2015 YADN: Temple of Doubt by Anne Boles Levy

Expected Publication: Spring 2015 by Sky Pony Press
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
It's been two six-days since a falling star crashed into the marshes beyond Port Sapphire, putting the wilds off-limits to fifteen-year-old Hadara, a loss she feels deeply. She's eager to join her mother beyond the city limits to gather illegal herbs and throw off the yoke of her tedious religious schooling. Medicines of any sort are heresy to the people of Port Sapphire, who must rely on magic provided by the god, Nihil, for aid. And if people die from that magic, their own lack of faith is surely to blame. At least, that's what Hadara’s been taught—and has so far refused to believe.
Hadara and her mother have ignored the priests’ many warnings about their herb gathering, secure in knowing their tropical island is far from Nihil’s critical gaze. Then two powerful high priests arrive from Nihil’s home city to investigate the fallen star, insisting it harbors an unseen demon. This sets off speculation that an evil force is already at work in Port Sapphire and brings one of the holy men to Hadara’s doorstep. When he chooses Hadara as a guide into the wilds, she sets off a chain of events that will upend everything she’s been taught about the sacred and the profane.
It's time for fan-tu-see guys! I am so thrilled with Hadara's chain of events. I'd like Temple of Doubt to be my first 2015 fantasy read. Let's then sneak a peak of the book with its exclusive excerpt from Anne!

EXCERPT: The days leading up to this official visit had made everyone fretful and stupid. The adults had scurried around fixing things that looked just fine to me, until I wondered if I'd also get a coat of whitewashing if I stood in one spot too long. All eyes were on the harbor, even mine, as if those crimson sails would appear between one footstep and the next. The worries were a contagion that nothing in Mami's bag of physics would cure.
At last, the day had come and two fine schooners closed in on our deep blue bay. I couldn’t see what difference the preparations had made. The pier was a jumble of bodies as people pressed and jostled for a better view. It was all as delightfully messy and chaotic as ever, maybe moreso. The god we worshipped might be coming here. We were no longer beneath his notice. Even so, I struggled to feel excited. If Nihil was anything like the priests or the schoolmistress, it promised to be a long visit, full of things I couldn’t and shouldn’t do or say or even think.
The lookouts began signaling the rest of the city, and Babba translated for Amaniel and me. Neither ship sailed Nihil's flag. Instead, the vessels flew the banners of two mighty mages, called Azwans, a word meaning navigator in an ancient tongue. People around us argued whether that meant good news or bad, whether we were too far or too barbaric or too bothersome for a godly visit.
But why should that be bad? I tried to recall what I could of the day’s painful lessons. Perhaps there’d be no human sacrifice after all, if Nihil wasn’t coming. My sigh was a crisp, loud burst of air that instantly unraveled entire knots of emotion. I caught myself and glanced around. The milling of the crowds below had swallowed up the sound, and I wouldn’t have to explain why I felt so relieved.
Others, Amaniel among them, whispered that the Azwans came to spare us a terrible war between Nihil and his enemy.
I didn't understand, and said so. A falling star wasn't a living thing, was it? How could it be Nihil's enemy? Besides, two of the Temple of Doubt's greatest magic users came, people who could wipe out evil before it gained a foothold on our world. If, in fact, evil had landed in our midst. “Isn’t that honor enough?” I asked.
"It's not our honor that's at stake, Hadara." Babba didn’t take his eyes from those crimson sails. "Nihil is god, he can make anything happen ... except one thing."
“Oh, I know this,” I mumbled before Amaniel could cut in, pleased I knew a little something, at least. “Kuldor is his prison and our planet. He can't leave here. Am I right?”
The men closest to us chuckled. One said, “It’s medicines she knows, I suppose.”

Share us more about Hadara and how your main character is connected to you!
I tried so hard to make Hadara different from me. I didn’t want her to be what’s called a “Mary Sue,” which is basically an avatar for the author. She couldn’t be a stand in for myself, but I kept slipping into that territory anyway and making her have my personality traits. Physically, I made her as different as I could: she’s tall and willowy, I’m average height and padded.

Her personality has changed so much since I started this book. At first, she was simply a good kid who always wanted to please her parents, even when what they were asking would go against her instincts. They want her to be religious, but Hadara senses there is something wrong about the god of their world and the terrible cruelties he inflicts on followers. That part is much like me – suspecting that something is not quite right in my life, but not knowing what to say or do, and wanting at all times to make others happy and not rock the boat.

Over time, I had to let Hadara change to become more proactive and quick on her feet. She needed to be strong enough to sustain a whole novel, and maybe a whole series! I just had to learn that not all strength is the sword-wielding, battle-hardened strength, like the soldier she eventually comes to love. True strength comes from within.

