Time's Orphan (Odriel's Heirs #3) by Hayley Reese Chow
Speak of pain, and I’ll tell you of the Time who stole it away…
Besieged by war, ravaged by monsters, and crawling with the undead, the land of Okarria is dying. Seventeen-year-old Emara survives by using her modest healing gift to save as many as she can while eluding the invaders who thirst for her enchanted blood.
So when a cursed cat saves her life and reveals Emara is the legendary Time Heir the necromancer king’s been searching for, she agrees to act as bait in a plot to destroy him. But when the plan goes horrifically awry, Emara must discover how deep her powers go, what she can change…
And what she cannot.
Unfortunately, Time Heirs have a history of getting killed, and with Okarria’s future on the line, Emara may have no choice but to follow in her ancestors’ footsteps.
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5 out of 5 (exceptional)
TIME'S ORPHAN is the absolutely amazing finale in the Odriel's Heirs series and features the lost Time Heir, Emara. I won't go into the story apart from saying you absolutely MUST read this as a series. Although following different timelines and characters, it is all necessary to understand the overall story arc.
Ever since Jago in book one, the Time Heirs have been slippery characters - mentioned but not seen. There is a reason for this and, oh, but it's hard reading! Emara is a brave character, scared and alone for most of her life, but does she ever come into her own!!! Everything ties up here. All the other books, the story arc, Shad, it's all here and I was gripped by every word.
I was so happy to see Shad in here and to finally learn his back story. Absolutely perfect but I won't spoil it. In fact, everyone is in here, just what I wanted in the final book. That doesn't take anything away from Emara though. It is 100% her story and I loved it.
My time in Okarria might be over for now but it won't be the last time I visit. These books are now on my wish list to be bought as real-life copies. That way I can re-read whenever I want to and, if I don't want to re-read, I can gaze at the gorgeous covers.
A stunning series from the very beginning and HIGHLY recommended by me. 10 out of 5 stars for beings so utterly brilliant!
** same worded review will appear elsewhere **
* A copy of this book was provided to me with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book, and the comments here are my honest opinion. *
Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Hey everyone! I’m Hayley Reese Chow, a mechanical engineer by trade and a small potatoes author by passion. I mainly write action-filled young adult adventures with strong sides of sweet romance. I’ve self-published five fantasies to date, and my first traditionally published book, Into the Churn, is coming from Whimsical Publishing April 4th! I live in Florida with my husband, my two wild boys, and our little rescue mutt.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
Oh gosh, between my full-time day job and chauffeuring my kids around to all their after-school activities, we stay pretty busy. But, in between those every-day things, I love to travel, exercise, read, and binge K-dramas on Netflix!
Do you have a day job as well?
Yep! I’m a mechanical engineer working as a project manager in a research lab. Which basically means I’m a professional emailer. Not to brag, but I can sling emails like an eight-armed ninja. I know, I know. Try not to be jealous.
What was your favourite book as a child?
Favourite book, SINGULAR?! Come on! I think picking one might be impossible but both Garth Nix’s Sabriel and Patricia McKillip’s The Forgotten Beasts of Eld both had huge impacts on me in my tween years, and I can absolutely still see their influence in my writing today.
When was that point in your life that you realized that being an author was no longer going to be just a dream but a career you were going to turn into reality?
I don’t know if I’ve had this moment yet! (Half-kidding) Writing books is really still a passion project for me rather than a career, but it was the Twitter writing community that made me realize that I could put my books out into the world for people to enjoy. Then the positive response to that first book really blew me away. By the time Odriel’s Heirs won the 2020 Florida Author Project, it was the final straw that convinced me I wanted to continue to pursue writing and publishing.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Hopefully with a stack of ten more books with my name on them next to me as I answer another author interview!
When did you start writing and when did you finish your first book?
I started my first book in 2012 after I graduated from college. It took me three months to write, but at the time, I never thought it would actually leave my computer. It took another five years to pick it up again to attempt to revise, and then another three years to finally self-publish. That first one was tough!
How did you choose the genre you write in?
There was no contest there. I’ve always adored fantasy, and it’s basically my first bookish love.By the time I sat down to write Odriel’s Heirs, I feel like the characters, the world, and the story had already been swirling in my head for years.
Where do you get your ideas?
Honestly, they seem to come out of the woodwork—most often when I’m inconveniently halfway through the first draft of another story. I used to participate in daily very short story prompts on Twitter, but for every idea I came up with I wanted to write the whole novel! Now I do the NYC midnight microfiction challenges a couple times a year, and I have the same problem. I basically have a list of ideas that I’m constantly trying to reorder to figure out what I’m going to write next.
Do you ever experience writer’s block?
The only time I’ve experienced this was when I had a plot problem that I didn’t know how to write myself out of. Basically, I had to take a few weeks to mull it over before I was able to break out. Now that I’m a more stringent plotter and have critique partners to help me brainstorm solutions, I haven’t had this problem in a long time.
