Please note that there are spoilers in this section of my website. If you would like to read the content warnings, I’ve listed them in the first answer, but they must be highlighted to be visible. The other spoilers haven’t been treated in the same way.
If you have a question not answered here, please contact me, and I’ll add the answer to the list.
Any content warnings in the Fall of the Mantle series?
Highlight to make visible:
Abduction, addiction, animal cruelty or death, blood, captivity, classism, death or dying, depictions of violence or illness, domestic violence, eating disorders, elitism, infertility, language, manipulation, medical equipment, medication, mental illness, miscarriage, plague, poverty, pregnancy or childbirth, PTSD, riots, sex and sexual themes, sexual assault, sexism, substance use and abuse, surgery, terminal illness, torture, underage drinking, war.
I’ll update these as needed for new books.
Did the Covid19 pandemic inspire your writing?
No. I started A Study of Ash & Smoke (then known as The Physician’s Apprentice) in early 2015, and it was published in May 2019, a year before the onset of the pandemic. Rot is based on the bubonic plague.
Do you work with sensitivity readers?
Yes. Many of my alpha and beta readers are part of the LGBTQIA+ community, and between us, we have survived the traumatic events in the books.
FotM is listed as gaslamp fantasy. What is gaslamp fantasy?
Gaslamp fantasy is a subgenre of fantasy and historical fantasy, often with an Edwardian or Victorian era feel, and elements of steampunk. What makes it different from steampunk is the wider emphasis. Steampunk tends to centre around technology, while gaslamp includes technology but isn’t limited to it.
How graphic are the medical scenes in FotM?
They are fairly graphic. Expect surgery scenes, with lots of blood and exposed insides. Having said that, if you were able to enjoy medical TV shows, you’re good to go with FotM. It’s not worse than what was showed in Grey’s Anatomy, for example.
How many books will there be in FotM?
I have planned a total of 5, and will do my best to stick with this. I might also write a short prequel to give away as a freebie to people who subscribe to my newsletter.
Is FotM LGBTQAI+ friendly?
Yes! Of the narrators, one character is gay, one is pan/bi, and one is unspecified. The secondary cast also includes people from all over the rainbow. More on this topic in this blog post.
Is FotM suitable for teenagers?
Technically, FotM classifies as New Adult/Adult fantasy, and the genre does include topics and language not intended for children (as listed in the content warning section). Still, I would say it depends on the teenager in question. I wouldn’t want to see these novels in the hands of someone innocent, but I’ve met 14-year-olds who were better read than most adults. A Study of Ash & Smoke is the mildest book of the series, but does include depictions of violence, death, illness, and sexual assault towards the end. From there on, as Cara gains maturity, the books get darker and more graphic.
When is the next book coming out?
The plan is to release one book a year. That said, 2020 taught us that plans can change. So. Barring a disaster, A Curse of Venom & Scales should be in the world by mid-2021.
Why do you write about *this difficult topic*?
It’s very important to me to keep the dialogue going and to help break down stigmas. For this reason, I will ALWAYS write about abuse (sexual, verbal, domestic, or other), mental illness, sexism, elitism, religious fanaticism, and classism, among other things. I have personally survived some of these or have loved ones who have survived, so these are topics close to my heart. As long as a world exists where people are used and abused based on who they are, I will comment on it. I won’t ever use these issues purely as plot devices, though. Each event is thought out and included for a reason true to the characters and their development. Having said that, unfortunately, these terrible things happen to people in real life without any good reason. Please think of our fellow humans who have needlessly suffered at the hands of abusers.
Why does *insert character* die?
Much as it sucks, death is something we all have to deal with at one point or another. It’s horrible, I know. My grandmother passed away while I wrote A Study of Ash & Smoke, and my husband’s grandfather and my aunt both passed while I was working on A Trial of Sparks & Kindling. It hurts. I tend to process while I write, so I channelled a lot of my sorrow into the books I worked on at the time. I also want my novels to feel realistic. These are books about plague and war, and sadly, there are always casualties in those circumstances.
Will my favourite character make it out alive?
🙂 I’m not really a planner. Though I have a good idea of how each book and the overall series will end, I tend to figure out the in-between as I write. So, will they make it? Even I don’t know. Up to this point, some deaths were planned, but others were a surprise to me, too. I have to write what makes the story work. Don’t for a moment think every death doesn’t completely destroy me, though. My keyboard still squeaks a bit from all the tears in ATOSAK.