Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Author interview and Book Review of White Raven: Sword of Northern Ancestors

Author interview and Book Review of White Raven:  Sword of Northern Ancestors
Sponsored by Bewitching Book Tours

White Raven: Sword of Northern Ancestors
By Irina Lopatina
Paperback: 378 pages
Publisher: Light Messages Publishing; First edition (July 30, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1611530245
ISBN-13: 978-1611530247
Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #789,149 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Genre: Fantasy

The fate of Areya rests with the lost sword Urart. Will White Raven retrieve it before it's too late?

In the kingdom of Areya, humans, animals, and the magical creatures that inhabit the Eternal Forest have long coexisted peacefully, but now something is horribly wrong. A terrifying stream of monstrous creatures has begun to emerge from the secret depths of the earth, terrorizing all of Areya's native inhabitants. From the tiny, wise drevalyankas to the bellicose cave-dwelling gnomes to the devious kikimoras who gather roots and herbs in the marsh, everyone is in danger.

With the aid of Urart, the magical sword that has been passed down from the time of the ancient northern ancestors, Grand Duke Vlady can offer temporary protection to his people. But Prince Vraigo, Vlady's nephew, who is endowed with magical power himself, understands that the source of the evil monsters must be found if there's any hope of survival. Along with a motley crew of his forest-dwelling friends, Vraigo sets off on a perilous quest in search of the koschei, the powerful, corrupt Archmagus whose mission is the destruction not just of Areya, but of the entire world.

As if this weren't bad enough, Urart disappears from the duke's stronghold. Without it, Areya is doomed, and only Vraigo, the White Raven, can possibly get the sword back. This journey requires Vraigo to use all of his keen wits and magical abilities, as well as to ally himself to dangerous creatures like yagas and werewolves, natural enemies of man, and precipitates the young prince into the most bewildering, complex challenge he has faced yet: life in the twenty-first century.

Orders placed through the Light Messages before July 25 will be $12.00 per book instead of $16.95 (That's about a 30% savings)
Also, people who pre-order will receive a PERSONALIZED, signed post card from author Irina Lopatina. Postcards feature landscapes from Altai, Siberia––the inspiration for White Raven's Kingdom of Areya.
The promotion is extended to any readers that come from White Raven blog tour hosts for 14 days after the date of the tour stop. All they need to do is mention the blog name they seen the promo on in the notes field and Light Messages will honor the promo deal
The link to the page is:
It can also be accessed from

About the Author:

Irina Lopatina lives and works in Siberia, Russia, but her homeland has an even more wonderful and exotic name: Altai. It is a unique place where old Altai Mountains rise high up to the sky, centuries-old forests stretch out as in ages past, and mighty Siberian rivers flow along the plains. Altai is one of the few places in the world where huge, densely populated cities coexist with pristine wild places. Moreover, this is an area of the earliest human civilizations, through which the great migration of people from eastern lands to Europe once took place.

While studying at the Altai State University, Irina devoted much attention to the past of her native land. As a student, she went to the archaeological sites of ancient settlements located on the mountain plateau, where it was only possible to arrive on foot. She remembers moments when it was quite easy to imagine how the ancient people had lived, what creatures neighbored them, and what adventures took place in these vast spaces. Irina needed take only a small leap from there to White Raven, his friends, and his enemies who were ready to begin a journey through the Eternal Forest of Areya.

Of course, it would have been much more difficult for her to create her stories if Irina had not been inspired early on by the works of many excellent fantasy and science fiction writers such as J.R. Tolkien and Ursula Le Guin, the Russian authors Nick Perumov and Svyatoslav Loginov, as well as the wonderfully charming Russian fairy tales where a brave prince, his faithful grey wolf and the evil koschei always live. And so it happens that Irina's novels are the stories of a distant, semi-fantastic land which, who knows, may still exist next door to us.

About the Illustrator

Even as a child, Igor Adasikov knew that he would be an artist.