Are you a planner or a pantser?
Planner for sure. I used to be a planster, but Save the Cat Writes a Novel changed me, and I for sure will never go back. My last outline was 10,000 words long for a 60,000-word book!
Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
So many! Sabriel, The Forgotten Beasts of Eld, Alanna, The Wretched of Muirwood, The Scorpio Races, Defy the Night, Cinder, This Mortal Coil, Illuminae, Today, Tonight, Tomorrow, Fangirl… the list goes on. Funnily enough, I don’t think my reading preferences have changed since I was around 12-years-old!
Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
Getting that first book published was a huge hurdle, mostly because I didn’t even know what I didn’t know. I knew nothing about anything! I’m so thankful for all the indie authors out there that shared their knowledge with me on editors, cover artists, formatting, and everything else. Also, the Reedsy blog was a huge wealth of knowledge as I tried to figure out all the steps to try to put a book out in the world.
If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?
I definitely would’ve done more research into cover art. Basically I went with the first artist that was recommended to me, even though that probably wasn’t the style I was looking for. Secondly, I also would’ve done a lot more research into small presses. A lot of people warned me away from them at the time, but I’m having an amazing experience with a small press now, so I wish I would’ve investigated that a little more.
Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?
Not so far! Self-publishing has been an incredibly empowering and fulfilling publication route for me, and I’ve been thrilled to put five books out in the world, with a sixth coming in February. However, I’m also super stoked to have signed two book deals this year with Whimsical Publishing and take the next step into the world of small press.
How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?
Marketing is so difficult, and something I’m definitely still working on. I primarily market through my social media channels, and I love to commission character art to bring the book alive for both me and my readers. I also really enjoy submitting my books into contests to get more valuable, objective feedback—which can also be great for visibility. Lately, I’ve found being active on Instagram with writerly content has been a huge boost for me. I hope to one day master ads though, because the time sink of social media is no joke!
Can you tell us about your upcoming book?
I would LOVE to! Time’s Orphan is a young adult epic fantasy coming out on February 8th and it has time travel, healing magic, a zombie-infested apocalyptic world, and a strong side of sweet romance. While technically Time’s Orphan is actually the last book in the Odriel’s Heirs series, it occurs after a 10-year time gap following book 2 and focuses on a new main character. Usually I pitch this series as a mix between Avatar: The Last Airbender and Sabriel.
I also have a romantic young adult science fiction coming from Whimsical Publishing on April 4th! This is both my first traditionally published book as well as my first story told from a dual point-of-view. Into the Churn focuses on an underdog team in a deadly, high-stakes race on a backwater planet—with a side of sweet romance (of course.) I usually pitch this one as a mix between The Hunger Games and Illuminae.
Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
I feel like all of my characters hold a piece of me in them, but Into the Churn definitely borrows the most from my real-life experiences—specifically my time as a collegiate fencer on a national champion team as well as the ultramarathons and adventure races I’ve done. It was so fun to weave those into a sci-fi adventure, and I’m loving the reader reactions so far!
What was your favourite chapter (or part) to write and why?
So, my favourite part in Time’s Orphan is when Emara first travels through time and pops up into a whole new world. As Emara grew up struggling to survive a dark and terrible reality, it was so fun to watch her grow and blossom in a more peaceful place—and find new friends to boot!
In Into the Churn, it was definitely the storm den moment. My romances are all on the sweet side, rather than spicy… but that one toes the line for sure. Also, I absolutely adore the “cuddling for warmth” and “forced proximity” tropes, so I adore that scene. (P.S. keep an eye out on Instagram for commissioned art of this in the future…)
How did you come up with the title?
Titles are super difficult for me, and usually require a lot of spit-balling with the help of my critique partners. Time’s Orphan came pretty easily as it roughly followed the naming convention of the first two books, but Into the Churn was a lot harder! It’s working title was actually The Belethea Race Royale… which everyone agreed was terrible (though apt.) I also thought about A Race of Storms and Stars which follows the popular naming convention these days, but in the end, Into the Churn seemed like the snappiest fit.
Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?
I would love to write a sequel for Into the Churn and bring back all the big characters, but we’ll have to see how launch goes before we make the leap. If you read it and want more, don’t forget to tell the world!
Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
Find a writing friend (or three) and enjoy the journey. Publishing is a long game, and those two things can really make all the difference.
What does your protagonist think about you?
I would like to think that they all appreciate the happy endings I give them, but since they have to go through a lot of literal blood, sweat, and tears to get there, I think there’s probably some resentment there.
Would he or she want to hang out with you, the author, his creator?
I don’t think I would be cool enough to hang out with any of them! And since I regularly torture them, that’d probably be a hard pass for them as well. We’d have to go to group counselling.
What has been the toughest criticism you’ve been given as an author?
This is an excellent question! When I got my editor’s letter back from my first book it was really rough and disheartening. The phrase “skeletal prose” comes to mind. Ouch! I actually had to put it down for a few months before coming back to it. But ultimately that feedback made the book so much better, and also made me grow a lot as a writer, so I’m thankful for it.
