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. I work with fantastic alpha and beta readers, many of whom are part of the LGBTQIA+ community. Additionally, between them and myself, we have survived all the traumatic events in the books. We also have diverse experience with disabilities and mental health difficulties, and the stigmas that may surround those issues. Together, we try to make sure every sexuality, belief, mental health struggle, or other life experience is accurately depicted.
That said, I understand that different people experience all of these things in their own way, and that way the alpha/beta teams and I have survived certain events might not be the same for everyone. I always try to write about the difficult traumas with love and respect, and it is never my intention to hurt anyone who reads my 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. Listen to my podcast episode on the topic here. 😊
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 sensitive audiences (as listed in the content warning section). Still, I’ve met 14-year-olds who were better read than some adults, so I’d say it depends on the teenager in question.
A Study of Ash & Smoke is the mildest book in the series, but does include depictions of violence, death, illness, and sexual assault. From there on, as Cara gains maturity, the books get darker and more graphic. The later books in the series include more graphic sexual content and stronger language.
When is the next book coming out?
The original plan was to release one book a year. Of course, 2020 taught us that plans can change. Because of unforeseen circumstances, A Curse of Venom & Scales was heavily delayed, but should be in the world by 2023.
Meanwhile, I am also working on another project, which might be out sooner. You’ll know as soon as I know. 😊
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. As I said above, between the myself and the alpha/beta teams, we have survived every event in the books in some way or another, and I feel strongly that our voices deserve to be heard. 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 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.