Mary K Gowdy
10 Questions about my Debut Novel
My debut novel is coming out early this summer, and I'm going to answer 10 questions you might be wondering about it. Read on to find out if this book is for you and if so, how you can get your hands on it!
1. What is the title?
The One-Sided Coin. It is also Volume One of The One and the Other Series.
2. What genre is your book?
It is mainly fantasy leaning towards the darker side of the genre. It includes elements of dystopia, gothic fiction, and poetry. It combines the worldbuilding and magic of traditional fantasy with the mystery, focus on character development and interaction, and technology that is found in many of the sci-fi-esque TV shows I love.
People who enjoyed Six of Crows, the Obernewtyn series, and the TV series Lost, Person of Interest, and Westworld will also enjoy The One-Sided Coin. Also, lovers of poetry by Edgar Allan Poe might also be interested in the book's gothic atmosphere.
3. What is the plot of the book?
When Monoria’s institutionalized for burning her house down--with her family in it--she hopes this means that the voice in her mind isn’t real. But a scientist informs her that she’s infected with a parasite, an abomination originating from the mystic world. As part of the Secularists, an organization intent on eradicating anything mystical, the scientist promises to kill the parasite.
Monoria allows him to run tests, but as his methods turn questionable, she realizes that he might not have her best interests at heart nor be telling her the whole truth. The parasite is dangerous, but it also might be her only ally. It warns her that the Secularists will do anything to achieve their goal, even harming anyone that gets in their way. As the scientist nears a cure, she must decide who to trust--the scientist determined to destroy mysticism or the parasite that threatens to consume her soul.
4. Where did you get the idea?
I've had this idea for so long that I don't exactly remember how I came up with it. It went through many different phases before becoming the idea that I wrote my first draft on. Two big sources of inspiration were the smoke monster from Lost (you'll understand why if you read the book) and the song "All That I'm Living For" by Evanescence. When I first came up with the idea, I wrote the first two chapters and quit, because I was a really young writer and hadn't yet learned how to finish what I started.
Several years later, I decided to pick up the project again but only after an intense revamping. And by intense, I mean INTENSE. The whole plot of the first book--and kind of the whole series--changed drastically. Characters were thrown out, created, changed beyond all recognition, and the story that rose from its ashes was the one I wrote.
5. Tell us about the world.
It is set in the country of Loreiak in the world of Azain-leigra-ro. Loreiak is a medium-sized country that encapsulates its own continent in the middle of the ocean. Before the start of the story, it used to be a society dedicated to mysticism before the Secularists overthrew the old government and have since been eradicating all traces of mysticism.
Something that separates Lorieak apart is that one hundred eighty years before the novel's beginning, the sky went dark, a day known as the Darkening. There is no sun, moon, or stars, and though sunlight filters through, the days are cast in an eternal twilight. Across Loreiak, severe climate changes occurred--the western and eastern edges turned into snowy wastelands year round and the Demingin Desert appeared in the center of the continent.
The majority of the plot takes place in the Karack Delusional Care Center, also known as the KDCC. It's a mental institution, hiding something darker at its core. Some of the patients believe that they're not there because they're crazy but are being kept prisoner, and every so often a patient will disappear to the institution's underground tunnels and return in worse shape or not at all.
6. Introduce us to your main character(s).
While the book has a main protagonist, the narrative shifts between the perspectives of an ensemble cast.
The main protagonist is Monoria Fledyia, an 18 year old girl who's always been a social outcast in her hometown. Above all else, she longs for freedom from society and its rules that have oppressed her. Her situation worsens when a violent presence begins to inhabit her mind.
She calls this presence her Ghost. He is a being from the mystic world, speaks only in poetry, and appears as either black smoke or a dark-haired version of Monoria. He's angry at the Secularists for their plot to destroy mysticism and urges Monoria to act out against them by flooding her mind with his violent desires.
Eshrusk Lamcalay is a Secularist scientist, who studies mysticism in order to destroy it. His loyalty to Loreiak and the Secularist's vision for the future is unwavering.
Celond Larp and Attalayla Nageet are two patients at the KDCC, and the story's main romantic couple. They both know that they're not in the KDCC because they're crazy. Celond is haunted by his past regrets and is determined to get released in order to return to his mother even if it means turning a blind eye to the KDCC's shady dealings. Attalayla wants her freedom but is torn by her love for Celond and her desire to get back at the people who institutionalized her, especially Karack who continues to torment her.
Jeriph Seroni is another one of the KDCC's patients not there because of a mental illness. He spends his days pilfering Dr. Renek's gin and sticking his head into everybody's business. However, there's more to his actions than meets the eye.
Dr. Ionio Karack is the founder and head of the KDCC. Like Eshrusk, he is unwaveringly devoted to the Secularists and enjoys lording his power over his patients.
7. How long have you worked on the book?
April 1st, 2020 will be my five year anniversary, and that's with just the revamped idea. In 2015, I wrote the first draft in about 3 months knowing that I was just going to rewrite everything. The first draft is where I figure out what story I actually wanted to write.
It took me about two years to rewrite that draft into something palatable. I revised it several times over after that, taking breaks to work on other projects, mainly poetry. I finished the last line edits last summer and then got kind of scared to publish it so I procrastinated for a couple months. Eventually, life circumstances made me get over that fear, and here I am with it coming out in a couple of months.
8. What else about your book might pique a reader's interest?
The mystic figure of the Ghost speaks only in poetry, so there are sonnets, other poetic forms, and passages of free verse through the novel. There exists a link between poetry and the magic of the world.
The novel is also separated into nine episodes like a TV show. TV is one of my favorite story telling mediums, and I try to tell as much of my stories through dialogue and action rather than internal narration.
The One-Sided Coin features many female friendships (because we need more of those), several heist and chase scenes, and philosophical contemplations on the relationship between beauty and sin.
9. When is it coming out? Where can I buy it?
Early summer, probably June. It will be available on Amazon exclusively for the first few months and then later I may put it on Barnes & Noble and Kobo.
10. Trigger Warnings
The One-Sided Coin deals heavily with mental illness particularly depression, suicide, and anxiety. There's also torture, some graphic action scenes, and some sexuality.
If The One-Sided Coin interests you, you can read the first 50 pages by signing-up for my email list! You'll also be the first to know about upcoming news.