As a kid, I was obsessed with ancient mythology and fairy tales. It turns out that my fascination with such stories never left when I grew up. Writing THE DARKEST COURT series allowed me to indulge in rereading and researching some of my favorite stories from childhood, and finding new ways to twist those stories into books about a trio of Unseelie princes falling in love while facing the end of the world.
“The Ballad of Tam Lin” – Originally a Scottish border song, this tale offered me my initial jump into writing the series. I love the magical elements in the ballad, but the heart of it is what got me: a human rescues a prickly, otherworldly lover by making a deliberate choice to be brave and hopeful about their future together. In PRINCE OF AIR AND DARKNESS, Roark can’t rescue himself, no matter how much he may wish to, and Finny has to trust in his own power if he wants to have Roark in his life. Finny is the most hopeful character I’ve ever written, and the most powerful because of it.
Viridios – There are many legends about the Green Man, and most are more modern than we like to imagine when we trace the history of Jack-in-the-Green’s appearance at May Day festivals. Still, researching the topic leads down some marvelous side routes, including one that leads to Lincolnshire and an odd archaeological discovery. Give me a random, previously unnamed god associated with nature and rebirth any day. I can make a story out of that. Combine this forgotten god with the more modern interpretations of the Green Man and Cernunnos, and Sebastian was born. He’s the child of mixed mythologies and his place between Courts has its roots in forgotten earth and transformed lore.
The Wild Hunt – Like the Green Man, there are a ton of legends out there about the Wild Hunt, all of which cross boundaries of countries and cultures. I created my own mix of them for Lugh’s story, distilling the legend down to its barest elements. This isn’t a story about the Wild Hunt as we know it in mythology today; instead, THE IRON CROWN serves as more of an origin story. My version of the Hunt has a brave—and sometimes foolish—leader, a cadre of devoted men at his back, and a desire to see the world. Throw in a poet with a penchant for embellishing stories, and you can see how Lugh’s legend grew to that of the Wild Hunt we know today.
Bodvar Bjarki from The Saga of King Hrolf Kraki – The entire poetic epic is … well, just that, epic. It’s a collection of Scandinavian King Arthur tales that grabs your attention and drags you into a world where magic mingles effortlessly with the day-to-day life we know. The character of Bodvar Bjarki helped inspire Keiran’s character in THE IRON CROWN and gave me a toehold for my reimagined version of a berserker. Jesse Byock’s translation of the saga is enjoyable to read and Dr. Jackson Crawford’s Youtube lectures are another great place to learn more about the saga before Keiran and Lugh’s story releases in April.
With his unnatural ability to draw energy from ley lines, human Phineas Smith has accepted his life will never be normal. Considering that he has no way to control his power or save himself from the supernatural entities who want to use or kill him for it, it’s smarter to focus on specific, short-term life goals. Goals like finishing his master’s degree, or saving his parents’ farm before his imminent death, or not getting involved in the Faerie Civil War spilling onto the college campus. But that last one’s going to be difficult since the only person who can help him master his power is his attractive, self-proclaimed arch-nemesis Roark Lyne, the Unseelie Court’s Prince of Air and Darkness.
Prince Lyne thought years of spying on—and secretly pining after—his human roommate was the worst experience of his immortal life. Then summer arrived, along with an unstoppable conflict started by his older brother. Roark’s path is clear. Sacrificing himself by taking on the mantle of the Winter Knight could protect his people … and Phineas, whose power makes him a target for both faerie Courts. Distraction will unravel Roark’s cultivated plans and the feelings Phineas inspires have a tendency to make Roark forget everything, including his loyalty to the Court.
The increasing danger of the war and Phineas’s potential role in it forces them into a wary partnership. When their volatile relationship transforms to something much deeper, Phineas and Roark must choose where the greatest danger lies: in betraying each other to survive, or standing together through a war they can’t win.
Content warnings: torture scenes, violence and fighting, blood and intense bodily harm, abduction, mentioned briefly and at length, hateful language tied to classism and Faerie Court divisions, references to miscarrriage
Torn between two worlds, desperate to save one love.
The Summer Court is nothing like Sebastian remembers. The oppressed lower classes are drained of their magick, and around every corner political intrigues threaten an already unstable regime. Sebastian’s only hope of surviving the Court and bringing home Prince Lyne’s traitorous brother lies with Duine, a magickless Unseelie servant desperate to win his freedom. A servant for whom Sebastian, an estranged Seelie royal himself, is developing a dangerous and deepening affection.
But behind the mask Duine wears are secrets as dangerous as what’s smoldering between them. And the more Duine helps Sebastian navigate Court life, the more it becomes clear the servant is not who he appears to be. How he came to be the whipping boy of one of the most powerful and corrupt faeries in the Summer Court is a truth Sebastian is determined to uncover, even if it puts him at odds with the very people who can lead him to the missing Unseelie prince.
When a powerful enemy steps from the shadows, it could spell the end not just for the Unseelie, but for both faerie Courts. Sebastian must choose: complete the mission and earn his place among the Unseelie who took him in, or risk his very life to ensure freedom for the man he loves.
After the last Faerie Civil War, the leaders of the magickal pantheons stripped the shining Seelie Court of its power and tasked the dark Unseelie Court with maintaining the natural balance of the world.
Ages later, a twisted intrigue throws the balance of all Faerie into ruin and ignites a new civil war.
Discounted by his family and haunted in the Unseelie sidhe, Queen Mab’s youngest son, Lugh, leads the Wild Hunt on quests across the dangerous Wylds. At his side is his best friend, Keiran, a Viking rescued from death centuries earlier. Between Lugh’s uncanny gift for being in the right place at the right time and Keiran’s power of persuasion, they’re revered across the Wylds—as long as Lugh keeps his true identity hidden from the people of the Sluagh.
Keiran and Lugh have loved each other for centuries—as friends and brothers in arms. Lugh has long since put aside his romantic love for Keiran to protect their friendship. But with the looming war in Faerie and the ghosts of the dead dogging Lugh’s every move, Keiran realizes there may be room for romance between them after all, if only they can survive.
Rallying the Sluagh to fight in the looming war between the Seelie and Unseelie seems an impossible task. To achieve it, these childhood best friends will have to free Lugh from the restless souls haunting him and turn the tides threatening not only their growing love, but the balance of life and death itself.
M.A. Grant has always loved reading and writing, but fell in love with the romance genre when she started working at an independent bookstore in high school. After meeting her husband in college, they began a steady northward migration and are now happily living in the rugged beauty of Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula. When she’s not calling out to passing ravens or making a cup of tea, she’s writing dark and moving stories.
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Authors Unbound Genre: Fantasy Genre: Romance Pairing: M/M Publisher: Carina Press Tag: Guest Post Tag: Magic Tag: Part of a series Tag: Second Chances M.A. Grant Prince Of Air And Darkness The Darkest Court series The Iron Crown The Marked Prince