I’m a returned Peace Corps Volunteer and served in the Ivory Coast (and some time in Senegal) in West Africa from 1996 to 1998 as an Urban Environmental Management Consultant. What does that have to do with Urban Fantasy? Well, nothing. What does it have to do with writing? Well, lots!
I kept copious journals during my time in the Ivory Coast. I tell myself I’m going to clean them up and publish my stories. One day. That experience altered my life and still colors my perspective, how I see the world. I made many friends that I cherish and had many experiences still vivid in my mind. And it’s those experiences that I sometimes draw from to give my stories a little extra flavor. They are countless. One of the amazing things about serving in the Peace Corps was every day was an adventure. Simple tasks, such as getting from one city to another on local transport, often turned the ordinary into an exercise in resourcefulness and patience, lots of patience. (Breaking down or running out of gas in the middle of the bush, stopping to pick up extra riders who hop on the roof with the goats.)
One of my favorite and most mysterious trips I took with a fellow volunteer to Mali. We hired a Malian guide to take us on a three-day hike through the Dogon country in Central Mali. The Dogon have been studied quite a bit by anthropologists and are known for their uncanny aptitude for astronomy. They discovered the Sirius B star, a star not visible to the naked eye, without the use of astronomical devices. (They have artifacts dated 400 years old that depict the Sirius B star.)
Ruby, my necromancer in the Necromancer Series books, is an anthropologist and mentions the Dogon in Book Two of the series. During my journey through the Dogon villages, my friend and I spent the night on rooftops in the villages, with skies so filled with stars, you could forget you were gazing at a night sky. It doesn’t surprise me the Dogon sought to discover and map such an amazing sky.
While on this trip, I acquired a Tuareg silver cross necklace, and it inspired a small plot device in The Necromancer’s Seduction. Ruby’s grandmother gave her a Tuareg silver cross that, in the book, she acquired while traveling in Mali. Her story about how she acquired it draws upon my experiences with public transport.
The necklace is pictured below.
The Tuareg are a Muslim nomadic people who live across the Sahara Desert, including the countries of Mali, Niger, Libya, Algeria and Chad. They are well known for their jewelry, leather and metal saddle decorations, and finely crafted swords. They’re fairly mysterious and can “disappear” in the desert. They believe the arms of the cross disperse evil from the individual. The necklaces are worn by the Tuareg as a form of good luck and protection. When Ruby wears her necklace, it comforts her and gives her a sense of connection to her grandmother.
My time in West Africa was some of the most amazing I’ve yet to spend, and it’s exciting for me to share some of those times through my characters.
Any interesting experiences to share? I’d love to hear from you.
The Necromancer Series, Book One
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: ImaJinn Books
Cover Artist: Patricia LazarusBook Trailer: http://youtu.be/sCnfq9Se7bU
She has never feared the walking dead. It’s the power required to reanimate the dead that startles her, seduces her. The power that dwells inside her…and is growing.
For Professor Ruby Montagne, being a necromancer has brought her nothing but heartache, and she walked away from that part of her life long ago. However, her quiet existence in San Francisco is shattered when she stumbles upon the body of a slain witch, and the supernatural community insists she transform him into a revenant to track the killer. But his murder was just the beginning, and Ruby soon realizes that the stakes are higher than anyone can imagine—and that revenants have nasty minds of their own.
Now demonic creatures have escaped into the human world, and zombies once again walk the streets. For humanity’s sake, Ruby forms an unlikely alliance with a witch, a zombie, and Ewan March, a demon warrior who sets her senses on fire.She’s always distrusted demons and Ewan is no exception, but circumstances push them closer together, and Ruby not only finds it harder to resist him, she isn’t sure she even wants to. But she suspects his job of patrolling the portal separating humans and demons conceals a dark and deadly past that may consume them both.
With events spiraling out of control, Ruby unravels a plot that not only threatens the human and demon realms, but puts Ruby’s very soul in jeopardy. Because when the dead walk, no one is safe. Especially Ruby.
About the Author:
Noemi Ghirghi writes as Mimi Sebastian and raised herself on books and the strange and unusual with an unhealthy dose of comics and Saturday morning cartoons. Loving angst-filled romance thrown in the mix, she decided to blend all those elements in a steamy mix in her first Urban Fantasy series, the Necromancer Books. The first book, The Necromancer’s Seduction, debuts July 15, 2013, with ImaJinn Books.
Noemi spent two years in the Ivory Coast with the Peace Corps and loves to introduce tid-bits from her experiences in her writing. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America and the Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal chapter of RWA. A transplant from the beaches of Florida, Noemi now wanders the desert in Phoenix, AZ, and attempts to balance writing with a day career, fantastic family, and household diva: her Amazon parrot.