What has been the best compliment?
The awards have been a huge honour. I still can’t believe my very first book, Odriel’s Heirs, won the Florida Author Project and came in 5th place in the Book Blogger Novel of the Year Awards. But that time a complete stranger sent me Odriel’s Heirs fan art was huge too. No, I’m not crying—you’re crying!
Which character speaks the loudest, to you? Do any of them clamour to be heard over the others?
Jai from Time’s Orphan has a way of taking over whatever scene he’s in, and I absolutely love it. He may be my favourite love interest from the Odriel’s series. And yes, some definitely clamour to be heard more loudly than others! I love that moment when a character comes to life in a book, and their dialogue just flows into the story. Except it does make it extra tough if they don’t survive…
What sort of Starbuck’s coffee would your characters order? Simple coffee or some complicated soy-non-fat-extra-espresso-half-caff-nightmare?
Oh this is a perfect question for Into the Churn. Foster would probably be a small black coffee kind of guy, and Ezren is definitely looking up the drink with the most sugar and ordering that. FYI, it’s a Venti Java Chip Frappuccino.
What sort of writing environment do you create? I.e. music or not? Pen and paper or laptop/PC?
Give me my laptop and a pair of headphones, and I can write anywhere! When drafting I usually listen to the Han Zimmer Pandora station. It’s intense and inspiring but without any lyrics to be distracting. Then let the words flow!
Is there a certain type of scene that is harder to write than other? Racy? Love? Action?
For me, I think it’s the ending scenes, whatever they may be. By that point, I’m usually in a hurry to get to the end, so pacing can be a struggle for me. Also, any scene with more than four characters. AH! Nightmare alert! Who’s talking right now?!
Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
Thank you times one billion. Seriously, I wouldn’t be able to put these stories out there without your support and encouragement. Every rating and review means so much to me, and I’m so grateful to you for giving my little books a chance and spreading the word. I can honestly say that input from readers has influenced me significantly. Without it, Odriel’s Heirs would’ve been left as a stand-alone. So, believe me when I say, I’m listening!
Do you have any strange writing habits? Like writing in the shower?
I write on the treadmill and the elliptical. Like, a lot. Two birds, one stone!
If you could cast your characters in a Hollywood adaptation – who would you choose for which character?
I’m terrible at casting age-correct people so we’ll just pretend all of these folks are in their late teens, but Joshua Jackson would be the perfect Foster Sterling from Into the Churn, and Zoey Deutch would be a great Ezren Hart.For Time’s Orphan, I’d pick Yara Shahidi and Aramis Knight for Emara and Jai!
How important are the names in your book?
Not super important. I pick names for the feel/sound/vibe rather than for the meaning, and I try to pick shorter, less common names that can be easily pronounced. But once a name is chosen, I get attached really quickly, and it can be super hard to change!
Do you read your reviews?
Every single one!
Do you respond to them, good or bad?
Nope! I try to give the readers privacy so they can feel free to be completely honest. If it’s a writer or blogger I’m friendly with and have spoken to before though, I may reach out to thank them. Basically, if I’m contacting them for any reason, it’s to thank them for the review.
Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?
Go look up your favourite book and read the bad reviews. Talk it out with your critique partners or writing friends. Reread your good reviews. Read that reviewer’s other reviews. All of those things make me feel better! In the end, try to separate the constructive advice from the nonconstructive. Take a deep breath and remind yourself that no one book is for everyone and then never read that review again!
What is your best marketing tip?
Don’t be afraid to get excited for your book! In the end, you are its strongest advocate. This is advice I’m constantly giving myself and finally learning how to apply. The more you put yourself out there, the easier it will be. I used to be really self-conscious about selfies and wouldn’t have dreamed about showing my face in a reel. But the more I’ve done it, the more comfortable I feel with just being myself on social media and having fun, which makes marketing a lot easier!
What is your least favourite part of the writing or publishing process?
Marketing, for sure. Mostly because it’s time-consuming, and I would rather be writing! I’m learning to have more fun with it and be more effective though, so hopefully it’ll continue to get easier as I go on!
Thanks so much for the interview opportunity!
Hayley Reese Chow has short and flash fiction featured or upcoming in Lite Lit One, The Drabble, Bewildering Stories, Teleport Magazine, and Rogue Blades Entertainment’s omnibus, AS YOU WISH!
Until recently though, she's mostly done a lot of things that have nothing at all to do with writing. Her hat collection includes mother, wife, engineer, USAF veteran, reservist, four-time All American fencer, 100 mile ultramarathoner, triathlete, world traveler, voracious reader, and super nerd. Hayley currently lives in Florida with two small wild boys, her long-suffering husband, and her miniature ragehound.
But at night, when the house is still, she writes.
To find Hayley's other stories and see what she's working on next, check out hayleyreesechow.com. You can also find her on Twitter or Instagram @HayleyReeseChow.
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