Careful which wars you join.
Over the last few years there has been an incredible month-long celebration of the self-publishing community, and this past September I spotted a beautiful book that quickly landed on my TBR. I can’t tell you how thrilled I was when author Brianna da Silva reached out to chat about said book, City of Reckoning. If you’re in the market for an epic fantasy tale led by unconventional non-human MCs and a sprawling, rich world, then maybe this chonker of a book is just the one you’re looking for. Keep scrolling to learn more about the first entry in Saga I of the Nerasia series, and check out the interview to meet its lovely author.
Oh, and you should definitely check out the article that brought this book to my attention over at the Self-Published Fantasy Month site, where Brianna discusses three misconceptions of self-pub books. It’s one you don’t want to miss.
City of Reckoning is now available at your retailer of choice!
About the Book
Kindy Sharro is used to hiding. As a Nocturan, her bat wings, claws, and night vision place her under constant threat of hunters, who cruelly slaughter her kind for sport.
But everything changes the day of the invasion. The Dorish Empire drafts the Nocturans it once persecuted to help defend against a godlike foe. Kindy enters the war, but she has an ulterior motive: Use the war to destroy her arch enemy, Charris Pouden, before he gains enough power to destroy her first.
Meanwhile, Lasía Mae’olo, an elite wolf-accompanied warrior, plots rebellion against the Dorish Empire. When she is drafted to fight for her enemies, she must find a way to subvert the war for her own purposes.
But suspicion and distrust haunts her every move. This war has many sides—and she’s not sure which side she’s on anymore.
The bonds of friendship will be tested. Alliances will be questioned. In a story of political intrigue, ethics of war, and young love, one question must be answered: Which side will you join?
City of Reckoning by Brianna da Silva
SERIES: Nerasia, Saga I (#1) (#1)
PUBLISHED: September 21, 2021 by Freya Publishing
GENRE: Epic Fantasy, LGBTQ+
Meet The Author
Brianna is a proud geek who loves real-life adventure just as much as the imaginary kind. As both an author and a filmmaker, she gets excited about telling character-driven stories in different mediums. Her directorial debut, a Lovecraftian comedy series called The Cultists, can be found on YouTube.
With a bachelor’s degree in Digital Arts & Design from Full Sail University, Brianna keeps a busy schedule, divided between freelance graphic design, working on indie films, and of course, writing novels.
When she’s not working, she spends her time devouring books, practicing Krav Maga, and hiking in the pine-covered mountains of Colorado.
Thanks so much for stopping by for a chat, Brianna. Since we already have your official bio, can we have the MC(s) from City of Reckoning introduce you in one sentence?
Thanks so much for having me! Oh boy, let’s see. I’m going to assume these characters don’t know I’m their author, because that’d be kind of awkward. They might introduce me something like this:
Kindy: “Brianna is a boring homebody who spends most of her time in front of that… magic light thing? Creating some sort of art, I think? Weird, but interesting, I guess.” Yes, Kindy, that is a computer, thanks.
Lasía: “Brianna is very passionate about her work, but she also enjoys relaxing with a book, cooking creative meals for herself and her loved ones, and challenging herself in the pursuit of martial arts.” Jeez, thanks Lasía, that’s a lot more flattering!!
Speaking of, would you and your MC(s) get along?
I’m sitting here trying to imagine myself hanging out with Kindy or Lasía, and I just can’t see it. I think our personalities would clash.
That being said, there are two other characters in the book I can definitely see myself getting along with. I think Kastan would come out of his shell around me; we’d bond over our shared contemplative nature, and we’d probably get into a long, deep conversation on some random topic. And I know Jensen and I would have fun together, because his personality is actually inspired by an old friend of mine!
Give us an idea of how City of Reckoning came to fruition.
It was a very long and slow evolution from lots of different ideas that took place over a lot of years. I’ve been working on the fantasy world where City of Reckoning takes place for… oh God. Almost two decades now! Over that time, I’ve had dozens of ideas for stories I could tell in the world. Most I discarded. A few stuck—the ones I just couldn’t stop thinking about. This was one of them.
Can you share with us something about City of Reckoning that isn’t in the blurb?
The world building is inspired by ancient times, mainly the Mediterranean, North Africa, and Mesopotamia.
That being said, there aren’t any one-to-one cultural equivalents; in other words, there isn’t a single civilization based off of Ancient Greece, or Egypt, or Assyria, etc. I tried to create original cultures from the ground up that stand on their own.
