First of all, can I just tell you how excited I am to finally begin querying Daughter of the Starless Night?
Fun fact: this is actually my second novel. My first project, The Last Zealot, was a Christian science fiction novel. Like most first novels, it took me years to finish. And, like most first novels, it was unsellable.
I was very disappointed that my first book baby didn’t pan out, but I don’t regret writing it. I learned so much about writing, querying, and the thick skin all authors need to develop. I also discovered that, while I’m a Christian, and I enjoy reading science fiction novels, the Christian science fiction genre really wasn’t my vibe.
The greatest authors tell you to READ. Read, read, read to improve your craft. I joined bookstagram and dove head-first into the amazing world of Young Adult Fantasy. I found my calling.
In 2021, I decided to write a new novel for NaNoWriMo. By September 2021, I still had no idea what I was going to write about. I envisioned a broken outcast with some Cinderella vibes, but the details were very fuzzy. I knew I wanted her to struggle with incredible powers. I wanted my readers to constantly question if she was the villain or hero.
Eventually, I started thinking about some of my most difficult life experiences and how I could write a story for teenaged girls that might be going through the same things. A few experiences came to mind: the death of my father, a difficult childhood, and the horrible feeling that I couldn’t escape my own destiny (which happened to be living in a tiny, midwestern town). I wanted to show girls that they could overcome these obstacles and they had a beautiful, powerful destiny ahead of them.
Fallon basically wrote her own story from there. If she had a theme song, it would definitely be Royalty by Egzod and Neoni. I listened to that track about a thousand times trying to capture her grit and sheer determination.
Anyway, if you’re reading this, I probably queried you and you’re interested in my project (YAY, thank you!). I tried to research my agents very carefully. The fact that you’re researching ME now makes me really, really happy! I hope this page gives you a little more information about me and the background behind this book.
Below are the details that you might already know about the book plus a few extras. Thanks so much for visiting!
Fallon is tired of being a pariah. An unwanted, unlucky outcast blamed for every misfortune that befalls her village. Determined to prove everyone wrong, she’s spent the last seventeen years training to become a Light Wielder, a battlemage dedicated to protecting the realm from darkness. When she finally attains the title, she is sure that her bad luck is over.
Until she discovers that she can wield darkness as well. Worse, her dark power calls to a sorcerer intent on freeing his master from a hellish realm. And he needs Fallon to do it.
Desperate and on the run, Fallon strikes a deal with the legendary hunter, Drake, to escort her to the only other battlemage strong enough to defeat this threat. Unfortunately, her new ally is just as likely to kill her as protect her. Some say he senses the darkness in his quarry. Others say he detects lies, making him impossible to deceive. If either is true, she’s as good as dead. As Fallon’s light grows, so does her connection with the darkness. If she isn’t careful, the most dangerous monster she might face is herself.
Nestled between the shimmering fjord and Håkongard’s northern mountain range lies Faderheim. In this town, the winter winds cut as deeply as a blade and superstitions run thicker than blood. Faderheim is also the home of the Light Wielder, one of two legendary battlemages tasked with protecting Håkongard from darkness.
FALLON has dreamed of becoming a Light Wielder ever since she can remember. Shortly after her birth, the town priests claimed she was destined to bring destruction to Håkongard. They exiled her mother, shunned her father, and gave Fallon the brand that condemned her to live as a pariah. But Fallon is tired of paying for a crime she hasn’t committed.
For the last seventeen years, she’s trained to become a Light Wielder. Only the Old-Father, Håkongard’s revered deity, can choose his champions. Becoming a Light Wielder would finally prove that she isn’t the monster everyone says she is. After many trials, Fallon receives the Old-Father’s blessing. Unfortunately, when she tries to use her new magic, shadows consume her light. KELLAN, a banished sorcerer and the servant of an evil being trapped in a hellish realm, senses Fallon’s dark awakening. To free his master, Kellan must eliminate its one vulnerability: light magic. He kills the previous Light Wielder and destroys Faderheim, sparing Fallon only because her darkness masks the light magic she still possesses.
