Hello everyone! I have a new novel coming out soon 🎉
In June 2020, I released the first in my fantasy series The One and the Other. The One-Sided Coin begins the story with Monoria Fledyia who is trapped in a mental institution and forced to decide who she can trust: a scientist with questionable methods or the mystical parasite he's trying to save her from. You can read more about it here.
In just a few months, I'll be releasing the prequel in the series, The Damned Ones. Read on for more information.
1. When is it coming out?
January 14, 2023
2. What is the genre?
It is the same as The One-Sided Coin--gothic fantasy. However, it lacks dystopian elements since it occurs before the dystopian society in The One-Sided Coin, and The Damned Ones centers around a royal family.
I like to describe this series as my love letter to all things gothic. It includes the tropes of fair maidens, dangerous but misunderstood beasts, madness, and the good and evil of humanity. Also, several poems are sprinkled throughout the narrative as one of the main characters of the series is a Jemalgee, a creature that speaks only in poetry.
3. What is the plot?
Crown Princess Labeth has grown up hearing the gruesome tales of the Jemalgee like everyone else. Creatures of darkness that travel in clouds of black smoke when they’re not possessing someone to satisfy their corrupt desires. When she comes face-to-face with one, it does the unthinkable—it saves her life. At first, she’s determined to stay away, but when circumstances force them together, she finds a kindred spirit.
The Jemalgee wants nothing more than redemption so it can return to its place in the sky as a star. Despite the other’s warnings, she vows to help save its soul. But when a different, jealous Jemalgee sets its sights on her and her country is forced into a war it can’t win, Labeth will have to decide how much she is willing to sacrifice to prove nothing is beyond saving.
4. Where is it set?
The whole series is set in the country of Loreiak, a small part of the world of Azain.
Thousands of years before the events of The One and the Other series, an unexplained force created magical boundaries that separated the world of Azain into eleven parts, each with its own rules of magic.
The practice of mysticism, channeling magic, and the existence of the Jemalgee and other similar beings are what make Loreiak unique.
All of The Damned Ones occurs in Loreiak's capital, Soros Cereminir. The capital sits to the south in the Nixceenac Mountains, only a day's travel from the coast. It's positioned on the coast of Lake Urvuspha and surrounded by five mountains, Mts. Raseynor, Vashilien, Rel, Odons, and Jakor.
When you read the book, you'll get to explore the Temple District and the monument of The Celestial on Mt. Vashilien, the cells in the cliffs of Mt. Jakor, and the palace, beautiful waterfall, and dark caves on Mt. Raseynor.
Other cities in Loreiak are mentioned as the country is at war with its neighbor, the Toa. While the section the Toa are in does not allow for any magic to exist, they have technological advancements unseen in all of the other sections. They've been able to share some of these inventions with Loreiak but remain hungry for the magic they cannot have. After trying and failing repeatedly to bring magic back to their section, they've decided the only way to get what they want is to conquer Loreiak.
5. Where did you get the idea?
I knew I wanted to tell the story of Labeth, the girl who first meets and establishes a connection with the creature Monoria knows as her Ghost in The One-Sided Coin. My original plan was to include Labeth's story as a flashback episode in the first book. But I didn't like what it did to the pacing so I cut it out and tried to put it in Volume Two. When I started outlining that book however, it didn't work either. This story needed to stand on its own.
I planned for it to be a novella of about 20k words and it is now a whopping 50k, a novel in its right. There was so much more story to tell than I had ever realized.
6. Introduce us to your main character.
Labeth is the crown princess of Loreiak. She's a dreamer with her head in the clouds and a quill in her hand as she tries to make known what's inside her through words. She wants what's best for her country but often has trouble keeping up with her day-to-day duties of being a crown princess. She aims to see the best in everyone and to never lose hope.
7. Will I like this book?
You'll like this book if you're a fan of Edgar Allan Poe and Libba Bray, like fantasy with complex world-building, and philosophical discussions on the inherent good and evil of mankind. The ideal reader is someone who is not afraid of going to dark places because that's where the best redemption stories are found.
8. Are there any trigger warnings?
Yes. The Damned Ones deals heavily with rape and suicide.
9. Do I have to have read The One-Sided Coin beforehand?
It's not required to have read The One-Sided Coin to understand The Damned Ones.
However, the subtitle of The Damned Ones is The One and the Other Episode Ten. The One-Sided Coin includes Episodes 1-9. I made The Damned Ones Episode Ten because I feel it is best to read it between Volumes 1 and 2 like how it was written.
10. Will there be bonus material?
Yes! There will three pieces of bonus material: an explanation of Azain, the greater world Loreiak takes place in; an excerpt from the Mystic Codex; and the first chapter of The Metal Flower: The One and the Other Volume Two. You won't be able to read these anywhere else!
11. Where can I buy it?
The Damned Ones will be available in ebook and paperback on Amazon. News about pre-orders will be coming soon. Consider signing up for my newsletter so you don't miss on when that becomes available. Also, you'll get the first episode of The One-Sided Coin as a free download if you haven't read it already.
I also update my Instagram frequently with news and behind-the-scenes looks at my projects.
And don't forget to add The Damned Ones to your tbr on Goodreads!
Mary K Gowdy