I am really excited to let you know that author Rachel Neumeier brings you her new book entitled Black Dog! It sounds like an interesting new read and I hope that those who get to read it will love it! I think the cover is really interesting and I love the colour combinations! I am really curious about the Black Dog that hides hidden in the pages of this book!
As I am participating in the Blog Tour for “Black Dog” I hope that you do take the time and find out a few tidbits related to her book that the author wrote below.
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Published February 6th 2014 by Strange Chemistry (first published February 4th 2014)
Natividad is Pure, one of the rare girls born able to wield magic. Pure magic can protect humans against the supernatural evils they only half-acknowledge – the blood kin or the black dogs. In rare cases – like for Natividad’s father and older brother – Pure magic can help black dogs find the strength to control their dark powers.
But before Natividad’s mother can finish teaching her magic their enemies find them. Their entire village in the remote hills of Mexico is slaughtered by black dogs. Their parents die protecting them. Natividad and her brothers must flee across a strange country to the only possible shelter: the infamous black dogs of Dimilioc, who have sworn to protect the Pure.
In the snowy forests of Vermont they are discovered by Ezekiel Korte, despite his youth the strongest black dog at Dimilioc and the appointed pack executioner. Intrigued by Natividad he takes them to Dimilioc instead of killing them.
Now they must pass the tests of the Dimilioc Master. Alejandro must prove he can learn loyalty and control even without his sister’s Pure magic. Natividad’s twin Miguel must prove that an ordinary human can be more than a burden to be protected. And even at Dimilioc a Pure girl like Natividad cannot remain unclaimed to cause fighting and distraction. If she is to stay she must choose a black dog mate.
But, first, they must all survive the looming battle.
Thanks for inviting me over to Secrets From Books, Simona – it’s a pleasure to be here! I’m glad you asked about the research I did for BLACK DOG and any odd tidbits that turned up, because no one’s asked about that before, and in fact I did trip over a handful of pretty entertaining details while writing this book.
For example, Lewis, Vermont. Did you know there really is a town named Lewis in that exact spot? Sort of, anyway. A town was incorporated there long ago, but has had an official population of zero since 1910. In the world of BLACK DOG, of course, there is a small but thriving town in that location – and the surrounding area really is called the Northeast Kingdom. In our world, this name is attributed to a speech made by a governor of Vermont back in 1949. Naturally, in my world, the name has a lot more to do with Dimilioc’s presence in the area!
The nearest town with an airport is Newport, VT, a little town that lies on both banks of Lake Memphremagog, which is just about the coolest name ever for a lake, in my opinion. Did you know that in Newport, there’s a café called the Brown Dog Café? I think in my world, it must be owned by a Dimilioc connection – a human cousin.
I looked up a good many facts about Vermont, and looked at a good many pictures, too, since I’ve never been there. My favorite bit of trivia that I stumbled across is that Vermont exports eight different kinds of granite: Barre gray, Bethel white, galactic blue, pink, American black, gardenia white, Louretian pink, and Stanstead grey. I just think that’s a wonderful tidbit, though I doubt I’ll ever be able work it into a BLACK DOG story.
I did as much research on northern Mexico, too, although most of the actual story is set in Vermont.
In our world, Potosi, the village Natividad and Alejandro and Miguel are from, is similar to Lewis, Vermont in one way: it has a population of about fifteen, according to Wikipedia. So it really doesn’t exist. But of course in my world it is a real village, or it used to be. Though I let my protagonists’ mother be from the nearby village of Hualahuises because I loved the name.
That whole region is semiarid, and I really wanted to work in the concept of “lost rivers,” rivers that vanish into the dust, which I came across when I was looking up information about the region. Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to refer to lost rivers in this book, but maybe in the future. Water in the desert strikes me as a possibility for Pure magic, after all. If Natividad and her brothers ever make it back there, maybe we’ll all find out about that. Plus, I’ll get a chance to use all my research about birds and wildlife and trees and everything.
I tripped over, or was handed, another great tidbit when I suddenly decided I needed to know which real, historical saint might be a good patron saint for people threatened or bitten by werewolves, and also for the Pure – maybe even for black dogs. Luckily my twin brother knows things and was able to send me a quick biography of St. Walburga, who was born in 710 AD, died in 777 AD, gave her name to Walpurgisnacht and is the patron saint against mad dogs. Mad dogs, werewolves, obviously handing a role in the history of black dogs to St. Walburga was just meant to be. A real biography of St. Walburga would surely make fascinating reading: she was the daughter of one saint, her two brothers were saints, and her uncle was the famous St. Boniface, who established a chain of monasteries and convents across Germany. St. Walburga is also sometimes considered the very first female author of England and Germany, so it seemed especially appropriate for me to work her into the history of my world.
I’m sure as I continue to explore the world of BLACK DOG, I’ll keep stumbling across wonderful tidbits that I can use as details of my world’s secret history, or drawn on to add depth to its current events. I don’t even think it matters that almost none of this is immediately apparent to readers; having background detail in my head adds a feeling of depth anyway. And who knows, maybe eventually I’ll write a short story designed to let me to refer to Louretian pink granite!
Website // Goodreads
About the Author
Rachel Neumeier started writing fiction to relax when she was a graduate student and needed a hobby unrelated to her research. Prior to selling her first fantasy novel, she had published only a few articles in venues such as The American Journal of Botany. However, finding that her interests did not lie in research, Rachel left academia and began to let her hobbies take over her life instead.
She now raises and shows dogs, gardens, cooks, and occasionally finds time to read. She works part-time for a tutoring program, though she tutors far more students in Math and Chemistry than in English Composition.