It’s my pleasure to kick off a brand new feature on Sorchia’s Universe which I’m going to call the Novel Magic until I can think of something better (suggestions welcome.) Every now and then, I’ll feature one of the talented authors I’ve been privileged to meet and give you a sneak peek into their thoughts and their latest work. We’ll specialize in paranormal, fantasy, horror, medieval, and steam punk because that’s what we do here!
Our first guest is best-selling author Anna Durand with tales of the fairy folk. In Celtic legend, fairies are mysterious and often dangerous creatures wielding powers beyond understanding. Learn about Anna’s inspiration for her new book The Mortal Falls and read a captivating excerpt.
Be sure to leave a comment and/or a Like to let us know you’re out there.
The Mythological Origins of Epic Romance
I love to write epic romances, the kind that unfold on a grander scale where the stakes are higher than normal and the payoff is all the more satisfying for it. I also love mythology and the paranormal, so naturally, I often incorporate these elements into my stories. My newest book, The Mortal Falls, combines many of my favorite subjects within a strange and wonderful world.
One of my all-time favorite books is The Fairy-Faith in Celtic Countries by W.Y. Evans-Wentz. This book, published by Oxford University Press in 1911, emerged out of the author’s journeys through the Celtic nations of Europe, during which he interviewed many locals and thoroughly documented their folk beliefs — and even their claims of eyewitness encounters with fairy folk. The Mortal Falls might never have been born if I hadn’t read Evans-Wentz’s exhaustive study of the fairy-faith.
In 2013, I made use of what I’d learned about Celtic fairy lore when I wrote a romance short story, The Falls, in which my human heroine meets a hot sylph and a snarky leprechaun. I loved the world I’d envisioned so much that I began writing a novel-length version of the story. Though Evans-Wentz’s book inspired my writing, I also switched things up a bit to make the already weird fairy lore even stranger and more alien — yet relatable, because my fairies essentially look like humans, with a few exceptions.
My leprechaun looks and acts like a snarky teenager, though he’s centuries old. My sylphs are not airy spirits. They are sexy, humanoid beings with swirling eyes and metallic skin. Why not? It’s a romance, after all, and every romance needs a hot guy. An immortal being with seductive allure and the power to enchant women is even better!
One idea straight out of fairy lore that may not be well known to most people is the fairies’ affinity for water. Many fairy legends involve water, from rivers to lakes and everything in between. The Mortal Falls gets its name partly from this legendary affinity, which plays a vital role in the story.
Evans-Wentz described the existence of fairies as the Invisible World, a place humans couldn’t see but that existed in parallel with our world. I turned this into the Unseen, a parallel realm of reality accessed via magical portals. Into these intertwined worlds I dropped my logical heroine, Lindsey, and all the strange beings who complicate her life, including shapeshifters and elementals. In the second book in the series, The Mortal Fires (my current work-in-progress), I introduce even more beings derived from mythology who are tied to the elements, including a fiery incubus.
What better way to spark the fire of an epic story than via the rich and diverse world of mythology?
“Besides the stars that are established, there is yet another—Imagination—that begets a new star and a new heaven.” —Paracelsus
Excerpt from The Mortal Falls
My ears rang and I suddenly realized I’d forgotten to breathe. “What on earth are you?”
He clapped his palms on the tree, straddling my shoulders. His body radiated heat. It poured over me like liquid sunshine. I sucked in a breath. The scent of him devoured my senses — an earthy tang, underlaid with exotic spice and a sharp sweetness that evoked thunderstorms. His breath whispered over my lips. “What are you?”
“Uh…” I squirmed. “I’m a woman, a human being, like you.”
He chuckled. “We are nothing alike.”
His laughter twanged a nerve inside me, breaking the spell. I blinked three times and hauled in a deep breath, letting it out slowly, overcome by the need to clear my senses. I stared at his chest, desperate to banish all thoughts of the supernatural. I needed to get back to the interrogation. “A man is dead. You must’ve seen something. Don’t you care about that, or anything?”
“Which you aren’t answering. Again.”
“I regret I’m unable to become involved in mortal affairs.”
“Mortal affairs?” I shook my head, dumbfounded. “How can you be so heartless?”
A strange expression flickered across his features and he bowed his head. “Because I am. You would do well to stay away from me and my kind.”
His kind? That implied he was—No. Oh-no-no, I would not go there. I cleared my throat. “You approached me.”
He looked up, but his shoulders slumped. “Alas, I don’t always do as I should.”
“Don’t you feel anything?”
“This has nothing to do with emotions.” He rubbed my hair between his thumb and forefinger, his attention riveted to the lock. “But to answer your question, I do feel. More than I should, in fact.”
I craned my neck to scrutinize him across the six-inch gap in our heights. A tightening around his eyes, coupled with a falter in his smile, led me to believe — or maybe hope — he did feel. He bent his head to peer at me. Those eyes. They smoldered from within. Shades of gold, bronze, and silver swirled inside the irises. No one’s eyes swirled. But heaven almighty, his did.
He dropped my hair. “Have ye lost the power of speech, love?”
His tone rife with amusement, he asked, “Don’t ye ever speak a declarative sentence?”
I snapped my spine straight, glared into his supernatural eyes, and said, “You’re an obnoxious twit. How’s that for declarative?”
“You astound me with your charm and slay me with your wit.”
Slay. The word plucked me out of this bizarre conversation and back to the reality of why I’d pursued this man in the first place. Someone was dead. My damn intuition, or whatever it was, refused to let me believe he had killed the shoplifter, but I must get an answer from him. A concrete, rational answer. “Did you kill him?”
About The Mortal Falls
A pragmatic human thrown into a world of magic…
Lindsey Porter fled from her traumatic past, determined to lay low, but now someone has framed her for murder. The quest for answers leads her into a parallel realm where magic reigns, and with a hostile sheriff and a shapeshifting assassin on her trail, she must place her life in the hands of a seductive, supernatural man who tempts her like no one else.
An immortal sylph enslaved by magic…
Nevan is trapped by a desperate bargain struck a century earlier, yet the beautiful, spirited Lindsey has enticed him to abandon his magically enforced duty. As forbidden passion flares between them, they’ll risk everything to uncover the truth and find what they both need the most — redemption.
When two worlds collide…
The fates of the elemental and mortal realms depend on the star-crossed lovers. As dark secrets from their pasts threaten to shatter the fragile trust between Lindsey and Nevan, a shocking revelation holds the power to deliver salvation or destruction.
Buy your copy of The Mortal Falls at any of these links:
Barnes and Noble
Who is Anna Durand?
Anna Durand is an award-winning, bestselling author of sizzling romances, including the Hot Scots series. She loves writing about spunky heroines and hunky heroes, in settings as diverse as modern Chicago and the fairy realm. Making use of her master’s in library science, she owns a cataloging services company that caters to indie authors and publishers. In her free time, you’ll find her binge-listening to audiobooks, playing with puppies, or crafting jewelry.
Connect with Anna at any of these sites:
Hunks blog: https://www.spunkandhunks.com/
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/annadurand