Ten Questions About Of Shadow Born

I thought I’d take a moment and answer a few of the recurring questions I’ve gotten since Of Shadow Born hit shelves last month.  It’s hard to answer without giving too much away, given the pace of the story, but I did my best.


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10 Questions About Of Shadow Born

1.  Is Nico going to turn Deven into an Elf?

No, not at all.  There are things about Dev that most people don’t know (here’s a preview: he can hear trees talking), which will come to light now that he has someone to talk to about them who can understand.  But assuming he doesn’t go batcrap crazy, Dev will always be who he is – and that’s going to continue to get him into trouble with those he loves.  Part of why he’s such a basket case is that he can’t reconcile his dual identity – being a self-proclaimed “murder pimp” versus being a healer.  Book 5, in fact, spends a lot more time in his head, for better or worse.  Whether or not Nico is successful in helping him will significantly influence what’s to come for everyone.

2.  How long does Olivia have to wait to find a Consort?

Not as long as you’d think.  In fact, one of our characters has already met him – not on camera, but back in the 90s before our story began.

3.  But seriously…Elves?

It’s all based on the myth of Persephone and her sister; it’s all about balance.  If there’s a predatory species meant to feed on humans, there must be an equal and opposite force to help lift humans up.  Those are the only two supernatural races in the Shadow World; there aren’t any werewolves lurking down the corner.  (Witches, here, are just enhanced humans, not a separate race.) Both races represent very different ways of dealing with humanity, and you’ll notice which one has survived.  The story’s not going to be overrun with Elves, though, don’t worry; at the moment I only know of three – maybe four, maybe – who will make any sort of appearance, and of those only two are really important.

4.  Aside from the black eye thing and being stronger, is there anything else that will make the Thirdborn different from regular vampires?

Absolutely.  There’s one major thing we’ll get into as soon as the next book starts; it’s a consequence neither of our Pair imagined, and weren’t prepared for at all.  And they’ll have a particular role to play in the circle once it’s completed and they can start figuring out what the hell they’re supposed to be doing.

5.  Is Stella going to become a vampire?

Definitely not.  I think it’s important with all these supernatural beings running around to have a human anchor, even if her life is as bound up in all this as anyone else’s.  Stella is on a very important journey and it’s just barely gotten started.  She doesn’t want to be a vampire, has no romantic notions about life as one – partly because she’s seen what happens to Miranda and David as they try to keep their people safe.  She bears witness to the breaking of their world in a way that only a human can.  These vamps are rich and powerful and badass, but they are not angst-ridden over the loss of their humanity – they have too much work to do, and it requires a ruthless, violent lifestyle.  Even the most sparkly-eyed teenager would think twice about that, and Stella is in her early 20s – and far more mature than she looks, with her funny hair and outfits. She and I are both quite content with her as a Witch.

6.  Are you planning to kill off any more major characters?

There’s a pretty significant death coming up, and beyond that I don’t know.  I don’t have every moment planned out, to be honest; most of the time I follow the characters where they lead me, and sometimes even I’m surprised how things end up.  I was thankful that Of Shadow Born had a happy ending, more or less, because I think it’s important to know that our characters aren’t just fighting for a world full of tragedy, but for a world full of love and joy as well.  If all they had to look forward to was being picked off one by one, why bother?  But if it helps, I don’t kill people off lightly.  When it’s a good guy, I almost always cry over it at least twice: once while writing it and once when I reread it later.  Speaking of deaths:

7.  Why did you have Miranda kill Hart instead of finding a way for Cora to do it?

Cora would not have killed Hart.  I don’t think Cora would kill anyone unless someone she cared about was in mortal danger.  There’s more to Cora than we yet know, but at that time, she wasn’t ready to take that step.  Miranda, on the other hand, is a warrior, and she was able to do it in honor of the women Hart had abused and killed, without lowering herself to his level and torturing him to death or anything like that.  Miranda understood the significance of the act as well as its necessity.  Did she get a little wicked glee from it?  Hell yeah.  She’s only “human,” after all, and this was the man who enslaved and raped Cora for decades, as well as countless other girls; did the same to Amelia Hayes, putting Jeremy on the path that led to David’s death; and was instrumental not only in setting up the Awakening but having Miranda shot – an attempt to destroy her career.  He had absolutely earned a quick appointment with Shadowflame.

8.  Are things going to get weird again with David/Deven/Miranda?

If by weird you mean “is David going to fuck it all up again,” then, the answer is no.  But the dynamic of their friendship is changing – the thing to remember is, everyone in the circle is going to grow closer, but those three, along with Jonathan, are in an odd position because they were already close, and the boys already had a painful history.  The connections among all the characters have to shift and evolve and there’s no guarantee everyone will react well.  But though they’re certainly still hot for each other and love each other very much, neither really wants to go back there.  There’s just too much pain down that path, above and beyond who else would get hurt.  They want to be just friends, but will probably never be just friends – the trick is figuring out what they can be.

9.  Are things going to come to a head with the Council in the next book?

In a manner of speaking.  As in, there will be a schism, a lot of death, and a certain ice-cream loving geek we know and love will find himself doing something that has never been done in all of Signet history.