While studying at an art school, he devoted much of his time practicing classical drawing, seeking to depict the world around him as fully as possible. His works often won awards in Russian art contests, and he continued his education at Moscow Art Institute. After graduating from the Institute, Igor worked as an artist preferring realistic painting, such as portrait and landscape. However, his rich imagination still needed an outlet and manifested itself in full while illustrating the fantasy novel, White Raven: The Sword of Northern Ancestors.

Here, in the surprising fairy-tale world, void of any boundaries, the artist found the nourishment to feed his creativity. Having traveled with the heroes through the whirlwind of adventures, he worked to give readers a visible image of Areya, bringing to life the magical creatures that inhabit the land, and making friends with the heroes of this fascinating story.

Author Interview

Irina Lopatina is the author of, White Raven: The Sword of Northern Ancestors, set for release July 2012 by Light Messages Publishing. She also recently published Tales From The Frog Forest, a collection of children's stories about three unlikely playmates who learn to get along through hopping, flying, and running.

Irina lives in Siberia, Russia, near the ancient Altai Mountains, a setting she says provides perfect inspiration for fantasy stories. We recently interviewed her about her writing and the source of her deeply creative stories. Join us as she discusses why she writes, how she finds her characters, and offers some advice for young authors.

Please note: Irina speaks and writes only in Russian. Her answers here were translated by Dmitry Lopatin, the translator of White Raven: The Sword of Northern Ancestors and Tales From The Frog Forest.

Irina, tell us a little about what prompted you to become a writer?

Actually, it is a long story. As far as I can remember, I always wanted to write a book, and I even made attempts to do this - when I was seven years old, I filled my notebooks with stories and gave those to my mother as gifts. But then I suddenly realized that grown-up writers composed their stories far better than I did, and I definitely did not want to be uninteresting. Therefore, I postponed the idea about a book until better times and focused on studying. And, in my opinion, I was studying the most fascinating thing--the history of mankind--which for some time fully engrossed my attention. But after the lapse of years, the ideas and images, which were gradually ripening in my head, began to form their own story, so I realized that I would write my own book at last. And it won't be only one book.

Have you always been drawn to fantasy?

I cannot stop letting my imagination run away with me. Even when talking to someone about an ordinary event of my life, I manage to do this as if I describe a real adventure. All my family and friends have long become accustomed to that, and even sometimes joke: "Irina, tell us about your journey out of town last weekend."

How was the idea for the White Raven series born?

As for "White Raven," as I said, one fine day I found some people sitting in my mind. Whenever I thought about them, they began walking, doing something, going to a long journey, which always thrilled me because I love traveling. So, I just had to follow closely the future characters and invent the world where they could live.

The heroes of White Raven, as I see them, are a complex fusion of characters of the people who once lived on the earth somewhere and the creative potential for the genre of fantasy.

Are the characters from White Raven normal characters for fantasy? Or did you create some of them yourself?

From the beginning, I did not intend to create a typical classic fantasy. I wanted an organic, harmonious world where my story could evolve. If this world needed gnomes, I put them in there. As for drevalyankas, pikshas, bolugs and other totally original creatures, they appeared there somehow by themselves in the course of events, and then just began "to get under the feet of the main heroes" (joking).

What was your favorite part of the process in writing White Raven: The Sword of Northern Ancestors?

My favorite part of working on any of my books is always the same--creation of a story. The story ripens and accumulates details, becoming saturated with colors, until I find the time to write it down on paper. It may seem surprising, but it usually takes only a couple of days to write a short plot of a novel on paper. The moment I did this for White Raven, I was already familiar with Vraigo, Kenush, druids and my other favorite characters. Unfortunately, no one, except for me, could see all of them among the compact lines of the draft.

What was the most challenging part of the process?

So that the reader would be able to feel the living and vibrant story of their adventures, I have to go to the second, protracted and complex stage of the process. I sit at my computer, and write a novel word by word. And each time it seems to me that I won't be able to reach the end of the story, and will get stuck into some trap in the middle of the dense forest along with my heroes.

