The Starfolk Trilogy
by Martha Dunlop
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal
Destiny calls. Soulmates draw closer. One woman stands in the way. Beth trusts her psychic senses. So when her birthday visit to a daytime TV talk show takes a weird turn, she knows something is wrong. Amelia, the celebrity on stage, is oddly fixated on Beth and the man with the microphone is hauntingly familiar. Things become even stranger when she buys a tarot deck, and they are all pictured in the cards. Jonan has waited an eternity to be with the woman who haunts his dreams. When he finally sees her at the TV studio, he hopes life with his soulmate is within reach. But as Amelia refuses to let go of their past together, his hopes fade. Amelia stands between Beth and Jonan. Spinning tales of supernatural threats to her adoring fan base, she builds a personality cult through fear of the paranormal. As her power grows, she does her best to scare Beth away from Jonan and plans to reclaim him for herself. United by a destiny that spans lifetimes, Beth and Jonan are determined to stop Amelia’s fear-mongering. But Amelia has more than one card to play. Even though they are fated to be together, Amelia’s destructive nature may once again tear them apart.
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He heard Doriel walk down the narrow, wonky staircase that divided the storeroom from the shop’s reading and treatment room. The tiny bells stitched into the hem of her skirt tinkled as she swung her hips.
Jonan shook his head. He had no idea why she bothered with all this theatre. She was the real deal. She could have run a fabulous business in joggers and a T-shirt, but she insisted on playing to the audience. She wore flowing skirts, bells and long earrings. Her hennaed hair was braided into a loose French plait that reached her waist, sparkling with tiny crystals. She mimicked smoke and mirrors and delivered magic. She was a goddess hiding in plain sight as a walking cliché. The irony never failed to make her hoot with laughter.
The distant voice made Jonan freeze. ‘I’m looking for a reading. I was told you were good.’
He dropped back from his crouch to sit on the floor, heart pounding in his chest.
She had come.
He had told her to come to Doriel, but he had never expected it to be this easy. This was the woman he had incarnated for, the one he was here to wake up. He knew his goal, but somehow it didn’t feel anywhere near as important as just being in the same room as her. He had no idea how she would react to his world. She had been brought up with Earth amnesia and would probably think he was crazy. Everything he was, everything he said, was strange. Would she listen, or would she run? He had no way of knowing until he tried it.
A shiver ran down his spine.
by Martha Dunlop
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal
A woman destined to change the world. A timeless adversary determined to stop her. Only one will win.
Humiliated after the disastrous launch event for her protection racket, Amelia Faustus is furious and determined to punish those responsible. But her own support system is cracking and something new is haunting her home.
Beth and Jonan – finally together after lifetimes of searching for one another – have to stop Amelia’s attempts to prevent them fulfilling their destiny. But they find themselves under attack from all directions. Trolled by Amelia online, and targeted by her angry followers in real life, they fight to keep innocent people out of Amelia’s clutches. But Amelia has already started to hurt those closest to them to get what she wants.
As Amelia continues to terrorise their loved ones, Beth and Jonan are once again put on the defensive. They need to convince people to stand up to Amelia’s manipulations, but can they succeed when The Fear is already taking root?
An urban fantasy novel about destiny, reincarnation, tarot, and living with the paranormal.
1. Tell us a little about how this story first came to be.
It started with an image of Jonan, my main character. He had an angular face, shoulder length blond hair, and when I saw him unguarded, his ears were pointed. I spent a lot of time believing he was some kind of elf because of the ears, but it slowly became clear that the ears, and the violet eyes, were a part of his energetic body and a symbol of where he incarnated from. They showed his diffentness, which only people like him could see. So most of the time he looks normal, but occasionally Beth sees those points, or the purple eyes, and she knows his emotions are strong and his guard is down.
My stories always start with a character. I watch them for quite a long time before things start filling in, with new characters entering, and details becoming clear. The plot is often the last thing to slot into place. In my Starfolk books it was Beth and Jonan who came to me first.
