Thursday, 1 November 2012

Fire: Man's Earliest Friend, Foe, and Eternal Obsession by Jill Archer

When my kids were younger, we used to play the "Gas, Liquid, or Solid?" game. We also used to play "Man-made or God-made?" (which works no matter what your beliefs are because there are lots of things in our world that aren't made by man; those things have to come from somewhere). What I love about "Fire" is that it isn't easily categorized in these games. I suppose fire is mostly a gas, but it's a burning gas (or gasses). It's as much a state of being as it is a thing. And yet you can see it and feel it. Likewise, it's made by man all the time. And yet we speak of its discovery. Man did not initially create fire. It existed prior to us.

 Fire has fascinated us for millennia. Alchemists and astrologists consider it one of the four elements, along with earth, water, and air. Even if you're not into alchemy or astrology, you have to admit that there's something fairly, ahem, well... elemental about those four concepts. It's not difficult to see why people have been categorizing the nature of things based on those elements from time immemorial. And out of those four basic elements, none has a more contradictory, fascinating nature than fire.

Fire helps to feed us, by cooking our food, and it protects us by keeping us warm and keeping predators away. In modern times, some of fire's more basic benefits have become obscured. But we still have bull roasts and bonfires. We still roast marshmallows and put candles inside jack-o-lanterns on All Hallows Eve to scare evil spirits away. So fire helps us survive – but it is also incredibly deadly. Not to put too fine a point on it, but fire can kill. That's why arson is a serious crime, often a felony, in all 50 states.

In Halja, the fictional country where my debut novel Dark Light of Day takes place, innate magic users are born with two different types of magic: waxing and waning. Waxing magic is life magic. It gives a person (usually a woman) the power to heal and grow things. Waning magic is death magic. It gives a person (usually a man) the power to start fires and destroy things. But waning magic also gives its users the power to control demons. Waning magic users prevent Halja from falling into anarchy. So waning magic, like the fire it creates, has a dual nature.

Noon Onyx, the main character from Dark Light of Day, was born with waning magic. She's a woman, and her parents consider her magic to be a shameful embarrassment, so she's hidden it. What's worse than hiding it though – is not liking it. In fact, it's fair to say that Noon hates having waning magic. Because she doesn't want to kill. Or start fires. Or control demons. But Noon can't hide forever. Soon, she'll be forced to choose between declaring her fiery death magic... or death itself.

There's an old Latin adage: Quod me nutrit, me destruit. That which nourishes me, destroys me. Certainly this could be said of fire. Are there other examples of this paradox? Can creative and destructive forces co-exist? Should each be given equal respect? From one coffee addicted writer to another, thank you, Billy, for having me as a guest blogger today!

Dark Light of Day 
Noon Onyx Book #1 
By Jill Archer 
Genre: Urban Fantasy 
Publisher: Ace 
ISBN: 978-0-425-25715-9 
Number of pages: 384 
Word Count: 123,000 
Buy Links: Barnes & Noble, Amazon 

Book Description: 

Armageddon is over. The demons won. And yet somehow…the world has continued. Survivors worship patron demons under a draconian system of tributes and rules. These laws keep the demons from warring among themselves, the world from slipping back into chaos.

Noon Onyx grew up on the banks of the river Lethe, daughter of a prominent politician, and a descendant of Lucifer’s warlords. Noon has a secret—she was born with waning magic, the dark, destructive, fiery power that is used to control demons and maintain the delicate peace among them. But a woman with waning magic is unheard of and some will consider her an abomination.

Noon is summoned to attend St. Lucifer’s, a school of demon law. She must decide whether to declare her powers there…or attempt to continue hiding them, knowing the price for doing so may be death. And once she meets the forbiddingly powerful Ari Carmine—who suspects Noon is harboring magic as deadly as his own—Noon realizes there may be more at stake than just her life.

About the Author:

Raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Jill earned a bachelor of science from Penn State University and later moved to Baltimore to attend the University of Baltimore School of Law, where she graduated magna cum laude. She went on to practice law as a “dirt lawyer” for ten years, specializing in real estate law, municipal development, commercial leasing, and anything involving exceedingly lengthy legalese-like contractual monstrosities.

Jill now lives in rural Maryland with her two children and husband, who is a recreational pilot. Weekends are often spent flying around in the family’s small Cessna, visiting tiny un-towered airfields and other local points of interest.

twitter: @archer_jill

1 comment:

  1. Hi Billy, I was trying to find out where you were from generally but missed it on your site. Hope you fared okay with Sandy. Thanks for posting this.


I love comments from my readers! However, I will delete all spam and irrelevant comments.

*Note - I reserve the right to remove comments from the blog. Please leave comments that are useful and respectful.