Guest Post: “It’s All About Family…And Thrillers” by T. Frohock
Today, we’re thrilled to welcome back author T. Frohock to the BiblioSanctum! We’ve been followers of her work for a long time, and celebrations are in order for the release of her new book Carved From Stone and Dream, the follow-up to Where Oblivion Lives in the hit series Los Nifilim! Set during the Spanish Civil War, the story opens in the year 1939 and Catalonia has fallen. When a coded notebook belonging to a Los Nifilim undercover operative falls into the enemy’s hands, our half-angel,half-daimon protagonist Diago must risk it all to track it down. Fans of historical fiction rich in the paranormal will want to take note of this one! In the meantime, Ms. Frohock has very kindly written us a guest post on the importance of family ties, a significant theme in the series. And hey, we love thrillers too! We hope you’ll enjoy the post, and be sure to check out Los Nifilim and its newest installment, Carved From Stone and Dream, published by Harper Voyager and hitting bookstore shelves today!
IT’S ALL ABOUT FAMILY…AND THRILLERS
by T. Frohock
In other posts that I’ve written for the BiblioSanctum, I’ve talked about the Solomon story and how it lays the groundwork for the characters of Guillermo, Diago, and Miquel. Their interactions with one another form the basis for the Los Nefilim novellas: In Midnight’s Silence, Without Light or Guide, and The Second Death.
Embedded within those novellas is the underlying theme of family, which begins when Diago finds that he has a five-year-old son, Rafael, who he had not previously known existed. In an effort to protect Rafael from his daimonic kin, his angelic mother hides him in an orphanage. When she is murdered, the child’s angelic uncle finds Diago and tells him about Rafael.
No one in this configuration ever expected Diago to take responsibility for Rafael. What they didn’t count on was the way in which Diago’s own abandonment influenced his decisions. Knowing the trauma of being rejected by his daimonic family, he vows to take care of Rafael and saves him from the daimons. Diago’s husband, Miquel, fully supports Diago’s decision and together, they learn to parent Rafael.
Of course, the novellas also involve plotlines that include: the stolen plan for a catastrophic bomb, a murder mystery, and a kidnapping/extortion ring of Nazi angels, because I like thrillers, okay?
That underlying theme of family continues in the Los Nefilim novel, Where Oblivion Lives. There, we see Diago becoming more a part of Los Nefilim—Spanish Nephilim that possess the power to harness music and light in the supernatural war between the angels and daimons—which serves as another metaphor for family. Diago and Miquel are working for Los Nefilim while learning to be good fathers to Rafael, who is six in 1932.
Meanwhile, the king of Los Nefilim, Guillermo, is struggling with his own parenting woes as he struggles to rein in his seven-year-old daughter, Ysabel. She wants to be a spy for Los Nefilim, and when her father tells her no, she decides that a real leader doesn’t wait for permission. Before it’s all over, Guillermo is forced to concede that his wife, Juanita, is right. Ysabel is ready to begin learning the family business.
There’s also a stolen violin, Nazis, past incarnations, Guillermo’s wicked brother, Jordi, and a terrible angelic presence to keep things exciting, because the thrillers-thing, you see?
This all brings us to Carved from Stone and Dream, which takes place roughly nine years after the events of Where Oblivion Lives. The guys are still tough, fighting the angelic ground wars, but they’re also fathers, and in Carved from Stone and Dream we see both Rafael and Ysabel begin to take a larger part of the story.
Guillermo, Diago, and Miquel are seasoned soldiers. They’ve learned to nurture one another in a very non-toxic relationship, and while they still have their weaknesses, they have bonded deeply through their time together. They are also beginning to see themselves reflected in the actions of their children.
Rafael is now fourteen and determined to prove that he can be a beneficial member of Los Nefilim. When his desire to monitor a suspected traitor to Los Nefilim is thwarted by Guillermo’s wife, Juanita, he rebels as only a fourteen-year-old boy can—he takes matters into his own hands. What begins as simple spy mission morphs into an adventure that throws Rafael into an adult world he isn’t physically prepared to handle.
When both Miquel and Rafael are captured by Guillermo’s brother, Jordi, Rafael uses his fathers’ guidance to inform his decisions. He interprets and applies their teachings so that he is able to navigate his captivity in his own way. He also learns that being a hero is not always about noble ideas. Sometimes, survival alone is a heroic act.
Meanwhile, in Paris, Guillermo’s fifteen-year-old daughter, Ysabel, is busy applying what she has learned to the family business. In doing so, she finds the apparent ease with which her father coordinates the movements of Los Nefilim is often fraught with self-doubt. As her angelic mother, Juanita, treats her more like an adult, Ysabel is suddenly faced with Juanita’s prejudices about the daimons. It’s a sobering moment for her, especially given that Diago, a man she loves like an uncle, is half-daimon.
There is also a stolen codebook, a covert site, Nationalists and Nazis and spies, because I’m sure you know by now … thrillers.
While I try to keep the stories exciting, I don’t want to overshadow the growth of the family units as a whole. That’s why I try to intersperse the action with quiet scenes among the families. I want to overcome that idea that once a person passes the age of thirty, their lives become static and they have nothing more to learn.
Nor do I want the story to be about teenagers saving the world. It’s about young people who learn from their experiences, often with responsible adult guidance. In order to do that, the teenagers need to have positive relationships with the adults in their lives, as well as the clear-eyed ability to see their parents as they really are.
Throughout the series, we follow Diago as he learns how to become a productive member in a world of family that is so new to him. We also see the people who are close to him. So when you look at the series as whole, it’s a little easier to see that the stories are about birth families and found families and how we form and sustain relationships within our circles of love.
I just throw in the codebooks, covert sites, daimons, angels, and Nazis, because … say it with me now … thrillers.
T. Frohock has turned a love of history and dark fantasy into tales of deliciously creepy fiction. A real-life cyborg, T. has a cochlear implant, meaning she can turn you on or off with the flick of a switch. Make of that what you will. She is the author of Miserere: An Autumn Tale, the Los Nefilim omnibus, Where Oblivion Lives, and Carved from Stone and Dream. She currently lives in North Carolina, where she has long been accused of telling stories, which is a southern colloquialism for lying.
For more information, visit her website at www.tfrohock.com!