People often ask me — no, they don’t, but I expect they will — what’s this about spiders in your new book, The Mark of the Spider?
I usually (will) tell them something like this:
The mark in The Mark of the Spider refers to a spider web tattoo that covers the right side of the face of any person cursed by the spider demon.
Like the cover here?
How very perspicacious, I respond.
My hero, Sebastian Arnett, photographs nature for a living after the death of his wife. He encounters an aged native woman while working in Borneo and is given a black orchid. Unknown to him, accepting the orchid is to accept a curse and a deadly new power from the spider demon.
That’s pretty interesting, they (will certainly) say. But how did you come to write about spiders and demons? That doesn’t sound like you at all.
Oh, I (will definitely) say. You have no idea what goes on in this mind of mine. But back to your question of how I came to combine the two.
I can’t recall at this point. I’ve been working on The Mark of the Spider (and two other Black Orchid Chronicles) for at least four years. But it probably grew out of my fascination with taking macrophotos of flowers. Orchids are particularly complex and often difficult to photograph. So that’s the orchid part. Spiders? I just don’t know. I guess I was looking for something creepy to pair with orchids. I think the pairing works out pretty well in the book.
So, these preternaturally curious people (will) then ask about the Black Orchid Chronicles. What are they?
The chronicles comprise a trilogy of stories featuring nature photographer Sebastian Arnett and a small recurring cast, including:
Col. Mike Owens, USMC – A military officer assigned to watch over Sebastian after his deadly, secret power becomes clear
Joe – An ancient Indian medicine man who sees spirits
Amanda – Wealthy Denver businesswoman who steals Sebastian’s heart
T – Precocious twenty-something bastard son of Amanda’s former husband
Jimmy Beam – Ethnologist and operative of the Australian Intelligence Service
The Sheikh – Fabulously wealthy Middle Eastern patron of Sebastian’s photography
Empaya Iba – The Spider Demon
That sounds like a fascinating ensemble. I hope there are a lot more chronicles, they (will) say.
Well, you’ll just have to stay tuned.
One last question, they (will) insist: Is there such a thing as a black orchid? I’ve never seen one.
Well, you’ll just have to read the book, won’t you? I reply testily, because that’s the kind of grump I am.
One more thing: The ebook version of The Mark of the Spider: A Black Orchid Chronicle is available right now for preorder on Amazon.
The paperback will be available, also from Amazon, on August 15.