Author Spotlight with Azariya Ferall
Get to know Azariya in this exclusive interview.
Azariya Ferall is an aspiring erotic writer whose work includes strong elements of horror, paranormal and anything that plays with the dark side of human nature. Consisting of Black female leads who are both strong willed yet complex coupled with sexy other worldly creatures and male leads with a sinister streak that lures us all to the dark. Born in raised in New York, Ms. Ferall always had a love for all things horror and erotic and sees a deep relationship between the two.
Hello Aza! I'm so excited to have you here to talk all things life, and about the fantastic first book in your series 'Ange Noir- Nocturnal Emissions'. For those who haven't had chance to read my review, or haven't seen your books anywhere, can you tell us more about your first book, and what your series entails? Hey Aimee thanks for having me!
Ange Noir was one of those forgotten projects until I found it in some old files a few years ago. I decided to pick it back up and give it a makeover. Much of it was inspired by the horror movie 'The Possession' and some religious text. At the beginning, I thought Ange Noir would just be a stand-alone Novella… Clearly, I was mistaken lol.
The series starts off with a woman midway through her own healing journey. She has a history of dysfunction in her family. Which lead to some poor choices in relationships, and even poorer choices in adulting in general lol.
She becomes a bounty hunter and is assigned to track and collect Terrance Fowler, an Occultist leader that has an old mysterious box in his possession. A box with the Demon King of Lust, Asmodeus, trapped inside.
The curse placed on the Dybbuk box requires the blood sacrifice of someone Asher deems pure in order to open it. Many assumed pure meant virginal. Jaquilyn and her partner Marcus run into this cult lead by Fowler. They consider themselves “devotees” of Asmodeus. They attempt to release him by sacrificing a virgin, but this ritual is disrupted by Jaquilyn who ends up getting fatally wounded in the process; Spilling her blood on the box and lifting the curse unbeknownst to her. I explore this misunderstanding of what it means to be pure in Asher’s eyes vs mankind’s perception of purity. And why Jaquilyn, someone who is far from virginal, was able to free him at all.
Throughout the book there’s this question of whether Asher is actually a parasite that latches on to Jaq like demons are known to do. Or if it’s a symbiotic bond that requires an even flow of energy that flows between them. I also, bring up the question of whether Asher is actually a demon in Ange Noir II and how he briefly struggles with his own identity.
The general series blossomed into some crazy epic without my meaning it to. I don’t know how I ended up here lol… Ancient feuds arise, villain’s backgrounds and truths are slowly revealed and it’s looking like (because sometimes I feel as if I have no control over the story, it just explodes out of nowhere) an all-out war is in the near future. Each book draws closer to that war and explains how this growing enemy has been working in the shadows for centuries. How it’s been sinking its claws into humanity and is the root cause of a lot of the social disarray, in-fighting, and hatred we see today. I absolutely loved how you made the MC strong, powerful and not vulnerable as we see in most erotic novels, what was your purpose in using a woman as a lead character to have these personality traits? I was hoping to make Jaquilyn more believable. It didn’t feel natural to have a grown woman come off naïve. Not knocking anyone’s character archetype, it just doesn't feel natural for me. Just as it doesn’t feel natural for a character to be impervious to doubt or conflict because they’re a super badass. Neither extreme feels realistic to me? I wanted to make her strong but with challenges and doubts. And honestly, I did base her off myself lol.
I love erotica and I read it often. But I found I couldn’t relate to any of the characters. The naïveté you speak of is very common and wasn’t something I felt I could connect with. So instead of waiting for others to create the kind of representation I wanted to see, I decided to stop being a coward and just write it myself. If others got something out of it, great! But I am happy to have published something that made me feel… Visible and understood.
Another inspiration was, and this is really important to me, I wanted to write something that didn’t send the message that the only way you can be loved, adored and have mind blowing sex as a woman, is if you are docile and naïve. A blank slate for the leading male to paint his own canvas upon, if you will. I think that message is fairly problematic for both men and women. I wanted Jaquilyn to already have a beautifully complex canvas for Asher to admire and love. A canvas that he can eventually add his own muses to as their relationship blossoms and matures. As there is space for him to be a part of that canvas.
