It’s my pleasure to host H.C. Newell, who joins me to talk about her Fantasy series, Fallen Light, the third book of which will be released later in 2023. We were also chatting about writing in general, self-publishing, and her future plans for the series.
H.C. Newell is an American author of epic fantasy. She is best known for the Fallen Light fictional universe, in which her fantasy novel Curse of the Fallen, is set.
Newell began her writing journey at a young age. In elementary school, she would often write small plays for her and her cousins to perform. In middle and high school her love of writing transformed into fiction literature, which she would write in spiral-bound notebooks. By 2015, she had written more than 5 romance and young adult novels and several short stories.
In 2014, Newell started her first novel series, Forthwind, which was a young adult trilogy. As she grew as an author, she found her niche in adult fantasy, and created the Fallen Light universe. This six-part novel series took Newell over seven years to create. She published her debut novel “Curse of the Fallen” in April 2021.
Newell’s works have been compared by readers to authors such as J. R. R. Tolkien, Brandon Sanderson, Andrejz Sapkowski, and Robert Jordan among others. Newell lives in Nashville, TN with her husband.
Connect with H.C. Newell
Book I of the Fallen Light series.
This Child is not the chosen one. She is a demon to be destroyed.
Born of magic, Nerana is labeled a demon and forced into hiding by the Order of Saro. Living with a curse that binds her to their leader, Nerana seeks to free herself from their hold and soon learns that the path to redemption may prove more fatal than the Order itself.
But for Nerana, this is more than a quest for survival… It’s a promise of revenge
Book II of the Fallen Light series.
Nerana is a sorceress. An exile. The Child of Skye.
And she isn’t alone.
After a vicious attack against the Order of Saro, Nerana finds herself lost in the wastelands of Aragoth. Forbidden of humans or evae, the desert is a land teeming with fire and vengeance, and Nerana’s only hope for survival lies in the trust of another.
Aélla, a powerful evaesh sorceress, travels the desert on a pilgrimage of sacrifice and strength. Determined to enter the Realm of Elements and see her quest complete, she must survive the hardened warriors of the desert, the vaxros, who banished her kind from their land centuries ago.
But the vaxros aren’t the only threat, and the weight of such imbalance could shift the fate of the world.
Welcome to the Asylum, H.C.! Take a seat by the fire and have a glass of beverage of your choice. For those who don’t know you yet, tell me something about yourself that’s not in your bio!
I’m a pretty simple girl. I love nature, travel, adventure, and am a huge adrenaline junkie. My biggest fear is the ocean, and I tried to overcome that by jumping off a boat in the middle of the open water wearing nothing but my bathing suit – needless to say it only heightened my intense fear. The beach is still cool, though.
That’s… uh… certainly a way to come over your fear.
What inspires your writing? Do you listen to music, stare into the fire, listen to the whispering of the wind, make deals with the Devil? Maybe all of the above?
I had a fiddle contest down in Georgia with the devil and subsequently lost – so now my soul is bound to writing badass books until I’ve appeased the master. Video games really inspire me. Witcher 3, Skyrim, FFX, and some aspect of FF15 hugely inspired my series. I do my best writing outdoors in sunny, warm weather listening to Peder B. Helland.
The devil sure is a cunning bastard. Mhm, sunny, warm weather. I certainly could do with some of that. Not too much, mind.
What was the most exotic place you’ve visited? Did it inspire any of your work? How that experience affected you personally?
Maui, Hawaii and it was enlightening to be so far from home, surrounded by a culture I’ve never experienced. The isolation, island life, and overall kindness really spoke to me. It only prickled my itchy feet and made me want to travel even farther. COVID and money has stifled that reality, but my heart is set on NZ and Scandinavia.
Hawaii is definitely on my bucket list. You are lucky! And I heard a lot about NZ being beautiful. Ah, to dream…
Talking about dreams. You are a self-published author. Did you choose this path to begin with or circumstances led you here? What advice would you give to your younger self now that you have a bit of experience? What was the most difficult thing to learn? What would you do differently?