Considering The Temple of Doubt from the first word you write to the moment you see it on a bookstore shelf, what’s your favorite part of the process?
I loved the world-building part so much, I’m still doing it! I first thought up the idea back in 2000, and I spent at least three months doing nothing but researching ancient Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cultures and architecture, even weaponry. I bought a book on early Greek and Roman warfare, I downloaded advice from writing websites on how to make fantasy maps and plan fantasy armies, and how many soldiers you’d need per population (roughly 1%, if you’re interested), and found gorgeous illustrations for clothing and costumes from several eras and ethnicities.

I wrote long, thoughtful poems, and a new “bible” that ran about 50 pages, single-spaced, for the god of Hadara’s world. I made star charts and vocabulary lists and rules for naming people and even a guide to the plants and animals on planet Kuldor. I filled an entire floppy disk with world-building notes.

I put it all away many years after it didn’t sell, and I had two babies to keep me busy. Then one day in 2009, I dug it all out of a box in the garage – the notes, the floppy disks, the rough drafts – and started over. When I’m stuck for a plot twist or I’m trying to remember something about a character, I go back to those early notes, update them, and feel inspired all over again.

What’s your least favorite?
The long, long, long process of finding an agent, then finding a publisher, and getting it published. Anytime something is out of my hands like that and I have no control, I get very sad and frustrated. I think most people feel that way, which is why so many skip right to self-publishing. It’s tempting, isn’t it? Just cut out the middleman and the wait.

What’s your strangest writing quirk or habit? Something that would make all of us go, “huh?”
I am so weird. I have to have absolute silence to write. I don’t have any special place or spot or ritual to write – I’ve moved so many times, and furniture is therefore an iffy thing for me. I write in bed, I write on the sofa, the floor, the counters, my classroom lectern – anyplace. But it has to be as quiet as a graveyard. No background music for me. My hubby can’t even be in the room, or he starts to chat and I get all annoyed with him. He tells me I’m a tyrant when I’m writing.

"True strength comes from within." I did not expect that answer at all. It made me throb a bit but in a good way. I guess 'Temple of Doubt' would bring us readers to its deep fanciful world and garb us with its moral. Thank you so much Miss Anne for your howling book and chic answers.

Follow Anne Levy on her social sites and
don't forget to add Temple of Doubt on Goodreads!

Website:          http://anneboleslevy.com/
Twitter:           @zaftigbabe
Instagram:       @templeofdoubt
Facebook:       www.facebook.com/anneboleslevyauthor
Amazon:         http://amzn.to/1pfY4mT

This is it! The last YA debut that I am featuring on my blog's event. This is a sad part but no worries, we still have time to get more entries on the giveaways! That is the reason why I posted the 2015 YADN posts with two-three days intervals. Readers could still get back to the posts and read it or listen to the playlists.

I hope you all did have fun on the YA debuts I featured. I am thinking too to do it again next year with more cool features and treats! Thank you very very very much to everyone that participated (those who commented, who shared this event, viewed my posts, checked out my blog, took time to read the posts, etc.) and a more huge THANK YOU to Stacey Lee, David Arnold, Maggie Hall, Lee Kelly, Kelly Loy Gilbert, Moriah McStay and Anne Boles Levy (Who were patient and accessible at any time not to mention the time zone dilemmas)!! This is not all possible without you guys. Thank you for your support. Happy holidays! *Warm hugs.*

Here's one of the most gorgeous man in the world sending my thank yous to all of you. :)


Let's leave it up to this quote from Emily Brontë: "And from the midst of cheerless gloom I passed to bright unclouded day."

  1. Thank you so much for such a lovely introduction to my work! You made this whole process so easy and also thrilling for me. Best of luck with your blog and have a wonderful New Year.

    1. You're welcome, Miss Anne! And thank you too for everything you've done to make this all happen. Happy Holidays!

  2. That looks interesting hmmmm I have never heard of this novel yet, but I'll keep an eye out for it. Thanks for sharing, Yani!


    1. You're welcome, Chyna! Me too. It's not much listed on 2015 YA debuts/release lists on Goodreads. I have encountered Anne's book from a blog where it features all of the authors that are releasing YA debuts on 2015.

  3. Grrrrr my comments keep disappearing. Let's try this again.

    I cannot write unless there's complete silence as well, otherwise I start writing totally meaningless words. It's also probably why I get NO work done during class time, hah. Thanks for sharing this, Yani!

    Happy New Year! <33

    1. Why are they disappearing? Maybe there's a glitch on my blog. I'll try to fix it.

      Same here! I really need silence so I prefer studying/reading at dawn. You're welcome, Mel! Happy New Year to you too. :)


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