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Book Tour Q&A: Gathering of the Four by A.E. Bennett

Today we're taking part in the book tour organized by Escapist Book Tours for Gathering of the Four by A.E. Bennett! Continue reading for the book blurb and a Q&A with the author.

About the book

"In the Realm, every citizen knows their place."

​Leora of Mae is a young woman orphaned at birth and raised on a remote farm. As a wielder of Xanthcraft, her abilities set her apart from her adoptive family and the other villagers.

Shortly before her twentieth birthday, she learns of her family’s plot to sell her into servitude. Fearing for her life, she flees from the only home she’s ever known—defying societal conventions and breaking the edicts of the Realm. As she runs, Leora meets Roland Shallowbrook, a traveler on the Thieves’ Road; Lady Aurora Verte, daughter of a powerful member of the gentry; and the White Rider Leopold, a soldier with a secret. ​ Together, this found family will have to band together to survive.

Set in the distant future during the return of the Hale-Bopp comet, Gathering of the Four is the first book in the Serrulata Saga.

On to the interview...!

This is one of our standard podcast opening questions, so we’ll include it for written interviews as well! Tell us something great that’s happened recently! :)

Hi, hi - and happy to be here! I’m excited to share that I recently started a third romance that takes place in The Serrulata Saga world. It’s still in rough-draft form, but I sometimes forget how exhilarating getting involved with a new WIP can be!

What are you currently reading or what’s up next on your TBR? What made you pick up this book?

I was lucky enough to get an ARC for the next book in the Chronicles of the Guardians series by Rita Rubin. Lady Night will be out later this year, and if y’all aren’t into this series yet, you should get on it. Magic, mystery and… people who turn into dragons. It’s a great series.

After that, I’ll be reading Meloria by Talli L. Morgan. I really enjoyed all of the books in The Windermere Tales series by them so I’m excited for this stand-alone.

Do you have any hobbies or interests outside of reading/writing that you can talk to us about?

When I’m not writing or curled up with a good book, I enjoy running and exercising. Before the pandemic, I was participating in at least one organized 5k a month. I got, let’s say, a bit out of shape when everything locked down, but I’m slowly working my way back to where I was in early 2020 in terms of endurance.

I also love trying new restaurants and exploring different neighborhoods here in DC with my husband. We have an 8-year-old hound/shepherd mix that sometimes accompanies us on our adventures.

Can you give us an elevator pitch for your book?

In the distant future, the United States is long gone... the Realm stands in its place... and one peasant woman will become the catalyst for a revolution. Set during the return of the Hale-Bopp comet, the Serrulata Saga is a dystopian sci-fi/fantasy adventure you won’t want to miss.

Describe your book in 3 adjectives.

Mysterious, Bloody, Lengthy

In your opinion, what kind of reader would like this book?

I didn’t write Gathering of the Four with a specific audience in mind, but I’ve found people around my age (late 30s/early 40s) seem to enjoy it. If you like dystopian speculative fiction with twists and turns and multiple story lines, I think this book is for you!

How much do you plan when you write? What’s your writing process like?

Currently, I plan to write at least four main books in The Serrulata Saga. Test of the Four, which is the second book in the series, will be out this November.

There will also be at least three romance books involving side characters. Yours and Mine is a prequel to Gathering of the Four and is currently out. I will also release a second romance, Second Glance, early in 2023. And I’m working on a third romance right now.

On top of all of this, I’m planning at least one horror story that will fit into this world.

As you can see, I’m interested in multiple genres. No matter the genre, however, I always outline first. I tried “pantsing” initially but it just doesn’t work for me. I need a roadmap to keep all of my characters and storylines straight!

Is this your first book? If so, what lessons have you learned from writing it?

Gathering of the Four is my first self-published book and goodness I wish I could have a redo! I didn’t get my initial manuscript proofread, so I sent the first version out into the world with an embarrassing amount of typos and grammatical mistakes. (I thought I could save money and time and catch them all myself, you see.) The current version has been proofread, but I’m still sorta ashamed that there are copies with all of those mistakes out there floating around. But… I learned a valuable lesson! Now I take the time to have my manuscripts both professionally edited and proofread.

How much of yourself do you write into your stories?

A loaded question! I put a bit of my personality into each of my four main characters. Leora is powerful, but unsure of herself at times. Roland is adventurous but sometimes doesn’t look before he leaps (both figuratively and literally). Aurora enjoys dressing up and attending fancy parties, but doesn’t shy from getting dirty and asserting herself if she has to. Leopold is slow to trust, but when he does let someone in, he does it with his whole heart.

They say to never judge a book by its cover and maybe that’s true in the philosophical sense, but it certainly happens with books. Can you tell us about the idea behind the cover of your book?

I am so lucky to work with the amazing Sarah Waites, an artist I found on Twitter. I sent her a few initial ideas and she told me what would and wouldn’t work for cover art. She’s done all of my covers for The Serrulata Saga so far and I love each of them. (You can see them all on the homepage of my website.)

The Serrulata Saga is dystopian, speculative fiction, but I wanted to incorporate elements folks familiar with the DC-area would recognize, which I think Sarah achieves.

One of our favorite things is sharing quotes from what we’re reading that really resonate with us. Do you have a favorite quote from your book that you can share with us? What about this quote in particular makes it your favorite?

Haha - one of my favorites is something Roland tells Leora early on in the book: “Always watch where you’re going before jumping out a window.” It alludes to his playful, somewhat reckless, nature… and it’s just good advice!

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer a few questions for us! We always enjoy this little peek behind the curtain. Do you have any parting thoughts or comments you’d like to leave for our readers?

Thank you so much for having me. I guess… stay tuned for more from me! There are many more books in The Serrulata Saga to come!

And finally, where can you be found on the internet if our readers want to hear more from you?

Oh, I really love hearing from readers, so feel free to drop me a line and/or comment.


Twitter/Insta: @aebennettwrites

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