There are so many women that had to develop a form of resilience to survive only to be demonized for developing such traits later on. For a lot of us, being strong wasn’t necessarily a choice but just a fact of life. You either step up or you break down. And breaking is never an option. To tell a person that the traits they needed to develop (or over developed) in order to show up for themselves when no one else would, makes them unlovable... is cruel in so many ways. I wanted to tell a story where her strength was what sparked the flame in Asher’s heart, as well as saved him from his own impending doom. In a way, they both showed up for each other.
I also feel it sends the message that fragility makes someone (women especially) a good person deserving of all praise and attention. If there’s anything I have learned in this life, it is that fragility isn’t always a sign of goodness in a person. So, I wanted to challenge that in my writing as well.
Is your book based on anyone you know? How did you find the inspiration to write these? Haha, Jaquilyn is basically my old cynical self. The version of me when I was “coming out of the FOG” and realizing some harsh truths about myself, my upbringing and so on. And of course, I modeled much of Asher’s personality off my husband! As he’s very reserved, slow to anger and like Asher is often misunderstood.
A lot of their relationship was inspired by my real-life marriage. How they support one another and are honest with each other. The playful banter. The sparring. Asher hating coffee lol. How Jaquilyn questioned the relationship and whether it was good for her or not etc... These were all things and concerns that came up within my own relationship. Of course, other supporting characters and additional details were inspired by the world around me. People who have come and gone. People who stayed. Or strangers, who I imagined what their lives must be like.
As mentioned before, I drew inspiration from horror movies and literature I enjoy. When I watched the ‘The Possession’, I thought to myself,
“What if an incubus type spirit was trapped in the Dybbuk box? And who ever opens the box releases the incubus and basically has a pet sex demon for a companion? Hmmm… Sounds hot! Let’s write it!” LOL!
I also spend hours in my own head. That helps too and it's fun in here!
If your first book was made into a film, who would you want to play Jaq & Asher?
Aw man, this is a doozy! Mainly because when it boils down to representation, Hollywood has a ways to go. I can’t really think of any known actresses I can picture playing Jaquilyn. I’m also not hip to all the pop culture stuff, so I have no idea who’s in right now haha! When I fantasize about Ange Noir becoming a movie, I always pictured the leading lady being a fresh new face to the acting game. The first open door that led to other open doors for her ^_^.
As for Asher, that’s a tough one too. The only person I can think of is Orlando Bloom. Mainly because his role as Legolas in Lord of the Rings reminded me of a white-haired Asher. Or some Peter Steele(may he RIP) look alike. Especially considering that PlayGirl photoshoot he did? I definitely approve. lol.
How long did it take you to write these books, especially carrying on with the series?
Christ, too long. I wasn’t expecting a two-year gap between the two books. Ange Noir I, took about a year of off and on work. Then the Pandemic hit in 2020 and I was able to focus on it nonstop for two months until it was complete.
The second book, I originally was going to release as the third instalment. No spoilers but there’s a third book to the series that is half way done titled ‘Sun and Moon’. Originally ‘Sun and Moon’ was going to be the second book and Ange Noir II the third, as both books are a part of the Nocturnal Emissions universe. I know, I know, very scatter brain! But I changed my mind, which led to me putting a pause on ‘Sun and Moon’ after working on that for nearly a year and starting Ange Noir II from scratch. That set me back big time. I had spent so much time on ‘Sun and Moon’ with the thought I’d release that before picking up where I left off with Jaq and Asher... Only to start writing Ange Noir II and powering through it which took another year of writing. It’s looking like there will be about three more books to the Nocturnal Emissions series! Hopefully it won’t take two years between each one from here on out!
You say you love horror, do you read horror books too? Who is your favourite horror writer, and what is your favourite horror film?
Oh my god, where do I even… Begin?! Admittedly I don’t have a favourite horror writer. I feel each author I read brings something unique to the genre and it’s hard to have a favourite when I enjoy different takes on the genre equally. But I do enjoy Lovecraft, despite his umm… prejudices. I try to separate the art from the artist on that one. I’m also a big fan of Neil Gaiman. He’s a huge inspiration for my overall aesthetic and style. Though his work is more fantasy and whimsical, there’s a lot of elements of horror in his work. You ever read Coraline? It’s terrifying lol. And of course, Clive Barker! Ugh I just can’t pick one, sorry!
