Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Veronica G. Henry Interview - Bacchanal

Photo Content from Veronica G. Henry

Veronica G. Henry was born in Brooklyn, New York, and has been a bit of a rolling stone ever since. Her work has appeared in various online publications. She is a graduate of the Viable Paradise Workshop and a member of SFWA.

Veronica is proud to be of Sierra Leonean ancestry and counts her trip home as the most important of her life. She now writes from North Carolina, where she eschews rollerballs for fountain pens and fine paper. Other untreated addictions include chocolate and cupcakes.

Veronica's debut novel, Bacchanal, will be published in the Spring of 2021.


Publisher : 47North (June 1, 2021)
Language : English
Hardcover : 352 pages
ISBN-10 : 1542027810
ISBN-13 : 978-1542027816

Praise for BACCHANAL

“Henry skillfully layers historical realism with fantastic elements to explore the way times of desperation test the ethics of oppressed communities. Henry is a writer to watch.” ―Publishers Weekly

“Henry’s debut draws on a rich history of folklore from various African traditions, as well as African history and Black American history, and almost the entire main cast is Black. The carnival setting works perfectly for bringing together various strange and magical people who aren’t at home anywhere else…Come one, come all, this magical carnival has all the delightful dangers a reader could wish for.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“[Bacchanal is] gorgeous while somehow never losing sight of the need to unsettle. It captures a sense of wonder and reminds you that too much curiosity can lead to danger. And most importantly, it’s Black and never lets you forget it. If you want endearing characters, a charming setting, and characters that refuse to bend to the world’s injustices then Bacchanal is the book for you.” ―FIYAH Magazine

“With a powerful voice that grips you from its very first pages, Bacchanal casts a spell on readers…Eliza is a wonderful character…Not a traditional superhero, Eliza’s special power is a highlight of this work, and readers will root for the young conjurer and for Henry as she explores the limits of her gifts.” ―Sheree Renée Thomas, Editor of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, award-winning author of Nine Bar Blues, and featured in Black Panther: Tales of Wakanda

“Writer Veronica Henry pulls on a mix of African folklore, Black histories, and carnival culture to weave a story of mesmerizing, bizarre, and dangerous magic. With a heroine of unique powers and a cast as colorful as any sideshow, this story offers up its share of delights, adventure, and frights! Welcome to Bacchanal. Enjoy the sights. Hope you make it out alive!” ―P. Djèlí Clark, author of Ring Shout, The Haunting of Tram Car 015, and The Black God’s Drums

“Readers won’t want their travels with the seductive and dangerous Bacchanal Carnival to end. Veronica Henry’s debut impeccably conjures the 1930s and marks the bold entrance of a vital new voice in modern fantasy.” ―Gwenda Bond, New York Times bestselling author of Stranger Things: Suspicious Minds

“If you took The Night Circus and viewed it through the gaze of a young Black woman in the Great Depression, you might get Veronica Henry’s Bacchanal. Demons, lies, and secrets.” ―Mary Robinette Kowal, Hugo award-winning author of The Calculating Stars

Where were you born and where do you call home?
I was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. but after many stops, I now call Raleigh, N.C. home.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
Meeting other authors is by far the most rewarding aspect of being published. The speculative fiction community is a surprisingly small one, but I’ve been embraced and welcomed by an awesome group of writers.

What inspired you to pen your first novel?
I owe this all to my better half. He told me I could and should write a book. I grumbled about inconceivable word counts, lost reading time, and some other panicky nonsense, but eventually, thankfully, I listened.

Can you tell us when you started BACCHANAL, how that came about?
I wrote the first draft of Bacchanal in 2012 after a re-read of Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes and pondering how that story unfold told from my perspective. I knew that draft wasn’t all that it could be and I trunked it, wrote something else and came back to it years later and got invaluable advice and help from mentors. Glad I did.

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel?
My hope is that readers become so immersed in this world that they don’t want to put the book down. As a writer, my aim is for the reader to come to better understand themselves and others. I trust them to draw their own conclusions, I just provide the roadmap.

