Welcome to my stop on the TBR and Beyond Tours Book Tour for That Dark Infinity by Kate Pentecost. This cover screams my aesthetic and definitely sounds like a perfect read for October! I’m hoping to be able to squeeze in this witchy fantasy this month! Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom to see the tour schedule for other content creators.
Kate Pentecost was born and raised on the Texas/Louisiana border, where ghosts and rural legends lurk in the pines and nothing is completely as it seems.
She holds an MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She was recently nominated for a Rhysling award for her poem “Small Town Witches.”
Her debut novel, Elysium Girls, is forthcoming from Disney Hyperion in 2020 in print and audio formats.
She is obsessed with the Romantic Poets and can be identified by the enormous tattoo of Percy Bysshe Shelley on her arm. She lives in Houston.
About The Book
Title: That Dark Infinity
Author: Kate Pentecost
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publishing Date: October 19th, 2021
Page Length: 384
Genre: Fantasy | Romance
Age Range: YA
By night, the Ankou is a legendary, permanently young mercenary. By day, a witch’s curse leaves him no more than bones. Caught in an unending cycle of death and resurrection, the Ankou wants only to find the death that has been prophesied for him, especially once he begins to rot while he’s still alive….
After the kingdom of Kaer-Ise is sacked, Flora, loyal handmaiden to the princess, is assaulted and left for dead. As the sole survivor of the massacre, Flora wants desperately to find the princess she served. When the Ankou agrees to help her find the princess, and to train her in exchange for her help in breaking his curse, she accepts. But how can she kill an immortal? Especially one whom she is slowly growing to understand—and maybe even to love?
Together, they will solve mysteries, battle monsters, break curses, and race not only against time, but against fate itself.
What inspired you to write That Dark Infinity?
I’d written the first version of it when I was twelve. It was very light-hearted, and pretty derivative. The characters sort of walked into my mind one day and I spent the next fifteen years or so trying to figure out What Their Deal Was. As I learned to craft fiction, the book grew with me. And when I experienced the deaths of my grandparents and a sexual assault shortly after, I had a lot to work through when it came to mortality and recovering from the emotional trauma of assault. The book became far darker than it had been, and those issues showed up in the book. And as I finally learned What My Character’s Deal Was, I learned more about what my own deal was and was able to heal more thoroughly from my trauma as I completed it. It wasn’t my first book, and hopefully it won’t be my last or even BEST book. But it’s truly the book of my heart.
Without spoilers, what scene did you have the most fun writing and why?
I loved writing the scene where Flora discovers the gross part of the Ankou’s curse. She finds him as he’s resurrecting, and it’s pretty gnarly. I got to channel all those old black and white Gothic movies where the ingenue unmasks the monster and runs screaming. She’s got a candelabra and everything during that scene and I loved it.
Ankou is stuck in a Witch’s curse that causes him to be nothing but bones at night. What made you decide to use this style of curse? Was it inspired by anything specific?
Specifically, the curse is meant to mimic the feeling of depression and/or trauma. You live with it, in pain, all through your waking hours, and you’re only really able to have peace when you sleep. Then you wake up and it starts all over again. I wanted his curse to represent a stagnant healing process. Being stuck in the most painful part and having to wake up to it over and over again.
Did you do any research for That Dark Infinity? Were there any interesting facts that you found that you didn’t end up using?
Oh, I did so much research. I researched how underground aquifers work in desert cities, various methods of self-mummification, how sea-bound nations desalinate their water, etc. But the coolest thing that I didn’t get to use was the order in which you lose your senses as you die. Hearing, strangely, goes last.
If you could spend the day with Flora and Ankou, what would you do with each of them?
Probably explore. I would love to have my own Black Caravan and travel the country just living life and exploring things. The Gabby Petito case has given me a bit of pause on that dream, but in a fantasy world, I’d be much safer. Especially with the two of them.
Was there anything you learned after writing Elysium Girls that helped you write That Dark Infinity?
No, actually, because I wrote That Dark Infinity first. I had a lot of near-misses with the publishing process with That Dark Infinity. Often, editors commented that Lazarus didn’t seem “YA” enough (young enough) to really count as a YA protagonist. One of them called him “ageless—like David Bowie.” But fortunately, my editor at LBYR was down for the challenge—even if I did have to age Lazarus down a lot.