Happy to have author N.J. Simmonds back on the blog to talk about her book, The Path Keeper.
Tell us about your book
The Path Keeper is the first book of the Indigo Chronicles – an urban fantasy romance trilogy set in London. It centers around the forbidden love between Zac and Ella, a love that has played out over two-thousand years and many lifetimes. The story goes back and forth in time, showing how past decisions and mistakes can shape our destiny - culminating into one shocking discovery that will have them both fighting for their lives. Basically, can love ever be stronger than fate?
Beware that the book carries a trigger warning and, although spiritual and romantic, it can get very dark, sweary and adult in places. The book appeals to those who enjoyed reading The Time Traveller’s Wife, Outlander and even Game of Thrones…so plenty of adventure and love, but with a bit of grit.
What inspired you to write this book?
A mix of things. I’m originally from London, so it felt natural for me to set the book there (in fact, all the books I’ve written so far have been set in Lodnon). I also spent a year solo-traveling around Australia in my early twenties, and learning reiki and other holistic practices, so that definitely coloured a lot of the spiritual aspects of the book.
I wanted to write a love story, but I also wanted to explore that inexplicable (and sometimes unhealthy) intensity you can feel when you are drawn to someone you only just met. Having experienced a number of past life regressions myself, I decided to make Zac and Ella a couple who had loved one another many many times before, yet she never remembers. It grew from there, and before I knew it I was also writing about WW2 London and set scenes in Spain (where I was living at the time), including revelations about Ella’s family’s secrets too.
Who are some of your favorite authors?
I tend to have favourite books, not authors, as I don’t always like everything one person writes.
Saying that though, I read a lot of older YA fantasy and books set in London, and I adore the writing of Laini Taylor, Leigh Bardugo, Patrice Lawrence and V.E.Schwabs. Patrice writes ‘London teens’ impeccably and we need more books like hers in the world. As for the other three, their fantasy worlds and characters are absolutely flawless. Laini writes like poetry – I want to do magic like her, when I grow up.
Which book by another author do you with you had written?
Other than Harry Potter and its Unique World Domination? I’m not sure. None, to be honest. Every book ever written has the spirit of that author running through it, so I couldn’t possibly have been able to write anything other than the books I’ve written myself.
But I would love to see my fictional worlds live beyond the page and be embraced by fandoms that fully immerse themselves in that universe. Perhaps not to the extent of theme parks and Primark t-shirts, no one could ever predict just how far J K Rowling’s idea would go, but to see your book made into a film and then have people dress up as your Cosplay characters, write fan fiction and create artwork of your characters…that’s immense. As a writer, especially of fantasy, you have to be obsessed with the worlds you create – so there’s no bigger compliment than others being just as fanatical about it.
So what book do I wish I had written? Any of the books that inspire all of that. That’s the whole point of writing - not to be revered for your words, but to create a world others want to be part of.
Are there any particular songs that inspired your writing as you worked on this book?
I have had songs inspire entire book ideas, but not with The Path Keeper.
There are two songs from the 90s (my era) that remind me of the book though. Killing Me Softly by the Fugees reminds me of the scene when Zac plays the guitar for Felicity and she realizes who he is, causing all sorts of issues between her and her daughter, Ella.
And No Ordinary Love by Sade sums up the entire theme of the series – although Ella isn’t a mermaid, like Sade is in the video!
Who is your favorite character in your book and why?
This is a tough question as they are all my babies. It’s like being asked who my favourite child is!
Of course Ella and Zac are special to me, but I feel like shaking them half the time and they ended up changing in ways I never anticipated. I also loved creating Dolly and Evie, I cried so much when I wrote their scenes, they were like real people to me.
But my very favourite character is Luci, although you won’t meet her until May 2020 when the second book, Son of Secrets, comes out. She’s a fascinating mix of misunderstood evil, maternal obsession, violent revenge, fiery wantoness and a huge, vulnerable heart.
So if The Path Keeper is a heady mix of passion, esoteric question and dark truths – then Son of Secrets is an even bigger, witchy, feminist punch to the guts.
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Author of funny, charming, and irresistible dramas.