by A.C. Arthur, author of Awaken the Dragon
Whenever I’m asked where the inspiration for my stories comes from, the answer inevitably circles around three things: people, places and things. I’m always people-watching and absorbing character traits and flaws. I read books and watch movies that take me to different places. And I have an on-again, off-again, curious streak that draws me to certain things at odd times. I know this seems like a well of inspiration to draw from, but most of my stories boil down to one central element within these three and the rest grows from there.
For my new paranormal romance series, The Legion, it was the movie Black Panther. I’m a huge fan of the Marvel Universe, not the comic books, but the movies. So of course, I was in theaters opening weekend for the release of Black Panther. Because I’d never read the comic books, I really had no idea what to expect from this movie. All I knew was—Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan and Lupita Nyong’o. Three strong black lead characters were bursting out of this expansive superhero world with beauty, grace and an explosion of black power and elegance. When I left the theater, I knew I’d eventually write a story that captured just a little bit of the magic that movie had exposed.
Fast forward to writing some other books, watching more movies and experiencing life in general and more ideas began to stick in my mind. Pictures I’d seen on Pinterest, concepts I thought I might like to touch on, colors, people who had great voices. Really, it was like a hodgepodge of stuff came to me at different times until I figured I just needed to get some things down on paper.
I’d already had a skeleton of a synopsis written from a couple years ago. It was a story about dragons, but back then I’d just started writing about jaguar shapeshifters, so I didn’t want to start wandering around with too many species. I revisited the old synopsis and found it still spoke to me as a story that I wanted to tell, but not in the same way. I wanted to create a world that was not only steeped in fantasy and mythical lure, but also in cultural history and depth. So, the dragon met the African demigoddess.
Not only was I naturally drawn to my African heritage, but I especially related to the Orishas, with their spiritual connection and their power which was drawn from nature. There was a purity and humanity in them that I found innately interesting. And while dragon shapeshifter stories weren’t new to the genre, combining their majestic power with the sometimes quiet, but steadfast strength of a black woman—a demigoddess—gave me a feeling of invigoration and a desire to create a world where this combined excellence could lead and bring about change.
The first book in The Legion series is Awaken the Dragon. This is the meeting and discovery story, the first step to greatness is how I thought about it as I wrote. Not in that I thought the words I put on page were great, but that the story that I was beginning to tell might at some point take on a greater meaning. Theo and Shola, the protagonists, are both on a journey of learning, exploring and, in the end, standing firm in their truth and their destiny. Of course, at this point they don’t know where that destiny will lead, but it’s a first step for them and the others who will follow behind them. And it’s a first step into a love affair that neither ever imagined. Yeah, that sounds cliché for a romance book, but believe me when I say these two people were on such focused and decisive paths that left no room for venturing off course that the love and attraction did blindside them—and everyone around them, as well. But love will be the driving force behind their success. This will be true for every other couple brought together in this series. While the world around them is a dumpster fire and will cast them into one dangerous situation after another, they’ll each cling to the love blooming inside to find their place and purpose. Alpha men, strong women, dark entities, dooming curses, and a blending of cultural biases, myths and eventually revelations, will be featured in this series. It is my hope that every reader will come along for the ride.
About Awaken the Dragon:
He’s sworn to protect the very entity she was born to kill…
Next in line for the Drakon throne, Theo Masters is the most powerful half human, half dragon in the world. Royal power is the last thing he wants, however. He lives as a human and runs the Legion Security Company. But his new client—a mysterious, beautiful human from a small African village—and the unknown danger she faces may forever change the quiet life that he’s chosen.
Shola N’Gara exists to kill the dark spirit that is attempting to demolish her people. It’s her purpose and her destiny. The gorgeous protector who taunts her with his sexy voice and body is not—especially after he shifts into a magnificent black dragon with turquoise eyes.
A rise in demon activity and the brutal murders Theo’s agents have been reporting start to add up. Someone is making a play, and it’s big enough to change the course of the world as they know it. Now Shola must choose between her destiny and her heart. And Theo must decide if standing by the woman he’s fallen in love with is worth facing his father in a battle to the death.