Erin M. Evans is the contributor for this week’s Take Five, a regular series where we ask authors and editors to share five facts about their latest books. Evans is the author of Brimstone Angels: Lesser Evils, available now.
Mere weeks after escaping Neverwinter, Farideh’s dreams are still haunted by Lorcan, the cambion devil whose power fuels her own. One of only four known descendents of the original Brimstone Angel, Farideh has no regrets about the pact she made with the devil. But no one in the Hells knows that she has a twin—an impulsive eager sister, just waiting to be corrupted. At least as long as Lorcan can keep her secret. Determined to protect her sister, Farideh searches for a ritual that could call Lorcan out of the Hells. But in the midst of her hunt, she’s drawn into an assignment for the secret society the Harpers, an assignment which leads her and a ragtag group of allies to an ancient Netherese library deep underground. While the group combs the site, dodging ghosts and magical traps, Farideh discovers a magical book whose pronouncements throw into question everything she thought she knew about herself and her sister. The more the Book gives up its macabre secrets, the more one thing becomes clear—a traitor lurks among them.
Erin M. Evans:
1. I got the inspiration for the big monster after reading an article about sokushinbutsu, the self-mummification practiced by Japanese Buddhist monks in the early 1800s. Particularly devout monks would prepare for death and seal themselves inside a tomb, meditating until they could no longer respond to daily checks. Then the box would be sealed for a time—when opened, if the monk had mummified, he was considered a true Buddha. They are amazing mummies. Obviously, in the case of Lesser Evils it’s not a holy act. And there’s magic involved.
2. I was really nervous picking up the Zhentarim and the Harpers as elements for my story. These two secretive societies are legendary elements of the Forgotten Realms setting, and the recent changes to the setting meant there were new (and not necessarily popular) changes to accommodate. But I feel like in the end I found a way to keep the spirit of both and point them toward what comes next.
3. I named all the erinyes characters (my cambion characters devil warrior half-sisters) in Lesser Evils and its predecessor, Brimstone Angels, after Greco-Roman battlefields.
4. One of the main villains of the book didn’t exist in my initial outlines. It wasn’t until I started getting into the nitty-gritty of the first draft that I realized I really needed a person to stand in for the big evil empire, Netheril. The threat of an entire evil empire looming in the distance just didn’t create enough dramatic tension. So Adolican Rhand was born—and he is probably the scariest character I’ve ever written, if you ask me.
5. Because of scheduling issues, I started writing Lesser Evils when I was six months pregnant. I finished when my son was six months old. I believe that’s the fastest I’ve ever written a book. It is, without a doubt, the most lunatic thing I’ve ever done, but also maybe the smartest. There wasn’t time or room to overthink things, and it turns out running on a handful of hours of sleep for nine months plus makes you get out of your own way pretty fast.