The Stars That Rise at Dawn
Šehhinah Book 1
By Ivana Skye
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Yenatru had always had trouble making friends. So he didn’t expect that he’d have such an easy time befriending Lucifer…
Meanwhile, his one previous friend Elīya is still not over the loss of the third member of their friend group, Tamar. She disappeared one day to become one of God’s Holy, and as far as Elīya’s concerned, nothing’s ever been the same. It doesn’t help that her university philosophy program is turning out much less interesting than she’d hope.
It could be that Yenatru’s weird new friend has just the skills she needs to solve all her problems. But in order to get Lucifer’s help, she’ll have to confront parts of herself she’s never dared to.
The Birds That Fly at Dusk
Šehhinah Book 2
Celyet’s been trying to keep her head low ever since she left the camp of demons she grew up in. But then she actually talks to a barista at the local coffee shop. And then an angel gets involved…
Celyet finds nothing more terrifying than the idea of being misued or misinterpreted by people. That’s why she hasn’t been talking to anyone for half a year. But when she challenges herself to visit somewhere in town she’s never been, she ends up making a terrible mistake, bringing her time spent hiding to an abrupt end.
Sän may work at a coffee shop, but that doesn’t mean they know how to comfort people. But they really want to find a way to make a difference for that sad-looking demon who keeps coming in.
And just because the shop’s owned by the angel Jibril doesn’t mean that they’re going to stop by anytime soon and start flinging puns at people … right?
The Lives That Argue For Us
Šehhinah Book 3
Teśena and Kjorel have been in an open relationship for years. But when Kjorel leaves to travel for eight months, Teśena doesn’t really have anyone else to turn to. Well, except the most powerful person in the world…
Everyone knows God is made of fire. So of course no one would ever suggest that the easily-overwhelmed Teśena try praying to Them. Then why, when Teśena tries to do exactly that in a moment of desperation, do they seem to get along so well?
On the other side of the world, Kjorel’s dealing with a loneliness of his own. That is, until he starts his visit to the city of Ēnnuh, and finds a boyfriend within a few days. With no way to contact Teśena, he can only hope their previous agreements stand … or that Teśena will improbably find a way to communicate with him anyway.
After all, what’s a few thousand miles when you have God on your side?
Ivana Skye is a disaster without a permanent address, who much like her characters, spends a lot of time navigating the transition into adulthood and screaming. Oh, and writing. She does a lot of that too.
Despite currently being in the middle of multiple months of travel through various countries she is not from, she still retains a strong connection to the state of Colorado, where she will probably permanently live. Eventually.
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[Excerpt from The Stars that Rise at Dawn:]
“Most people think of you as somewhat dignified,” Yenatru points out. “Someone with pride. Impressive.”
Lucifer clutches a hand to her chest. “Ow, don’t go implying I don’t have pride. I like being prideful! ’S fun.”
“You are attempting and failing to banter with some really shy boy you met in a university library,” Yenatru says, deadpan.
“I did say I was pathetic,” Lucifer says with a smile. “Do you believe me now?”
Yenatru thinks about that for a moment, then nods. “Yes. Yes, I believe you.”
Lucifer’s smile turns harder, almost determined. “Good.”
[Excerpt from the prologue of The Stars that Rise at Dawn:]
But there’s no fear anywhere in her. She’s looked. She’s said to herself so many times today: if I have any hesitation, I’ll stop, I won’t do it. But she has none. And maybe that’s what should scare her.
It doesn’t, though.
Besides, she only just a month back graduated secondary school, was officially declared an adult. This is exactly the right time to decide to become something, not for any reason she can quite name, but because everything in her says yes and nothing in her says no, and what kind of person would she be if she didn’t listen to that?
[Excerpt from the prologue of The Birds that Fly at Dusk:]
She presses her hand against the clay at her side, lets the softness of it sink into her skin. It’s almost strange to touch her soul, except not strange at all: it feels like home.
Everything she is meant to be, and she is meant to be so much.
[Excerpt from The Lives that Argue for Us:]
Teśena’s not quite sure how this works, how to think to someone who’s this here with aer, but ae tries, ae imagines almost an opening up of the memory of it all—and somehow this act, this unfurling, itself gently glows.
A thousand wings shift again, eyes made of fire open and close, wheels made of fire turn and turn. And the fire of God’s wings moves as if closer to aer, almost as if laughing, understanding, something like a mirror wrapped in one of the wheels reflecting.
Teśena has made terrible, impulsive decisions, ae understands.
And God seems to respect that in the way God respects Themself.
Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in The Stars that Rise at Dawn?
Well, Elīya’s an ethics-obsessed college student who is really disappointed by the low level of her philosophy classes, and is determined to get her friend group from high school back together.
That friend group includes Yenatru, who still meets up with her occasionally, but they’ve drifted apart, and don’t have much in common. He’s a shy boy who really just wants a friend, and maybe—ideally—a boyfriend.
Then he meets Lucifer, and though he’s not romantically attracted to them, they do seem to have something going on…
Meanwhile, Tamar, the third member of that high school friend group, has gone off to become one of God’s Holy—basically, someone with cool fire and mind-reading powers and constant communication with God, who also has been physically burned by that connection to God—and hasn’t been seen for like, two years.
Elīya thinks that she can somehow leverage Yenatru’s new friend Lucifer to get Tamar to talk to her again … and this is just turning into a summary, isn’t it?
Where did you come up with the names in the story?
Well, Tamar’s name was the first I came up with, and I ended up just using a Hebrew name for her. Then I decided that for the rest of my naming system for characters and places in the Ēnnuh region, I wanted to go for things that sounded vaguely Akkadian (for those not in the know, Akkadian was the second-ever language to use a writing system, after Sumerian, and was a Semetic language—like Hebrew and Arabic.)
So I looked up the Akkadian phonetic system and decided to stick to it, but also make sure to focus on sounds and diacritics that looked ‘prototypically’ Akkadian and would most convey the feeling I was going for: for example, by using a lot of “š”. That’s just pronounced “sh”, by the way, but it’s the way that sound is spelled in Latin-alphabet transcriptions of Akkadian words, for some reason.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
The entire drafting portion, really … especially some of the more intense scenes with Theurgy. It was much more enjoyable than the college classes I was dealing with for the rest of the day during the time I wrote it.
How did you come up with name of this book?
I wanted to reference Lucifer with the whole “morning star” thing, and then I just brainstormed a bunch of ideas until I found something that both sounded cool and wasn’t already a title of some other book. Then I just formatted the other names the same way, with The Birds that Fly at Dusk referencing Lilith (who sometimes in mythology is depicted as having wings and/or being associated with screech owls), and The Lives that Argue for Us referencing something in-series.
Who designed your book covers?
I actually used the free online program Canva for it, which I think might often be considered “lowballing”, but I somehow came up with covers I really liked out of it, so…
If you could spend time with a character from your book, whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?
I mean, I’d say Lucifer—and we’d probably just hang at a coffee shop or practice aerial moves or something—but they’re also significantly more chill than me, to the point where we have less in common than you might expect.
So I’d probably pick Jibril from The Birds that Fly at Dusk, and okay, logically that would also involve coffee, but also nonstop chatter—which I’m good with. We’d probably talk about intense matters of selfhood, and I might brainstorm how to handle one of these next books I’m writing, while they’d brainstorm how to actually make God listen to them. Heh.
What did you edit out of this book?
There was a lot more conflict between Hannuša and Elīya in the first draft, actually. Which I then decided wasn’t that interesting, so I toned it down, and I think I ended up with Hannuša having much more interesting religious beliefs than in the original, where she just thought everyone should go to Heaven.