Debbie Cassidy's High Fantasy novel Forest of Demons, centers on Priya and Aryan, from two very different worlds and cultures. It explores what happens when these two worlds collide. It's about conquest, freedom, faith and integrity. There's action, romance, and a rich new world very different from the worlds that you find in most fantasy novels. The novel, which took Cassidy a lot of research on Hindu mythology and Hindu gods, is also a Kindle Scout winner and is being published by Kindle Press.
Forest of Demons was inspired by Cassidy's father, who absolutely love Hindi mythology and Epic and High Fantasy. "We would sit at the dining room table and chat about books, usually about what he was reading at the time, in minute detail," Cassidy says "He never did understand the spoiler alert! He'd keep telling me to read up on Hindu mythology and write a fantasy book, but I didn't really think too much about it until he fell sick. This time when he mentioned it, I did some reading. I didn't expect to be inspired, but I was, and Forest of Demons was born. I wrote it in a frenzy, and I'll always be so grateful that he lived long enough to read the first draft. He was always so proud of me, a huge advocate of my writing, and this series is in his memory. Wow, sorry feeling a little emotional there, moving swiftly on"
No one goes into the forest alone...
Nineteen-year-old Priya has lived in the shadow of the forest all her life. She knows the rules better than anyone. Do not go into the forest alone and never stray from the beaten path. Her village has lived in tentative peace with the inhabitants of the forest for decades, until the day that someone breaks the rules. From the dusty heat of the village, to the icy grandeur of the Capitol, Priya must make an impossible journey.Will she succeed in delivering a message that could save them all?
Freedom always comes at a price.
Interview with Debbie Cassidy
How are the cultures of Priya and Aryan different? Are they based on any real-world cultures?
Priya's culture is based on 18 century Hindu culture, but with Aryan I drew from Hyperborean myth and created a dictatorship, where the people have been conditioned to act on blind faith without question.
What particular elements of Hindi mythology do you include in your novel? And how do you add your own style to them?
I loved the idea of the Hindu gods; the trinity and avatars, and the many stories that went along with them. I decided to use the trinity as a basis for a bigger plot, and explore a world where humanity are merely chess pieces on a board with infinite layers.
Why do you consider your novel "High Fantasy"?
Although Forest of Demons is very plot-driven, the emphasis is slightly more on the characters personal development as they undertake their respective journeys. I focus on how they grow and reach their full potential, while overcoming the odds and navigating the many obstacles they are faced with. There are limited points of views, as opposed to the several you may find in Epic Fantasy. Having said that, Book 2 is shaping up to be slightly more Epic.
Tell us about an interesting character or group of characters in your novel
I was really worried about writing about Aryan and his Hand of warriors, but they proved to be the easiest to write. Their banter, their dynamic, the dark and the light in their relationships, it all seemed to just come together as if it was meant to be. Every time I sit down to write them I'm excited to see what they'll be getting up to.
How would you describe the visual style of your work?
Dusty heat and Icy landscapes collide. I use a lot of color in my description, and really work on painting a picture of the landscapes, towns and cities. I hope that readers feel the unbearable heat and the biting cold when they read it.
Why is the title of your novel 'Forest of Demons'?
There is a forest that surrounds Priya's village, and it's home to demons - rakshasha, but the forest also represents the world around her; the many dangers and obstacles that she has yet to overcome.
What are the most prevalent themes in 'Forest of Demons'? Do they reflect a lot of the themes from Hindu mythology?
Freedom and faith, and how the two can be merely illusions. There are destinies of course but in Forest of Demons destinies must be eked out.
What do you think your readers will find most surprising about your work?
I think my regular readers, the ones that have read the Amos Cassidy books, may be a little thrown by the change in genre, but I'm hoping they will fall in love with the characters and the world I've created.
Check out Forest of Demons on Amazon now.