I am excited to welcome author Alexa Egan, who just released her first Imnada Brotherhood novel, Demon’s Curse.
A rising star on the Covent Garden stage, Bianca Parrino believes she has everything she wants. Independence. Wealth. And a life finally free of her violent, abusive husband. But when her close friend, Adam, is murdered and Bianca is suspected in his death, she is unwittingly drawn into the search for his killer and soon must question everything she believes—about her friend, about herself, and about a world she never knew existed.
A member of the mysterious race of shape-shifting Imnada and part of an elite military unit, Captain Mac Flannery gathered intelligence during the Napoleonic wars. As a result of a savage massacre, Mac and the men he served with are cursed. Now one of them has been found murdered, and Mac suspects the existence of the Imnada has been discovered at last. His only link to unearthing the truth is the beautiful actress who turns up unexpectedly at Adam’s funeral.
Before long, Mac has more to contend with than Bianca’s overt mistrust, his ill-fated attraction to the haughty and beautiful actress, and his ongoing search for an end to the curse. Because Adam’s killer is back, and Mac is next on his list.
Make sure you stick around to the end. We’ll be giving away a copy of Demon’s Curse.
Literary Escapism: For those of my readers unfamiliar with The Imnada Brotherhood, can you give us a brief look at Demon’s Curse and what readers can look forward to? Something we haven’t seen yet?
Alexa Egan: As a result of a savage massacre on the eve of the Battle of Waterloo, Captain Mac Flannery and three other members of the Imnada, a secret race of shapechangers and telepaths, are cursed to live the hours of darkness trapped as their animal aspect. When one of them is found murdered, Mac is certain the Imnada have been discovered. His only link to unearthing the truth is Bianca Parrino, a star on the Covent Garden stage and a suspect in the vicious killing. Soon, the unlikely pair are forced to place their trust in each other as they flee a murderer and seek an end to the dark curse.
LE: Why Mac and Bianca? What was it about them that drew you to their story? Was there any part of either of their personalities that surprised you when they started taking shape?
AE: My heroes and heroines tend to be bruised and damaged souls who have to fight through the pain of their past to gain their happy ending. Mac and Bianca both must overcome tragedy before they can begin to trust again. In Bianca’s case, it’s an abusive marrriage and in Mac’s, it’s a devastating betrayal by his family and clan that has left him an outcast. For me, this is what makes a romance such a satisfying read. You get to be there as two people who struggle against so much, overcome their difficulties and gain that elusive HEA. My characters always surprise me since I really don’t know who they are or what they really want until they tell me…unfortunately that’s usually about 2/3 of the way through the book and involves lots of rewriting..
LE: In November you released the prequel e-novella, Awaken the Curse, how closely are these two stories tied together? Will we get the chance to see Justin and Kate in Demon’s Curse as well as future novels?
AE: Awaken the Curse introduces the world of the Imnada to readers and offers some backstory that sets up the first book. While it stands alone, readers might be left with a few unanswered questions that hopefully will draw them into the series. And while James and Katherine don’t appear in Demon’s Curse, they do show up later on.
LE: Will there be more Imnada Brotherhood novels and do you already have their stories planned? Will each novel feature a different Imnada member and will we continue to see all the members through the series?
AE: Yes. Shadow’s Curse, which follows exiled shapechanger David St Leger, is scheduled for an October release, and Warrior’s Curse, due out in the spring of 2014, is Gray de Coursy’s story. Plus there are two more novellas in the works that will bridge the gaps between the full-length novels and feature secondary characters who clamored for their own books.
LE: Is there any particular legend or mythology that you came across that was the root of inspiration, therefore was used more than others, or was there a wide source? Is there a particular region of mythology or folk tales that you’ve become enchanted with and hope to explore more?
AE: While my Fey-bloods definitely spring from my interest in Celtic mythology, the Imnada shapechangers are very much my own creation. It was only as the story involved that I found myself pulling more and more from the Arthurian legends, to use as a frame for my shapechangers’ secrecy and the ongoing enmity between the two races. I rule no region’s folk tales out as fodder for future stories. If it’s interesting and would fit the characters, I’m happy to borrow, twist, and repackage for my own uses.
LE: Why the Napoleonic Wars? Is there something particular about this time in history that draws you? Are there any other time periods that you hope to play with in the future?
