Hello, tea party attendees! Today, we’re incredibly stoked to have Wren Southerland, from Down Comes the Night as a guest at our tea party today. I first read an ARC of Down Comes the Night in December of 2020, and ever since then, I’ve been screaming from the rooftops about how much I loved it (check back tomorrow for my review), so you can only imagine how excited I was when author Allison Saft agreed to be interviewed as Wren Southerland!
He saw the darkness in her magic. She saw the magic in his darkness.
Wren Southerland’s reckless use of magic has cost her everything: she’s been dismissed from the Queen’s Guard and separated from her best friend—the girl she loves. So when a letter arrives from a reclusive lord, asking Wren to come to his estate, Colwick Hall, to cure his servant from a mysterious illness, she seizes her chance to redeem herself.
The mansion is crumbling, icy winds haunt the caved-in halls, and her eccentric host forbids her from leaving her room after dark. Worse, Wren’s patient isn’t a servant at all but Hal Cavendish, the infamous Reaper of Vesria and her kingdom’s sworn enemy. Hal also came to Colwick Hall for redemption, but the secrets in the estate may lead to both of their deaths.
With sinister forces at work, Wren and Hal realize they’ll have to join together if they have any hope of saving their kingdoms. But as Wren circles closer to the nefarious truth behind Hal’s illness, they realize they have no escape from the monsters within the mansion. All they have is each other, and a startling desire that could be their downfall.
Allison Saft’s Down Comes the Night is a snow-drenched romantic fantasy that keeps you racing through the pages long into the night.
Love makes monsters of us all.
Hi Wren! Thank you so much for joining our tea party today! We’re so excited you’re here. For our friends who might be meeting you for the first time, would you mind telling us a little bit about your story?
It’s a pleasure. Thank you so much for having me! For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Wren Southerland. I’m a healer on the Queen’s Guard–or, well, I was. Until recently. I won’t trouble you with the details, but I miscalculated during a mission and got myself dismissed from the Guard for it.
Shortly afterward, I received a letter from Lord Alistair Lowry, who sent me a summons to his estate in Cernos. Apparently, much of his staff had fallen ill, and he feared for the life of his favorite servant. I’ve something of a reputation in the medical field, and he asked for my help with the matter. I agreed, of course. Despite his reputation, he’s actually quite influential and promised he could help restore my position on the Guard. However, he neglected to mention that his “servant” is, in fact, a war criminal I’d sooner see dead. But I can’t help feeling there’s something… strange about this place. Why would someone like Hal Cavendish be here of all places?
We also thought it’d be fun if you could describe yourself from the point of view from someone else, whether that’s your best friend, your enemy, or whoever you’d like!
My best friend Una often calls me reckless, and I suppose she’s right about at least that much. She’s told me many, many times that I’m too soft for our line of work. But lately I cannot be certain if I believe that’s true or not.
As for my enemy… Well, I’m certain Cavendish would also have a thing or two to say about me, should you have the patience to extract a single word from him. I believe he’d call me frustrating, maybe even cruel. We can’t seem to have a conversation with each other without bickering. However, I have saved his life at least twice as many times as I’ve endangered it, and he does think I’m skilled with magic. Sometimes I catch this look in his eyes when he thinks I’m unaware. He’s so difficult to read most of the time, but sometimes, I… Well, it’s probably nothing. It looks almost like admiration. Like longing.
How would you describe the following people in three words: Una Dryden, Hal Cavendish, Queen Isabel, and Lord Alistair Lowry III?
Una is Una. It’s difficult to capture her in so few words. She’s stubborn and exacting, but she’s also one of the most loyal people I’ve ever met.
What can I say about Hal Cavendish? He is utterly impossible and insufferably brooding… and kind.
My aunt Isabel is cold and cruel and fastidious. I can’t say that I’ve ever seen another side of her.
Lord Lowry is… well, he’s eccentric. Theatrical. Gregarious, certainly, if you catch him in the right mood.
Being a healer is a big part of your story. If you could have a different power other than healing, what would it be?
As much as I cannot imagine myself without my magic, I would love the ability to read minds. Everyone around me has so many secrets.
What would your ideal day look like?
An ideal day for me looks like a book, an endless cup of tea, and a warm, sunny spot by the window. If I could, I’d fill all my hours with research… with some breaks to spend time with my friends, of course.
If you could take any treat to a tea party, what treat would you bring? If you could bring two guests to a tea party, who would they be and why?
I’m not much for sweets, unlike a certain someone we know, unless they’re light. I do like lemon lavender scones, so perhaps I’d bring those, along with Hal and Una. It’d be a challenge to keep them from each other’s throats, but they have more in common than they’d ever care to admit. If they can learn to get along, a peaceful world seems somehow easier to imagine.
Finally, what’s the main thing you hope people will take away from your story?
Your compassion for others is not a weakness, and your worth is not measured by how useful you are to other people. Love–especially self-love–can be an act of healing as powerful as any magic.
Allison Saft was born in a Philadelphia blizzard and has been chasing the sun ever since. After receiving her MA in English Literature from Tulane University, she moved from the Gulf Coast to the West Coast, where she spends her time hiking the redwoods and practicing aerial silks. Down Comes the Nightis her debut novel.
If you want to find out which character from Down Comes the Night you are, or if you just want to be dragged by yours truly, I made a little uquiz which you can take here! If you take the uquiz, I’d love to know who you got (and if it was accurate) either in the comments below or on Twitter!
Down Comes the Night comes out on March 2nd, 2021, and you can find the preorder campaign here! On the topic of preorders, I actually preordered Down Comes the Night immediately after finishing the ARC from my favorite indie bookstore, but when the Down Comes the Night preorder campaign was launched, I realized I really wanted the exclusive print and a signed copy for myself. Rather than cancel my preorder, I’d love to give it away instead – including the character cards that come along with any preorder. Check out my twitter for more information!