AD Starrling was born on the small island nation of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean and came to the UK at the age of twenty to study medicine. After five years of hard graft earning her MD and another five years working all of God’s hours as a Paediatrician, she decided it was time for a change and returned to her first love, writing.
Soul Meaning is her debut novel and the first in a supernatural thriller series entitled Seventeen. She currently lives in Warwickshire in the West Midlands, where she is busy writing the second novel in the series while drinking gallons of tea.
She still practises medicine. AD Starrling is her pen name.
A half breed immortal. An international manhunt. A race against time to stop a terrifying plot that threatens to kill millions. The gripping, action-packed debut novel by AD Starrling and the first in the supernatural thriller series Seventeen.
‘My name is Lucas Soul.
Today, I died again.
This is my fifteenth death in the last four hundred and fifty years.’
The Crovirs and the Bastians. Two races of immortals who have lived side by side with humans for millennia and been engaged in a bloody war since the very dawn of their existence. With the capacity to survive up to sixteen deaths, it was not until the late fourteenth century that they reached an uneasy truce, following a deadly plague that wiped out more than half of their numbers and made the majority of survivors infertile.
Soul is an outcast of both immortal societies. Born of a Bastian mother and a Crovir father, a half breed whose very existence is abhorred by the two races, he spends the first three hundred and fifty years of his life being chased and killed by the Hunters.
One fall night in Boston, the Hunt starts again, resulting in Soul’s fifteenth death and triggering a chain of events that sends him on the run with Reid Hasley, a former US Marine and his human business partner of ten years. When a lead takes them to Washington DC and a biotechnology company with affiliations to the Crovirs, they cross the Atlantic to Europe, on the trail of a French scientist whose research seems intrinsically linked to the reason why the Hunters are after Soul again.
From Paris to Prague, their search for answers will lead them deep into the immortal societies and bring them face to face with someone from Soul’s past. Shocking secrets are uncovered and fresh allies come to the fore as they attempt to put a stop to a new and terrifying threat to both immortals and humans.
Time is running out for Soul. Can he get to the truth before his seventeenth death, protect the ones he loves and prevent another immortal war?
Q) What inspired you to write this story?
An image of the number 17 written in dripping red paint on a black marker stone standing on a sandbank in the middle of a tropical lagoon in Mauritius. I wanted to write a short story to submit to the British Fantasy Society Short Story Competition a few years ago. After deliberating on several ideas, I decided to write about a man who could die seventeen times. Lucas Soul was born and his story became Soul Meaning.
Q) How long did it take you to write?
It took a year to write the first draft while working almost part time. If I wrote full time, it would have taken me six months to do the first draft. Rewrites took another six months.
Q) What is your favorite thing about writing?
Finishing a scene and realizing that the story has taken on a life of its own, and guided you to places you never thought it would go.
Q) What is your least favorite thing about writing?
Edits and rewrites. They can be soul destroying, pun unintended! It takes a lot of patience to work through the words that you’ve read a dozen times before. But they need to be done to polish the story.
Q) If you could be any famous person for one day, who would you be and why?
In medicine, Gregor Mendel. Because he established the laws of inheritance that would form the basis of modern genetics. His work was one of the reasons I loved biology and became fascinated with biotechnology and genetic engineering.
In writing, Neil Gaiman. The man is a wonderful human being, a great storyteller, and a true inspiration for other writers.
Q) What is the oldest thing in your fridge and how old is it?
Hmm. Apparently, it’s an unopened jar of strawberry jam. It’s a year old. It looks suspiciously edible.
Q) What can readers expect from you in the future?
The next books in the series Seventeen. King’s Crusade, the second novel, will be out in May this year. An epic, dark fantasy trilogy that has been at the back of my head for a few years. A sci-fi/steampunk YA novel. Possibly a humorous fantasy series.
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