AE: I don’t know if it was the Napoleonic Wars specifically that drew me in. I think it was more the Regency era and Regency historicals in general that I’ve always loved, so it was natural for me to place my paranormal world within that familiar setting. At this point, I’m very content blending the magical fantasy of the Imnada with the elegant reality of the Beau Monde so I’ll probably hang around this time period as long as they let me.
LE: Which do you find is more central in your writing: the characters or world creation? Why?
AE: Maybe because I began life as a history major, I love worldbuilding and could delve into the minutiae of my Imnada universe forever if story and pacing allowed. I’m also very much a plot driven writer who comes up with the problem first. Then I shape the characters with the greatest motivation to fight through to the end and the toughest conflict to overcome on the journey. That being said, it usually takes me two or three passes once the bones of the book are in place to really pull all the emotion from my characters as they’re working toward their HEA.
LE: Have you ever wondered what would happen if any part of your world were, in actually, a part of our reality?
AE: I’ve always been a big believer in the idea that we haven’t figured it all out yet and there are plenty of mysteries left in the universe. Does that include a secret race of shapechangers living hidden side by side with humans? Why not? A few centuries ago, space flight, string theory, and cloning were just as outlandish.
LE: Does your mood ever affect the direction that your stories take? Have you ever had an idea planned out, but went in a completely different direction and how did it affect the story?
AE: The only time I’ve noticed my mood affecting my writing is when my heroine starts sounding a little whiny. That usually happens when I’m feeling out of sorts and frustrated myself. Thankfully, my cps catch it before it gets farther than a chapter or two. But yeah, my stories are constantly going off in unplanned directions. That’s why I find outlining useless. My characters will unexpectedly reveal some bit of backstory I never knew or a conversation will happen where motivation is suddenly thrown off course, and I have to scramble to follow behind my characters madly scribbling as I try to keep up. But no matter how nerve-wracking the process, it always makes the story better while at the same time making the initial synopsis useless.
LE: When you’re not writing, what are you reading? Have you found an author that’s new to you or one that the rest of the world really needs to find? Is there a certain niche in the fantasy genre that you prefer to escape to? If so, why that one or if not, why not?
AE: My current bedside reading is CS Harris’ regency mystery When Maidens Mourn. As to authors I would recommend, ever since I read YA author Megan Whalen Turner’s Thief series, I’ve been shouting her name to anybody who’ll listen. She’s amazing! I’m also a huge fan of sci-fi author Lois McMaster Bujold. If you haven’t read any of her Vorkosigan series, you’re missing out on something special. There’s no one type of fantasy I’m drawn to as long as the world captivates me. Bujold, Turner, Martin, Moning…they all sweep me away.
LE: And because I love asking this question, which authors do you read and/or think “Damn! I wish I had thought of that”?
AE: I could wax poetic for hours about my must-read authors from Jane Austen to Mary Stewart. I grew up a huge SF/F fan devouring McCaffrey, Lackey, Norton, Kay, and Vinge to name a few. But interspersed in there were tons of historicals from writers like Dunnett, Gabaldon, Cornwell, and Penman. And of course romance of any subgenre. I love Julia Quinn and Kristin Higgins, Karen Marie Moning and Hester Browne. I always come away thinking, “boy I want to write like that when I grow up.”
Meet Alexa Egan!
Alexa Egan lives in Maryland with a husband who’s waiting impatiently for her fame and fortune to support them in a new and lavish lifestyle, three children for whom she serves as chauffeur, cook, nurse, social secretary, banker, and maid (not necessarily in that order), one cat … and twenty-seven fish.
Want to purchase Alexa’s novels?
- Awaken the Curse (prequel e-Novella)
- Demon’s Curse
- Shadow’s Curse (October 2013)
- Imnada E-Novella Yet to be titled (Sep 2, 2013)
Thank you Alexa for taking the time to stop by Literary Escapism!
Alexa is giving away a copy of Demon’s Curse. To enter, all you have to do is answer this one question: Which historical time period are you drawn to? Remember, you must answer the question in order to be entered. (US only)
Even though I’m not giving the additional entries any more, you can still help support the author by sharing their article, and this contest, on your blog, Twitter, Facebook, or anywhere you can. After all, the more people who are aware of this fabulous author ensures we get more fabulous stories.
The winner must post a review of the novel someplace. Whether it is on their own blog, Amazon, GoodReads, LibraryThing or wherever, it doesn’t matter. Just help get the word out.
The contest will stay open until January 31st at which time I’ll determine the winner with help from this snazzy plug-in that I have.