Today I am super excited to get to be a part of the blog tour for The Rivers Lead Home and Other Stories by Emily Hayse!
The Rivers Lead Home is a collection of short stories set in the world first explored in Emily’s award-winning novel Seventh City. (Keep an eye out for my review of Seventh City coming next week!)
Before I get too far into my review of The Rivers Lead Home, as well as an interview with Emily, here’s the full synopsis for The Rivers Lead Home!
“You see, Maki, that’s the thing about the rivers. They’re like the blood-lines in your hands…. If you lose your way, follow the river downstream and you’ll always find your way back.”
In The Rivers Lead Home, Emily Hayse explores new frontiers, digging deeper into the land and the characters first introduced in her award-winning novel Seventh City.
This collection of twelve short stories features beloved characters like Maki, Tsanu, Willow, Ransom, Laramie, Rutter, and Jeremiah, as well as introducing new characters like Spruce Norman, Mollie at Heart’s End, and the mysteriously lucky dog-driver Epirvikk Heft. From lazy nights at the Pick and Collarbone to dog-races on the frozen tundra to the adventures of a young mapmaker in the jungles of Havast, these stories are full of laughter, surprises, brushes with glory, and heartwarmingly ordinary humanity.
You can buy yourself a copy of The Rivers Lead Home and Other Stories off of Amazon here. And if you would like to get yourself a copy of Seventh City, you can purchase it from Amazon, the Book Depository, or Barnes and Noble!
And if you are interested in any of Emily’s other novels, you can find more about them on her website!
Can we all just take a moment to sigh over that gorgeous cover? Seriously, it is so beautiful!
Like I said above, I got to do an interview with Emily, and I am so excited to get to share it with you all! So here we go!
What inspired the world of Seventh City and The Rivers Lead Home?
It was a smattering of things. For Seventh City it was a combination of a love for the Iditarod, living in the north, reading a book about the search for El Dorado, and then The Rivers Lead Home was just built off the the back of Seventh City as well as my love for good survival stories and adventures.
What led to you write The Rivers Lead Home?
There is one story in the collection titled “Tusik’s Folly”, which I wrote long before any of the others, which was set in one of the towns they passed through in Seventh City, but probably about twenty or thirty years in the future. With that one in my back pocket it sort of opened the door to considering it when I had interest from my readers.
Awesome! What was the most challenging part of writing The Rivers Lead Home?
The key for me to be able to successfully write a short story is for me to know the twist or the surprise or the point of the story that I build the rest of the story around. In the case of a couple stories, the twists took a while to discover.
What was your favorite part of writing The Rivers Lead Home?
Returning to the world! I missed the characters and the world and I loved getting to explore some of the adventures that were hinted at in Seventh City! Also, I loved meeting new characters, especially Heft and Stone, and Spruce Norman.
It was super fun to get to see more of the characters and the world in The Rivers Lead Home! So which story in The Rivers Lead Home is your favorite?
Ah! I have so much trouble choosing! It all depends on day. But I’m very fond of “Tukkuli”, so I’ll go with that.
Who is your favorite character you’ve written, whether in The River Leads Home or any of your other novels?
Oh that’s hard! I have one favorite character, Sean Lindsay, but he’s not published yet, so I’m going to say, from Rivers, I had the most fun writing Epirvikk Heft and Erasmus Stone.
Ooo, now I’m going to have to keep an eye out for when Sean Lindsay’s book gets published!
Do you think you’ll write any more novels set in the world of Seventh City and The Rivers Lead Home?
I have no plans to at this point, but I didn’t expect to write Rivers after I finished Seventh City, so you never know!
So what led you to indie publishing?
I considered the market as it was and my style, which isn’t super contemporary, and I figured one, it might be hard to get represented and signed with my particular style, and two, I was very confident in my literary taste and judgment, to the point where I was comfortable hiring and working with professionals, and applying their feedback and handling things like distribution myself. And I love writing, and while some people can work on the same book for a few years and enjoy it, I have trouble not moving on. So that too works well with indie, being able to write and publish high quality books in a slightly shorter time frame.
What have you learned from your past experiences in publishing that have helped with publishing The Rivers Lead Home?
The biggest things I noticed this time through was that being able to produce something I was happy with on a short deadline was much easier, and the whole launch process was much easier. You get more comfortable with the distribution process, you’re more used to the timing of everything, it just all runs much smoother.
What piece of advice would you give to all aspiring writers?
Read good writing, and write a lot. You learn good instincts from good reading, and the more experience you have writing, the easier it will be to get past your roadblocks.
That’s great. And to wrap things up, where is the best place online for readers to connect with you?
Instagram! I’m @songsofheroes over there.
And now for my review of The Rivers Lead Home!
I really enjoyed reading The Rivers Lead Home. It was super fun to get to see more of Uniap’nik as well as the rest of the world Emily created. And I loved getting to see more of the characters and to get to know them more. Emily also does a nice job making sure that you get to know the new characters as well.
The stories in The Rivers Lead Home covers a range of time, from before the events of Seventh City to during and after Seventh City, which was neat.
The Rivers Lead Home also showcases Emily’s skill as a writer. The short stories are written in first, second, and third person. And let me just say, the story in second person was super well done. Emily also skillfully uses both present and past tense throughout the stories.
While it is difficult choosing a favorite story out of the twelve, “The Hero of Chalkanupa” was maybe my favorite. But all of the stories were super enjoyable.
While you could read The Rivers Lead Home without having read Seventh City first, you will definitely enjoy The Rivers Lead Home if you’ve read Seventh City. Some of the things in The Rivers Lead Home will also make more sense since you’ll already be familiar with the characters and land.
If you’ve read Seventh City and liked it, you should consider getting a copy of The Rivers Lead Home. You will enjoy it.
Content Warnings: One of the stories has a character amputate two of their fingers due to frostbite and gangrene. Other than that, there are a couple instances of brief, non-graphic violence.
The blog tour for The Rivers Lead Home is just about over, but if you want to read the other posts, you can find the links on Emily’s blog here!