I went back and forth between trad and self pub and while I do wish my books were trad pubbed, only for the ease of having a publishing house take some of the financial, mental, and physical load off of me, self pub has been such a great experience. Querying is the absolute worst and is the sole reason I stopped trying to go the trad route. So long as queries exist, I will never be traditionally published. I hate them. Advice I would tell my younger self would be to listen to the criticism, learn from it, and be more involved with the community from the start. I’m just now dipping my toes into the right places, and it’s been incredible, but I’m 3 books in. The journey could’ve been much different had I known then what I know now. Marketing is the hardest thing to learn and I’m still trying to figure it out. I’ll get back to you once I’ve mastered it… but don’t hold your breath.
*stops breathing* Seriously though, marketing seems to be the biggest hurdle for people when it comes to self-publishing.
You will also release the third book in your dark fantasy series, Fallen Light later in 2023. Introduce us to the world of your books, what should one expect when starting with the first book? Do you plan to write more in this series or book 3 will conclude it? What was the most difficult part to write and why?
Nerana is a human sorceress born in a country where magic is forbidden. Anyone not of ‘pure human blood’ is exiled or executed, including magic users. She seeks to free herself from the reign of her leaders, the Order of Saro, and defeat the High Priest, whose tyrannical ways have kept order and fear in his citizens for nearly fifty years.
There is also a deuteragonist named Aella, introduced in book two. Aélla is an elven sorceress who has chosen a path of selfless courage and seeks to save the world from an ominous peril known as naik’avel.
Curse of the Fallen and The Forbidden Realms are both introductory books that get you acquainted with the world, characters, and their journeys. Curse of the Fallen is a fast-paced, character-driven, highly emotional tale of bravery, sacrifice, heartache, and revenge. Expect lots of darkness sprinkled with humor and devotion from Nerana and her best friend, a bard name Loryk.
This is a six-part series with three corresponding novellas. The most difficult part of writing, for me, are fight scenes. I suck at them. I’m a lover, not a fighter.
Which character from any of your books do you identify with the most? What have you learned from them (if anything)?
I guess I’d say Nerana. She’s very devoted to those she cares about, compassionate, independent, and is a bit impulsive/doesn’t think things through a lot of the time. But homegirl holds a serious grudge, which is where we differ.
It’s hard to say I’ve learned something from people I created, since everything they know, do, or say initially comes from me lol but I guess she’s taught me to cherish the people I have while I have them and to forgive even when forgiveness seems impossible.
That’s a pretty good lesson to have, though.
If you were a character in your book, how would you be described? And what would your profession/role would be? How long do you think you would survive?
Her skin was tan, hazel eyes were round, and brown hair flowed down her back in natural waves. She had a wide smile that never seemed to fade, with a voice that reigned over the others, often too much, but she was generally good company to keep. Her outbursts of laughter and impromptu dances kept the others from fading into madness as she warded the darkness that surrounded them in sorrow and despair.
I’d be a bard, which answers the last question if you’ve read the book. 😉
Did you take part in any of the currently running SFF competitions yet? If not, do you plan to? If yes, which ones and what were your experiences?
I have not, but I plan to attend SPFBO 2023.
Nice! Good luck with it!
What are your bookish plans for 2023? What can readers expect from you? Any books you personally look forward to reading?
Book three in my series will release late summer/early autumn and I’m SO excited about it. We finally get to the meat of the story and things get intense. We’re also in the elven forests, which is my favorite place in the entire series. I have a lot of book tours, interviews, readathons, and more planned so be on the lookout!
I don’t read much, so if I can get 12 books read in 2023 it’ll be a huge accomplishment. Empire of the Vampire, Name of the Wind, Red Rising are among my most anticipated reads.
I’m afraid our time is coming to a close. While you are locked in here for eternity, we will allow you to invite one visitor (fictional and otherwise) – who would you invite? And no, they can’t help you to escape.
Mandatory I’d-spend-eternity-with-my-husband answer.
The unmandatory-maybe-real-answer: Eternity with Avelloch (from my book, duh) would be nice.
Well then, it was a pleasure to have a chat with you! Please allow these nice attendants to escort you out. We hope you’ll enjoy your stay in the Asylum! *locks the door*
It was a pleasure. Come on Avelloch—I mean husband!!
Grab a copy of Curse of the Fallen and The Forbidden Realms by H.C. Newell!