Author Interview: Chelsea Abdullah

Today I am interviewing Chelsea Abdullah, author of the new fantasy novel, The Stardust Thief, first book in The Sandsea trilogy!

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DJ: Hi Chelsea! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview! 
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?

Chelsea Abdullah: Hi DJ, thanks for having me! My name is Chelsea. I’m an American-Kuwaiti SFF writer who loves writing found family dynamics, exploring innovative storytelling structures, and twisting fantasy tropes and archetypes.

DJ: What is The Stardust Thief about?

Chelsea: The Stardust Thief is a quest narrative about a merchant, a prince, a thief, and a jinn who travel the desert in search of a mythical magic lamp. It’s an epic fantasy filled with stories-in-stories, chaotic misadventures, and…ghouls? So many ghouls.

DJ: What were some of your influences for The Stardust Thief and the series? 

Chelsea: The central inspiration behind The Stardust Thief are the stories I grew up listening to, both Arab oral tales and stories from the 1001 Nights collection. I was born and raised in Kuwait and, when I left home to go to university in the U.S., the first thing I latched onto as a writer were those stories. It was my nostalgia for those tales, and my pride in my heritage, that inspired me to write the Arab-inspired fantasy that would eventually become The Stardust Thief.   

DJ: Could you briefly tell us a little about your main characters? Do they have any cool quirks or habits, or any reason why readers with sympathize with them? 

Chelsea: Love this question! How about…

Loulie: Loulie al-Nazari is a legendary merchant who keeps her secrets close and her heart hidden. I fondly refer to her as a being of chaos because she always manages to stubbornly carve her own path forward. She’s a bit of a wild force, a storm cloud of emotion that is difficult to predict.

Mazen: Mazen is a prince whose head is filled with more daydreams than common sense. Soft-hearted and empathetic, he’s a bit of an untraditional hero; no combat skills, no adventuring experience—but he’s incredibly passionate about storytelling, and perceptive of those around him. Also: he’s the comic relief character. I’ve always wanted to write a comic relief POV character! 

Aisha: A stab-first-ask-questions-never thief, Aisha is a jinn hunter and one of the legendary forty thieves—a woman who single mindedly pursues her revenge against jinn. Aisha’s mind is filled with a bunch of closed doors, even to herself. But in the story she’ll be forced to open some of those doors…and face her prejudices in ways she never expected.

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