A Question of Counsel (The Republic #1)
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Length: 85,000 words
When his last girlfriend takes him back and suggests an intimate night with Tash, one of her lovers, Mayr reluctantly agrees. The last thing he expects is to fall hard for Tash, who is nothing like Mayr’s previous lovers—and about to undertake the Uldana Trials. If Tash fails, he'll likely die. If he succeeds, he must give up Mayr, and become the latest to leave Mayr standing alone with a broken heart.
Four (The Republic #2) - Archer Kay LeahHello everyone! I'm Archer Kay Leah, author of LGTBQA+ speculative fiction romance and a total music addict. A big thank you to Diverse Reader for lending me the space to share a bit about my book, Four (The Republic #2), a high fantasy M/M romance between a guard and a priest, both of whom need big, squishy hugs.
I wasn't too sure what this post would be about but thanks to a wibbly-wobbly turn of focus, I figured it out: the significance of "four" in the book, making it so much more than a mere number. It became an entire theme, an entity of unexpected proportions, a thread connecting everything.
And it's the best way to get to know the main characters, Mayr and Tash.
Funny Things, Words
In the folder where I keep everything related to Four, there's a file that's become a total joke. The name of said file: "FOUR is only a -working- title".
I had every intention of renaming the book but no other names came to mind. Usually I have a great time coming up with titles, and it's especially exciting when I find the "perfect" one. There are times when it's all about cleverness and wit; at other times, it's about the feel of words and the sense that no other title could possibly do. Sometimes I give projects a title and they grow into it; other times, I've written all the words and the title just shows up as if it'd always been there.
Naming this book became a mix of all the above. There's wit balled up inside feel. And while the book grew into its title, I'm convinced what I took for a working title had been the right one all along – my aversion to keeping it was simply because it was a number without other words around it.
In the end, no other words worked. "Four" ceased to be just a number or a title; it became a unifying principal and the word.
Write What You Know…
It started when I decided to include spirituality in series, all part of building the fantastical realm of Kattal. I opted for a pagan flair, mixing things up and applying concepts found in real-world cultures and spiritualities. Being neo-Druid, I love the polytheism of the Celts and the pantheons of ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome. I'm at home with embracing the wonders of the universe for everything we can't see or hear or feel but still sense. My works favour these ideas, though I add new things to give it a fresh fantasy spin. (I <3 world-building, you have no idea.)
That in itself explains one of the "fours" that led to the title: there are four Goddesses referenced in the series, each one unique and revered with attributes specific to their role as the Goddess of Love, Wisdom, Justice, or Protection. These deities are everywhere, represented in statues, language, décor, and the law. However, each person decides to what lengths they'll go in terms of faith and worship.
In Four, Mayr's questionable belief bounces off Tash's priestly dedication. Tash is hardcore, enough to put himself on the path to death just to prove himself. Mayr is uncertain: he wants to hope the gods exist and care about people, but it's balanced with skepticism, having seen the uneasy state of things. Mayr and Tash make a curious pair with spiritual matters dancing around them in all forms.
Yet it takes at least five other sets of four to change their lives so completely, there isn't any going back:
Four spiritual trials, none of them what they appear, and all of them a bigger test than anyone realizes.
Four of Mayr's secrets that reveal everything about him he's too afraid to share.
Four of Tash's secrets that take him back to a life that could get him killed.
Four loves that break Tash down, stripping him of sanity and stomping all over his hope.
Four feathers to prove the universe is watching.
… And these are just the main ones. Every now and then, I catch another hint of four. The hilarious part? Not all of these were consciously written. Some of these details crept under the radar and blah blah blahed all over the pages without me realizing what they were.
In any event, they're significant. Whenever "four" shows up in the series, there's usually some hidden purpose, extra meaning, or a bit of foreshadowing… It's that bit of shiny bright red amidst the monotone. What started as world-building became a thread that tied the characters together. Once upon a time, Mayr had been a character onto himself. Now he's only half of the whole, and where Tash goes, Mayr is sure to follow.
In the end, it's that little bit of magic hidden between the pages, where one thought runs screaming in a hundred directions and still knots together at the end, casting the greatest spell of all: Love.
Thank you so much for reading! I love hearing from readers, so feel free to say hi!
January 9 - Prism Book Alliance
January 12 - The Novel Approach
January 13 - Queer Sci Fi
January 18 - Diverse Reader
January 20 - Love Bytes
About The Author
Archer most enjoys writing speculative fiction and is engaged in a very particular love affair with fantasy, especially when it is dark and emotionally charged. When not reading and writing for work or play, Archer is a geek with too many hobbies and keeps busy with other creative endeavors, a music addiction, and whatever else comes along. Archer lives in London, Ontario with a bigender partner and rather chatty cat.
Author Page at Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/author/archerkayleah