What authors have influence you in your writing?
I did not try to follow the style of other authors. I write as I think, so the readers can learn much more about me from my books, than from an interview (joking).

What advice can you offer to new authors who are hoping to publish?

Writing a book is a serious work. So, before you decide to go this way and spend your time on writing, you should make sure that you have something to say, and that you just can't help saying it!

When you are not writing, what do you enjoy doing?

I love traveling. Russia is a vast country and it has unlimited opportunities for personal journeys. Even ordinary trips to woods or mountains saturate me with a mass of new information which then melts into the works. I also like swimming in a forest lake, feeling like mermaid. I like to meet with my friends and go shopping. In general, I love a lot of things, as long as those give me fresh impressions, without which life sometimes seems boring.

Tell us a little about yourself and your family. What is life like in Siberia?

Life in Siberia... First of all, seasons are extremely different from each other here, and the way of life is highly dependent on the alternation of the seasons.

We are currently in spring. Snow is melting rapidly, so the entire streets happen to be flooded with streams of melt water. The rivers are "waking up" as well, and soon the ice will be broken up on them, and a real flood will inundate the villages located along their banks. That happens every year, though. When the ground dries out a bit, we, city dwellers, will irrepressibly want to be out of the cities. Tourists' tents will be put up in the woods, and small summer houses will be habitable again.

Summer here is always hot, green, with lots of berries, mushrooms and flowers. In general, sheer beauty and splendor that we cannot allow ourselves to miss. In autumn all forests, gardens and parks will flare with crimson, orange and red colors. So, autumn is wonderful, too, with its picturesqueness and a slight smell of smoke from fires... but only until October rains. And then winter comes.

You have probably heard that it is possible to be stuck and sink into the deep snow in Siberia? It is true. Snow-removal machines barely manage to clear streets and highways between towns. But winter also implies skis, sleighs, and ice skates. Everyone can go to a camping site, taking a mountain sleigh and toboggan for complete delight. Then you can light a small campfire and roast sausages with bread right on the wooden twigs. Have you ever seen a fire in the winter woods between the giant fir trees with coats of snow?

There are a lot of these amazing "secret" things hidden in Siberia!

You can learn more about Irina's White Raven project and sign up for the chance to win a free copy at

Irina and White Raven are also on Facebook at

Book Review:

            So, my reading for the review was the prologue and Chapter one but I didn’t know that when I started reading.  Now I’m totally in to the story and it just ends.  I’m like, “What the h***?”  Then I realize I don’t have the whole book… I hate that.  I get totally into the story and then it ends before I’m done reading.  Now I have to add it to my wish list because I’m so excited about the story. 

            Even with the creatures who I have never heard of (there is a character list at the end with more detailed description than in the book, although the book does a good job of describing the critters/monsters), this world is incredibly detailed with fabulous word pictures.

            I highly recommend everyone buy and read this book.  If you go to the author’s facebook page or website and mention this blog you get the book for a discount, which is significant.  This is a book, actual book not e-book, on Amazon.

            I give this story a 5 out of 5 clouds to date, and I look forward to finishing the story.  I hope this duo writes and illustrates more stories because both the writing and illustrations are top rate.

This product or book may have been distributed for review; this in no way affects my opinions or reviews.


  1. Hi Mindy! I'm the Senior Editor at Light Messages Publishing, the publisher for Irina Lopatina's WHITE RAVEN:THE SWORD OF NORTHERN ANCESTORS. Thank you for taking the time to write such a lovely review! We would love to send you the full review copy of the book. Could you contact me at elizabeth[at]lightmessages[dot]com with your info?

  2. Thank you so much, Mindy, for your wonderful review! Yes, the illustrations were created by a really amazing artist with whom we had surprisingly similar understanding of the world of Areya.

    Irina Lopatina

  3. I can't wait to read the whole book. I will post an updated review once my son and I have both had a chance to read it.