Today, Feathered Quill reviewer Ellen Feld is talking with Susan F. Banks, author of Red Souls: Book One of the Red Souls Series.
FQ: Tell our readers a little about yourself. Your background, your interests, and how this led to writing a book?
BANKS: I studied neurosciences in graduate school. My working profession is software and systems engineering, emphasis on cybersecurity. My interests include music, art, history, technology, physics, economics and spiritual studies. I’ve been a wordsmith in all my endeavors, and it was always my intention to tell stories. Fantasy gives me the greatest latitude to include many aspects of my interests and explore interactions between the physical and supernatural sides of life.
FQ: Tell us a little about your book – a brief synopsis and what makes your book unique.
BANKS: Red Souls introduces us to a woman named Gem who has an important mission in the city of Los Angeles to protect it from the forces of the Astral Underworld. The fulfillment of that mission has given her extraordinary power to deal with the negative emotions of others. She shows four new adults in LA what is really happening in their city and enlists their support when LA comes under extraordinary threat. Turns out, it is a type of support they are uniquely qualified to give.
FQ: Who are your favorite authors?
BANKS: In the fantasy genre, my favorite authors are Ilona Andrews, Mike Carey and Jim Butcher. Their characters have heart and humor, and their fantasy worlds are anchored in real life, qualities I aim for in my own writing.
FQ: Is this the first book, the second, etc. in the series and how many books do you anticipate writing in this series?
BANKS: The Circle of Augustus will complete their first mission in three books. Red Souls is the first book of the series. Book 2, Wall of Unknowing, has already been published on Amazon. I am working on Book 3, States of Being, right now. After that, the Circle will begin a new mission in a new set of two or three books. Each of their missions will be a sub-series in the overall saga of the Circle.
FQ: Tell us a bit about the series. Do you know where the series will take the characters or are you working that out as you go along with each book? What has been the reader response to your series?
BANKS: The saga of the Circle of Augustus is about four modern people becoming aware of the fine line between the reality they see and other realities beyond that line. Where do physics and the supernatural meet? At some point, they operate under the same rules. That is the fundamental premise of my books. Those other realities affect this one. People experience that every day, whether or not they are aware of it. Each character in the Red Souls series deals with this growing awareness in different ways. Some resist, some accept, some embrace. Readers find this series to be unusual in the fantasy genre. One reviewer said ‘Nothing compares.’ There are no vampires, no witches, no magic. My stories are about soul beings. Their powers come from the choices they make and their understanding of the forces of nature.
FQ: Where did the idea for your story come from?
BANKS: I was interested in what life would be like for a person whose hearing was so acute that sound was an enemy instead of a friend as it is in my own life.
FQ: Tell us about the protagonist in your story.
BANKS: Willet Du Place was born with an abnormal auditory anatomy which causes extreme sensitivity to sound. Her hearing is so sensitive, she gets severe migraines if loud sounds hit her ears. She lives out in the desert to escape the noise of modern life. Her sister runs interference between her and the outside world. Willet’s long-term expectation for her life is an isolated, limited existence, until she meets Gem and becomes a member of the Circle of Augustus.
FQ: Tell us about your favorite character and why that person is your favorite.
BANKS: All the characters are parts of myself. TJ is the one I have the most fun with. He’s the snarky one who voices my sense of humor.
To learn more about Red Souls: Book One of the Red Souls Series, please visit the author's website at: susanfbanks.com