Interview with Sarah Delena White
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m an overcaffeinated author who loves trippy fantasy worlds and complex characters who wrestle with their dark sides. I’m also a freelance editor and the Benevolent Firebird (acquisitions editor) at Uncommon Universes Press. Lattes are the quickest way to my heart.
What kind of antagonist is your favorite?
I love compelling, nuanced antagonists who have believable motives. The best antagonists mirror a story’s hero(es) and force them to grow in profound ways. I also love seeing antagonists and antiheroes who wrestle with their own motives, especially if it leads to unexpected decisions and changes of heart.
Tell us about your most recent book.
Halayda is an epic mashup of Celtic mythology, steampunk, romance, and adventure, inspired by everything from legendary monsters to modern-day sci-fi and superhero stories. Worlds collide and sparks fly when a mortal alchemist teams up with a jaded faerie king to face an ancient foe bent on reshaping reality.
Is one of your main characters a supernatural creature that is traditionally considered “evil?” If yes, how does this character break that traditional stereotype?
I flipped around a lot of tropes when creating the fae in Halayda. Most of the major characters are based on monsters from Celtic legends, such as banshees, pookas, and the Wild Hunt. Taylan Ashkalabek, the antihero/secondary protagonist, was inspired by the lord of the underworld in Welsh mythology. Taylan wields shadow magic and has an inescapable connection to the fae deathrealm. Throughout his long life, he has been pulled between his desire to do good and his powers, which he believes are only useful for destruction and death. That struggle is one of the central conflicts in the Star-Fae Trilogy, as he must come to terms with his destiny without becoming the monster that others expect him to be.
What do you think are the heroic qualities your villain/antihero/supernatural creature possesses?
Taylan is fighting to overcome the dark choices and events in his past. Beneath his jaded exterior, he genuinely cares about people and wants to make the world a better place. He has had to make a lot of tough choices, and some of them have backfired in terrible ways, but he perseveres in hopes that good will win out in the end. Though he only regards a few people as friends, he is very protective of them and will do anything to help them, even if it means risking his own life.
Is there any respect between this character and the hero/heroine of your story?
Very much so! Sylvie (the heroine) is the only person Taylan trusts, and through working together they have formed a friendship that bridges race, culture, and magic/science. She is his opposite in almost every way: gentle, compassionate, and unconventional, with boundless love and creativity. Yet they balance each other out well and have a deep mutual respect. Sylvie brings out his nobler side and helps him believe he can rise above his dark past, while he inspires and protects her.
About the Book
Author: Sarah Delena
Genre: Dark Fantasy / Steampunk
A mortal alchemist. A faerie king. A bond that transcends death.
Betrayed by a trusted mentor, Sylvie Imanthiya hides on the fringes of society, caring for half-fae orphans and trading her alchemical creations on the black market. She lives for the one night each season when she can see her dearest friend—a man whose destiny is far above hers.
King Taylan Ashkalabek knows better than to exchange halayda vows with a mortal. Even their friendship is a risk; love is an impossible dream. Then a brutal alchemical attack poisons his realm, unearthing a dark power within him—and leaving Sylvie with the ancient mark of Faerie’s savior.
Manifesting unpredictable abilities and aided by allies with their own secrets, Sylvie and Taylan journey into the wilds of Faerie to heal the damage and confront Casimir, an invincible star-fae determined to claim the realm as his own. But only their enemy knows Sylvie’s true capabilities—and Taylan’s weaknesses—and how to use them in his vicious schemes.
Her fate is life. His fate is death. With Faerie in the balance, Sylvie and Taylan must stand together before reality as they know it is destroyed.
Sarah Delena White was raised by wolves in an alternate dimension. She writes eclectic speculative fiction that reworks mythology with a fine balance of poetry and snark. She’s an experienced world traveler who loves to weave world folklore and ancient concepts into vibrant, original story worlds. She is also the Benevolent Firebird (acquisitions editor) for Uncommon Universes Press. When she’s not writing or editing, she can be found making jewelry, singing Irish ballads, drinking tea, and working a variety of odd jobs. She can be bribed with dark chocolate.