Embers by Laura Bickle
Unemployment, despair, anger-visible and invisible unrest feed the undercurrent of Detroit’s unease. A city increasingly invaded by phantoms now faces a malevolent force that further stokes fear and chaos throughout the city.
Anya Kalinczyk spends her days as an arson investigator with the Detroit Fire Department, and her nights pursuing malicious spirits with a team of eccentric ghost hunters. Anya–who is the rarest type of psychic medium, a Lantern–suspects a supernatural arsonist is setting blazes to summon a fiery ancient entity that will leave the city in cinders. By Devil’s Night, the spell will be complete, unless Anya–with the help of her salamander familiar and the paranormal investigating team –can stop it.
Anya’s accustomed to danger and believes herself inured to loneliness and loss. But this time she’s risking everything: her city, her soul, and a man who sees and accepts her for everything she is. Keeping all three safe will be the biggest challenge she’s ever faced.
On Writing and the Author:
What she does:
I spent a long time working in criminal justice and libraries, both of which gave me some fun ideas to experiment with in fiction. Now, I write full time, mostly about monsters under the stairs.
Why she likes it:
It gives me a chance to really ask “what if” questions. What if ghosts roamed abandoned buildings? What if a dragon lived in the salt mine beneath Detroit? What if elemental salamanders existed as familiar spirits?
Inspiration comes from:
For EMBERS, I really wanted to write about fire salamanders. They’re the elemental avatars of fire in myth, and they haven’t gotten much press since the time of alchemists. I was noodling around with salamanders at the same time that I wanted to write about arson, and a salamander became a natural familiar for an arson investigator.
If not writing, then what?
One of my favorite hobbies is hiking. When the weather’s decent, I love to spend some time in the woods with no phones and no internet.
I have a short story that will be appearing in the anthology HALLOWEEN: MAGIC, MYSTERY, AND THE MACABRE in September. It’s called “From Dust,” and it’s about a young woman who’s confronting her family’s bargain with nature spirits in the Dust Bowl.
On the latest release:
Name of main character?
Anya Kalinczyk. She’s something of a reluctant medium, an arson investigator with a fire salamander sidekick.
What my main character does that I wish I could do.
Anya has the ability to see ghosts and exterminate them, something that she uses in her off-time as a ghost hunter. I think it would be quite something to see ghosts…but, like Anya, I think I’d wind up regretting that power the instant I had it.
Something my main character would never do.
Anya would never tell anyone that she works with at the fire department about her nocturnal activities and her ability to see ghosts. She tries to keep both worlds as separate as she can…with little success.
What my main character would say about me (the author).
She would say that I need to clean my refrigerator. Anya is a bit of a clean freak, and I’m sure she’d shudder at some of the civilizations I’ve got growing in there.
What my main character would say I do that embarrasses him/her
I bellydance occasionally. I’m quite sure Anya would be mortified by that, since I’m really, really out of shape at the moment.