Author Interview: Sarah Barnard on The Heir

The Heir by Sarah Barnard shows the birth of one of the most compelling and heart wrenching characters in The Portal Series. This prequel answers some questions but leaves many more in its wake. I had the pleasure of speaking with Sarah regarding the story and the questions left behind. She was kind enough to answer many of them.

Interview about The Heir – Free today!

Question: What motivated the creation of The Heir?

Sarah:  The idea came from a conversation with a friend, where we were discussing character motivation and background. It’s just a tiny fragment of the back story. It grew from the question, where did Sam get her magic?

Question: Do you plan on writing more about Lily’s back story? Or Sam’s?

Sarah: I wasn’t planning on releasing much more, but there’s another book in progress set around the time when Lily and Heather were 18 and Lily first became Mistress, unexpectedly. Heather is the older twin, by a few moments, and she was expected to inherit. As the first born she was the heir to their mother but as they grew it was Lily who had the stronger, wider ranging magic and Heather simply didn’t have the ability. When they were about 18, their mother suffered an illness that robbed her of her magic and the title passed to Lily, earlier than anticipated.

Question: The story indicates that Heather is a healer?

Sarah: Yes she is. A good one but that’s all she is. Her magic is very focused, where Lily’s is wide and varied. Lily hoped that Heather would find the rest of her magic and inherit, but it never happened

Question: Lily became an unwilling or undesired mistress then?

Sarah: Somewhat unwilling. Certainly too soon,  she was young.  It was sudden. She wanted more of a life without the responsibility before she had to step up. Not undesired, but untested

Question: Heather is her sanctuary in The Heir. Why does Lily insist that the baby is not raised by her sister? What is it about her spouse that makes her believe he will pursue the child if she is raised in another realm by her sister? Is he aware of Heather’s location? Does her torture Lily for that kind of information?

Sarah:   He has no clue where Heather is at that stage, but Lily is scared he’ll work it out, and he does  work out the path eventually. He’s threatened to kill the child if she is born where he can find her and he expects Lily to simply get rid of the pregnancy, to terminate/abort the child through whatever means she sees fit. He never touched Lily, but he beat Sam’s and Andrew’s fathers to death – and he made Lily watch the latter.  She’s seen him kill in anger and he scares her.  At the time of The Heir, Lily has gifted him with a portion of her own magic, not knowing the changes it would cause in him – trying to make him feel equal to her.

Question:  She took her protector as a mate?

Sarah:  He was leader of the Eysi warriors and raised to lead, to protect them, and the Mistress of the land, the holder of the magic, his life was based on that. I’ve always seen him as someone who always had a cruel streak. Thus it was more like her general convinced her they could be stronger together and she was young enough to fall for it. Although he was cruel, he was also handsome, and charming when he needed to be. She thought she loved him, but she was a free spirit and he wanted her for only himself.

Question: This was a compromise she was not ready to give?

Sarah: Not at the time. Maybe if he’d just stayed by her side and not boxed her in, things may have been different. He was never going to do that though, or accept that she was better than him, more powerful than him.

Question: Why does she return to him, even after the death of her lover and the sacrifice of her child?

Sarah: It’s been drilled in to her, for all of her life, that she belongs to the realm she rules – before family, before everything. Like so many women in that situation, she thinks she can change things, she thinks she can make him come round. She thinks it’s at least partly her fault and she thinks, at that stage, that once she’s helped him then she can come back for Sam.

At the time of The Heir, she’s failed to conceive a child with him and she’s taken a lover – both of which have angered him and she believes that both are her fault and therefore something she must set right

She sees that he has a jealous, cruel side but she thinks she can “fix” him. Even in the later Portal books she still holds to the belief that he was a good man at one time. This is also reflected in the lengths she goes to in order to try to save his son.
Question: Why him? Could she not just dismiss him once she realized he was so cruel?

Sarah:  Why him? He was charismatic, charming, her protector, and yes, she could have dismissed him, she could have done so many things differently.

His charisma stayed even after he became darker. He charmed Sam, and she went with him willingly, even though she’d call it an abduction.

Question: He wooed Sam as he did Lily?

Sarah: Not in quite the same way, he offered Sam a way out of a situation she didn’t wish to be in, and she took it. You know, when you really want to run away and someone opens a door and says, there you go….

I have Sam’s whole story written, and I’m thinking of running it through edits for release sometime

Question: How old is Lily when she gives birth to Sam?

Sarah: Early twenties. She can be quite vague about her age.

Question: Leaving mysteries behind everywhere she goes?

Sarah: You have no idea. She’s a complete pain in the ass.

Question: Of the many characters that dance stories through your mind, is Lily among the most complicated?

Sarah: Among them, yes.

Question: You are anticipating at least one more book about Lily and Heather. Will we have the opportunity to learn more of both Heather and Lily down the road?

Sarah: More in the book I’m still working on, and Lily does feature in Sam’s story, and she does turn up in The Map and The Stone too, so she could well be in any sequel to that too.

Question: The Map and The Stone is your children’s book?

Sarah: Yes.

Question: Where do you see the series going from here? More shorts or will we have a full length novel focused on Lily’s life in her realm and her choice to come to ours?

Sarah: There are plans for Sam’s story, and Lily’s teenage years but not much more than that. Sam’s story is a short novel, and Lily’s isn’t yet finished but it’ll be another short novel I think. After those, unless I write about Susan, or Hazel then I’ll likely move on to other projects.

Question: What other projects are you working on?

Sarah: I have Sage and the Earthlink series, and a few other things I keep digging out and working on.

Question: Can we expect a new release from you this year?

Sarah:  I’m hoping to have another Sage story at some point


Sarah Barnard is a talented fantasy and science fiction author, as well as a single mother of two. Her first uniquely crafted world can be seen in The Portal Series. You can follow her on twitter as @UKSarahBarnard or check out her Author Page.

Comments are closed.