Wecome to the Working for the Mandroid stop on T. Frohock's blog tour for In Midnight's Silence, the first in her Los Nefilim series! If this novella about angels and daimons on the verge of Civil War in early 20th century Spain sounds like your time of book, it's currently available for Kindle and Nook for just 99 cents!! It would make for a great summer beach read!
I asked T. why she choose to set her Los Nefilim series in early 20th century Spain, and she provided this lovely guest post to explain some of the historical background that inspired her story. Take it away T.!
Researching Spain and the Spanish Civil War
I’ve been getting this question a lot, and I really appreciate the opportunity to get all my various thoughts in one spot.
The answer is really easy. Generally, when I write a novel, the characters come to me before the story. I had an idea for a character named Guillermo, who was Spanish. The novel was set in 1348 in Aragon. I didn’t realize at the time how much research I would have to do in order to familiarize myself with Spain, but it really turned into a wonderful experience.
The reason I chose to set that first novel on the Iberian Peninsula had to do with another storyline that I’d developed for the book. The characters were Nephilim (Nefilim in Spanish, hence the series name), and they reincarnate with the memories of their past lives intact. This particular group was in Jerusalem during their firstborn lives. When the Romans conquered what is today Israel, and instigated the diaspora, some Jews fled to the Iberian Peninsula. Since people migrated in that direction, I wondered if maybe souls would, too.
I had intended for that novel to be the beginning of a series, and I wanted to bring those characters up through the Spanish Civil War. However, other projects took precedence, so for a while I forgot about Guillermo, Diago, and Miquel along with their entwined stories. Meanwhile, the seeds for Los Nefilim were there, germinating while I worked on other projects.
Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, that novel didn’t sell. I went on to write other things, but I never forgot the characters or their stories. Last year, I was asked to write a novella, and since the original story was in limbo, I talked with my agent about resurrecting the characters in a new story for the sake of the novella.
I never considered changing their nationality. By this time, these characters were Spanish in my mind. I also wanted a more modern setting, and changed the protagonist from Guillermo to Diago.
I have a strong background in World War II history, and initially started to place the story in that time period; however, it seemed kind of ridiculous to thrust them into World War II when, being Spanish, they were much more likely to be involved in the Spanish Civil War. Guillermo del Toro's exquisite Pan's Labyrinth really intrigued me, because he managed to capture the brutality of the period without losing the beauty and magic of the Spanish people and the country. After Pan’s Labyrinth, I watched The Devil’s Backbone, which was another film by del Toro, also set during the Spanish Civil War.
I got my hands on several histories of the Spanish Civil War and began to research the period just prior to and during the war. I set the story in Barcelona, because the city is old and has such a spooky history. Ghosts and vampires and poltergeists haunt the city, so I figured what were a few more Nefilim, angels, and daimons? The powerful religious history of Barcelona, Catalonia, and Spain just fit the world that I’d built for my Nefilim and their magic.
I used several histories in order to reconstruct the time period. If you’re interested in reading more about Spain and the Spanish Civil War, here a few:
The Battle for Spain: The Spanish Civil War 1936-1939 by Antony Beevor
The Franco Years by Jose Yglesias
The Life and Death of the Spanish Republic: A Witness to the Spanish Civil War by Henry Buckley
Medieval Iberia: Readings from Christian, Muslim, and Jewish Sources (second edition) edited by Olivia Remie Constable
Queer Iberia: Sexualities, Cultures, and Crossings from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance edited by Josiah Blackmore and Gregory S. Hutcheson
The Spanish Civil War: Reaction, Revolution, Revenge by Paul Preston
The Spanish Holocaust: Inquisition and Extermination in Twentieth Century Spain by Paul Preston
About T. Frohock
Web site: http://www.tfrohock.com
BIO: T. Frohock has turned a love of dark fantasy and horror into tales of deliciously creepy fiction. Her other publications include everything from novelettes to short stories. She is also the author of the novel, Miserere: An Autumn Tale. Her newest series, Los Nefilim, is coming from Harper Voyager Impulse and debuts in June 2015 with the novella, In Midnight's Silence.
T. lives in North Carolina where she has long been accused of telling stories, which is a southern colloquialism for lying.
In Midnight’s Silence
Harper Voyager Impulse
I received a copy of this novella from the publisher in return for being on the blog tour
Released June 23, 2015
Fantasy / Novella / Angels
The fate of mankind has nothing to do with mankind…
Born of an angel and a daimon, Diago Alvarez is a singular being in a country torn by a looming civil war and the spiritual struggle between the forces of angels and daimons. With allegiance to no one but his partner Miquel, he is content to simply live in Barcelona, caring only for the man he loves and the music he makes. Yet, neither side is satisfied to let him lead this domesticated life and, knowing they can't get to him directly, they do the one thing he's always feared.
They go after Miquel.
Now, in order to save his lover's life, he is forced by an angel to perform a gruesome task: feed a child to the daimon Moloch in exchange for a coin that will limit the extent of the world's next war. The mission is fraught with danger, the time he has to accomplish it is limited…and the child he is to sacrifice is the son Diago never knew existed.
A lyrical tale in a world of music and magic, T. Frohock's In Midnight's Silence shows the lengths a man will go to save the people he loves, and the sides he'll choose when the sidelines are no longer an option.
T. Frohock’s world of In Midnight’s Silence is one hiding a dark underbelly where daimons and angels fight for control and power. At the start it feels familiar and like the real world, so it becomes jarring when suddenly a deep mythology becomes hinted at and characters’ histories are alluded to in passing references. For awhile I honestly believed I’d picked up the series in the middle and had to continue to reassure myself that In Midnight’s Silence was the beginning. There just seemed like so much had happened before that I wasn’t privy to that I should already know.
Diago was born from a daimon and an angel, and refuses to pledge to anyone side of the battle looming over early 20th century Spain. He lives and loves a Nephilim named Miquel, who fights on the side of angels, but mostly they live in a small apartment in Barcelona and work their jobs as a music teacher and a guitar player. That is until an angel kidnaps Miquel in order to blackmail Diago to do a deadly errand for him.
Diago’s world is one where supernatural beings have magical powers, primarily through music. This was a unique take on magic with characters humming, whistling and singing to fight their enemies. It produces an interesting imagery and allows for those on the same side to create harmonious music as their fight battles. I really enjoyed the idea of music and tones as magic, though there isn’t really much explanation on how things work. It just creates a mysterious, often dark undertone to what could have otherwise been unexplained and basic magic.
Diago is a conflicted figure, happy in his life though caught in the middle of a bigger picture. When he discovers a son he never knew he had, he becomes more conflicted, but also becomes a more heroic figure. Miquel is less formed, seen only as the lover to fight for and not so much as a character of his own, but in a 128 page novella, it’s difficult to truly fill out the secondary characters.
In Midnight’s Silence gives a glimpse to a much larger world that deserves a much larger book. This felt like a promotional prequel to something bigger coming out. The world is dark and intriguing with shadows of darkness everywhere ready to pounce on our heroes. The magic system provides an atmospheric nature to a short story that made me want more. This is an interesting introduction to a new take on angels and demons fighting for the fate of the world.
I received a copy of this novella from the publisher for being on the tour. All opinions are my own.