Acquisition Announcement and Interview with S. T. Gibson (EVOCATION)
Angry Robot Books is thrilled to announce Evocation, a masterful contemporary fantasy tale from S.T. Gibson, and the first in a four book series from the author of the 2022 critically acclaimed bestseller, and one of Barnes & Noble’s Horror Books of the Year, A Dowry of Blood
Sold to Eleanor Teasdale from Tara Gilbert at The Jennifer De Chiara Agency for World English, Evocation publishes in Summer 2024.
Evocation follows alcoholic psychic David Aristarkhov who must team up with his sorcerer ex-boyfriend, Rhys – and Rhys’ astrologer wife Moira – to be saved from a family curse. A richly imagined novel, Evocation is set in a magic-riddled Boston, and filled with smart, cynical and mysterious characters.
Perfect for fans of contemporary fantasy, fortune telling and tarot, Evocation will appeal to readers of Ninth House, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, and Practical Magic.
Eleanor Teasdale, Publisher & Acquiring Editor: “I loved A Dowry of Blood so much that when the opportunity to get to work with, and publish, the brilliant S.T. Gibson came up, I jumped at it. Evocation is a perfect fit for Angry Robot – an urban fantasy with romance and magic. I cannot wait for everyone to get to immerse themselves in the world of Rhys, David and Moira.”
S.T. Gibson: “Evocation is truly the book of my heart, and I’m over the moon it’s found such a wonderful home with Angry Robot. Eleanor’s vision for this witchy, soapy fantasy resonated with me immediately, and I’m thrilled to be collaborating with the entire editorial team. Evocation is one big love letter to everything I adore, from esoterica to found family to the city of Boston, and I can’t wait to share it with readers.”
Welcome to the Hive, Saint.
We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to talk to you about your exciting new novel, Evocation, which will be published by Angry Robot in 2024! Firstly, can you tell us all about it? What can readers expect?
I’m so excited to be chatting with you as well! EVOCATION is a contemporary fantasy romance set in a modern day Boston populated by all sorts of magical practitioners. It follows a psychic lawyer who has to team up with his sorcerer ex and the ex’s witch wife to break a family curse before his thirtieth birthday. Along the way, he finds himself falling for both of them, albeit in different ways. It’s a little bit soapy, a little bit spooky, and absolutely drenched in city magic.
Can you describe your book in five words?
Queer occult exes to lovers.
Ok, so Evocation is set in a contemporary world, more specifically a magic riddled Boston. Was there anything specific which inspired this setting? What kind of ‘magic’ can we expect to see?
My fiance and I visited Boston on our first anniversary, and we fell so in love with the city we ended up moving there. I’m fascinated by the sort of energetic pulse that runs through so many big cities, probably because I grew up reading urban fantasy like the Bordertown anthologies. Setting my own contemporary fantasy story in Boston felt natural.
I’m so glad you asked about the magic! Outside of a couple embellishments, all the magic in EVOCATION is based on real-world traditions and practices. Western ceremonial magic, tarot, Rootwork, folk Catholicism, Santeria, astrology, geomancy, Wicca, and chaos magic all make appearances to some degree in this book, and I had a blast exploring how those traditions support, challenge, or complement each other.
That sounds fantastic.
I firmly believe that we live in an enchanted universe, and I’ve been a practitioner myself for over a decade, so I wanted to write a book that was effectively a love letter to all the ways human beings attempt to communicate with the Divine, bend fate, and serve their communities through magic. Magical communities are also notoriously insular, so it was fun to explore the double-sided coin of group support and group in-fighting through fiction.
Let’s discuss your characters in more detail! Can you tell us a bit more about your leading character, David Aristarkhov? What kind of personality does he have?
David is such a pill, I love him. He starts the book incredibly sure of himself (read: arrogant). He’s rich, he’s hot, he’s making partner at his law firm, he runs a successful mediumship business, and he’s in line to become the next High Priest of his secret society. He was raised as the golden child in a magical dynasty but in an abusive home that withheld affection, so he’s hyper self-reliant to the point of antisocial behaviour. He can’t seem to hold down non-transactional friendships or romantic relationships that last more than a few dates. But when a family curse comes to claim his soul, he’s forced into a relationship with two people who crack him open and expose his vulnerabilities, Rhys and Moira. That’s when the rubber really meets the road for his character arc, and that’s where he becomes a much more dynamic person.
And what about Rhys and Moira? Were they both easy or tricky to craft?
Rhys and Moira came first, actually! I wanted to create a magical power couple whose practices were opposite in some ways but who loved each other ferociously. Rhys is a straight-laced Catholic sorcerer who does everything by the book and works within an established tradition. Moira is more intuitive, she flows easily between magical practices like tarot, ritual, and astrology, and she works directly with the public as a spiritual guide. She’s a social butterfly where Rhys is introverted and withdrawn into his research, and she’s motivated by a will to form relationships as opposed to Rhys’ will to power and security, which creates a delicious, sparking friction between the two. They don’t always see eye to eye, but they would die (or in Rhys’ case, kill) for each other. When you throw David into the mix, their relationship becomes even more beautifully complex.
These three characters just flowed out of me, and I feel like I know them as well as I know my own loved ones.
Your debut novel, A Dowry of Blood, had a fantastic gothic atmosphere with sumptuous poetic prose. Can we expect this atmosphere and style of writing in Evocation too? And what draws you to writing darker tales?
Thank you for saying so! EVOCATION is very different tonally and stylistically from A DOWRY OF BLOOD. It sits more squarely within the pacey, tropey urban fantasy tradition (although you’ll still get plenty of pretty prose and religious metaphors here). I think both books are powered by relationships, and they both dive deep into the way we love and hurt each other in the search for true intimacy.
And lastly, what do you hope readers take away from Evocation?
That’s such a tough question, because every reading experience is so unique and personal to the reader. I think, foundationally, that I hope the readers fall in love with Rhys, Moira, and David, and get swept away into their world of magic, mystery, and romance. That’s all I can really ask for.