Sunday, May 21, 2023

Q&A with N.E. Davenport




N.E. Davenport is the author of the new novel The Blood Gift, the second in a duology that began with The Blood Trials. Also an English and biology teacher, she lives in Texas.


Q: This is the second in your duology featuring your character Ikenna--do you think she's changed from one book to the next?


A: Ikenna has definitely changed in some really impactful ways. I think we even see some pretty powerful changes in Ikenna just within book 1, The Blood Trials. Ikenna ends The Blood Trials in a completely different headspace and with increased motivations and goals than what she started the book with.


We see the impacts of those changes at the very beginning of book 2, The Blood Gift, and then Ikenna only continues to grow as a character. Without spoiling anything, Ikenna has a larger destiny than she imagines. She learns of it over the course of The Blood Gift, and she learns what it truly means to possess power and use it.


Q: What inspired the plot of The Blood Gift?


A: I’ve always enjoyed fantasy stories where the protagonist has to navigate a need for vengeance, enemies on multiple fronts, a brewing war, and heavy internal struggles related to identity and destiny all at once. The plot of The Blood Gift follows this course in a way that was a blast to write. 


Q: How did you create the world in which the novel is set?


A: I’m largely a panster, so a lot of the worldbuilding came to me as I was drafting the books. Some inspirations for certain elements include Avatar:The Last Airbender, An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir, X-Men, Star Wars, and Black Panther.


I also threaded in my love of mythology stories about gods interfering in human activities to create the world. The magic system is one that’s been handed to humans by the gods themselves and this exists side-by-side with sweeping technological advancements that humans have achieved. 


Q: Did you know how the novel would end before you started writing it, or did you make many changes along the way?


A: I knew how both books would end from the moment I started writing. Whenever I have an idea for a story, it usually comes to me with the very beginning, major conflict, and ending pretty vivid in my mind. 


Q: What are you working on now?


A: I’m working on a YA speculative thriller, Out of Body, and a YA romcom with witches, Love Spells Trouble, that will be published in Winter 2024 and Winter 2025, respectively. 


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: I’m also hoping to dive back into writing a fresh adult fantasy soon. I’ve already written a good chunk of the project. I can’t say too much about it but one of my friends who has read it describes Ikenna as a general and this new protagonist, Taryn, as a queen. Hopefully, I can say more about it soon! 


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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