I am excited to welcome author Orren Merton, who is celebrating the release of his first Sedumen Chronicles novel, Firebird Alex.
Alex knows she’s different; other girls don’t burst into flames when they get angry. After she nearly burned the house down when she was twelve, her mother confessed that her father was a demon.
Now eighteen and mourning the death of her mother, Alex sinks inside herself until she discovers a dagger that can open a portal into her father’s realm. Although she yearns to meet her father, nothing terrifies her more. When an unknown threat from across the portal menaces her friends and her loved ones, Alex knows she must act.
Alex will do anything to save her friends—even risk appealing to her father. She knows that to face a tormentor from across the portal, she’ll need to learn to fight fire with fire.
Interpreting the title: Firebird Alex
Titles are important. Ideally, we authors want our titles to be evocative, to intrigue potential readers, and to say something about the novel. And on a purely aesthetic level, we want the title to sound good! I’ll leave you to determine if you like the sound of the words “Firebird Alex,” but I can tell you what I hope it evokes.
Literally, “firebird” is a nickname given to her by her mother, because her hair and eyes can burst into flames, and she can ignite fires with her hands. But that is only the surface of what the firebird represents.
When most people think of a bird that can light itself on fire, they think of a phoenix, the bird that can rise from its own ashes. That’s is a fair connection to make to Alex. In the beginning of the book, she is bereft over the loss of her mother, ashamed of her half-“demon” parentage, and metaphorically alone in her own ashes. A major theme of the novel, therefore, is her rising from her circumstance, her becoming.
But the firebird is also something else: it is a bird in Eastern European mythology, a magical bird that can be a portend of blessing, or of doom. Which is Alex? She is, after all, the daughter of a demon, which seems pretty ominous. What does that imply about her character? Or her paternal family? Is she a potential threat to everyone she loves, or is she potential salvation?
By putting a mythological bird in the title, I also hope to evoke the power and the breadth of mythology itself. And indeed, I have created an entire alternate universe of demons and angels, of spirit and magic, which touches, shapes, and is shaped by our own. Alex and her fellow “Sedumen” are only a small part of that, which I explore not only in Firebird Alex, but in the sequels to come.
The title Firebird Alex is an attempt to hint at all of these things. I certainly don’t expect everyone to get all that out of the title, If someone reads the title and is only left with a general sense that the title is interesting, I’m thrilled! But even the title is part of the storytelling of the novel, as I hope you can see.
Meet Orren Merton!
Orren Merton started writing fantasy and science fiction at an embarrassingly young age, mostly for his own amusement. In 2001, magazines, developers, and corporations began to pay him to write and edit music software related articles, manuals, and books. His music technology articles have appeared in magazines and online in Electronic Musician, Computer Music UK, Music Tech Magazine, MIX, Cubase.net and Gearwire.com. His music articles and reviews have been published nationally and internationally, online and off in Dark Angel, OC Weekly, and The Scene LA. His Industrial rock group Ember After released their debut album, Grasping At Straws, in 2008. He lives in Southern California with his family, pets, collection of sci-fi/fantasy memorabilia, and curiously large stuffed animal collection