I am excited to welcome author Cheryse Durrant, who is celebrating the release of her debut novel, The Blood She Betrayed.
To save her kingdom, she must betray her blood…
Thrust into the technology-driven Earthlands via magical mists, Shahkara is forced to rely on Max McCalden to help search for the ancient Elnara death lantern, her homeworld’s last chance of survival against the heart-devouring Taloners.
Max has his own problems – a manipulative billionaire father, a murdered brother – but nothing prepares him for this fugitive warrior’s razor-sharp talons and magical abilities.
Shahkara’s half-Taloner blood demands what she knows she can’t have – a human heart. She longs for love, but as deadly enemies attack at every turn, will her lust for Max destroy them both? Or will she find the strength to free both worlds from a threat more horrific than the demons that share her blood?
Creating names… and the power that lurks within
I rarely struggle when it comes to fantasy names – as soon as a new character’s face and thoughts flash through my mind, their name seeps into my consciousness. When penning my debut novel, The Blood She Betrayed, my heroine’s name spoke to me as soon as I visualised her long dark hair and wise eyes, her breath caught her in her throat as she stared at the dead fingers curled around the rim of an ancient crypt.
I originally spelt and pronounced her name Shakhara, probably because I’d envisioned a kingdom of Aztec-style origins. Later, as I created my Taloner demons and traced their history back to the evil, one-eyed Balor, my heroine’s homelands became a haven for Earth’s ancient Celts and her native tongue softened until the word Shakhara became Shahkara… not that she was ever known by this name on Gorias. On her world, she was Crown Princess Ceinwen, groomed to take over the throne from a vapid mother and hostile advisor, but she was also a young girl hiding a deadly secret: within her coiled the vicious powers of her subject’s sworn enemy, the Taloners.
The Blood She Betrayed is not the journey of Princess Ceinwen, but of Shahkara, the banished half-blood who travels incognito through the fascinating Earthlands, on her search for a death lantern that will destroy her kingdom’s Taloner demons once and for all…
” She dared not whisper her birth name aloud. There was a power in names and if the Earthern Taloners discovered she had arrived through the mists, they would hunt her down. No, she had to remain incognito. Besides, she had been abandoned by her people. She was no longer the Princess Royal. She was a shahkara, a peasant in a foreign land…
By choosing the label of a lowly traveller, Shahkara is able to tear away the shackles of her old life and, upon a clean slate, forge a newfound grit and determination that wins her the battles in this romantic coming-of-age tale. Every day, I thank my Muses (Calliope, Urania or whatever nymphs bless my path) for giving me the inspiration of names that shape my characters in unexpected ways until they become unexpected heroes on their journey of a lifetime – and what a journey it is!
As part of my Hearts & Talons virtual tour, my Publisher Clan Destine Press is offering readers the chance to have a character named after them in my next book, The Ghost She Killed. Anyone who buys or pre-orders The Blood She Betrayed by September 4 will go in the draw, so click here to enter.
Thanks for having me today, Jackie. Literary Escapism is a fabulous site. Being a debut author, I’d love to hear from your readers, especially if they’d like to help spread The Blood She Betrayed good news.
Meet Cheryse Durrant!
Born within days of JRR Tolkien’s death, Cheryse Durrant grew up on an Australian cattle farm where she regularly created bunyips and other imaginary characters. She wrote her first story on her aunt’s bedroom wall but it did not attract the literary acclaim she deserved. She worked as a journalist for 15 years before trading her soul for fiction. The coffee/chocolate/strawberry addict now lives on the central Queensland coast of Australia, with her beach cat Scamp and geek husband Shane.
Want to purchase Cheryse’s novel?
The Blood She Betrayed