What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating Eliza?
Without giving away anything, I’ll say that I was very surprised at Eliza’s choices. There were several scenes that I’d outlined, where I was certain of the outcome. Eliza though, she chose her own path.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
I’d introduce Ishe to the unnamed narrator in Stephen Graham Jones’ novel, Mongrels. I suspect there would be much they could learn from one another.

  • The Great Depression actually started in 1929, the effects lasted throughout the 1930s, the time period where the novel takes place.
  • The Oklahoma Dust Bowl was an ecological disaster brought on by severe drought and bad farm practices (wind erosion).
  • The Skirvin Hotel, where a very important meeting in Bacchanal happens, was built in 1911
  • The Tasmanian tiger went extinct in 1936 but sighting of the animal persist to this day.
  • In African (Zaire) folklore, Eloko is are restless spirits that come back from the grave as dwarf-like creatures.
  • The title, Bacchanal, comes from the Gwendolyn Brooks poem, The Anniad.
  • Stephanie “Queenie” St. Clair was a prominent racketeer in Harlem, N.Y.
  • Laamb is a Senegalese form of wrestling.
  • In the Carribean, Bacchanal, is a term used most often to refer to drama.
  • The Little Orphan Annie radio show (mentioned in a particular eerie scene) was based on the comic strip of the same name. It debuted on Chicago's WGN in 1930, then moved to the NBC radio network Blue Network on April 6, 1931. It aired until April 26, 1942.
What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book?
It is an unfortunate reality that most writers today essentially work two full-time jobs, that of writer and whatever they do to really pay the bills. Those nine hour days, and even the time afterwards where that mental energy seems to always be split. It’s an often impossible balance. But I LOVE writing and it’s not something I’ll give up.

If you could go back in time to one point in your life, where would you go?
There are so many special moments, but for me, I’d go back and relive my time in Sierra Leone. There was so much left to see.

What did you do last weekend?
My weekends are fairly consistent, write, read, watch a film, and if I’m lucky, squeeze in a nap. Naps are the best.

What is one unique thing are you afraid of?
I’m working on it, really I am. But snakes terrify me.

Last Halloween Costume you wore and when?
It’s been long enough that I can’t recall the year, but it was Wonder Woman.


Evil lives in a traveling carnival roaming the Depression-era South. But the carnival’s newest act, a peculiar young woman with latent magical powers, may hold the key to defeating it. Her time has come.

Abandoned by her family, alone on the wrong side of the color line with little to call her own, Eliza Meeks is coming to terms with what she does have. It’s a gift for communicating with animals. To some, she’s a magical tender. To others, a she-devil. To a talent prospector, she’s a crowd-drawing oddity. And the Bacchanal Carnival is Eliza’s ticket out of the swamp trap of Baton Rouge.

Among fortune-tellers, carnies, barkers, and folks even stranger than herself, Eliza finds a new home. But the Bacchanal is no ordinary carnival. An ancient demon has a home there too. She hides behind an iridescent disguise. She feeds on innocent souls. And she’s met her match in Eliza, who’s only beginning to understand the purpose of her own burgeoning powers.

Only then can Eliza save her friends, find her family, and fight the sway of a primordial demon preying upon the human world. Rolling across a consuming dust bowl landscape, Eliza may have found her destiny.

You can purchase Bacchanal at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you VERONICA G. HENRY for making this giveaway possible.
3 Winners will receive a Copy of BACCHANAL by Veronica Henry.
JUNE 3rd THURSDAY J.R.'s Book Reviews REVIEW

JUNE 7th MONDAY A Court of Coffee and Books REVIEW
JUNE 9th WEDNESDAY Gwendalyn's Books REVIEW
JUNE10th THURSDAY The Bookwyrm's Den REVIEW
JUNE10th THURSDAY Pages Below the Vaulted Sky SPOTLIGHT
JUNE11th FRIDAY Book Briefs REVIEW   


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