07 Seymour Hamilton

Seymour Hamilton is a writer and professor of literature who has lived and taught on the east and west coasts of Canada and many places in between. He alsoAstreya-Cover-Vectis-PDF-Front3-202x300 knows his way around a boat, as is evident from the first pages of his fantasy trilogy, Astreya, and in his bio he stresses that he is from a seagoing family going back many generations. Seymour first contacted me after a blog article I wrote about living in a hippy cabin on the North Mountain in Nova Scotia caught his eye - it's an area we both know well. Astreya, Book 1 is Seymour's first novel.

1) What is your name? What is your quest?

My name is Seymour Hamilton. The Astreya Trilogy is a quest. What's the next quest-ion?

2) Okay, tell me about your book.

In The Astreya Trilogy,  Astreya inherits a knife, a riddling notebook and a bracelet with a strange green stone that lights up when he puts it on. He sails into adventure. Storms at sea, treacherous relatives, unexpected allies, knife fights, secret passages, wicked pirates, loyal friends, strange technology on ships cursed to sail for ever, and a love that endures all hardship.

3) What was the most difficult bit to write?

The first line. It was downwind from there.

4) What surprised you about writing it?

How much I enjoyed writing it!

5) First line:

"Ancient, round-shouldered mountains met the sea only a little south of where winter held the ocean ice-clad the whole year long.  Along the coastline, where harbours were few and hard to find, jagged rocks combed the breakers, grinding at shards of wood that might once have been ships."

(Seymour has stated elsewhere that this is really Newfoundland, which is very cool.)

6) What's the next project?

An old sailor reminisces about a dangerous past and a love that could never be.

7) Your three main characters are trapped in a barn during the zombie apocalypse. What's the outcome?

Sorry, wrong cosmos. There are no zombies in any of my universes. However, if you're into dragons, I have another book for you.

(This wouldn't do at all, so I threw a new question Seymour's way...)

(7 - Let's try this again) Your three main characters have founded an internet start-up company together. What are they selling and is it a success or failure? Why or why not?

If Astreya, Lindey and Cam were in an internet start-up, they would be selling GPS based specialized navigation apps. Cam would do promotion, marketing and would seek out the deals; Lindey, the logical one, would soon be writing code and developing apps; Astreya would be in charge of planning and overall direction and would hold signing authority.  What would be cool about this triumvirate is that each has a veto but unanimity is essential.  Cam is the seeker, Lindy the acid test of logic, Astreya the intuitive ability to sense direction and timing.  They all know that they are fallible, which means that each one needs the other two to know when he or she is right ... or wrong.  Consequently, they are successful.

8) Your book's been made into a movie. What's playing over the opening credits?

Haunting Celtic songs of the sea as sung in Cape Breton. Or perhaps a tune by Stan Rogers.

(I took S.H. to task for being too vague, and he later supplied the name of the tune below, which I was unable to find on harp as he'd requested, but I think this is a nice version.)

9) When and where is the book available?

Right now, in hard copy or any e-book format direct from Fireship Press or from Amazon, Chapters, Barnes and Noble or iTunes. If you go to SeymourHamilton.com you can read excerpts from The Astreya Trilogy, listen to readings by me and my mentor Spider Robinson, see a book trailer handmade by my son Robin, plus reviews and other stuff, including promo for my other book, The Laughing Princess, which has dragons.

My two cents: I loved spending time in the world of Astreya. Before this, I hadn't read a fantasy novel in years, and I was surprised at the level of realism and the way Seymour Hamilton trusts his characters to carry the story without a lot of magic swords and mythological bombast. There is an air of mystery about it all - is this the past or some post-apocalyptic future? And what's the meaning of the coded messages Astreya's been left by his father? But these questions remain intriguingly in the background and don't overwhelm the story. Instead we see our hero grow up, deal with bullies, fall in love and decide he'd like to be an artist. I look forward to the rest of the series.

Here are those opening credits. Damn! This is pretty.

Get your copy of Cinnamon Toast and the End of the World here

...in Ireland and the UK 

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In the U.S.A.

In Canada...or try here. Or go independent.

"...astonishingly good....a juicy coming-of-age story...also an important read." The Globe and Mail

"...poignant...heart-wrenching. This stunning debut will surely appeal to both teenage readers and adults." Quill & Quire, starred review

"Witty, devastating, with a melancholy humour..." Sunday Business Post

"...page-turning, top drawer stuff..." BGE Book Club

"...warm, witty, heartfelt and utterly engaging..." The Irish News

"A stunning debut. I loved it." The Irish Examiner