As someone who deals with OCD and clinical anxiety, I was excited to see a fantasy novel where the main character not only deals with these issues, but also must deal with actual visions of the future. As Foretold reaches its first book birthday, I sat down with author Violet Lumani to discuss what went into writing this book.
Can you tell us what Foretold is about?
Foretold is, at its heart, a story about the agony and futility of always living in tomorrow. It's the story of a young girl named Cassandra who is contending with grief, OCD, and anxiety when she discovers she can see--and thanks to a mysterious group of soothsayers--control the future. The book follows her immersion into this org as she tries to save the boy next door.
As someone who also struggles with anxiety and OCD, I found it fascinating that you incorporated those traits into Cass’ character. What inspired you to go in this direction?
I tried to write the book I wish I'd stumbled on when I was younger. And I wrote it at a time my own OCD was at its most insidious--right after the birth of my kids--which helped me work through my own thoughts and emotions. But just as I wouldn't want to be defined by the things I carry around with me in my emotional / mental knapsack, I didn't want Cassandra's story to be all about OCD or anxiety or grief. I also wanted to explore what happens when the dog catches the fire truck: what happens when a person who always anticipates the future, who wishes she had control over it, gets her wish? It was a fun premise.
What was your process for writing Foretold?
I wish I could share that I have some special writerly setup with scented candles and music, but with two littles that's never happened for me. I write everywhere and anywhere, with no pomp and no ceremony. Sometimes its a plot point in a little journal I lug around with me, or its an outline in a writer's app I have on my phone, or it's refining a chapter on my laptop at the park, or dictating snippets of dialogue while driving... I just try to get the words out whenever I can. And once they're out, as you know, its just refine, refine, refine.
Foretold will have been out for a year on July 20th. Happy book birthday! Doing anything to celebrate?
Thank you! I'll be celebrating by going out on submission with a very different kind of book that I wrote during the pandemic. Fingers crossed!
What was your path to publication?
My path to publication wasn't super traditional in that I didn't really query agents too much. I attended The Work Conference -- a literary conference created by the incredible Rebecca Heyman (editor extraordinaire), and I met my agent & literary soulmate, Jon Michael Darga of Aevitas Creative there. Rebecca sent Jon my manuscript before the conference because she had a hunch he'd like it and that we'd hit it off. And she was right! We polished off the manuscript together and were ready to go out on sub... and then the pandemic hit the US that week. Yikes.
I saw that when not writing, you are a Digital Marketing Director. How do you juggle being an author and a marketing professional?
When I'm working my day job, my head is all in on my work. But my nights and weekends and vacations are my time for family and writing. Writing is cathartic and fun for me, so I strive for a work/life balance that allows me to feed that part of my life.
Has your experience as a Marketing Director helped you launch your book?
Not at all! Just kidding...sort of. I began my marketing career building campaigns for academia, moved to the tech startup world, and now I work for an enormous tech company. So I've built out programs with tons of resources, some that required rubbing two nickels together to make a dollar, and some in between. That part I'm good with. But book marketing is a different beast. I felt like I had to teach myself a new skill, but it was fun! I also kept my marketing very light for Book 1, relying mainly on word of mouth, giveaways, reaching out to bookstores, that kind of thing.
Any advice for aspiring authors?
Separate yourself from your work. You are not what you've put down on paper, and critiques or rejections (which this industry is chock full of) are not only subjective, they're also not about you.
Where can folks get Foretold?
FORETOLD is available in print, audiobook, and for Kindle/eReader wherever books are sold!
Where’s the best place to follow you?
My website violetlumani.com is a good resource, and I'm active on Instagram (violet_lumani) and Twitter (@VLumani).
Cassandra sees death and devastation all around her. In vivid detail.
It’s the price of living with her OCD and extreme anxiety. In every situation, Cass imagines the worst possible fate for everyone in her life. Her dad in a pool of blood after a break-in. Her beloved older neighbor, homeless. A splinter in her finger turned to gangrene.
But this time, it’s not her imagination. The boy next door, Colin, is destined to die. Cass has foretold a real death before; she knows this is a true vision.
Desperate to save Colin's life, Cass immerses herself in a secret organization of soothsayers that promises to teach her how to change the future she foresees. But as she descends into their hidden world of divinatory magic and predictive technology, she discovers there's always a price to pay for unraveling fate's strands. And cheating death will cost her everything.