Fatima R. Henson joins The Spotlight this week to chat about her YA sci-fi/fantasy, Love in the Age of Dragons

Author Name: Fatima R. Henson

Book Title: Love in the Age of Dragons

Book Genre: Young Adult, Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Release Date: November 1, 2022

Publisher: SparkPress

Welcome, Fatima! How would you describe Love in the Age of Dragons?

Love in the Age of Dragons is a story about love, family, grief, courage, loss, and hope. The story follows seventeen-year-old, Ayanna Grace, and it is an epic adventure that invites the reader to experience life in a post-apocalyptic world, while still navigating the intense emotions of growing up and coming to terms with imperfect adults who are in charge of the future.

What sparked the idea for this book?

Dragons are cool and terrifying, and I love dystopian/fantasy. There is a long and varied mythos surrounding dragons. There are so many legends associated with this particular mythical creature that I think they create a wonderful and fearsome backdrop for any story.

I am also attracted to dystopian novels because these stories make the reader ask themselves, “What would I do if my whole world fell apart because of a disaster that was beyond my control?”

When writing dystopian worlds, I consider what people are most afraid of and then I try to figure out how a person survives even in the face of their worst fears. Unfortunately, for so many people, tragic events come about because of natural disasters, for example. When you read the news, you see truly heartbreaking stories about how people have lost their homes, their possessions, and sometimes the people they love because of a hurricane, a tornado, or a fire. There is a tremendous amount of sorrow and fear wrapped up in these stories, but also hope, resilience, and genuinely inspiring stories of heroism.

I think it’s this hope that remains, even in the face of our worst fears, and after everything that we hold dear in life has collapsed, that makes the basis for a good dystopian world.

What drew you to writing YA fantasy?

Being a teenager is hard. It is also exciting and mysterious. I love the idea of taking a teenage character, who is trying to figure out how to navigate the ups and downs of life, and then throwing them into a fantastical world with literal and metaphorical dragons that they have to slay. I think that YA fantasy really captures what it is like to be a teenager because the stakes are high, and the unknown is just as scary as the known.

What do you hope readers will take away from this story?

I want the readers to feel as if they have survived a post-apocalyptic adventure and I want them to experience love, loss, and perseverance in an alternate world. I also want the reader to re-live their own feelings of being a teenager and dealing with love, lust, and infatuation for the first time and how we can get swept up in those emotion.

I hope the readers feel as attached to Ayanna Grace as I do. I think the difficult things that she goes through in life—her parents’ deaths; fighting to survive in dire circumstances; learning to become a leader—are very relatable and I hope her experiences resonate with the readers.

Are you working on a new project? Please tell us about it.

I’m working on a sequel to Love in the Age of Dragons and I’m having a great time writing. I love the way these characters dance with each other and I’m not done telling their story. I enjoy spending time in the world of the novel. I believe that by the time I’m done with them, none of the characters’ lives will ever be the same.

Where can readers find you?

My blog is www.loveintheageofdragons.com. I am on Twitter at https:twitter.com/f_henson; on  Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Fatima.R.Henson1; and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/fatima.r.henson/.

I am also excited to announce that I am participating in the Fulton County Public Library’s Local Author Showcase at the Evelyn G. Library at Cascade in Atlanta, Georgia, on Saturday, December 17, 2022 at 1pm. This panel discussion will feature Georgia authors and highlight their publishing journeys.

Thank you, Fatima! Love in the Age of Dragons is OUT NOW.

Two years ago, a wormhole opened and ushered vicious dragons into the world. The dragons burned Earth’s cities to the ground and sent its inhabitants scattering for cover—and since then, Ayanna Grace, a seventeen-year-old Black girl, has been scratching out a life in an abandoned subway system, part of an extensive underground community.

Underground, medicine runs short and outbreaks of disease spread uncontrollably. The water supply is low, uprisings occur frequently, and dragon attacks are imminent. But those aren’t the only challenges Ayanna is facing: she’s also busy wrestling with her feelings, torn between Richard, who she’s known all her life, and Jackson, a mysterious newcomer. Worse, her mentor, the community’s only doctor, is dying from a failing heart. With no hope of rescue from aboveground, will Ayanna be able to save him before it’s too late?