Sam of Haywood is the most promising Paladin trainee in the kingdom of Thule...and knows it. The only problem is that Sam is really Lady Samantha, daughter of the seventeenth Duke of Haywood, and if her father has his way, she’ll be marrying a Paladin, not becoming one.
But Sam has never held much interest in playing damsel-in-distress, and so she rescues herself from a lifetime of boredom and matrimonial drudgery. Disguised as a boy, Sam leaves home behind to fight demons—the most dangerous monsters in Thule—alongside the kingdom’s elite warriors. Pity that Tristan Lyons, the Paladin assigned to train her, is none other than the hero of her childhood. He hasn’t recognized her--yet--but if he does, he’ll take away her sword and send her packing.
Sam is not the only trainee hiding secrets: Braeden is a half-demon with a dark past that might be unforgivable. Whether he can be trusted is anyone’s guess—including his.
As demons wreak havoc across the land, a rebellion stirs in the West, led by a rival faction of warriors. A war between men is coming, and Sam must pick a side. Will saving the kingdom cost her life -- or just her heart?
About Sally Slater:
Sally Slater is a writer and the author of Paladin, a fantasy adventure novel that has garnered over ten million reads on the social networking platform for readers and writers, Wattpad. Her writing has also appeared in The Huffington Post and The Sydney Morning Herald's Daily News.
When she's not writing, Sally is a public relations professional at a strategic communications and advisory firm in New York City. She also dabbles in CrossFit and firmly believes that women in both real life and fiction should be strong.