2. What, if anything, did you learn when writing the book?
I went on a ghost walk around St Albans and learned about the history of the City I grew up in. It was fascinating to hear about things like the debtors prison in the centre of town, and spooky stories about the Cathedral and many of the shops, restaurants and houses around the old part of St Albans. Some of those stories served as inspiration for the book.
3. What surprised you the most in writing it?
I started writing it in 2016, and much of the book was inspired by the rise of personality cults. But as time went on, the way life increasingly reflected the books gave me shivers more than once.
4. What does the title mean?
Great question! The main characters in the Starfolk books are all pictured in a Tarot deck, the Starfolk Tarot. They each have their own card which personifies their path or mission. For some characters, the card changes over the course of the books and their path goes in a new direction. The word Arcana means mystery, but it is a word particularly associated with Tarot, since the deck is divided into the Major and Minor Arcana. The Major Arcana are cards that address the big things in your life, your purpose, important changes that move you forwards. The Minor Arcana addresses the details. Out of 78 cards, only 21 are Major Arcana.
The key characters in the books remember their destiny, and the time before birth. They are fully human, but they remember when their souls were in the stars, and they bring those memories to Earth in an attempt to usher in change. This is where the word Starfolk comes from.
So the title can mean the Starfolk Mysteries, but it also relates to the Tarot deck that leads them forwards on their path.
5. Were any of the characters inspired by real people? If so, do they know?
No. I guess many of them were inspired by experiences, and by types of people, but I was very careful not to base any of them on real people.
6. Do you consider the book to have a lesson or moral?
I think the message is to think for yourself and not hand your moral compass to anyone else.
In the book, Amelia, the antagonist and the Starfolk character that lost her way, is a celebrity who aims to control people by scaring them into following her. She tells stories of supernatural attack, and presents herself as the solution in order to attract a cult following. Her followers believe the most incredible things and turn against the people around them, just because Amelia tells them to.
As much as I’d like to believe this is fantastical, it was inspired by the rise of personality cults that I saw when I started writing the books in 2016, and this certainly isn’t something that’s gone away.
7. What is your favorite part of the book?
Hmm, well, without giving away any secrets from deeper into the book, I can say that I love the opening, when Beth first sees both Jonan, the love interest, and Amelia, the antagonist. She can’t believe anyone will take Amelia seriously and is very dismissive. But Amelia calls on her on national TV, in front of her own fans. She challenges Beth in front of an audience that quickly becomes hostile. I love all the disconnects in this chapter, as Beth tries to make sense of Amelia’s ridiculous claims, and the audience’s very serious reaction to them. I also love the hints of mystery that Beth sees in Jonan, not least when she catches glimpses of him out of the corner of her eye, and sees his pointed ears.
8. Which character was most challenging to create? Why?
I have a character who remains nameless for most of the story. Jonan, Beth and their friends call him The Brute because to them he is an aggressor. Amelia calls him The Sheep, because he follows her blindly. It was much harder to write a character with no name, but that was the point. He has entirely lost himself in Amelia and her demands. And so he has become defined by the tasks she gives him and the way people see him.
9. What are your immediate future plans?
At the moment I am working on Starfolk Rising, book 3 of the Starfolk Trilogy. After that, I have a standalone book to write and a brand new Trilogy where you might meet some familiar characters!
About the Author:
Martha is a dreamer and lover of stories who likes nothing better than spending her days getting to know the characters in her head.
She is a tarot card reader and reiki master, and loves to chat reading, writing and all things mystical on social media, as well as posting pictures of her fellow pack-member, Bertie the Cavalier.
A fiddle player, Martha fell in love with traditional music, particularly Irish, and is also teaching herself to play the Irish Bouzouki. She played her way through her English degree at York and remembers that time as much for the music as the books.
Martha is the author of three books: The Starfolk Arcana, Starfolk Falling, and standalone Wild Shadow. She is currently working on Book 3 of The Starfolk Trilogy, Starfolk Rising.
You can keep up with Martha’s news, book releases and extra content at www.marthadunlop.com, or on her Amazon page.