Well, we're just about through July in the weirdest summer I have ever experienced. It's been so busy for me at work that I haven't had time to sit down and read anything, but if you've got some time on your hands, Niki McAlister is here to talk about her latest novel. Welcome, Niki!SC: Can you tell us a little something about the main character in your book?
NM: Djinn is 100 years old in this story, but he is roughly 150 in my trilogy, Serving the Scales. He is basically the naga version of a playboy.If you are unfamiliar with nagas, don't worry. I focused on them because it's actually pretty rare that you see nagas in a fantasy story. Nagas are half snake, half human—but in my world humans are long gone, having interbred themselves with the elves and anything else that would have them until they no longer exist by themselves. There's some dirty jokes to be made there, but I'll keep it PG.
So Djinn was born into a wealthier family. His father is on a council of nagas that control the flow of information to the King of the nagas. He is pretty used to living off of his father's money, with no desire to settle down or behave. He has a younger brother named Junard, who at the time of Djinn's novel had just started working for the naga breeding program—making him the favorite child. He's pretty self absorbed, but his entire life is about to be thrown upside down and he doesn't even know it.SC: I was unfamiliar with nagas, so thanks for the explanation. Do you believe in the paranormal and if so, do you have an experience you can share?
NM: I do believe in the paranormal, though I'm not exactly religious and I do believe that the two are closely related. I experience sensations of deja vu fairly often, finding myself meeting and talking to people that I swear I've spoken to before.When I was younger my family owned a little house in Lehigh Acres, FL and my sister had her own room because she had some medical issues and needed to be alone quite often. She had this rocking chair in the corner by her closet and sometimes when I walked past her room I would see someone sitting on it. For awhile I shrugged it off, assuming it was one of her stuffed animals or the bad lighting of the room as it had this horrible dark green carpet. It wasn't until my sister spoke up about feeling like someone was watching her in her sleep and my mother admitted to seeing shadows in there sometimes that I let myself realize that something was probably going on. My mom thinks it was the spirit of one of her relatives, but I always felt like it was something sinister.
SC: Thanks for sharing that. What titles are you working on now that you can tell us about?NM: My current plans are to release several books in this order, though they are subject to change:
Serving the Scales book 2 (Name still being worked on)Rory (A prequel in the same format as Djinn featuring, you guess it, Rory)
Serving the scales book 3 (Name still being worked on.)After Serving the Scales is over I want to go back in time and highlight the pantheon of gods that govern over this world and others. This will feature the Peacock god, Zirato, and his brother Arisa. We're going to meet Zirato's wife and see the dark and terrifying way they met, courted and ultimately ended up together, forever changing the laws of the universe. This story is currently outlined as a duet, and has no name. I'll most likely be sandwiching a super special mermaid story between each book of the duet, but I haven't decided yet.
SC: That's a lot on your plate. We'd better let you get to it. Thanks for dropping by today.
Serving the Scales
Genre: Adult Fantasy
Publisher: Niki McAlister
Date of Publication: August 1, 2020
Number of pages: 132
Word Count: 45,690
Cover Artist: Niki McAlister
Tagline: From Silver Spoon to Silver Tongue
Born into a wealthy family on the west side of the Naga Kingdom, Djinn De’monte has always lived a life of undeserved luxury. He parties every night courtesy of his father’s money and, with a flick of his hand, can bed any woman he chooses.
Why would he ever give any of that up to settle down and work a regular job? Everything he needs is right at his fingertips, but when an unexpected tragedy strikes the rug is suddenly yanked out from under him. Djinn is forced to sink or swim.
Join him on his forced pilgrimage as he reluctantly discovers that there is more to life than having everything served to you on a silver platter. Will he learn just what he stands for, or will he be swept up with the rest of the garbage?
In this short prequel we travel back to Djinn’s youth to find out exactly what transpired before he met a very unusual servant girl. This story can be read before Serving the Scales, after, or by itself. Though Djinn’s story isn’t part of the Serving the Scales Trilogy, it is an important part of the history that took place in Iruli.
“You can’t go in there right now, he’s in a meeting!” The butler elf cried, trying to insert himself between me and the double doors of my father’s office. I slapped him aside with a brush of my tail, sending him clattering into the wall. As he sputtered in surprise I threw open the doors, my faded green locks whipping in the artificial breeze as I met my father’s deadpan stare.
“Djinn, now isn’t a good time.” He said, dismissing me with his hand but I would have none of it.
“Are you directly responsible for the suffering of countless pregnant women and children?” I seethed, glaring directly into my father’s eyes.
“Djinn..” Dad’s face was blank as I heard someone clear their throat to my left.
Councilman Wartez was seated on a cushion there, looking up at me in disapproval—but I didn’t care. “Well? Are you?” I repeated.
“Djinn if you could come back later I’d be happy to—”
“No, we’re going to talk about this now dad.” I huffed, raising my tail to tower over him.
Dad sighed. “Where are you hearing this from? Is this about Jess? I assure you she received the best care.”
“Why aren’t all of the pregnant nagas in the East city receiving that type of care? Are you aware that they’re being treated on the damp ground?”
“Surely those people must be used to doing things on the damp ground.” Councilman Wartez snickered beside me.
“Are you fucking with me right now?” I spun around to the councilman. “People are dying and you’re over here making jokes? Why isn’t the council doing anything to help?”
Dad glared up at me through his tiny glasses. “Not that you’ve ever cared before, but we’ve been conducting tests on the female naga’s issue for decades. We’ve informed everyone that, should they find themselves pregnant they should seek proper medical care.”
I slammed my hands down on his desk, remembering all the times he’d had the maid whip me for touching his desk. His eye twitched as he looked down at my hands. “You do realize that most of the citizens in the East city can’t afford to see a doctor, right?”
“That’s being quite presumptuous. I’ll have you know that we installed Deklyn over there to care for the elves ten years ago. They’re being cared for better than they ever did in that backwoods place they hail from.”
“You know damn well I’m not talking about the elves.” I seethed.
He shrugged, making my blood boil. “You and your council buddies could easily extend a hand to these women but you’re not!”
“That’s enough Djinn.” Dad rose, grabbing my hand and pulling it off his desk.
“It’s not nearly enough dad.”
“I must ask you to go home and we’ll discuss this at another time.”
“Fuck you.” I spat. “You’ll just send Natasha over with more money or a fucking fruit basket to shut me up, you bastard.”
“That’s enough!” Dad boomed, coming around the side of his desk. “One more word out of you and I’ll cut you off.”
“I dare you.” I grinned, spitting on the ground in front of him. I raised my gaze back to his face to relish in the shock I’d caused but to my surprise I felt my father’s fist collide with my cheek as he snarled at me. I flew backward, hitting my head on the back wall of the office and pulling down a bunch of books as I slumped to the ground.
“I’m sorry for this outburst Councilman Wartez.” Reginald was saying, shaking the councilman's hand. The last thing I remembered was both of the councilmen looking over at me in amusement as I passed out.
About the Author:
Niki McAlister is an avid reader of romance and fantasy. She’s always lived in a little world inside her own mind, often getting herself in trouble while daydreaming. She currently resides in Tennessee with her husband, two boys, and many pets.
Mailing list: https://bit.ly/2VyfNcU
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/NovelsByNiki
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