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July 10, 2023

Narita’s debut work, Dark Magic, received much praise from BookLife Reviews. Describing it as offering “a complex, compelling heroine, a vividly inventive contemporary world of gods and Brothers Grimm, and the generous abundance of mysteries and engaging characters,” it’s no wonder it was granted an Editor’s Pick. We spoke with Narita about the story behind the series, how long it took her to draft Dark Magic, and which character proved the most challenging to write.

What inspired this fantasy mashup of old gods and Grimm brothers?

Percy Jackson and the Olympians was one of my favorite series when I was young; I especially loved the interesting portrayal of Greek gods and goddesses. Mythology has always had a special place in my heart and on my bookshelf. I have also read amazing retellings of the Grimm fairy tales in recent years. I wanted to bring a unique story to life that integrated incredibly powerful gods and goddesses with the Grimm brothers and a hierarchy of demons.

Dark Magic is your first book. What was the writing process like?

When I started writing Dark Magic in my final year in high school, I honestly did not know how it would end or what events would take place between start and finish. However, around five chapters in, I began to envision the cliff-hanger Dark Magic would end on. The characters continued to develop with each chapter I wrote and every obstacle I placed in their paths. The first draft was messy, but filling in the plot holes and cleaning up the descriptions and dialogue was half the fun! Seeing how each draft of Dark Magic improved from the one before motivated me to give my revisions one hundred percent of my energy. Writing and revising Dark Magic took about four years, mainly because my school schedule was always so hectic that I had to put off writing to the weekends, holidays, or the summer. However, the writing process taught me the importance of being resilient and keeping my passion for creativity alive despite the many roadblocks in our daily lives.

Who is your ideal reader and why?

The ideal reader for Dark Magic is someone who enjoys books about mythology, gods and goddesses, supernatural creatures, and morally ambiguous characters. When the Goddess of Death teams up with one of the fabled Grimm brothers to prevent Lucifer’s murderous rampage, she encounters demons and mythical creatures in her path. Dark Magic may also be a good fit for readers who love tropes like royal politics, forced proximity, and good versus evil.  

Who was the most difficult character to write?

Oddly enough, the main character gave me the most trouble when writing Dark Magic. Primrose Titan struggles with unresolved trauma from her past and bears a heavy burden on account of her title and power. Balancing the chaotic emotions that rage inside her with her maturity and wisdom as the Goddess of Death is no easy task. However, Primrose was also my favorite character to write because of her acerbic and darkly humorous voice.

Can you give readers any hints about the next book in the series?

Book Two of The Chronicles of the Underworld, Caged Magic, delves deeper into Primrose’s past and both introduces readers to new characters and reunites them with familiar ones. My suggestion to future readers is to buckle up—the plot twists in the second book are significantly more heart-wrenching than those in Dark Magic. Fortunately, the cliff-hanger and many unresolved questions from Book One are addressed in Caged Magic.