I’ve had the pleasure of publishing Durham author Jen McConnel‘s poem “Enchantment” way back in Issue #4 (hat tip as always to poetry editor Dan Campbell) and in watching her career grow and bloom in the years since and let me tell you, she’s currently on quite the upswing. Her September 2012 “New Adult” novel The Burning of Isobel Key was republished as The Secret of Isobel Key in December by Bloomsbury Spark (and produced in audio by Audible for Bloomsbury), and today she starts a new series with Daughter of Chaos (Red Magic, #1) from Raleigh-based Month9Books [IndieBound | Kobo | Kindle]. Once again McConnel sets her sights on the young adult / new adult reader, this time with a contemporary Durham-set story of witches and choices:
“There comes a time in every witch’s life when she must choose her path. Darlena’s friends have already chosen, so why is it so hard for her to make up her mind? Now, Darlena is out of time. Under pressure from Hecate, the queen of all witches, Darlena makes a rash decision to choose Red magic, a path no witch in her right mind would dare take. As a Red witch, she will be responsible for chaos and mayhem, drawing her deep into darkness. Will the power of Red magic prove too much for Darlena, or will she learn to control it before it’s too late?”
One thing I like about the opening of this book is that there’s no time spent explaining, “hey, my name is Darlena, and I’m a witch, and we have alchemy classes” — we just see her grade on her recent alchemy test and since we can fill in so much by simple inference, McConnel lets us do that work without spelling it out for us. That’s something I appreciate in a book, particularly one written for teens.
So! Congratulations to McConnel on the publication of her latest book. You can join in on some of the fun via her virtual launch Facebook event and catch her at The Regulator Bookshop on Wednesday, April 30th. (Note: this had been scheduled for April 9th.)
Beautiful Curse, McConnel’s contemporary retelling of the myth of Psyche and Cupid, is due out in December from Swoon Romance.