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Writing Strong Female Characters (Guest Post by Mara Valderran)

I’m very pleased to welcome fellow high fantasy author Mara Valderran to the blog today as part of the tour for her newest release. I love that HEIRS OF WAR focuses so heavily on the relationship between two sisters, and you know I love my strong female characters! 


Reporter: So why do you these strong female characters?
Joss Whedon: Because you’re still asking me that question.

This is just one of the many examples of why I love Joss Whedon. If posed with the same question, my answer would be a little bit different. I write strong female characters because I am surrounded by strong and wonderful women in my family. It’s all I know. My great grandmother grew up in a time where little girls wore dresses even though she was the one in the dress punching the perverted boys at her school in the face. She was the matriarch of our family and a shining example to myself and my sister as to who we could be, despite what the world says.

When I first came up with the story for Heirs of War, it began with the familial relationships. I wanted them to mirror what I already knew and treasured in my own life. My sister and two cousins (who are basically my sisters as well) and I are all extremely close, like pieces in a puzzle that just fit together and can never be pulled too far apart. I wanted to represent that bond because it has shaped who I am in so many ways. Even when we all travel down our own paths and are like complete strangers (much like Zelene, Ariana, Rhaya, Isauria, and Terrena are when they first meet), there’s still a pull between us. A feeling of completion that I’ve never been able to adequately put to words. Put simply: It feels like magic.

I love the idea of showing the girls in the books getting to that point. They are already related and magically connected to one another through this prophecy, but their relationships are probably more important and integral to the story than their magic or the prophecy saying they’ll end the war. Why? Because their relationships and how they affect one another–the way they influence each other–that’s more important to them as characters than any prophecy or ability to shoot fireballs from the palm of your hand. To me, that’s where the real excitement is. But because I love magic and love to blow stuff up, there’s that too. 😉


The NA fantasy series Heirs of War has taken Wattpad by storm with over one million reads, and the second installment has arrived. Catch up on Heirs of War (#1) for just 99 cents now!

Heirs of War #1:

 When seventeen year-old Zelene finds herself thrust into a world of magic and prophecy, she discovers fighting destiny might not be the toughest battle she has to face. Now she must join with three other girls, complete strangers linked only by blood relation, to fight a war they know nothing of and rescue the twin sister she’s never met.

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The adventure continues with Heirs of War, Crown of Flames


Heirs of War, Crown of Flames

Heirs of War #2

Mara Valderran

Cover Art by Gretchen Byers

Weeks have passed since Ariana and Alec escaped from Kellen’s dungeon, but danger isn’t far behind them. The guilt of his past weighs heavily on Alec’s shoulders, and his secrets only push Ariana further away. As they travel through unknown lands and encounter multiple threats, their biggest challenge might be trusting one another.

The world appears to be going on regardless of the risks Ariana faces. The Duillaine insist that they are doing everything they can to find Ariana, but their actions betray that claim. Despite the danger and the war closing in around them, all of Anscombe seems to be more interested in the upcoming Imbolc festival and Terrena’s betrothal than rescuing Ariana.

Well…not everyone.

Tired of waiting for the Duillaine to help her twin, Zelene starts plotting on her own and finds a surprising ally in Rhaya, even as the Cynewards prepare to make a move of their own. But Zelene’s plans go awry when she finds herself with a new ability, a mysterious new friend, and more enemies within the walls of Anscombe than she thought.

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Mara Valderran is an author of young adult and new adult books, but she’s more than just a madwoman with a writing box. She is an avid reader and fan of all things sci-fi and fantasy. She loves roller skating and movies, though typically not together. She lives in Las Vegas with her husband and demanding cat. She hopes to one day meet Daniel Jackson from SG1, or at least the actor who played him. When she’s not writing, you can find her reading, playing video games, or counting down the days until DragonCon.

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Want to follow this blog tour? Check out the calendar below!

Monday 10/13
Krystal Wade Margo Bond Collins Here is What I Read Book Blog
Vicki Trask Jessa Russo Lorraine Harvey
Priya Kanaparti Nerd Girl Official Terry’s Book Addiction
Ali Dean Shooting Star Book Reviews
Tuesday 10/14 Wednesday 10/15 Thursday 10/16
Ali Dean (Review) Jan Farnworth (Review) James Wymore (Guest Post)
Terry’s Book Addiction (Review) Jamie Ayres (Promo)
Friday 10/17 Saturday 10/19 Monday 10/20
Emma Adams (Interview) Laveda Kasch (Excerpt #1) Eliza Tilton (Excerpt #2)
Elsie Elmore (Interview) Jessa Russo (Excerpt #3)
Cait Spivey (Guest Post) Shooting Star Book Reviews (Excerpt #4)
Here is What I Read (Interview)
Tuesday 10/21 Wednesday 10/22 Thursday 10/23
Michael Panush (Review) Book Lover Blog (Review) Ayden Morgen (Guest Post)
Friday 10/24 Monday 10/27 Tuesday 10/28
K. L. Schwengel (Guest Post) Katie Teller (Interview) Priya Kanaparti (Guest Post)
Charity Bradford (Excerpt #5) Sharon Bayliss (Review)
Vicki Trask (Review)
Sarah Anderson (Interview)

Note from Cait: WordPress won’t show the Rafflecopter giveaway, but you can click the link below for the opportunity to win some swag! 

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