11th September – 49 Days and Counting…

2. What is your book about?

Rise of the Darkwitch is a story of acceptance. One of the recurring lines in the book is, “Who are you?” That’s a key theme. All the characters experience some kind of difficulty, and are on a road to acceptance. The main thing is that they’re not human, but an entirely new race of beings. It might  be fantasy, but there are no elves, dwarfs, or trolls in sight!

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Main protagonist Emmy has been marginalised all her life because she has “strange colours” – people call her a Darkwitch, a kind of demon. Her friend Charo, a former slave, must accept her newfound freedom, only to have it snatched away again.

Prince Mantos struggles with the weight on his shoulders as heir incumbent, and Prince Bandim, his brother, is consumed by rage and jealousy over his brother’s favoured treatment. Their mother Phen, dead for twenty cycles, must come to terms with being alive again.

Zecha and Rel experience similar difficulties, wanting to express themselves in ways their cultures don’t allow.

As the story unfolds, across this and subsequent books, the characters must deal with their difficulties and accept themselves for who they are – all in the shadow of a looming evil, orchestrated by the priestess Johrann Maa, and fought against by the mysterious Bomsoi.

There’s a lot of subtext for LGBT young people – not to mention overt LGBT characters, where their LGBT nature isn’t always the source of difficulty – as well as those who experience different kinds of discrimination.

This is a very important message for me. I hope that the book will give solace to those who are criticised for being who they are, and if even just one person will finds solace in the characters’ stories, I’ve done my job.

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