My Nightblooming order finally, finally got here!And with it, my copy of Heaven's Silhouette.
Of course PostNord Sweden ruined some of the joy of this for me because it took so crazy long to get here. Just five days to cross the 6800 km from Winona, Minnesota to Copenhagen, and then 11 days for the last 60 km or so from Copenhagen to Lund.
But enough of that. Onto the fun stuff!
While I read through the book and get ready to review it, you guys can read the first chapter in the book for free here.
Also, don't forget you can follow Melissa on Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram.
Nightblooming sent me a few samples of tea for me to enjoy while I read the book. So sweet of her!
She must have read my mind because I regretted not ordering the Miruvor herbal tea while I was ordering stuff.
She also sent me the Blooming Grove Caduceus & Mollymauk Butterfly Herbal Tea 2 tsp Sample Critical Role which is a colour changing butterfly tea (What?) that changes colour from Mollymauk purple to Caduceus pink when you add something acidic to it. I had to test that!
For those who have questions, here is the FAQ that Melissa promised us a while back!
We asked Melissa about Heaven’s Silhouette, growing real-life fairytale hair, and how she bridges her real-life alchemy into her fantasy writing.
What’s Heaven’s Silhouette about?
It’s actually kind of amazing how hard this question still is for me, and why it was such a relief when I made my book trailer--then I could point people to that.
“When I was little, other children called me a monster. A painting proved them right.”
With lyrical prose and atmospheric world building, Heaven’s Silhouette tells the story of a young woman’s search for her heritage - and in the process she finds herself.
Amid a tempest of feathers, magic, and blood, Aurelia is drawn deeper into the heart of a millennia-old struggle. If she’s not careful, the consequences will tear her body, her heart, and the Iyarri in two.
Aurelia is a character that exists in the gray spaces, in between the halves of her world. The larger inspiration for Heaven’s Silhouette, and the series of The Iyarri Chronicles became an exploration in what happens when halves and pieces, real and perceived, get torn apart and pushed back together.
Do you have more books planned for the series?
I do--the second book, Mourning’s Dawn, will be out next fall, and I’m already in the process of drafting the third book in The Iyarri Chronicles. For those readers who are antsy about years-long delays in between books, I have a progress tracker that shows where I’m at in the process for each book--you can see the one for Mourning’s Dawn at the bottom of its page I’ve also planned a prequel and bonus content for my Patrons, like an illustrated guide to the Iyarri.
How do the Iyarri-Chronicles herbs and oils you make at NightBlooming tie together?
When I was creating the Iyarri I thought a lot about what made them culturally distinct from humans, and also how their wings influences everything from the clothes they wore, how they styled their hair, to what sorts of grooming all those feathers demanded.
The Iyarri clean and scent their feathers with specially-blended oils. Each Iyarri creates their own oil, giving their wings a signature scent.
Aurelia’s, for example, is an essential oil blend that smells of crushed Irish gardens, green moors, and nighttime dew smudged with vanilla. This blend then either becomes a mister that’s usable both as a perfume or a linen mister, or an oil that’s perfect for skin, hair, beards, and massage. I do one oil blend a month, some inspired by The Iyarri Chronicles, but all my oils are inspired by literature, fantasy, and folklore.
Tell us more about the Iyarri and how your real-life experiences with long hair found its way into your fictional worldbuilding?
One of my pet peeves in fantasy is how hair is treated: never tangles, worn down in battle (as if it isn’t getting in your face / gives opponents a really nice place to grab), braids are always a thick as a piece of cord wood and never taper, etc.
In general, Iyarri wear their hair long, but up so it’s out of the way of their wings. In developing their hairstyles, I borrowed a lot from things I knew about long hair from personal experience: wearing it in twists and buns and plaits. I’ll cop to having an immense trove of hair accessories, and the Iyarri have their own hair ornaments, too: beads, feathers, and twists of metal.
This extends to the oils for each character, too. When they’re done oiling their feathers, whatever is left on their hands they then smooth over the ends of their hair.
I’m sure our readers haven’t forgotten about the gifts you mentioned, tell us what you have for them.
The hardcover of Heaven's Silhouette is exquisite and a true representation of the work inside. 400 pages long, it includes the first chapter of Iyarri Chronicle's Book 2: Mourning's Dawn. The book itself has copper foil stamping, each page is printed on high-quality paper, and the dust jacket is matte with a spot-gloss finish, making it a total joy to hold in your hands.
When you order the hardcover of Heaven’s Silhouette from Etsy you’ll receive a beautiful metal feather bookmark and an Iyarri Chronicles perfume blend sample of your choice. I’ll also hand-sign and number the book! Patrons (at any tier) get to choose not only the color of their bookmark, but also the copy number they receive.
The ebook also comes with four printable bookmarks and a printable version of the full cover art. If you’re a Patron, you’ll get the special Patron-only version of the ebook, which also has the first chapter of Mourning’s Dawn.
How can people support you as an independent author and our resident long-haired herbal alchemist?
I could never, ever do all of this without people who believe in me. I nearly walked away from publishing Heaven’s Silhouette because the dream of being an author just seemed a bridge too far, and I never would have started NightBlooming without people who told me over and over they loved what I was creating for them.
My biggest support comes from my Patrons through https://www.patreon.com/melissalynnherold. Their monthly contributions, their belief in what I do, allow me to bring them the things they love while being part of the entire creative process.