MEET THE LIBRARIAN BEHIND EMPIRE OF SAND, AN EPIC FANTASY INSPIRED BY MEDIEVAL INDIA
Tell us about your protagonist.
Mehr’s father is a nobleman, but her mother’s from a persecuted magical culture. When Mehr reveals she inherited her mother’s magical gifts, she draws the attention of the empire’s terrifying mystical order, and has to use cunning and artifice to survive.
What sparked the idea?
i’ve always been interested in the women of the Mughal empire, who often wielded huge political power behind the scenes. i wanted to explore the skills a woman honed by patriarchal court politics would have. also, Bollywood movies. of course.
Are the magic elements your own invention?
Concepts like binding vows, a world built on dreams, and dance as creation and destruction are definitely inspired by the hindu beliefs and epics i was raised on.
What kind of research did you do?
i read tons of books. i learned some gruesome stories about the early Mughals, including tales of pillars of severed heads, and one about a golden drinking goblet made from an enemy’s skull. Nothing livens up a historical record like a severed head put to a weird use…
What authors would you be most happy to be compared to in a review?
if it was Juliet Marillier or Catherynne Valente i’d keel over with joy!
Empire Of Sand is released 15 November. Tasha Suri is appearing at SFX Book Con 2 on 10 November – details on p21!