Elsekind is the story of Kex Mardugal, half-human, half-Alusian: an elsekind. With her dark skin and wild eyes, humankind considers Kex a soulless abomination. The Alusians look upon humans as reckless and irrational. Neither side of Kex’s family knows what to do with her. So, in the face of fear and prejudice, Kex fights to carve her own place in society. By the age of 17, she earned the rank of Knight and King’s Champion, securing a position of strength within her home in Castle Calairn.
Her status as Knight attracts the attention of an inscrutable sorcerer, Don Claudio D’Inari. He entreats Kex to join his party of distinguished warriors to fight against an enigmatic evil that threatens to overtake their world.
But tension mounts within the party as conflicting dogmas come into play. Each character has their own motivation for joining the quest, resulting in a clash that undermines their ability to work together. Their enemy, a strange and powerful demon, steadily gains strength, commanding horrendous storms and legions of piteous curselings. Kex learns that she must define her own code of honor in order to fight the evils of the world.
Readers of Elsekind will resonate with these conflicts of identity, as they resemble those faced by many young adults today, particularly those of color and LGBT representation. Elsekind incorporates elements of the archetypal journey with characters who are beyond the scope of what is considered normal by society’s standards. It’s a story for anyone who has thought of themselves as something Else.
As an eighth grade English teacher in an urban school district, I discovered a population of readers who loved reading but felt under-represented by the stories they read. Like the characters in this book, those students struggle with questions of identity and finding their place in the world.
Elsekind will be available in bookstores and online beginning April 20, 2017. We will have a Book Release Party at Wake the Dead Coffeehouse in San Marcos, Texas, on April 23rd, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Come and celebrate this momentous occasion with us!