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Episode 9 – Author’s choice

Samantha Marshall

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Joining me for this episode via online chat is the lovely speculative fiction author Samantha Marshall!

Samantha has written three books across two series, Aislinn’s Shadow and Tobias’ Spark in The Kin Chronicles and Sorcery and Stardust is the first in The Weaver’s War series.
If you love action packed, shape-shifting, strong characters in an Australian (and space in The Weaver’s War) setting then do yourself a favour and check out Samantha’s books!

Samantha chatted with me about writing believable characters, our mutual love of hard SF and also chose two of her favourite books to pair with delicious elixirs!

The pairings:

Shield of Winter by Nalini Singh (#13 in the Psy-Changeling series)

Vasic is an assassin and a soldier. His soul is drenched in blood, his conscience heavy with the weight of all he’s done, he exists in the shadows, far from the hope his people can almost touch—if only they do not first drown in the murderous insanity of a lethal contagion. To stop the wave of death, Vasic must complete the simplest and most difficult mission of his life.

Having rebuilt her life after medical “treatment” that violated her mind and sought to stifle her abilities, Ivy should have run from the black-clad Vasic. But Ivy Jane has never done what she should. Now, she’ll fight for her people, and for Vasic who stands as her living shield, yet believes he is beyond redemption. But as the world turns to screaming crimson, even Ivy’s fierce will may not be enough to save Vasic from the cold darkness…

Samantha says this is a meaty plot, layered, with a lovely romantic storyline, a good comfort read which would go well with a hot chocolate with a dash of caramel syrup and a chocolate mud cake as it is warm and snuggly.

The Fifth Elephant by Terry Pratchett (Discworld #24)

They say that diplomacy is a gentle art. That its finest practitioners are subtle, sophisticated individuals for whom nuance and subtext are meat and drink. And that mastering it is a lifetime’s work. But you do need a certain inclination in that direction. It’s not something you can just pick up on the job. Sam Vimes is a man on the run. Yesterday he was a Duke, a Chief of Police and the Ambassador to the mysterious, fat-rich county of Uberwald.  Now he has nothing but his native wit and the gloomy trousers of Uncle Vanya (don’t ask). It’s snowing. It’s freezing. And if he can’t make it through the forest to civilisation there’s going to be a terrible war. But there are monsters on his trail. They’re bright. They’re fast. They’re werewolves – and they’re catching up. 

Samantha would pair this fun, dry, layered and salty read with a sweet moscato and antipasto platter to cut through the bitey-ness!


I suggested one of my favourite comfort reads:

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho is an enchanting story about an Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago who travels from his homeland in Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of a buried treasure he dreamed about finding. Along the way he meets many people who point him in the direction of his quest which turns out to be about more than just worldly goods but about the treasure found within.

It is a simple story with such wonderful warmth and a golden heart, slightly sweet and very soothing so i’d pair it with a delicious turmeric latte made with coconut milk.


This episode of Literary Elixirs was recorded via Zoom, please forgive any minor technical glitches!

Into/Outro music is Mosquito Mojito by Rachel K. Collier. Sourced from Free Music Archive under a Creative Commons Licence.