Meet A. M. Dunnewin and her book THE BENIGHTED
Today I’m vising with A. M. Dunnewin. Hello and welcome to my blog. So, tell us about your latest novel.
My most recent novel released is The Benighted, a YA dark fantasy that is Book 1 in The Benighted Saga.
What is the story about?
The story is about a Princess Royal who is imprisoned after she helps her knight escape when he’s charged with a murder he didn’t commit. On top of that, she’s the last Mandolyn – the royal family of Correnth – who hasn’t been assassinated. So the story isn’t just about her confronting her demons in a barbaric prison, but also how she slowly loses her family while gaining a strong ally in regards to the man of war who had been sworn to protect her. This story is really the prelude to a war that is the main theme in the sequel, The Illusory.
Who is the main character?
The main character is Skylar, the Princess Royal. Everything centers around her. She’s the last heir who not only watches her family die, but witnesses the slow and painful demise of her father at the hands of his advisor, Cross Lutherus. She’s also the link that brings Sir Harlin Brien into the story, the knight who is part of the Order of the Benighted which is a group of men who are always sent into war first in order to cripple the enemy before the army arrives. Their interaction is important in The Benighted because Harlin becomes not only a trusted friend after Skylar loses everyone around her, but they become much more to each other as the story line begins to turn dark.
What inspired this tale?
A videogame, actually. J
How did the story come to you?
Well, I had just built my computer, and was excited that I was finally able to play games again. And the first game I played on it was Dishonored, which I sucked royally at and couldn’t escape the first level which is when you’re supposed to escape a prison. So I did what any writer would do when their aggravated: I wrote a story about a girl trapped in a prison.
Did you have to research for this novel and if so, why?
The research I did was mainly in regards to scene descriptions and what kind of metal Harlin’s short sword would be. That’s where the steampunk feel comes into play; this story gives you a sense that the kingdom is medieval yet there are some technologies. The sequel explores those technologies much more in depth.
If you did research, what do you think surprised you most to learn and why?
The one thing that surprised me was the tungsten carbide metal, just because it’s pretty bad ass for not only what it can do but what you can do to it without it being damaged like other metals would be. It’s the perfect type of metal for a short sword that a Benighted would carry.
Do you relate to your character?
Skylar’s persona is more of what I strive to be personally. She’s feminine and elegant, yet she’s mentally and emotionally strong. She doesn’t look down on anyone, she doesn’t endlessly question herself or second guess, and she’s not afraid to stand up for what’s right, even if it physically tries to destroy her.
Is your protagonist anything like you personally?
A little bit.
If yes, then how?
I like to think that I stand up for what’s right, but I’m not sure I’d still be standing after everything she goes through. Some of those scenes are brutal, and it was actually tough to write them. But Skylar is like me in the sense that she thinks Harlin is hot, which I couldn’t agree more lol! I had Henry Cavill in mind, and you can’t go wrong when you picture him as one of your characters. J
What made you write this character; what made them important to you or made you want to tell their story?
I actually wrote Skylar’s character in response to reading a few novels where the leading lady was anything but leading. As a reader, I became fed up with reading these female characters who second guess themselves all the time, or whine about everything, or believes they need a man to feel fulfilled in life. I wanted to read about a woman who needs to be saved but can still stand on her own two feet. And to flip that, I wanted to read about a male character that supports that type of personality while also still being the hero of the story. I also wanted a romance that was built not just on chemistry but respect and building the other person up because you care about their welfare more than your own.
Is there anything specific you want readers to know about this piece of work?
Be prepared for a creepy, shady villain. I don’t know what circle of hell Cross Lutherus crawled out of, but that character is one of my most brutal ones. In fact, I still will not take responsibility for his actions. I never meant for him to go as far as he does, and he’s really what makes this story a dark fantasy. He basically is the horrific side of humanity.
Okay, let’s meet one of your characters. Who are we talking too?
Are you a fictional or historical character?
What should we know about you?
I’m unfortunately in the midst of a private war. My brother was killed, and for unknown reasons my father summoned one of the Benighted to be my personal knight. It’s a concerning move because the Benighted are men of war, not protectors of royalty.
Tell us about your story: When and where is your tale set?
It’s set in the Kingdom of Correnth, my home. Part of it is within the castle walls while the other part is inside the prison that’s built out in the sea.
What is your personal goal? I mean, what do you ultimately want?
My personal goal is to protect my people, especially when the inquisition comes.
What is standing in your way? What conflict(s) do you face?
My father’s advisor, Cross Lutherus. I can see my father slowly rotting under his influence, and there’s no way for me to speak to him without us falling into arguments. He’s devastated by my brother’s death, who was the true heir to the throne, and he won’t listen to me when I try to tell him that my brother’s death wasn’t an accident.
Thank you for joining us A. M. Dunnewin. I’ve already read and reviewed your book, and I have to agree that Harlin is a hunk and Cross Luthrous is evil incarnate. I do recommend the book and you can read my review HERE.
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