Have you ever been inside a dungeon? Touched the stone walls of a cell? Inhaled the chilly air or listened to the splat of water echo along an empty corridor?
The environment of a dungeon was something I'd only ever read about in books until I traveled to the United Kingdom. I can assure you they live up to their unpleasant reputations. They're damp, dim, cold, confining and smelly. I can understand why prisoners tried so hard to escape from them.
This research proved invaluable when I wrote the opening scene of my fantasy romance, Vengeance Born. Annika, the half-demon heroine of the story, hates dungeons yet she heads into her father's to find the one person who can help her escape an unpleasant life.
Conceived through rape, bred for vengeance against an old enemy, Annika is reviled by both demons and humans, and endures years of bullying and abuse. She yearns for a new life and is willing to risk allying herself with a human who considers her his enemy to achieve it. She bargains with Kalan, a Light Blade warrior, for sanctuary among his race in exchange for his freedom.
Their journey together isn't an easy one, their uneasy alliance is shadowed by uncertainty, fear and hope, but it was fun to write!
If you enjoy world building, there are demons, warriors, paranormal powers, a deity, conflicts between races, secrets unveiled and political machinations. If you like a hard-won romance, Annika and Kalan struggle against personal prejudices, flaws and other hurdles to find love.
Intrigue and mystery? Several twists and turns in the plot will satisfy this craving. Some secrets you may anticipate, others I hope you don't see coming. And there's action a dungeon escape, rebellion, fighting, a chase scene or two, death, betrayal … everything you'd expect from a fantasy romance.
So, if you have a few hours spare, join Annika and Kalan, and venture into the world of Vengeance Born.