Nafiza Azad: The Candle And the Flame
May is my birthday month, and there are some AMAZING books that I feel like are my own personal birthday presents from the Novel19s community! Here we goooo!
The Candle and the Flame
by Nafiza Azad
Fatima lives in the city of Noor, a thriving stop along the Silk Road. There the music of myriad languages fills the air, and people of all faiths weave their lives together. However, the city bears scars of its recent past, when the chaotic tribe of Shayateen djinn slaughtered its entire population -- except for Fatima and two other humans. Now ruled by a new maharajah, Noor is protected from the Shayateen by the Ifrit, djinn of order and reason, and by their commander, Zulfikar.
But when one of the most potent of the Ifrit dies, Fatima is changed in ways she cannot fathom, ways that scare even those who love her. Oud in hand, Fatima is drawn into the intrigues of the maharajah and his sister, the affairs of Zulfikar and the djinn, and the dangers of a magical battlefield.
Nafiza Azad weaves an immersive tale of magic and the importance of names; fiercely independent women; and, perhaps most importantly, the work for harmony within a city of a thousand cultures and cadences.
May 14th, 2019
Introduce yourself and your debut novel!
My name is Nafiza Azad and I am the author of THE CANDLE AND THE FLAME which is about Fatima who works as a messenger in Noor, a city located on the border of a desert and a forest. The country she lives in is ruled on one side by the Ifrit Djinn and on the other, a human maharajah.
When Fatima witnesses the death of her mentor, an ifrit by the name of Firdaus, she is irrevocably changed. She discovers that she has djinn fire and has inherited the powers unique to Firdaus.
Fatima’s new powers and newly discovered djinn fire lands her in the middle of a war simmering between rebellious humans and the djinn. There are also murmurings of the reappearance of the Shayateen, an enemy djinn clan that the City of Noor has a bloody history with. Fatima must battle real monster and inner demons to save the city she calls home and the people living within it.
What’s the most surprising part about your debut journey so far?
Honestly, being on the journey itself is surprising for me. I am far from the starting point and so close to the release date but I still can’t shrug off this sense of surrealness. It still hasn’t sunk in that I will become an author.
Give a shout-out to a fellow debut!
I love all of my fellow debuts but one of my close friends is Kat Cho whose debut novel WICKED FOX is out on June 25th.
How long did it take you to write this book?
I wrote this novel in longhand using five empty exercise books and three blue pens. Then I typed it all up which took me about a month. I sent the entire thing to my agent who read it and sent it back to me with notes. I rewrote the entire thing which took me about three months. So, I would say eight months?
What's a cool thing about your book that isn't in the blurb?
The djinn in my novel gain corporeal selves only when they are Named. Their Names are physical and tangible. Fatima is the only person in the book who has the power to Name djinn which makes a Very Important Person.
What advice would you give to a new writer?
It’s going to be a tough road and there will come many times when everything will feel hopeless. Don’t give up. Do step away time to time to recharge and for self-care. Surround yourself with positive people. Learn to take criticism. Know that you are always learning and that you can always improve. Eat some mangoes.
How do you select character names?
I had a lot of fun with character names. Fatima is the name of Prophet Muhammad’s daughter and Zulfikar was the sword that her father gave to her husband. All the royal folks in the novel (the maharajah, maharani, etc) have names that have to do with the rising sun. Even the name of the mahal (palace) Aftaab Mahal is associated with the sun.
What book or author has most influenced your own writing?
I have been inspired by so many authors in my journey. I will mention a few. Margaret Mahy’s magic as I was growing up allowed me to dream. Kate Elliot taught me how to write strong female characters. Alison Croggon’s fantastic landscapes taught me how to build worlds. G. Willow Wilson’s unapologetic expression of Muslim motifs and stories taught me to write my own.
Share a favorite song!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFyndK9VOCk Arirang Alone by Sohyang
Share a novel aesthetic!
Thanks for talking to us about your book, Nafiza! Check out this beautiful book on 5/14/19!