I am pleased to welcome author Suzanne Johnson to Child of Yden as she tells us about her latest release, River Road. Enjoy, and be sure to leave a comment, below, for a chance to win one of Suzanne’s superlative e-books! ~ S.G. Rogers
In River Road, my new urban fantasy (with a dash of romance) that comes out this week, I wanted to take some of the water species—primarily Merpeople—and figure out a way to bring them into my world of a post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans. It’s a world already peopled with wizards, werewolves, and a species I call the “Historical Undead”—formerly famous New Orleanians kept alive by the magic of human memory. Think that guy walking down the sidewalk looks a lot like the late Louis Armstrong? Are you so sure it isn’t the REAL Louis Armstrong? And the undead pirate Jean Lafitte is everywhere!
These books have a very deep sense of place. You couldn’t uproot the characters and set them down in another city and have the book make any sense. So I wanted to make sure my Merpeople were tightly woven into the fabric of South Louisiana. And what does one find in South Louisiana? Cajuns. Fishermen. Alligators. Swamps.
Meet the Merpeople, River Road-style. They are aquatic shapeshifters (not wereanimals, so they’re not tied to the cycles of the moon and are born, not made). They can shift halfway into the classic human head to waist, with the fishy lower half and the big caudal fin. Or they can fully shift into big fish. Different mer clans shift into different types of fish.
Oh, yeah, and they’re Cajuns who work in the South Louisiana fishing industry, mainstreaming with humans who don’t have a clue. (You know, if you think about that too hard, it’s kind of cannibalistic—LOL.)
I have two feuding clans of Merpeople in River Road, the Delachaises and the Villeres. Merpeople in my world are a little cranky, tend to be on the shortish side (twins Rene and Robert Delachaise, at 5-10, are quite tall for mers), and, well, they like to fight. Diplomacy is not one of their finer-honed skills. They are long-lived but not immortal, and can mate with humans—although their kids will not be mers. (Probably just good swimmers, I’d think!)
And how are the Nymphs different from the Merpeople? Um…let’s just say the local group has unionized into the Greater Mississippi River Nymphs and their human mainstreaming occupation is a French Quarter escort service. Last I heard, they were bringing in some satyrs for the female clientele…
Want to win a copy of Royal Street, book one in the Sentinels of New Orleans series? Leave a comment to win a signed UK edition. (U.S. and Canada.) The winner will be selected on Sunday, November 18th, midnight EST.
BLURB: Hurricane Katrina is long gone, but the preternatural storm rages on in New Orleans. New species from the Beyond moved into Louisiana after the hurricane destroyed the borders between worlds, and it falls to wizard sentinel Drusilla Jaco and her partner, Alex Warin, to keep the preternaturals peaceful and the humans unaware. But a war is brewing between two clans of Cajun merpeople in Plaquemines Parish, and down in the swamp, DJ learns, there’s more stirring than angry mermen and the threat of a weregator.
Wizards are dying, and something—or someone—from the Beyond is poisoning the waters of the mighty Mississippi, threatening the humans who live and work along the river. DJ and Alex must ﬁgure out what unearthly source is contaminating the water and who—or what—is killing the wizards. Is it a malcontented merman, the naughty nymph, or some other critter altogether? After all, DJ’s undead suitor, the pirate Jean Laﬁtte, knows his way around a body or two.
It’s anything but smooth sailing on the bayou in the Sentinels of New Orleans series.