"The Necromancer's Apprentice" - Jasmine Na’Darod lived a simple life with her parents and older sister on the family’s farm. She never strayed far from home until the ill-fated Blood Moon arose, basking the country of Caristan with a terrible, sickening drought. When her mother falls ill, Jasmine and her family are forced to leave home in desperate search of a cure. During their journey, a series of tragic events will change Jasmine’s life forever. With her former life shrouded and forgotten, Jasmine embraces a new path granted by an unlikely stranger, who, ironically, practices the Art of death and undeath. As Jasmine is drawn to this enigma of a man, she soon realizes there is more to him than what she initially perceived — his true motives are beyond anything she could ever imagine…
R.M. Prioleau is a game developer and artist by day; and a dangerous writer by night. Since childhood, she’s continued exploring new methods of expanding her skills and creativity as she delves into the realm of literary abandon. R.M. can often be seen lurking about many great writing communities like NaNoWriMo.
What will readers like about your book?
Anyone who loves fantasy and gothic-themed/horror fantasy will enjoy this book. Moreover, the characters' interaction with one another will hopefully keep readers wondering is going to happen next.
Why did you self publish?
Honestly, at first, I didn't think self-publishing was the way to go. But seeing people like Konrath and Hocking making it big was an inspiration and a true eye-opener for me. Now, they're getting the big publishing houses coming to THEM instead. It's such an interesting turn of events! I hope to one day be in their shoes and be able to show that self-publishing is now the way to go these days. "The Necromancer's Apprentice" is my very first printed book.
What is your writing process?
Everything starts with a thought or daydream. Usually, my inspirations come from movies and videogames. I think of a story that would seem fun to write and I write it. I wrote "The Necromancer's Apprentice" during the 2010 GothNoWriMo competition -- a spin-off of NaNoWriMo where the objective is to write a gothic/horror-themed novel during the month of October. This was a new genre for me to write in, so I researched and brainstormed what would make the story stand out as a 'gothic fantasy.' Moreover, I wanted to write a gothic fantasy story that was NOT about vampires and/or werewolves :)
How long does it take you to write your first draft?
It actually took me less than a month (approx 20 days) to reach my target wordcount of 20k, which was my raw, first draft. I wanted to write a novella because I was writing in a genre I was unfamiliar with and didn't want to get in over my head with it.
What inspired you to write this particular story?
One main reason was I wanted to write something different -- something that wasn't in my usual genre. I felt as though I've achieved the desired goal by getting into the mindset of writing a gothic-themed fantasy story. My other reason/inspiration for wanting to write this story was that after traversing through the bookstores and online eBook sellers, I've not seen a single gothic fantasy story by indie authors that was NOT about vampires, werewolves or the combination of the two. There's more to the genre than just that as I've learned. I wanted to be different for a change and write something that not many people may see these days.
The Na'Darod manor sat forty miles south of the city of Lakis, in Caristan's sparse countryside. Laced modestly with withering ivy, the greystone structure was confined within the boundaries of a wooden fence which snaked a path through the trunks of the surrounding white birches. The fence showed much age, with many planks having been reduced to rotting wood over the years, rendering them useless.
In the early years of our family's history, the Na'Darod manor was a prosperous farm, producing the finest wheat and corn. Every mid-autumn for subsequent years, the manor's perimeters were graced with eloquent auburn tones of the foliage that painted a picturesque example of the season's hidden treasures. The temperate winds carried the scents of fallen seeds and a promise of another prosperous harvest.
This year, however, the autumn skies saw the Blood Moon more often than usual; thus, the harvests did not come. The farmlands surrounding the manor were mostly barren, dusty specks of voided life. Likewise, the birch forests around its perimeter were reduced to hollow, white-striped trunks protruding with death-tinged branches. The earth was dry and thirsted for the rains once more, but it had been months since the lands were graced with a single drop and everyone in Caristan felt its impact.
The nest of straw embraced my thin form as I lay on my back and stared up at the clouded, orange and crimson skies of autumn's dusk. The evening winds began to whistle through the fragile shafts of the dried wheat and eventually brush over my pale face. My thoughts were suddenly interrupted when the sounds of my hungry belly were heard growling in protest of the meager dinner from earlier. I sighed and shut my slate-grey eyes, attempting to ignore my body's ever-growing demands. Since the drought, my body began to wither and many times I wondered for how long I would be able to endure.
Beyond the sounds of the wind and rustling wheat, I heard footsteps approaching. My eyes slowly opened, shifted towards the sound and gazed upon a feminine silhouette. The trim of her long, flowing dress flitted through the soft breeze of the impending night.
“Jasmine?” the young, feminine voice called out.
A thin smile crept upon my dry lips at the familiar tone of my elder sister's voice. I sat up from the nest of straw and gazed upon her slender form. The white, ruffled house dress she wore concealed her lithe frame. Slender, pale hands carefully smoothed out the excess creases in the soft, laced fabric before her amber eyes regarded me pointedly through the strands of ebony locks that draped across her young face.
“You know that Father does not approve of your being out here alone whilst the Blood Moon has risen.” Her voice was scolding, yet filled with concern.
I pouted at her words and averted my attention towards the horizon. As it were, the crimson-touched moon had already begun peeking over the distant hills of the countryside.