10.  Tell us more about what’s coming up in book 5!  And when is it coming out?  How many more are there going to be?

Shadowbound, book 5 of the Shadow World series, will be out at roughly the same time next year as Of Shadow Born was – end of March, I do believe.  I only have a contract up through book 5, so far, but if everything goes according to plan there will be eight books.  I think.  Maybe?

As for Shadowbound itself, I’ll give you five words:




* – Not the car.

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Shadow World Q&A

I originally posted this on Facebook, but it occurred to me that most of the questions had come from blog comments or Twitter and there might be a few unfortunate folk who don’t follow all three.

I’ve gotten the same dozen or so questions over and over since Shadow’s Fall hit shelves, and while I can’t go into detail in the answers, I can give a few hints – and some I can answer outright.

Obviously if you haven’t read Shadow’s Fall be warned there are spoilers below the image.


1.  When will the next book be out?

Of Shadow Born will be available April 2013. I don’t have an exact day, but it’ll be a Tuesday.  I know that’s a long time, but trust me, the publishing process really does take that long – and by the time the book has been edited and revised, it will be a much better book.

2.  Where does the story pick up in the next book?

Right away.  The first scene takes place that same night, and we pick up again hours later.

3.  Is Faith really dead?


4.  Why did you kill her?

Because I can.

Seriously, though, that’s the kind of question that drives writers bananas – we do what we do because the story demands it, because it’s the right direction for a character to evolve, because it’s necessary. We don’t make these decisions on a whim or by rolling dice…well, okay, some of us do, but those of us who really love our characters often say we enjoy torturing them, but the truth is, when they suffer we do too. I actually wound up in tears several times during the last chapter of Shadow’s Fall, and I already knew what was going to happen!  That interview where J.K. Rowling talks about crying after she wrote Sirius Black’s death might have made some people roll their eyes, but the novelists reading it nodded and said, “Yeah, I’ve been there.” But if characters never died and nobody suffered, it would be a boring story indeed.

I try not to be as capricious as Joss Whedon – the man’s one of my writing idols, but I just don’t feel like randomly killing a character only to show that anyone could die is justified.  I know people in the real world die random and meaningless deaths, but my goal is to give every character’s death a purpose. People have accused me of killing off Sophie for no reason, but I never considered her death pointless: she was fighting in a battle to the death, and she died.  It’s not like she tripped over a shoelace and fell out the window into afternoon sunlight.

5.  What’s going to happen to David?  Is he really alive?  Did he actually die?  Does Miranda know he’s alive? 

Sorry.  Those are wait-and-see questions. You can, however, believe exactly what you read.  Just remember nothing is what it seems.

6.  When do we find out how all the characters are connected to each other and keep sharing powers?

In Of Shadow Born a lot of questions are answered; the link is one of them.  However, knowing what connects them isn’t nearly as relevant as knowing why it happened in the first place, which you’ll also find out in the next book.  The answer involves two entirely new pieces on the chessboard, one of which will likely have some people asking “…wait, WHAT?”

7.  The next book isn’t going to have a cliffhanger ending, is it?

I actually kind of hate cliffhangers – especially the ones that take a year to resolve.  I didn’t originally plan Shadow’s Fall to end like it did, but when I got there, it was the only ending that felt right.

One thing you might have noticed reading the Shadow World series is that it isn’t “monster of the week;” it’s one continuous story, which means there will be unresolved threads of the narrative left between books.  But when it comes to endings like Shadow’s Fall, let’s just say I don’t plan to do that often.

8. Are we ever going to find out any more about Deven’s history, like how he met Eladra?

Pieces of it.  The emotional fallout of killing all those Order of Elysium vampires is going to be pretty heavy, and when you combine that with a nasty history and the toll taken by living 700 years, plus the trauma of David’s death, well, Deven’s about to face some pretty horrible demons.

9.  What about David’s history?

Most of David’s past is irrelevant to the story, to be honest.  Up until he got involved with the Signets, his life wasn’t terribly interesting – it was mostly dedicated to learning, whether martial arts or computer programming.  It wasn’t until he joined the California Elite that he began to realize his true calling. There may be a few tidbits that need telling, and there’s at least one question I’m waiting for someone to ask, but that will most likely be answered in an extra story or scene.

10.  Will Miranda ever have to deal with her father and sister? 


11.  David and Deven aren’t going to hook up again, are they?

David will never cheat on Miranda again.

12. How did Jonathan become a vampire?

Beats the hell out of me.  Jonathan is a rare creature in the Signet world:  he’s well-adjusted and doesn’t have any trauma in his past.  He never had a wife burn at the stake, was never abused; he was perfectly ordinary, which is precisely the kind of stability Deven needed in a Consort. Exactly how Jonathan came across doesn’t matter, but I vaguely had the idea of him paying for it – there is a lucrative income to be made by vampires willing to turn humans for money.  I would imagine it’s illegal in most territories since Primes generally don’t want their population to grow beyond what the territory can support without risking exposure, but there are always ways for vampires to be naughty, Signet or no Signet.


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