It is years in the making, this creature called the debut novel; a creature that has lived safely hidden within the walls of my writing room. For long enough it followed the plan I laid out, until it started to take on a life of its own.
African inspired, the hot, arid land of Shendi was born, and slowly it became inhabited by a society torn by belief, by fear, by the promise of a bright future. The autocratic regime injects widespread propaganda that turns the facts of history into myth and legend.
But some maintain their fight for justice, a fight to reclaim the natural world against all odds.
The characters were taking shape, complete with their personal stories that reflect the world we know; after all, we empathise with what we can relate to. And after years strengthening characters, tightening the plot line, ironing out any wrinkles and holes, you slowly come to the realisation that this creature you have been nurturing for so long is ready to be unleashed.
Suni has grown up knowing she is different. She and her mother Mata make their living weaving baskets, and selling herbs they harvest secretly at night. Her father abandoned them to work in the tyrannical king’s crystal mines.
Mata follows the old ways of the Mantra, which the king has outlawed. He demands people worship him and the power of the crystals. Mata and Suni keep their beliefs to themselves.
Tragedy strikes, and with no warning, Suni is cut adrift. She sets off to find her father. Will she also find the destiny Mata wanted for her?
“With her vividly-depicted world, and compelling protagonist searching for justice and her own identity, Susie Williamson takes the reader to places which are distant, yet familiar.”
William Thirsk-Gaskill, writer and editor
“The best type of fantasy: reflecting important issues in our own society, and a cracking good read. A great debut.”
Clint Wastling, author of Tyrants Rex
“This book has everything I look for within fantasy. Strong protagonists and antagonists, an equal split of genders, diversity, and story-lines that at times reflected a modern day Africa. This is a highly satisfying read with a well developed world, and magic system I cannot wait to see how it continues. Well done Susie 5 Stars.”
Dan Stubbings, writer and book reviewer
And as the book steps out of the writing room, I step out with it. These four walls have been a comfort, but now I’m preparing for launches and author talks. Two recent open mic sessions went well, despite the nerves! But then it wasn’t me that spoke; it was Suni.