Today, I am lucky enough to be hosting a guest post from Sangu Mandanna, showcasing a deleted scene from the exciting, mythology-inspired A Spark of White Fire.
A Spark of White Fire
Written by Sangu Mandanna
Published by Sky Pony Press
Publication date: 11th September 2018
Summary (from Goodreads):
In a universe of capricious gods, dark moons, and kingdoms built on the backs of spaceships, a cursed queen sends her infant daughter away, a jealous uncle steals the throne of Kali from his nephew, and an exiled prince vows to take his crown back.
Raised alone and far away from her home on Kali, Esmae longs to return to her family. When the King of Wychstar offers to gift the unbeatable, sentient warship Titania to a warrior that can win his competition, she sees her way home: she’ll enter the competition, reveal her true identity to the world, and help her famous brother win back the crown of Kali.
It’s a great plan. Until it falls apart.
Inspired by the Mahabharata and other ancient Indian stories, A Spark of White Fire is a lush, sweeping space opera about family, curses, and the endless battle between jealousy and love.
Read on with caution if you have yet to read this fascinating book!
A SPARK OF WHITE FIRE Deleted Scene
While writing and editing A Spark of White Fire involved far less cutting than my previous books have, it’s inevitable that bits and pieces of any novel will get trimmed out. One of those pieces was the scene I’m about to share.
In this snippet, Esmae and her best friend Rama stumble across a recording her father left for her before he died. This scene lasted about two drafts before I cut it. I decided that Esmae’s relationship with her father didn’t fit into this part of her story and that this wasn’t the way to explore it anyway. I still like the scene, though, so here it is!
(Note: because this scene is from an early draft, it’s out of continuity and doesn’t necessarily fit into the context of the final book. So it’s definitely not canon!)
“This is a terrible idea.”
“Esmae, I’m serious,” he says. “No good will come of this. Your father is never going to be what you want him to be. The man is dead, remember? It’s literally impossible for him to live up to your expectations!”
The video cube is like broken glass in my hand, cutting deeper the longer I hold it. “I have to,” I say softly. “I have to watch it.”
Rama sighs. “I knew you’d say that.”
I slot the cube into my tech and pull the recording up onto my screen. My father’s face appears. King Cassel, with blue eyes just like Bear’s, his light bronze skin unusually pale. He looks exhausted and there’s an uncertain expression on his face as he looks directly at the camera. This is a version of him that public footage has never captured.
He clears his throat. “Esmae?” His voice is raw, cautious, and my breath hitches at the sound of my name in his voice.
“I don’t know what to say,” he goes on. “I’m not sure anything I say could ever make up for what I’ve done to you. I am ashamed every single day that I was so afraid of my own daughter that I stood by and watched as she was sent away. I am ashamed that I’m still afraid of you.” He pauses, his eyes shifting to his hand at the edge of the screen. At the king’s ring on his finger. “Duty,” he says, distantly, almost like he’s thinking out loud. “Duty and love make us do things we’re not always proud of.”
He stops, looks back at me, eye to eye. “No apology or platitude or promise of love will fix what I’ve done. All I have to offer you is one secret. When you were born, I held you. You held my finger in your tiny fist and looked straight at me. Grave and steady, like you knew exactly what we were about to do to you. I looked back at you and for just one moment, I wanted to keep you. Whatever the consequences.”
“But you didn’t,” I whisper.
“It was one moment,” he says, as if he heard me, “And then it was gone and I was afraid again.” He lets out a slow, unsteady breath. “I know you’re alive. Amba told us as much. I hope you’re safe. I hope you’re happy. Grow well, Esmae. Be braver than I was. Be better.”
There’s a crackle, and then the screen goes black.
What did you think?
Did it add to your understanding of the characters?
About the Author
Sangu Mandanna was four years old when an elephant chased her down a forest road and she decided to write her first story about it. Seventeen years and many, many manuscripts later, she signed her first book deal. The Lost Girl, a YA sci fi novel about death and love, is available now. Sangu now lives in Norwich, a city in the east of England, with her husband and kids.
This is what you’re all here for, right? The giveaway is for a hardback copy of the book and it is open INTERNATIONALLY! It ends on the 8th October – don’t miss out and click here today to enter!
Don’t miss the other stops on this blog tour!
Thank you to the author, publisher and Fantastic Flying Book Tours for giving me the opportunity to take part in this blog tour!
Look out for my review of A Spark of White Fire, coming soon!
Thanks for reading!