It’s a pleasure to visit Smexy Books to discuss the world of THE DARKEST COURT series, where three Unseelie princes attempt to win an apocalyptic Faerie civil war. One of my great joys while writing the series was reinterpreting legends of the fae and creating something new from my favorite stories.
Each book focuses on one of the three main factions of the Faerie world:
The Unseelie, or Winter Court, open the series in THE PRINCE OF AIR AND DARKNESS. The old stories warn of this Court’s viciousness and desire to harm humanity, as well as the ugliness of its faeries. I’ve always appreciated their straightforward malice and wished there were better stories about them. Making them the protagonists of the series gave me some serious moral gray areas to play with and fulfilled my childish fantasy of hearing their side of history. This Court of darkness and death is ruled by Queen Mab, a terrifying, but mostly fair, ruler dedicated to maintaining the balance of the natural world, no matter the cost.
Also known as the Summer Court, these faeries are tied to powers of beauty, rebirth, growth, and light. They are ruled by King Oberon and Queen Titania. A darker element I wove into my version of the Court focuses on how they have twisted their golden image through human propaganda (Shakespeare, Keats, Rossetti, etc.). In reality, my Seelie survive through magickal inequities and their leaders’ cruelties towards lesser fae, both political choices fully explored in the intrigue of THE MARKED PRINCE.
If there was one legend I rewrote from the ground up, it was the Sluagh. In Irish and Scottish legends, they’re a host of souls rejected from peace in the afterlife. In my universe, they are simply half-fae unaffiliated with either Court. They make up the largest population of Faerie and possess no active magick; instead, they work with the natural ebb and flow of the seasons and the power of the ley lines running through the earth. I also stepped away from Celtic history and built my Sluagh from Germanic and Scandinavian roots instead. Unlike the monarchies of the Courts, the Sluagh are run by a loose council of huscarls (lords), who work under a thegn (high king). They’re the most human inhabitants of Faerie and I loved ending the series on their story in THE IRON CROWN.
Despite each book having elements of various fantasy genres—urban fantasy in PRINCE OF AIR AND DARKNESS, dark fantasy in THE MARKED PRINCE, and sword and sorcery in THE IRON CROWN—the romances between the characters truly binds this series together.
Creating a world and mythos is an enjoyable challenge. Watching characters fall in love and survive that world together is far, far better. Romance novels like THE DARKEST COURT series can move fluidly between various genres because of the tropes and emotional promises fulfilled. Having such freedom is why I love writing in, reading, and talking about, fantasy romance.
About the Book
Book Description: 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.
Author Bio: 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.