Politics, revolutions and sisterhood in European-inspired historical debut
NASHVILLE – The battle for the throne of Karkov commences in this epic feminist fantasy from debut author Dale Griffin. “The Last Lion of Karkov” (March 14, 2023, Books Fluent) dives deeply into the worlds of its characters, creating an epic fantasy debut that amplifies the hardships of politics, the sacrifice of love and the enduring bond between two sisters.
Using his experiences traveling across Europe and his passion for developing complex and endearing characters, Griffin’s epic features twin sisters who must fight for their rightful place in a male-dominated world. And in honor of the sisters within the story, he also plans to donate a portion of sales of his book to Girls, Inc., an organization that believes in empowering young girls to be independent and bold.
For royal twin sisters, Jillian and Natalia, there’s nothing that can come between them. Natalia is set for marriage to another kingdom and Jillian prepares to take up the throne as the first Lioness of Karkov. Raised to be warlords and rulers, Jillian’s path to the throne is met with opposition when the old warriors bring forth a male rival. Jillian must fight for her rightful position on the throne, but things change when she starts to develop feelings for her challenger. As destinies are altered and nations are spun into turmoil, Jillian and Natalia must reckon with the consequences of love and war.
For fans of Guy Gavriel Kay and Tamora Pierece’s Lioness series, “The Last Lion of Karkov” will give readers two new feminist icons to root for and suprising twists to linger in the mind well after reading.
“The Last Lion of Karkov”
Dale Griffin | March 2023 | Books Fluent | Epic fantasy
Paperback, 9781953865601, $22.99/$16.99
About the author
DALE GRIFFIN is a historical fantasy writer releasing his debut novel “The Last Lion of Karkov” in March 2023. Griffin considers himself a traveler and a writer as a result. Married to his best friend and travel partner, the two explore Europe as frequently as possible. Inspired by those journeys, Griffin uses his experiences to influence his imagined worlds and the memorable characters who dwell in them.
In an interview, Dale Griffin can discuss:
- Why he’s motivated to donate sales of the book to Girls, Inc.
- His passion for writing characters and developing them throughout a story
- The process of creating Jillian and Natalia to be a dynamic and evolving duo
- The inspiration to write a fantasy story featuring two female lead characters in a male-dominated world
- His knowledge of horses and bull-training from experience as a bull rider and rodeo champion
- The book’s hidden messages and love letters to his wife
- How the book’s setting was inspired from his travels throughout Europe
An interview with Dale Griffin
Jillian and Natalia are deeply developed characters in this story. Could you go into what it was like to create these characters and the work it took to evolve them throughout the story?
I wanted to create twin sisters who were subjected to the same cruel upbringing yet emerged from their circumstances with completely different personalities. Natalia’s character evolved more over the revisions than Jillian’s.
Despite some readers finding Jillian too quick-tempered and unfair, my thoughts are that she is the direct result of her childhood. Natalia, being a person who puts others before herself, should be considered the enigma. Early drafts did not portray her as spoiled during her youth, but I preferred to show her evolve into a proper heroine, with her love of Jillian being the reason.
The story is set in a European setting despite being an epic fantasy world. What went into creating the world Jillian and Natalia live in?
Europe — its people, its landscapes, its cities, and its history — inspires me to write. I set out on writing the Euro-inspired story without knowing what the reader would think about my imaginary places obviously being taken from real places. Luckily, early readers found that it helped them picture the setting, so I fully embraced the method and ran with it.
As a male author, what was your motivation to write a fantasy story focusing on two women fighting in a patriarchal society?
My favorite characters are feisty female protagonists who refuse to conform to what is expected of them. With Jillian in particular, I created a near-insurmountable obstacle to overcome and unleashed a ferocious lioness to attack it.
You must have also drawn a bit from real life. Can you tell us a bit about what parts inspired your real life?
It’s easier to write about what you know. I was riding horses by the age of 4, which helped to write a book set in this period. My engineering degree was part of the inspiration for Lorenzo. Most importantly, my wife provided many influences throughout the book.
You also plan to donate sales of your book to Girls, Inc. What is your motivation there and how do you believe this connects to the story?
It’s what Jillian and Natalia would want — to support girls in becoming bold and independent women.
What do you hope readers gain from the story?
I hope that I created characters who will linger in the thoughts of readers between readings and well after completing the book.
Are you working on any additional projects?
Yes, I have outlined a new book in a similar style where the lands are inspired by Scotland and Northern England, including their rivalry. A druidess is taken from her Highlands homeland to serve a Scottish-like ruler trying to preserve his title of king. But also, the continued “Last Lion of Karkov” story with the threat from the Desert Lion is never far from my thoughts.
A former award-winning journalist with national exposure, Marissa now oversees the day-to-day operation of the Books Forward author branding and book marketing firm, along with our indie publishing support sister company Books Fluent.
Born and bred in Louisiana, currently living in New Orleans, she has lived and developed a strong base for our company and authors in Chicago and Nashville. Her journalism work has appeared in USA Today, National Geographic and other major publications. She is now interviewed by media on best practices for book marketing.