One of my favorite cities is New Orleans. When I walk the streets of the French Quarter, I feel as though I'm reliving history. Most of the original buildings from the 18th and 19th century still stand in the Quarter along with cobblestone streets. None of the other coastal cities, Savannah, or Charleston leave me with the feeling that I can reach out and touch the African slave experience of two hundred years ago.
The history of Blacks-both slave and free people of color-has always fascinated me. Although most were uneducated and suppressed, they were extremely resilient, courageous and hard working people. It was a do or die situation. I know I would be hard pressed to survive in that era.
Those stolen people brought from their homeland a spirit based religion called, Vodun. Practiced first in Haiti, Vodun was brought to New Orleans when French plantation owners fled Haiti during the 1791 revolution with their loyal slaves. These Africans practiced Christianity in the form of Catholicism during the day, but Vodun at night in the swamps. Parts of Catholicism were intertwined with Vodun to produce what is now known as New Orleans Voodoo.
When I decided to write a young adult novel, I wanted a character that would embrace the past and present of the city. Lisette Beaulieu is Creole (a racial mixture of African, Spanish, French and Indian.) I wanted to paint a picture of the religion that was more than the Hollywood depiction of animal sacrifice and blood drinking. But I wanted to create some of the mystery and supernatural elements of the religion, so I decided the story would be paranormal.
The 5th Realm is the story of Lisette Beaulieu, orphaned and living with her Grand'mere in contemporary, post-Katrina, New Orleans. She attends a private high school on scholarship and is attracted to a mysterious male student who is involved with the most popular girl in school.
Lisette's ancestor was a Voodoo Priestess, a contemporary of Marie Laveau. This Priestess wanted to be more powerful than Marie, so she made a pact with a demon for this power. In exchange, she promised the soul of a descendant. That descendant is Lisette and the demon overlord is collecting on that promise.
Lisette fights her destiny, which is to also be a Voodoo Priestess, but she must come to terms with this destiny to save herself, the people she loves, and the city of New Orleans from the overlord of the 5th realm of Hell.
The 5th Realm is the first in a series of the Voodoo Chronicles of New Orleans.
The book is available digitally on the Kindle, Nook and Smashwords. The print version will be out at the end of September. I'll be signing the trade paperback at Georgia Romance Writer's Moonlight and Magnolia Conference on October 6th at the Atlanta Hilton 5993 Peachtree Industrial Blvd, Norcross 30092.
Constance is a transplanted Midwesterner, living in the Atlanta area for the last twenty years. She's had many occupations in her adult life, but none have been as rewarding as writing. In addition to young adult fiction, Constance writes adult mystery and suspense. Visit her at www.constancegillam.com or Facebook: http://tinyurl.com/78x6ohg.