Monday, 3 December 2012

Interview and Review - Renhala by Amy Joy Lutchen

Today I'm interviewing the lovely Amy Joy Lutchen, author of the wonderful fantasy novel Renhala!


Goodreads summary: Kailey Rooke, timid accountant, dedicated to philanthropic work, finds herself spiraling into a deep depression after she suffers a horrifyingly odd and humiliating assault, to only discover more of these freakish assaults occurring across the globe.

A chance discovery leads Kailey to a meeting with elderly Gunthreon, actual master of persuasion. Gunthreon, who seems to know too much of Kailey's history for her liking, opens Kailey's eyes to a coexisting realm she never knew existed: Renhala, while entrusting her with the knowledge of her newfound power as karmelean, serving as a beacon to the Higher Ones. Kailey slowly starts revealing new talents, and Gunthreon is fascinated with what she starts achieving.

She soon discovers that Renhala is in danger, and this danger has been leaking into her own realm. As she uncovers secrets within herself, and attempts to toughen up, she fuses with an unlikely band of fellow travelers (including a dragon, woodsprite, six-hundred-pound greble, her faithful female canine companion, and a "giver"), falls into an unexpected love triangle, deals with her sexy and flirtatious best friend’s “issues,” and finds the courage to master a new deadly weapon. 

On her mission to save Renhala, Kailey will find herself running from life-threatening disasters, such as greble Tartarin, who likes to remind Kailey that when he catches her, he plans on eating her brains with ice cream; she'll run from the deadly meeples: small cute bunnies with talons and an undeniable thirst for imposing self-destruction on others. Kailey will also run into the possibility that a centuries-old Renhalan rumor is true, that advanced technology existing in Kailey's realm shortens all life spans.

As blood is shed and puzzles near completion, Kailey pulls from deep within herself, conjuring up mystical qualities that enable her to astonish as once predicted at her birth, but despite the newfound strength, Kailey will discover that monsters not only come in ugly packages, but can be easily disguised as those she has come to love and trust.

My Review:

Renhala, by debut author Amy Joy Lutchen, is an inventive and imaginative fantasy that spans two universes: our own, and an alternative realm known as Renhala. The narrative begins with Kailey, who is recovering from a horrible, bizarre assault which has left her broken. But things take a turn for the weird when she meets a mysterious stranger at a party who reveals to her that she possesses strange powers, somehow connected to the alternative universe known as Renhala. Kailey learns that she is a karmalean, and that she might be the only hope to save both worlds.

The novel is populated by a variety of fantastic characters, from her flirtatious best friend Amber to Bu, an eight-foot, green monster with poor hygiene yet who somehow manages to be adorable. There are killer bunnies, a dragon, and a love triangle. With great world-building, the author weaves an original fantasy tale set in a vividly-imagined alternative realm. This is definitely worth a read for anyone looking for their next fantasy adventure.

Rating: ****

About the author: 

Was born in Chicago and slept in a dresser drawer for the first few weeks of my life, marking me as a future claustrophobe. 

I studied at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana (man I grew up quick), where I became a number, but decided it was a good number.

I now write in my spare time as I eat snacks, making sure they are not in multiples of three. That number makes me nervous.

Amy Joy Lutchen
Website/Blog Goodreads


Could you tell me a bit about yourself?
Hmmm. Such a hard question to start off with! I never know what to say about me. Well, I am a female, in her thirties—maybe at the end of that decade, BUT STILL IN MY THIRTIES! . . . for now. I love sweets, especially European chocolate. OMG! Chocolate *drooling*. Oh, and I LOVE tea! It’s unnatural how much I love tea. I’ve basically built my house out of tea. It’s absolutely everywhere . . .

I am also a wife and mother of two boys (see the gray hair?).

When did you start writing?
I’ve always been full of characters bursting to get out. Within the past five years is when I knew I had to release them in order to help me deal with some of my own personal issues in an unbelievably therapeutic way: writing. I can’t stop! Guess that’s good for all those waiting for the second book in the Renhala series. *wink wink*

What inspired you to write the book?
Renhala started as a single piece of paper littered with a hodgepodge of written fears and tragic events from my life—things that were haunting me, things that I just couldn’t get past.You see, years prior to me writing down these events, I suffered a horrible assault by the hands of a total stranger and it was eating me alive. Simple things like meeting eyes with someone new or watching an attack scene on television kept driving me into dark corners inside my mind.

But one day, out of the blue, on a train ride home from work, I gathered my strength and flipped that same stupid piece of paper over and began writing more words, different words. As the magic began flowing freely from my fingertips, and Renhala was becoming more and more concrete, my destiny was changed forever. I finally felt better about myself—felt better about life—for I was shaping future events. And the characters that emerged were exactly the healing friends I needed.

Who is your favourite character in your book?
Well, apparently Bu is a favorite of everybody . . . but I can say that Kioto, the Akita, holds a special place in my heart. Unconditional love is like no other gift in this world.

Which authors have inspired you?
Every author I read inspires me in one way or another, whether it be this particular author’s rendition of a scary-ass clown, or this author’s ability to bring tears to my eyes, or that particular author’s ability to make me feel dumb ‘cause I just don’t get it.

Tell me about one of your favourite books of all time.

One of my favorite books of all time is a really strange book, SERIOUSLY. Have you ever heard of the book Flatland, a Romance of Many Dimensions, by Edwin A. Abbott? I don’t know what drugs that man may have taken, but it’s genius! The women in the book are straight lines and they have to wiggle back and forth so that if they walk toward you, they don’t pierce right through you. See? Genius!


  1. I love learning about new books-- especially fascinating reads. I also appreciate the insights and thoughts from the author, especially if she loves chocolate. Thanks for sharing, Amy.

    1. Thanks for reading the review/interview! The sensation I feel while eating chocolate should be illegal :)

  2. Great review and interview! This book sounds fascinating, and I absolutely adore the cover. The assault that helped inspire this book sounds so tragic, but I think it's amazing how writing it was able to be therapeutic in its own way...

    1. Thanks for the kind words, Heather. My life is indeed changed for the better since writing Renhala. I encourage everyone to do a bit of writing here and there, just to see where it may take you. You might be pleasantly surprised!