The Trilogy is Complete… Now What?
We at The Glass House have been fans of N J Simmonds’ fantasy trilogy since The Path Keeper first came out. And today the final book in the series, Children of Shadows, has been released. And what a book it is!
If you love your fantasy novels set in the present day but jam-packed with romance, dark historical flashbacks, adventure, and plenty of grit, then this is the series for you.
N J Simmonds Indigo Chronicles trilogy charts the epic love story of Zac and Ella, during every one of her lifetimes, over 2,000 years. In The Path Keeper we meet Ella, a confused nineteen-year-old that has fallen for a mysterious stranger. In Son of Secrets we see her at twenty-three attempting to get on with her life (albeit deeply scarred by the things she has experienced), but in this book, Children of Shadows, we zoom forward twenty years with Ella about to turn forty. She has put all the strange happenings of her past behind her, angels are nothing but a hazy memory that she’s beginning to doubt, until the only thing she truly cares about is taken from her. Her daughter.
We were completely gripped by this book from start to finish. N J Simmonds’ writing grabs you by the throat and never let us go as she pulls you through present-day London and Florence, then back again to 19BC Fiesole and even aboard a pirate ship. Her writing is fast-paced, her characters captivating, and the storytelling will have you holding your breath and staying up into the early hours. I thought with this being the final book in the series she’d let us off lightly, but my emotions were thrown around yet again as Zac and Ella’s love story finally reached its dramatic conclusion. And what a grand finale it is!
I was lucky enough to interview N J Simmonds about Children of Shadows, her writing career, and what she plans to do next.
N J Simmonds is the author of fantasy series The Indigo Chronicles – she also writes Manga comics and is one half of paranormal romance author duo Caedis Knight. Her stories are magical, historical and full of complex women, page-turning twists and plenty of romance. When Natali’s not writing, she illustrates books and runs her own marketing consultancy, and lectures on storytelling and self-branding. Originally from London, she now lives with her family in the Netherlands.
So how does it feel to finally hold the last book of your trilogy?
It’s been a long time coming, and I’m full of all sorts of emotions. Relief that I finally got there after nine long years of world building and plotting, sadness to say goodbye to these characters, pride, excitement, and a bit of fear. I really hope my readers are happy with this ending after sticking with the series (and me) since the first book originally came out in 2017!
When did you start writing the trilogy?
In 2012 I was living in Spain, my children were tiny little insomniacs, I was working full time, and planning a wedding. Probably not the best time to start writing a book, but an idea came to me and I couldn’t shake it off. I couldn’t stop thinking about this older teen called Ella and the mysterious man, Zac, and the huge secret he’s hiding. The story started to grow and grow until eventually I had to write it down. I then spent three years attempting to put this story into words, as well as reading books on writing and attending writing classes, until The Path Keeper was born. It was printed by my first publisher in 2017, then following complications it came out with a new publisher in 2019. Son of Secrets followed in 2020, and here we are with the final book at last!
What makes this series different to other fantasy romances?
To be honest, it’s hard to compare this series to others as it’s such a mishmash of genres. And I’m not at all sorry about that. There’s light-hearted swoony romance, dark and gritty historical flashbacks, some very poignant scenes about motherhood, loss, and fate. It also takes you all over Europe – across different eras – from Roman Tuscany and Dutch witch hunts to WW2 in London and a pirate ship somewhere over the Atlantic. With such a collection of points of views, criss-crossing across Europe and over two-thousand years, it’s not like any other star-crossed lovers series you’re likely to read.
Who is your favourite character?
Luci is probably my favourite as she’s a misunderstood, formidable woman who is battling with a lot of pain and anger. She’s incredibly complex, but beneath her bad decisions is a lot of love and passion. But I also love Gabriel, because he’s so bloody cool and unrattled, and new character Scar because he’s such a little prick (but deep down just an unloved kid). And Zac, Ella, and Indie will always have my heart, of course. Oh, wait, Jesse was great fun to write too. Can I just say ‘all of them’?
Do you see this series continuing with spin-offs or accompanying novellas?
In all honesty, no. This world and these characters have been part of my life for so long now that I need to move on to all the other stories fighting for attention in my head and on my laptop. I think I have left it complete, yet also a little open-ended so readers can fill in the blanks. Saying that though, if this series becomes a runaway hit and I have thousands of readers begging for more I may be tempted to do an Arabella Novella. Never say never!
What’s next in store for you?
I have a very full plate right now. I co-write with Jacqueline Silvester as Caedis Knight, and together we are working on the Blood Web Chronicles paranormal romance series. It’s six books and three novellas, and we have published a third of that (so still a long way to go)! I also write manga, I’m working on another (secret) collaboration, plus under the N J Simmonds name I’m in the middle of writing a standalone historical fantasy set in 1666. So lots of things to keep me busy!
Check out N J Simmonds books here, or visit her site njsimmonds.com where you can read the first chapter of each book for free and discover more about the author. Children of Shadows is out now at all good bookshops and online retailers.