But the level of technology, clothing styles, art and architecture, and many political and social aspects of the world all draw loosely from the era of the Ancient Roman World.
Was there any specific research you’ve done or inspiration you’ve pulled from for this story of yours? If so, did you learn anything fun or interesting?
One of the characters is learning to be a physician, so I had to research medicine and surgery in ancient times. I ended up becoming fascinated with Ancient Egyptian medical practices most of all.
Apparently, Egypt had the best physicians in ancient times, but somewhat by mistake. No one had figured out germ theory yet, but because the Egyptians were obsessed with ritualistic cleanliness, they ended up with really sanitary practices that of course led to better results — just not for the reasons they thought!
Also, Egypt allowed women to study medicine, which was a rare thing in ancient times. There’s a true story of a Greek woman who went to Egypt to study medicine, then returned to her more sexist homeland where she worked as a physician while disguising herself as a man. Really cool things to learn during my research! Although of course, these particular facts had no way of making it into the book.
Can you give us an example of something you edited out of the book?
Originally there were a number of chapters written from the POV of the villain, Charris. My editor convinced me that the story was stronger when his side of the story was kept more in the dark, so I cut them out. But beta readers said it was intriguing to get a look into his thoughts, so I’m definitely planning to repackage his POV as a separate novelette… soon!
If your book were made into a movie, which actors would play your characters?
I’m terrible at this kind of question, because I don’t really remember the names and faces of most actors. (Quite annoying, as I’m also a filmmaker on the side!) I do have some Pinterest boards for my characters though. Here are a couple models that are very similar to how I imagine Kindy (left) and Lasía (right):
What do you hope your readers take away from City of Reckoning?
I pose some ethical questions in this book about the merits of revenge, and the dangers of poorly processed trauma. I don’t want to tell anyone how to think, but I do hope the story will give readers some things to think about on this front.
What do you think makes a good story?
That’s a big question that I could answer in so many different ways! Ultimately, I think a good story fulfills its purpose.
That may seem like a strange answer, but it’s true, if you think about it. Every story has some distinct purpose—maybe it’s to make you laugh, maybe it’s to teach you information in a more memorable way, maybe it’s to keep you turning pages deep into the night while wrestling with issues of loss and healing.
The answer will depend on the story’s genre and format. Sometimes a story’s purpose is very simple; sometimes it’s more complex. But a serious storyteller should know exactly what it is they are trying to accomplish with their story, and do that. A bad story is one that is unfocused, that doesn’t know what it’s doing—a string of meaningless, unconnected events.
To be clear, that doesn’t mean that the more Western, linear style of storytelling is the only way to accomplish this. A story’s purpose could be “use heartwarming slice-of-life to show the ups and downs of a relationship,” or something like that. A purpose can be almost anything.
But without something to tie the events of your story together, it starts to crumble apart. It ceases to be a story. It’s just a series of random events, and it won’t satisfy that deep human hunger for storytelling.
If you could go back and change how you approached writing your debut novel, what’s the one thing you’d do differently?
I’ve recently learned a lot about how to better outline, and I wish I’d known these techniques sooner, or else I wouldn’t have had to rewrite City of Reckoning so much! The book The Anatomy of Story by John Truby has been been hugely influential on me in improving how I plan out things like character arcs, subplots, and symbolism. I’m using what I’ve learned from that book as I work on City of Reckoning’s sequel.
Have you read anything awesome lately?
Other than The Anatomy of Story, which I highly recommend for writers, I have to give a shoutout to The Goddess of Nothing At All, another self-published book released this year which totally trampled all over my emotions in the best possible way. I lost valuable sleep because I couldn’t put that one down. If you like Norse mythology, definitely add it to your list!
Thank you again for taking the time have a chat, Brianna. Tell us what lies ahead for you!
Thank you so much! As I hinted at, I have more books to write in the Nerasia fantasy universe. City of Reckoning is the first book in a duology, and I’m planning three more duologies after that. (I’ll be busy in this world for a long time!) Each of these duologies will stand on their own, but they will also tell an even more epic story if read together.
Currently, I’m working on the sequel to City of Reckoning, to wrap up the story with Kindy, Lasía, and the others. And I have other stories I want to write outside of the Nerasia universe, too, so I’m going to busy for a really long time! No one kill me for a few decades, at least… please?