Devastated from the loss of her father and the crippling knowledge that she may have inadvertently lured this evil to her town, Fallon decides to seek the aid of the last Light Wielder, LAMONT. She convinces DRAKE, a hunter known for his legendary ability to kill monsters and sense lies, to take her to Lamont. Traveling with him is a risk, though. As Fallon uses her light magic, the darkness inside her grows. Eventually, she loses control in front of Drake, revealing her secret. However, instead of slaying her, Drake empathizes with her struggle and the destiny she never chose. Once they reach their destination, Fallon learns Drake is a disgraced and powerless Light Wielder. Hurt by his deception, she leaves with Lamont. Unfortunately, Lamont is not the savior Fallon envisioned. Corrupted by greed and ambition, he can no longer wield magic. Kellan, who has been tracking her from afar, overpowers Lamont, and asks Fallon to join him. Fallon narrowly escapes, but not before her light is corrupted.
She finds refuge with Drake, who tells Fallon her struggle with darkness will make her a better Light Wielder than Lamont or he could have ever been. Deciding to forge her own destiny with or without her light magic, Fallon sets off to battle Kellan again. The battle quickly goes downhill. Drake disappears. Kellan, enraged that Fallon continues to refuse an alliance, tries to kill her. SIOBAHN–Fallon’s exiled mother and the true mastermind behind Kellan’s schemes–intervenes. Siobahn betrays Kellan and uses his lifeblood to summon their evil master. The being inhabits Fallon’s body, just as the priests of Faderheim foretold. Before Fallon can destroy Håkongard, Drake returns, wielding light once more. With his help, Fallon finally resists and destroys the darkness.
Afterward, Drake and Fallon kiss before reluctantly parting ways. Drake must leave to fulfill his duties as a Light Wielder, while Fallon must help Faderheim rebuild. At home, she bares her brand proudly. It’s no longer the mark of a pariah, but a warrior who struggled with darkness and overcame it.
Daughter of the Starless Night will primarily appeal to a female young adult audience, between the ages of 12-17. But, if we’re honest, women ages 20-35 read YA too! I think that audience would be interested in this trilogy as well.
I hope to capture the readers who love the magic-wielding heroines and fantastical worlds of Margaret Rogerson and Victoria Aveyard.
- Vespertine by Margaret Rogerson – There are so many good similarities here. Like Fallon, Artemisia is a scarred outcast that has no idea how to socialize with others. Artemisia constantly battles the darker nature of her powers (the Revenant) as well. I also loved how the authority system in Vespertine is broken and needs someone like Artemisia to change it.
- Dreams Lie Beneath by Rebecca Ross – There’s fantastical humanoids, curses, and a heroine bent on proving herself to everyone. I also think readers of Dreams Lie Beneath will enjoy the startling revelations that occur at the end of DOTSN.
- These Hollow Vows Duology by Lexi Ryan – If readers loved Brie, I think they will love Fallon too. Both protagonists are gritty, distrustful, and willing to do whatever it takes to reach their goals. Both, incidentally, wield shadows 🙂 I don’t want to reveal too much, but I think the readers who enjoyed the love triangle between Bash and Finn will also enjoy book 2 of DOTSN.
- Red Queen Series by Victoria Aveyard – Here we have two underdog girls, fighting for their lives, constantly oppressed by society’s elite. Readers that loved the immersive world of Red Queen (although the setting is very different) and the unique magic system, will enjoy that aspect of DOTSN.
- Shadow and Bone Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo – I love the Grishaverse. I understand, given this trilogy’s age, that it can’t technically be counted as a “comp,” but I really needed to mention it. There’s a lot of similarities between it and DOTSN: light and shadow magic, found family, and a beautiful, robust world with plenty of lore. I am also inspired by Leigh Bardugo’s writing style. She’s able to transport readers into her world with visceral language yet do so without being too wordy.