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Cover Reveal - Luna Novella 2024!

Autumn is here, and so are the covers of our new novellas, for 2024! I am so happy to have started this series in 2020. I got to encounter fabulous new authors, some of them at their debut stage. In 2024, we will have two debut: C L Farley, from South Africa, and Knicky L Abbott from Barbados. And we are absolutely delighted to welcome back our very own Lorraine Wilson, who did debut with Luna, and will see her next novel coming out with Solaris - so very proud!

I am so excited that I have even made a trailer!

The stories are fabulous. Let me remind you!

Lorraine Wilson: The Last to Drown

The Last To Drown started out as a short story that didn’t fit its own skin. It was trying to say too much, and it was only by venturing into novellas for the first time that I could give it space to speak. It’s a story about cool Icelandic ghosts because I’ve always loved Icelandic folklore, but only discovered Icelandic lullabies since a fake one roved the internet and real ones turned out to be just as haunting! So the fabulously creepy line from one such - ‘Outside waits a face at the window’ - was a thread through the story from the beginning. I think lullabies are fascinating, they’re often pretty dark (think about the ending to Rock-a-bye-baby), and they carry associations of parenthood, protection, and comfort in the night which can all easily become eerie if you give them a twist.

But beneath the spooky, this book is about grief and PTSD and broken families; about how whole lives can be thrown off course by private cataclysms. It is also a deeply personal exploration of chronic pain. This is something I live with, and The Last To Drown is my first time writing from that part of myself. Chronic pain isn’t fun, so I’ve never particularly wanted to write it before, but the character of Tinna came to me this way and I am honestly really glad I’ve written her. It matters so much to me to have stories in the world that portray disability without dressing it up in villain or miracle cure tropes. That show the connections between pain and medicalisation and mental health. Tinna considers herself broken, but that’s as much about her mind and her heart as it is her flesh and bones. And that’s where her healing lies too - in reclaiming her self, rather than in the physical; because it’s the loss of your old self that is, in my experience, a far harder grief to carry.

I am delighted to be returning to Luna Press with this wee book, and it’s an honour to join the fabulous library of Luna Novellas. I cannot wait for you to venture with me to Iceland’s black shores.

Knicky L Abbott: Tanglewood

Tanglewood began as the recurring urge to retell my favourite tale – the story of Beauty and the Beast – through the filter of my own curious experiences, having always felt inexplicably strange and out of step on the island of Barbados, where I’ve lived for a large part of my quite ordinary life. Initially, it was the story of Bellouise Dubois and Jean Jacques, as I wished for it to remain true to its French origins, having first been penned by Madame Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve, a French novelist in 1740. Bellouise was to be the daughter of a former plantation owner, as the original Beauty was the daughter of a wealthy merchant who had fallen on hard times. Jean Jacques was to be a poor mulatto with metal braces due to foot drop, and the metal braces were going to set up his metamorphosis into the Steel Donkey rather nicely.

Right away my fascination was to explore the dark mirror-side of the archetypes of Beauty and the Beast that is seldom explored. I wanted to experience her anger, her coldness and cruelty, and her inability to forgive. I wanted to experience the kindness and bravery he possessed before love ‘changed’ him, and also the degree to which feeling cursed could break a person, make them kill, or want to die. I wanted to know what beauty could mean to these characters, and who really was the beast in the story in my mind. I wanted to know who would change in the end, and what good could come of the tragedy of their having to do so. Then the landscape of the story shifted, and suddenly my beauty was John Jack, a freed slave, and my beast was female, Aoife Ni Coillte, a descendant of the Irish Indentured. Gone were the traces of its French origins, for the setting was now my very own tropical home.

Tanglewood is the story of my own isolation and unbelonging, as much as it is Aoife’s. It is the story of the hope I held onto that such isolation and unbelonging could end, until very recently. But people hurt, and only the land and the spirits remain. The land, and the spirits, and the cast-iron pot of Barbadian folkloric heritage to which I now hope to add my own stories. We do not have enough stories of our own. All my life I have been reading the fantasy and faerie stories of other nations, of other peoples, but when I sought to tell mine, there was precious little in the way of literature to read, for either inspiration or research purposes. And so, I told this tale. May it reach you. May it burn within you like bushfire and echo across your heartland for days. May you get lost in the gully. And may this origin story of the Steel Donkey – of my Aoife Ni Coillte and her John Jack – come to mean as much to someone out there, as it does to me.

CL Farley: The Invisible Girl

Maggie survived an apocalypse of hungry shadows by becoming invisible, but she drowned during a violent telepathic assault. Afterwards, she was exiled by the community she once called family. Living on the edge of Bloemfontein, South Africa, Maggie scavenges for scraps and grapples with the unreality, a collection of strange visions and slippery thoughts caused by the telepathic attack. When she's approached by strangers who claim Maggie can destroy the shadow monsters, she faces a dilemma: are these people real, and if so, how can she ensure they stay with her forever?

The Invisible Girl is about seeing the world differently, and society's tendency to 'other' people who make them uncomfortable. Many different ideas and experiences inspired this story: life in a backwater city, victim shaming and the stigma surrounding mental health issues, and the search for community in a world that doesn't tolerate strangeness well.

More on the novellas in the coming months!

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