About the Book
Author: J. J. Fischer
Genre: Fantasy (adult)
Release Date: December 5, 2023
What if erasing the past cost more than you were willing to pay?
Having narrowly escaped their enemies, Sephone, Dorian, and Cass continue their search for the elusive Silvertongue, the only one with knowledge of the Reliquary’s whereabouts. But time is running out for Sephone, and with Dorian accused of high treason, the quest takes on a new urgency.
As secrets from each of their pasts drive a wedge between them, Sephone invests all her hopes in finding her homeland, Lethe—where her family may yet be alive. But nothing about Lethe is as she expects, and disappointment, betrayal, and danger await her at every turn.
When the truth about the Reliquary’s curse comes to light, the fragile bonds between the unlikely companions are tested like never before. Meanwhile, Dorian faces a terrible choice: to save the life of one who is beginning to mean more to him than the past he’s so desperate to forget, or to save his beloved Caldera from dangers outside and within.
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About the Author
J.J. Fischer’s writing dream began with the anthology of zoo animals she painstakingly wrote and illustrated at age five. Jasmine began writing her first proper novel at age fourteen, which eventually became her debut fantasy series, The Darcentaria Duology, which was published in 2021. She is a qualified psychologist with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in clinical psychology. When Jasmine isn’t killing defenseless house plants, she enjoys devouring books, dabbling in floristry, playing the piano, and wishing it rained more often. Jasmine is married to David, and together they make their home a couple of hours north of Sydney, Australia.
More from J.J.
Have you noticed how much less we’re participating in life these days?
Here in Australia, we have a show called Gogglebox where we watch people on their couches watching (and commentating on) our favorite TV shows from the last seven days. Sometimes, you don’t even need to have seen the shows. But it’s fun to watch other people watching TV, often because they have the same reactions we have to particular scenes.
The widespread popularity of a show like Gogglebox is telling because it demonstrates just how comfortable we’ve become with observing and commentating on other peoples’ lives. We’re quick to critique and criticize and dismiss. So much of our human experience is now mediated through screens and technology and social media that we’ve lost a great deal of the beauty and simplicity of life.
How often does a long walk through autumn leaves or a swim at the beach refresh our spirit, yet we rarely get out of the house or away from our busy schedules in order to do so?
In the post-apocalyptic world of The Nightingale Trilogy, people no longer have access to the technology and comforts of the “world-that-was,” so they choose to vicariously enjoy its pleasures by re-experiencing old memories, which can be physically extracted and drunk like potions. Nostalgia is the currency of the day, and the gifted individuals who can manipulate these memories—known as alters or mems—are exceptionally prized.
The female main character, Sephone Winter, is a young slave who can selectively edit memories with a single touch of a person’s skin. But Sephone is increasingly aware that there’s something different about the memories of the old world that she extracts from donors’ minds. They’re much more faded, and less vivid, than the real thing. And she begins to suspect that habitually enjoying these second-hand and third-hand experiences comes at the price of a person’s humanity, self-awareness, and even their capacity to love.
After meeting an old veteran with a first-hand memory of strawberries—who tells Sephone that even this is a shadow of the real thing—she begins a journey to discover what authentic experience really looks like, and if there’s something more to hope for than the faded artifacts of a long-dead world.
Sephone’s discoveries have relevance and meaning for all of us in this world where life’s pleasures are often smoke and mirrors. Since the Fall, our lives are full of counterfeit things. They sound good, they look right—more real, sometimes, than the real thing—but they’re ultimately an imitation that doesn’t satisfy us the way we thought and hoped they would.
As a Christian, I believe that if we rely on counterfeit things to satisfy our souls, we’re always going to end up hungry. As David Foster Wallace famously once said, worshipping the stuff of this world will inevitably “eat us alive.” False truth and false gods always break the hearts of their worshippers.
But unmet needs are a signpost pointing to a better way, a deeper truth. As C.S. Lewis wisely commented: “If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”
The Nightingale Trilogy is another world, a fantasy context, a different time period. But it’s really us. I hope, as you read, that it stirs in you a hunger for truth, for real things; a desire to connect with the Author of your soul. I can testify that He’s out of this world!
Cherish the Real,
Interview with the Author
What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?
Ooh, I haven’t been on any literary pilgrimages yet. But I would love to go to Egypt…and England (The Lakes District)…and the Isle of Skye…and the Rocky Mountains… As you can tell, I have quite a list. But anything archaeology-based would be a definite winner, as I’m a big historical fiction fan.
How do you select the names of your characters?
Oh, great question. Ever since I was a teenager, I’ve collected names from everywhere—street signs, maps, and funnily enough, movie credits (the best place to find interesting names). I used to write these down in a little book that I carried with me wherever I went. But my handbag got way too heavy, and I discovered I have scoliosis (coincidence? I think not) so now I use a note on my iPhone. My husband loves to add strange names in this and see if I notice. He’s cheeky like that.
What comes first, the plot or characters?
Usually the characters! As a former psychologist, characters are hugely interesting to me. While I love plots to be action-filled, and try to build that into my stories, often it’s the dynamics and conflicts between characters that fascinate me the most. And I find that those things drive a lot of the action.
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
It’s probably a bit of a clichéd answer, but I LOVE reading. Other than that, I love watching movies and TV series with my husband (we’re currently re-watching Stargate SG-1), going for long walks, playing with my crazy cat, Simba, and visiting flower nurseries. Don’t tell anyone, but I also like eating peanut butter out of the jar. It’s a spectacularly bad habit of mine.
If you could invite one person to dinner, who would it be and what would you cook?
Uh-uh, first thing’s first: I won’t be cooking. Mainly because I’m a very basic cook, and who wants to be stuck in the kitchen when Mr./Mrs. Superstar is coming to dinner? Also, I wouldn’t want to accidentally poison my guest.
Honestly, I think I’d invite C.S. Lewis to dinner. I would ask him so many questions about books, writing, and the Christian faith in general. I just hope he likes (or liked?) pizza.
Thank you for letting us get to know you better!
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Artistic Nobody, December 9 (Author Interview)
The Lofty Pages, December 9
Simple Harvest Reads, December 10 (Guest Review from Mindy)
Guild Master, December 11 (Author Interview)
Locks, Hooks and Books, December 12
Tell Tale Book Reviews, December 13
For the Love of Literature, December 14 (Author Interview)
Wishful Endings, December 15
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 16
Through the Fire Blogs, December 17 (Author Interview)
Book Butterfly in Dreamland, December 17
Becca Hope: Book Obsessed, December 18
A Modern Day Fairy Tale, December 19 (Author Interview)
Blogging With Carol, December 20
To celebrate her tour, J.J. is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card along with a signed copy of the book!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.