The Light in the Dark is a super fun, romantic, and suspenseful fantasy novel written by the wonderful Kelsey Bhatia! I was one of the lucky beta-readers of this way back in its early stages, and I can’t even tell you how much fun I had! Kelsey knows full well the amount of yelling that went on when I reached the scenes she hadn’t finished yet. And now you can read it for yourself! LITD is out now on Kobo, Kindle and iBooks. I highly recommend it, my friends!
The Light in the Dark in five words–go!
UGH I am the worst at this. If there is ever something I really can’t do, it’s condense! But here we go:
Rose and Faolan have a similar relationship to the classic hate-to-love Lizzie and Darcy–both female leads have pre-formed opinions about their future love interest, and have to learn to look past that to the real person beneath. Is that a kind of relationship you wanted to explore in the novel from the start, or did the characters just naturally move that way?
I 100% wanted the hate to friends to love trope to happen between them, especially because they come from such different worlds. With Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth and Darcy come from different backgrounds as well, so I did a fantasy twist with that when it came to Rose and Faolan so we could see some growth! Rose is a human Scout, conscripted at a young age and trained to hate the Fae, and kill them. But she’s always had an interest in them that no amount of training could extinguish. With Faolan, he knows his people were once tormented and altered by Rose’s, but for him it’s more not wanting to like Rose that makes him try and push her away with coldness. Both of them have learned that caring can be dangerous, and at the start they are still trying to not have emotions.
But when you’re literally trapped together, you’re forced to look past biases and first opinions, and Rose and Faolan find that they are much more alike than they ever could have thought.
On the topic of Rose, she is not a typical female lead. In fact, if there’s any major female character in fantasy that I can think of to compare her with, it’s Brienne of Tarth from A Song of Ice and Fire. She’s tough, physically strong, dependable, honourable, and doesn’t quite fit the common standards of beauty (or at least doesn’t believe she does). What do you have to say about that?
I’ve read a lot of high fantasy stories with female protagonists who are said to be fighters, strong and tough and determined, and while that might be the case they are often more like rogues as opposed to warriors. They are usually described as lean and lithe and stereotypically gorgeous, so I really wanted to have a Amazonian style, Brienne of Tarth-like (which is a perfect comparison by the way) lead to steal the spotlight and shake things up. I wanted a tall, muscled warrior who would both show strength in her looks, but also in her attitude. Not to mention there are all kinds of body types in the world, and roughly ten years of training would build anyone up.
The other reason I did it was to have a female lead in a YA novel that wasn’t “thin” in the conventional way. I wanted a protagonist who would technically shop in double digits, who would stand taller than a lot of other leads I’ve read about. The fact that I go a bit backwards with Rose – as in that she starts off stubborn and brutal and learns that it is alright to be softer, as opposed to a soft character getting stronger over the events of the novel – was a personal choice on very personal levels (cough cough).
Now onto Faolan! His relationship with Rose is an interesting one–he clearly doesn’t think much of her at first, but slowly grows comfortable with her presence, and even begins to rely on her. Is he like that with most people, or was he especially guarded with her because she’s human and he’s not? What about with Daeva (who, by the way, is my personal favourite) — did their friendship have to grow slowly or were they fast friends?
Faolan is sort of a secret when it comes to this, but I can tell you that he had as rough a life as Rose had…and his has been longer. With bad influences and mistreatment over years, like Rose, he taught himself that caring is a bad idea, that feelings and relationships are dangerous and unimportant in the grand scheme of things. It takes a lot for him to trust someone, to build a rapport with them, and so when Rose is given to him he sees her as something of an inconvenience, something he has to take care of that is more than just his dog, and it becomes hard for him to keep acting like he doesn’t care about the way he behaves. He isn’t so much against her humanity as he is against the fact that he has been given a person he’s expected to mistreat, and he’d be happier if he didn’t have someone making him realize how much he hates himself. Depressing, I know, but he’s a big ol’ softy sometimes.
With Daeva I can say that yes, it took a bit of time, but Daeva is so forward and friendly at the best of times that he essentially annoyed Faolan into friendship at first. As the two of them were somewhat made to work together, the friendship bloomed, and while Faolan makes sure no one knows how close he really is to Daeva, when the two are alone it can be said to almost be boyish in the way they talk.
My other favourite character is Wolf! A huge, fluffy, protective, adorable dog that follows you around everywhere? The dream. Please tell us he survives the series or I will personally send you a glitter bomb.
Haha! I literally wrote Wolf because I had always wanted a big, massive dog that followed me around and kept me safe. It was one of my favourite invisible friends as a child, so I threw him in here as Faolan’s sort of only real companion in the Dokkalfar Court. It also shows Faolan’s softer side by the simple fact that he has a dog, and it’s a big step for him to let Rose meet Wolf.
As much as I hate giving spoilers, I can at least say that yes, Wolf will live. Whether he’ll be at Faolan or Rose’s side for the crazy events that are starting to unfold, however….
What can you tell us about the sequel? Will we be getting more Rose/Faolan fluff? Again, the wrong answer will get you yet another glitter bomb in the mail.
I’m so excited to announce that I am working on the sequel as we speak! A title reveal will come when the first draft is complete, with maybe a preview of the first chapter, and after that we’ll get a cover, too!
Again, I don’t want to spoil anything, but I do have to tell you that there is a lot of fluff in the sequel. And a lot more pining. We get to see Rose and Faolan together in more of a gentle, relationship way than what we had in the first book, and I can’t wait for everyone to read it. The events of the first novel have left them both much more vulnerable and open than they ever have been, and now that they are out of the Dokkalfar Court, they’re trying to figure out how they truly feel about each other without having to hide and pretend. So it’s been a lot of fun to play with that.
Of course there will be obstacles, mysteries to solve, villains to scope out, and all the sass and arguments I loved writing in The Light in the Dark, but there are some very, very, very cute things in store for the sequel 😉
Finally—what do you hope readers get out of The Light in the Dark?
A fun read 🙂 That’s always what I hope readers get out of my books, but I always hope that the messages I deliver through my characters touch your hearts as much as they touched mine. I write for myself a lot, and some of the wisdom I portray through Rose and Faolan are things I need to remind myself of often. So I hope this book reminds readers to not be afraid to feel, to cry, to tell the truth, and to take action and do what’s right. And to feel beautiful, and to feel loved, no matter who, or even what, you are.
Kelsey Bhatia is an avid reader and writer in Toronto, Canada. She graduated from the University of Toronto with an Honours Degree in English, but has been writing since she was eight-years-old. The Light in the Dark is her debut self-published novel, and the first of an ongoing series.