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Purity cannot abide the darkness.
It’s been two years since Ellison defeated her stepsisters and sent her evil stepmother back into the Abyss.
Though she’s learning to control her dark magic and has spent time traveling with Prince William and bringing peace to the kingdom, one fact remains. She is a necromancer and he is a paladin of light. And so, the king refuses to give his blessing for them to marry.
To appease his father, William has begun to avoid her. But when even her younger brother Edward grows distant, Ellison learns her mother’s spirit has been visiting Edward in secret, threatening to overwhelm him with her own loneliness and longing. When Ellison accidentally touches her mother’s spirit, her tainted touch condemns her mother’s spirit to eternal damnation.
Ellison resolves to descend into hell to save her mother’s soul and bring her physical body back to the world of the living. William hopes this good deed will bring Ellison into favor and finally allow them to be wed.
But the journey through hell is fraught with peril. Temptations abound and the demons Ellison sent back to the Abyss are thirsty for revenge.
Evil cannot be defeated without sacrifice—but when that sacrifice means choosing between the ones Ellison loves and her very own life, how far is she willing to go to make her family whole again?
F.M. Boughan is a bibliophile, a writer, and an unabashed parrot enthusiast. She can often be found writing in local coffee shops, namely because it’s hard to concentrate with a cat lying on the keyboard and a small, colorful parrot screaming into her ear. Her work is somewhat dark, somewhat violent, somewhat hopeful, and always contains a hint of magic.
What books did you read as a child that inspired you to write?
When I was little, my parents established a tradition of “family reading time.” My brother and I would crawl under the covers in my parents’ room, snuggle up tight, and listen closely as my father read a chapter or two from whatever book we were working through at the time. Most books we read over and over—and I don’t know how many times we read each book or if we ever got bored hearing the same stories. I only recall being excited and loving every single story, every single time.
I’d have to say that these particular books laid the foundation for a desire to write—to create worlds of my own, magical and strange and dark and yet still full of hope.
Here’s the list of the books I recall most strongly from those family reading times:
- The Chronicles of Narnia – C.S. Lewis
- The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien
- The Time Quintet – Madeline L’Engle
- The Princess and the Goblin / The Princess and Curdie – George MacDonald
I know there were others, but these fourteen books (counting up all the books in each series) were repeat favorites. The thread that ties them all together, as you might have already gleaned, is a sense of magic and wonder.
Alongside these, I read plenty of books on my own. The library was my favorite place—as well as the bookmobile that visited our tiny town every so often—so I certainly wasn’t limited to fantasy stories. But if I hadn’t experienced those stories time after time—or if it had been a different set of books read to me during those formative years—I might have taken a different approach to storytelling, or been drawn to something else. It’s hard to say.
Either way, I’m grateful for my parents’ decision to make reading a priority during those early years and for choosing stories that, even to this day, I still love and will happily curl up under a blanket with for hours on end.
- One (1) winner will receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card and a digital copy of Cinderella’s Inferno (INT)