Please join me in welcoming J.J. Fischer to the blog to share some behind the scenes facts about her new fantasy novel, The Soul Mark!
THE SOUL MARK by J.J. Fischer
SERIES: The Soul Mark Duology #1
GENRE: Inspirational Fantasy
PUBLISHER: Mountain Brook Ink
RELEASE DATE: May 15, 2023
Nineteen-year-old Sela is a murderer.
After being sentenced to death for the accidental killing of a wealthy, well-connected man, Sela Meriweather is offered another option—to be stripped of her soul and sentenced to lifetime exile on Azazel, the vast prison-island. There, alongside “dangerous” criminals like herself, firstborn children of the Old Town chosen by the lot are sent to atone for the sins of their families.
As one of the elected Righteous, Caleb Alexander’s path to widespread renown is guaranteed so long as he can endure a year as an overseer on Azazel, preventing the other guards from fraternizing with the prisoners. But as he finds himself drawn to Sela, Caleb wrestles with the implications of his new role and the laws forbidding contact between jailer and prisoner. Could a woman like Sela truly be soulless?
While Caleb tries to resist his growing attraction, Sela struggles with the weight of her sins and the past she has kept from Caleb. But when mutiny against the Old Town brews on Azazel, Sela and Caleb must work together to stay alive…and to uncover the truth behind the very powers that created Azazel in the first place.
Top 5 Behind-The-Scenes Facts About The Soul Mark
by J.J. Fischer, author of The Soul Mark
- I wrote the book in six weeks.
Yes, that is a personal best for me. My longest novel (my debut) took twelve and a half years to write, but this book (my third overall), The Soul Mark, took about six weeks to write. I’ve never written a book that fast since, and I don’t think I ever will again. The story just poured out of me from beginning to finish!
- The story was originally titled The Rendering.
While the series was called The Soul Mark Duology, the first book was always called The Rendering, right up to when it was contracted by a publisher (Mountain Brook Ink). “Rendering” is a fantastic word with a number of different meanings that I had intended to tease out across the two books, but my husband never liked the title and after editorial feedback suggested it was a little obscure, we decided to change it to The Soul Mark, after the series title.
- The story world is based off the island of Hawaii.
I’ve always wanted to visit Hawaii—its diverse array of landscapes absolutely captivates me, from volcanic deserts to lush tropical jungles to gorgeous beaches. So basing Azazel, my story world, off Hawaii was a no-brainer for me. It gave me an excuse to spend hours researching the geography, climate, and flora/fauna of Hawaii. I would book a plane ticket to see it tomorrow if I could!
- The Soul Mark was contracted when it placed first in a contest.
The Soul Mark is an interesting story because it’s an unusual blend of genres—not quite fantasy, not quite historical fiction, not your typical romance. You could call it romantasy or historical fantasy, but even that doesn’t completely capture the feel of the duology. Imagine a fantasy world based off the British Empire in the late 1700s, and you get The Soul Mark.
With such a unique premise, it was difficult to find the right home for the duology. I eventually decided to enter Mountain Brook Ink’s “Fire Award” for unpublished manuscripts. To my astonishment, The Soul Mark placed first in the contest, and I was offered a contract for the duology. Mountain Brook Ink have been absolutely fabulous to work with, and they’re the perfect home for this story.
- It’s my favorite book so far (and features my favorite hero!).
Don’t tell the other seven books I’ve written to date, but The Soul Mark is my favorite—favorite book, favorite romance, favorite animal sidekick (a red fox named Roux), favorite world, favorite overall cast of characters. It also contains my favorite hero, Caleb Alexander, who was inspired in part by my husband, Dave (shh, don’t tell him that!).
I can’t wait to share this story with you, and I hope you love it as much as—if not more than—I do!
Jasmine Fischer’s writing dream began with the anthology of zoo animals she painstakingly wrote and illustrated at age five, to rather limited acclaim. Thankfully, her writing (but not her drawing) has improved since then. She is originally a clinically-trained psychologist but no, she cannot read your mind. She and her husband make their home a couple of hours’ north of Sydney, Australia, where most animals are trained to kill on sight and drop bears enforce a daily reign of terror. If you’re reading this, please send help.
What about you? What makes you want to read The Soul Mark by J.J. Fischer?