Book One of The Ellderet Series
FINALIST MEDAL IN FANTASY from Next Generation Indie Book Awards
The smell of fresh soil and rot engulfed him, and the cemetery came alive.
In the aftermath of the Purging, the Deadbringers are no more. The Ascendancy has positioned itself as the land’s dominant power by exploiting the people’s fear of the Deadbringers’ innate abilities to summon souls and reanimate the dead. Yet its hold is not complete, for in the North the Bastion stands in the way of the Ascendancy and its iron-willed elite soldiers, the Sanctifiers.
But, somehow, a single Deadbringer has managed to survive. Kira Vidal, a boy of fifteen, has remained hidden, living peacefully with his uncle in the northern city of Opulancae under the Bastion’s protection. But it seems their luck is at an end when rumors begin to spread, and a strange man shows up at their door, seeking the forbidden services of a Deadbringer.
Aware of the dangers should word of his nature reach the Ascendancy, Kira makes a promise to himself to protect his beloved uncle at all costs, even if it means pursuing the limits of his powers … and learning painful truths.
This interview first appeared Nov 2016 on Anthony Avina's Tumblr
1) Tell us a little bit about the conception of The Deadbringer and this fantastic world you have created.
The Deadbringer is an amalgamation of reading, visual media, and culture. It’s a Frankenstein’s Monster of the literary genres I love (epic fantasy and classic fiction), the movies I grew up watching as a child (Hammer Horror, Roger Corman’s Edgar Allan Poe films, anime, David Lynch films), and of what I experienced growing up in a first-generation Latina household. My mother, who was born in 1933, had some very tall tales to tell filled with magic and surrealism. It made for some great stories.
2) What inspired you to delve into this dark fantasy realm over other genres?
My mom was a huge fan of older horror films. As such, I grew up watching Dracula (Christopher Lee) chase Van Helsing (Peter Cushing); Dr. Phibes (Vincent Price) avenge his lost wife by committing pernicious acts, yet still be the hero; Paul Atreides (Kyle MacLachlan) become a messiah who would lead the people. Not being strict in what I read, I picked up Stephen King, Carlos Fuentes’ Aura, and Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman. All of this, consciously and subconsciously, helped shape my love of ‘dark’ things. To me, the dark is beautiful. It had much to offer and so much more to show you.
3) Which character do you think you can identify with most, and why?
I hate to sound cliche, but there is a little of me in each character. But, if I had to pick only one, I would say E'sinea. The fact that I am reluctant to say why I relate to him is probably the reason I do relate to him.
4) Do you think readers should view this as a clear cut good versus evil kind of story, or do you like to look at it as more of a story that resides in shades of grey, morality-wise?
The Deadbringer is very much a story told in shades of gray with respect to its moral ambiguity and how the characters’ actions have consequences. Some of the characters in the book have unique abilities that historically are associated with evil (necromancy, shadow affinity, the literal ability to rot flesh) but it does not mean that they are evil, and yet they are persecuted as such. So, the book is very much written in shades of gray in the sense that it demonstrates how the classic trope (or natural human tendency) to categorize people into good or bad is directly responsible for the misfortunes of the characters. As the author, this this how I feel, but I believe that readers should feel free to interpret the book how they wish. It’s part of the joy of reading, after all.
5) What authors have inspired you as a writer?
Oh, that’s a long list! Stephen King and Neil Gaiman, as I mentioned before, Clive Barker, Oscar Wilde, Edgar Allan Poe, J.R.R. Tolkien, Alan Moore, Paulo Coelho…really, the list is never-ending!
6) If you could meet any of your characters in person and have a conversation with them, who would it be and what would you ask them?
E'sinea, and I would ask him if he wanted to play a game.
7) When it comes to the marketing side of publishing your book, which social media platform has been the most beneficial as far as reaching an
audience is concerned and why?
Bookstagram, which is a community of booklovers within Instagram, has been fundamental to my career as a writer. I am grateful to this community not only for their love and support, but also because I have made some wonderful friends through this social media platform.
8) When developing your story, which is your favorite part: developing plot or character development?
I’ve been told by my editor that I am obsessed with 'playing house’ with my characters, so I’d have to say character development.
9) Since you have developed a lot of fictional towns and cities in this epic story, where would you live in The Deadbringer and why?
Suelosa, because its just far away enough from the governing powers that be and no gods have come around to fuck things up! It’s still very much a free city…for now.
10) What are your future plans for this series? Any other books on the horizon?
Future plans include the second book in the Ellderet Series which is tentatively scheduled for late next year. From there, only the Twin God knows what the future holds. With any luck, Fortune, and not Travail, will be on my side. As for other books, I’ve been working on a fantasy novella that takes place in the world of the Ellderet Series and is a sort of standalone prequel to The Deadbringer. My goal is to get that out before the second book, but I don’t want to curse myself, so I best leave it at that! What I will say is that I hope my readers will enjoy the novella as much as I am <3
Source: Author Anthony Avina Tumblr
"[T]he author packs her novel with intrigue; for example, Kira suspects that maybe Teemo may be more than she seems. There are also shocking reveals, such as the fact that Eutau may know more about Kira’s long-gone father than he lets on. Perhaps best of all, Markoff’s setting is engagingly ambiguous—the specific year and exact location are unknown, giving the narrative a timeless quality. That, coupled with an impending Bastion/Ascendancy confrontation, should make the series’ next installment tempting for readers. A bevy of rich characters, plot twists, and possible paths for future books." -Kirkus Reviews
"[The Deadbringer is] told in a few point of views and I can honestly say that I didn’t have a favorite. The world Markoff created was nothing short of amazing and intricate; I can’t wait to uncover more of what it has to offer. Also, THAT ENDING!! Gah! I can’t contain my longing for the sequel!" -The Bookish Crypt
"Fascinating and yet a little disturbing. It is wonderful to know that imagination is only hampered when a person choses not to see. It is rare that I can read a book and actually feel the emotion of the people's and join them on their journey." -Heather Rose (source: amazon)
"Loved the characters and the dialogues. Something about the character's interactions that gives the story a very special touch . . . [I] just wanted to keep reading and know what was going to happen next." -Writing, Reading, Living
"Markoff does an amazing job with an original idea and leaves you wanting more." -S.C. (source: amazon)
"The characters are easy to get attached to and it is hard to decide who is a hero and who is a villain, because those titles are fluid depending on the point of view of the person meeting them." -S L Vilkman (source: amazon)
"Markoff writes skillfully, with a masterful use of language to set scenes, convey emotion and pathos, and flesh out her characters." -Greg D (source: amazon)