Book & Author Details:
Revelations by Jennifer Carole Lewis
Publication date: January 30th 2015
Genres: New Adult, Paranormal Romance
For millennia, the lalassu have existed at the fringes of society, hiding in the shadows. But someone is determined to drag them into the light.
Dani has spent years fighting against her family’s urges to take on the mantle of High Priestess for the lalassu. Stronger and faster than any ordinary human, she has no interest in being a guide for her people. She likes being independent and enjoys her night-job as a burlesque dancer. But a darker secret lurks inside of her, one which threatens everyone around her.
Isolated and idealistic, Michael works as a developmental therapist for children, using his psychometric gifts to discover the secrets they can’t share with anyone else. When one of his clients is kidnapped, he will do almost anything to rescue her. The investigation leads him to a seedy little performance club where he is shocked and thrilled to discover a genuine live superhero.
Michael and Dani must join forces to save those they care about from becoming the latest victims of a decades-long hunt. But the fiery chemistry between them threatens to unlock a millennia-old secret which could devour them both.
The clock is ticking and they will be faced with the ultimate hero’s choice: save the world or save each other?
World of the Lalassu
Lalassu is an Akkadian word which means spectre or hidden. Since my community of supernaturally powered people goes back to ancient Babylon, which spoke Akkadian, I chose it as the name of their secret society.
I love the idea of secret organizations and communities living within the regular world. The Templars and Masons, the Illuminati, even the original gatherings of Christians under the Roman Empire’s rule, there’s just something appealing about the idea of being part of a distinguished, but secret, group. Of course there are actual distinct communities which share space but not lives. The best illustration I’ve ever seen comes from J. Michael Straczynski’s Midnight Nation, inspired by his observation of how the homeless and destitute share geography with the regular folk, but remain unseen and hidden from view.
When it came to creating the world of the lalassu, I spent a lot of time thinking about how they would interact with the world. Ancient Persia, Greece and Rome all have myths of powerful demigods with strange gifts, usually extraordinary strength. The lalassu could have lived quite openly and comfortably. Some probably even had cults and rituals based around them. The turning point would come with the Roman Emperor Constantine and his adoption of Christianity as the state religion of the Roman Empire. After that, local cults were no longer tolerated. The lalassu would have had the choice of fighting the Romans (which some certainly did) or withdrawing and hiding amongst the crowd.
With the Middle Ages came the witch trials. Suddenly having strange powers was a death sentence, no matter how useful or helpful those might be. Historically, many of the “witches” burned at the stake were healers and midwives, so I’m sure the inquisitors would have had no trouble condemning mediums, shapeshifters and predictives as demons. The witch hunts would have driven the lalassu survivors deep underground and pushed them to the fringes. Like gypsies and tinkers, they began to travel frequently to escape the scrutiny of suspicious neighbors. They likely would have been welcomed among the tents of travelling entertainers as psychics, strongmen and freaks.
Gradually the world ceased to believe in extraordinary powers, making it easier for the lalassu to hide. However, the rise of science threatened a new exposure, one which could be replicated rather than dismissed as legend. If a naturalist discovered the lalassu, he or she could bring unwelcome attention on the entire community. Keeping out of traditional roles became even more important.
The increase in the authority of the state drove yet another nail in the coffin. Up until a hundred years ago, it was relatively easy to simply start a new life and a new identity, provided one was not claiming to be part of the aristocracy or other elite groups. People more or less trusted newcomers to be who they said they were. But as governments began to issue official identification papers and keep track of their citizens, it becomes harder to exist on the fringe of society without leaving telltale traces.
I based lalassu culture on the loose organization of the Romany (albeit in a very general way as there is little available for reliable detailed research). Each group of lalassu has its leaders but each leader has a great deal of autonomy to make decisions. They communicate to warn of potential problems for their people or to pass on invitations to particularly lucrative ventures. They work in cash-under-the-table jobs such as day labor or the quasi-legitimate markets of palm readers and other psychic ventures. Some cross the line into criminal enterprises. They move frequently to avoid drawing attention to themselves. Their safety relies on being effectively invisible.
Because they stay to the fringes, they have to rely on themselves to take care of any problems which arise. If a customer cheats them, they can’t go to the police to complain. Instead, they might call on relatives to teach a physically painful lesson on keeping one’s word, or use their gifts to frighten the mark or even break into the customer’s home or business to extract retribution. If money becomes scarce, they cannot apply for assistance. Instead they rely on their families and fellow lalassu to assist them. The family becomes everything, support system and safety net. Breaking from the family leaves an individual incredibly vulnerable and isolated.
Things are reaching another turning point for the lalassu. In an age where the shadows they hide in are becoming narrower due to constant surveillance and international cooperation, the risk of exposure is becoming greater with every passing year.
The lalassu books will focus on different aspects of the community and the reality of dealing with superpowers and still trying to keep them secret. I hope you’ll enjoy exploring it as much as I do.
Jennifer Carole Lewis
Jennifer Carole Lewis is a full-time mom, a full-time administrator and a full-time writer, which means she is very much interested in speaking to anyone who comes up with any form of functional time-travel devices or practical cloning methods. Meanwhile, she spends her most of her time alternating between organizing and typing.
She is a devoted comic book geek and Marvel movie enthusiast. She spends far too much of her precious free time watching TV, especially police procedural dramas. Her enthusiasm outstrips her talent in karaoke, cross-stitch and jigsaw puzzles. She is a voracious reader of a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction and always enjoys seeking out new suggestions.