I’m so happy to share my review for The Shape of Stars Unknown Blog Tour! Let’s start…
Book Name: The Shape of Stars Unknown (The Aldarfall Saga, #1)
Author: Sybil Le Pyrmont
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy
Publication date: October 15th 2020
World domination is the least of their problems.
A STRANDED DEMIGOD. Lau of the House of Feofar, troubled and headstrong, screwed up. Royally. Now he lives out his days in exile on Earth – the very planet he once tried to exterminate.
A RUDDERLESS MORTAL WOMAN. Silver Laing leads the ordinary life of a white-collar worker. Lonely and desperately in search of purpose and new horizons, she gets more than she bargained for when she is offered a mysterious job.
A CATACLYSMIC PLAN BILLIONS OF YEARS IN THE MAKING. When a deadly visitor from Lau’s shrouded past threatens to lay the world in ashes, Silver and Lau must form an unlikely alliance against ancient and far superior forces.
An alliance with the potential to shake the very foundation of the Universe.
Shimmering new worlds?
Secrets as old as time?
Splashes of humour?
If your answer to all of the above is ‘Hell, yeah!’ then The Shape of Stars Unknown is your guy. This first book in Sybil Le Pyrmont’s new urban fantasy adventure series, The Aldarfall Saga, will take you from Germany to Tibet, from Japan to Iceland and all the way to the other end of the Universe.
1) When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?
Truth be told, I can’t remember a time when I did not want to be a writer. Even before I read my first word, I stood wide-eyed before the novels at my local bookstore and wondered what magic skills were required to create such a little miracle and have it displayed on those shelves for the world to see. One of my greatest regrets is not having mustered the courage to try my hand at writing much, much earlier in life.
2) How long does it take you to write a book?
The rough draft of the complete Aldarfall Saga – at the time one single book of about 1,300 pages – took me seven months to complete. I then broke it into three parts, the first of which is now published as The Shape of Stars Unknown. Approximately eight years and countless revisions later, TSOSU has made it from rough draft to published book; I’m a reasonably fast writer, but my exasperating perfectionist streak makes me the slowest editor in the world (not to mention the day job, which gobbles up a substantial amount of time).
3) What do you think makes for a good story?
Disclaimer: this is my personal, highly subjective view. A good story needs to make me feel at home. It is a quality I find somewhat slippery to define, let alone explain. “At home” evokes visions of cosy mysteries or heartwarming Christmas stories with adorable puppies, right? Well, this is not at all what I mean, although I’ll gladly take the doggos off your hands.
Here are some examples of books that give me this particular homely feeling:
The Picture of Dorian Gray (Oscar Wilde)
The Name of the Rose (Umberto Eco)
Into Thin Air (Jon Krakauer)
It (Stephen King)
Oni (Marc Olden)
Harry Potter (J.K. Rowling)
Hannibal (Thomas Harris)
Hagen von Tronje (Wolfgang Hohlbein)
Not one of these books is snuggly-puppy pleasant to read. One of them even is non-fiction. But they all make me feel comfortable. I stepped into a welcoming world from the very first time I read the very first syllable. Sometimes it’s the characters (like in Hagen von Tronje), sometimes it’s the writing style (Dorian Gray, Shibumi, Into Thin Air), sometimes it’s the philosophy or worldview (Dorian Gray, Shibumi) that gives me this strange, homey sensation. In extremely rare cases, a story combines all three and thus knocks my socks off (here’s looking at you, Shibumi).
And what elevates a story from good to great is when it makes me feel intelligent. This is what Shibumi and The Name of the Rose do, for example. Shibumi is supposed to be read as a satire on the spy thriller, and there are dozens of innuendos and references that I caught only upon reading it several times. I still discover something new every time I pick it up, not to mention that it makes me think, learn … and google. The latter, by the way, has been taken to extremes by The Name of the Rose. Keep your search engine handy when you read that one!
In short, a good story gives me a literary home and a few additional brain cells.
4) If you could be one character from the book, who would you be and why?
Lau, my male protagonist. For all his faults – and he has many – he is a man of courage and extraordinary resilience. Certain events in his past have traumatised him deeply, but even though he has no active memory of them, he continues to fight these demons every day. He has lived for billions of years without losing his zest for life, and not only is he a free spirit, but he is an intellectual warrior. I would love to have just one ounce of his strength, mental and physical.
5) If you co-author a book with your favourite author, who would it be?
Definitely Trevanian. He was a cosmopolitan scholar with a brilliant, crystal-clear mind and a flair for wordplay, puns and fine irony. I have no idea what on earth I could have contributed to this co-authorship, but I would have learned the world from him. Oscar Wilde comes in a close second.
6) Your all-time favourite quotes.
“Writing is the only thing that when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.” (Gloria Steinem)
Among the gazillions of quotes on writing, this is the one that rings most true for me. Whatever I’m doing, all I want is get back to my desk. Whenever I’m there, all may not always be right with the world, but I am where I feel I’m supposed to be.
“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” (Oscar Wilde)
“We’re fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance.” (Japanese proverb)
These two go in the same direction. People will criticise you no matter what and no matter how hard you try to please them. You might just as well be yourself – way less exhausting, way more satisfying.
7) Can we expect a sequel or a new novel soon?
Both sequels to The Shape of Stars Unknown are written … technically. Due to the revisions and changes I made to the first book over the past years, however, books II and III require massive rewrites. I’m working on them as we speak.
As for new novels, I have several manuscripts in various stages of completion. One is a darker urban fantasy, one could be deemed magical realism, and two of them dabble in the realm of mythology. As excited as I am about these drafts, the sequels to TSOSU take precedence at this time.
8) A few words for our readers.
The one thing I would like to say most of all is thank you. Thank you so much for taking the time to (virtually) meet me and The Shape of Stars Unknown. We all have many worries right now – health, family, friends, jobs – which makes me all the more grateful for your time!
You, the readers, are the most fundamental element in a writer’s universe. Your words carry immense weight, whether in the guise of a book review or as a comment on social media. Although a thick skin may be part of a writer’s toolbox, your opinions and observations can make or break our day. Either way – wield that power whenever you can, dear readers! We love to hear from you!
If you’d like to get in touch, please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org – or find me here:
Sybil Le Pyrmont was born in Germany and was raised on the Canary Islands (that Gallic name is a pseudonym – her actual name has as much flair as a tax return). Although she now resides in Frankfurt, Germany, her heart has been beating for Tokyo ever since she spent a year in that city and discovered her epic love for all things Japan. That includes, to her acute embarrassment, the Shinagawa train station jingle she has installed as her ringtone. When Sybil isn’t writing, or dreaming of the anonymous donor who will some day gift her a house in Japan, she splits her time between her airline day job and long rants about the sunshine and the always-too-hot weather.
Sybil writes urban fantasy adventure to whisk her readers away to realms of imagination that have a distinct possibility of existing somewhere in the depths of the Universe.
Visit spyrmont.com for more on Sybil and her writing.