They are the light against the darkness.
The steel against the necromancy of the Druj.
And they use demons to hunt demons….
Nazafareen lives for revenge. A girl of the isolated Four-Legs Clan, all she knows about the King's elite Water Dogs is that they leash wicked creatures called daevas to protect the empire from the Undead. But when scouts arrive to recruit young people with the gift, she leaps at the chance to join their ranks. To hunt the monsters that killed her sister.
Scarred by grief, she's willing to pay any price, even if it requires linking with a daeva named Darius. Human in body, he's possessed of a terrifying power, one that Nazafareen controls. But the golden cuffs that join them have an unwanted side effect. Each experiences the other's emotions, and human and daeva start to grow dangerously close.
As they pursue a deadly foe across the arid waste of the Great Salt Plain to the glittering capital of Persepolae, unearthing the secrets of Darius's past along the way, Nazafareen is forced to question his slavery—and her own loyalty to the empire. But with an ancient evil stirring in the north, and a young conqueror sweeping in from the west, the fate of an entire civilization may be at stake…
Visionary. Alchemist. Savior. Saint.
The Prophet Zarathustra has been called many things. Now he spends his time drawing pictures of weird-looking goats. That's what happens when you've been stuck in a prison cell for two hundred years. But the man who might be mad, and is definitely supposed to be dead, has suddenly become very valuable again…
It's only been a few weeks since Nazafareen escaped the King's dungeons with her daēva, Darius. She hoped never to set foot in the empire again, but the search for the Prophet has led them to the ancient city of Karnopolis. They have to find him before Alexander of Macydon burns Persepolae, and Darius's mother with it. But they're not the only ones looking.
The necromancer Balthazar has his own plans for the Prophet, and so does the sinister spymaster of the Numerators. As Nazafareen is drawn in to a dangerous game of cat and mouse, her newfound powers take a decidedly dark turn. Only the Prophet understands the secret of her gift, but the price of that knowledge may turn out to be more than Nazafareen is willing to pay…
Where do your ideas come from?
I usually have an idea of the kind of story I want to tell first, and then the specific characters and plot come later. For example, I've been dying for a Victorian gaslamp mystery/fantasy with the panache of Sherlock Holmes and the brooding atmosphere of The Alienist, but also with demons and magic, so I thought, well damn, I'll just have to write it myself. That's the ultimate direction my new series is headed in.
How do you develop your writing ideas?
I usually fill a few notebooks with random scribblings and watch as this very unwieldy beast slowly gains form and things come together. I'm an outliner, so I know pretty specifically everything that will happen before I sit down and start writing. Not to say everything ends up as planned; there should be always be room to improvise.
What makes you unique as a writer?
I hope I write stories that combine the best of the authors I personally love and admire. I'm also getting more interested in books that cross and meld genres. Why have a scoop of plain vanilla when you can throw nuts and chocolate syrup and aliens on there?
Describe your book in 140 characters or less.
Star-crossed lovers in ancient Persia who can do magic.
Tell us about the main character(s).
THE MIDNIGHT SEA is narrated by Nazafareen, who comes from a very humble background as a nomadic herder to join the King's elite Water Dogs, a sort of police force that hunts the Undead. I like her because she speaks her mind and isn't afraid of anyone, and although she can be selfish, she also has a strong sense of morality and loyalty. I kind of put her through hell in the plot, but she comes out the other side stronger for it. Then there's Darius, the daeva partner she fights with, who has his own ghosts from being raised to believe his own nature is fundamentally evil. They're an interesting pair. The villains of the series (and there are several) all have very personal reasons for what they do, which I think is always more compelling than "I just want to rule the world because I am so very, very bad."
What writers inspire/d you?
Caleb Carr, Neil Gaiman, Garth Nix, Arthur Conan Doyle, Robert Jordan, C.S. Friedman, Jo Walton, J.V. Jones, just to name a few.
What are your writing goals for the next year?
I'll be wrapping up the first trilogy of The Fourth Element this year, along with a mystery called THE DAEMONIAC that will come out around Halloween. That one is actually a prequel to the next series, set for next year, which will have many of the same characters from THE MIDNIGHT SEA, just forward in time. Daevas and their bonded live for a super long time, so I can get away with that!
Do you hear from your readers much?
What kinds of things do they say? I've had such a positive response to this new series, it's really been great. I'll be including a glossary in book two, BLOOD OF THE PROPHET, which comes out on September 12, and I'm now dabbling with fantasy cartography so I can have some maps of my various worlds for readers -- both of which were directly inspired by fan requests.
Some Get to know me Questions
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
When I'm not actually writing, I'm usually scheming and daydreaming about my characters…but sitting all day would kill me if I didn't do something, so I usually squeeze in some yoga. Handstands make me feel like a little kid again.
What’s the best vacation you ever had?
Diving in the Red Sea and riding a camel to see the pyramids in Giza!
What’s your favourite rainy day movie?
I could watch Sherlock all day.
If you could be any age again for a week, which would you choose and why? I remember 10 as being pretty damn good. Before the hell of puberty, but old enough to be good at important things like riding a bike with no hands.
If you could have personally witnessed one event in history, what would it be?
Yeesh, hard! I would love to go back to Gilded Age New York: the dance halls and gambling dens and newfangled electric lights in Central Park.
What's your favourite place to read?
When you walk into a book store, where do you head first?
I have total ADD in bookstores, grabbing anything that catches my eye. I do love fantasy and mysteries, but I'll browse the whole store looking for that great new discovery.
If you had a million dollars, what would be the first thing you would buy?
An eco-car with operating door handles (unlike my current ancient car).
About the Author:
I'll never forget the first time I read The Shining. My mom and I had gone camping in the Adirondacks. I guess I was about 10. I was reading by flashlight in the tent at the moment it dawned on me that redrum was murder backwards. I don't think I slept again for the rest of the trip.
I still love horror, along with fantasy and sci-fi and mysteries, or all of those combined, especially if they're funny too (any recs?). It took me a while to start writing my own fiction because I ended up going into journalism, and having a kid, and convincing myself I had no time for anything else. But then a few years ago, a friend from grade school (yep, the one who remembers all your crazy childhood dreams) asked me if I could honestly say I didn't have 15 minutes a day to write. Or to stare at a blank screen. But not to get up until that 15 minutes was done. So I set aside 15 minutes. By the next week, it had turned into 30, and then an hour, and then two hours. I would stay up very late writing, and it made me really happy.
Now I'm a nutjob early riser (coffee set to brew at 4:45 a.m.), and I try to write every day. It still makes me happier than anything else, even when that Big Idea that seemed so perfect sneaks around my desk and stabs me in the back.
I grew up in New York but now I live far enough outside the city that skunks and deer wander through my backyard. I don't eat meat because I like animals. Mostly, I eat a lot of this.
I'm a member of SCBWI and FallFourteeners. I also have an Amazon author page.
Paperback copy of The Midnight Sea: International