As far as movies go ‘Hereditary’ is my top favourite, with Bliss (2019), coming in as a close second. Hereditary is such an amazing film. I thoroughly enjoyed the concept that the supernatural aspect of the film is represented by a sort of mental illness that runs in the family. But it’s later revealed to be something else entirely. It was such a great film. Bliss is just great because there’s a lot of 90s grunge aesthetic coupled with blood, sex, drugs and heavy metal \m/ lol. Can never go wrong with that!
Who has been your biggest support in terms of your writing?
My husband hands down. Of course, my friends are also a huge support! But my husband was the one who pushed me to start self-publishing. I often worry about my writing being subpar, or not being up to my standards, or being offensive to people or any other self-defeatist thoughts us creatives go through… It was my Husband who told me to be like Nike and just do it! He actually helped edit Ange Noir I. He listens to my million and one ideas and makes actual suggestions and notes. It’s amazing to have such an open and relaxed union. I am beyond grateful and happy to have someone so loving and supportive. I can only hope I offer him the same, as his wife.
Can you tell us something that nobody knows about you?
Can I plead the fifth on this one? Lol! I think I’m a fairly open book these days. Not many secrets to tell. Not anymore. I guess one secret that ties into all of this is, for years I struggled with sleep paralysis. Not so much anymore, but in my younger years it was pretty bad. I was usually open about discussing all my sleep paralysis episodes except the one that uh… turned into a… uh, wet dream. The first love scene in Ange Noir was modelled after that exact experience. How I described it in the book was practically how it played out when it happened. I was terrified and embarrassed about it for years. Sleep paralysis usually involves hallucinations because your brain is stuck between being awake and being in REM stage of sleep. So, it’s like dreaming with your eyes open.
I use to cringe when I remembered that experience. My way of getting past that shame was, well, putting it in my book. It’s out there. It happened. And I’m not ashamed of it anymore. ^_^ Now I rest easy knowing people are getting hot and bothered by an experience I was once ashamed of haha!
What is your hope in terms of your writing to reach out to readers, what can they take from your novel?
Man, I have a lot of hopes with my writing. As mentioned earlier, I want to challenge the message that the only way a woman can be loved, adored and have mind blowing sex is if she’s naïve, docile… forever stunted in the stages of girlhood. Or that the only way a male lead can be sexy/lovable is if he’s never lost a fight/never been victimized etc. Asher has been severely wounded. We learn this in the second book. Instead of that driving Jaq away and that changing how she looks at him, it actually brought her closer to him. I want to challenge the status quo a little bit. I want my readers to see that people aren’t one dimensional.
I want to show my readers what love between fairly self-assured people can look like. Sure, they stumble, but that’s part of the journey. I want to show how they’re not each other’s crutch, but a supportive hand on a fairly strong shoulder. How they will run into obstacles like anyone else but it’s about how they get through it together as a team, that matters most. I really hope I was able to express that in my books. I learn as I go though ^_^.
And lastly, I want to rekindle the meaning of lust in people. We really screwed ourselves when it comes to sex and our relationship with it. When I observe the world, sex is either received as something shameful or transactional. We’re forgetting that sex is meant to be an experience not a performance. An experience that consumes the flesh and awakens the primal. I hope to awaken that in my readers, the thought alone is exciting...
In terms of all things paranormal, what are your thoughts on this side of life, what do you believe in to be real?
I definitely believe there is something metaphysical out there. I still have a sense of wonder in me and I do not think what we perceive with our little five senses, is all there is. I have my share of weird experiences. There’s a history of strange happenings in my family. My family is from the south on my mother’s side and my father’s side is Caribbean. So, there’s plenty of old wives’ tales!
I’m drawn to Norse and Afro Pagan customs and spiritual work. I love the natural feel to these practices. And I think many of the metaphysical things we understand today (ghost, demons, Gods etc) are manifestations of what lies within us. Despite my current disappointment in human beings today lol, there’s something powerful within all of us. I truly believe that. We’re just not privy to it. We’re cut off from it. But it's there.
What's your plans for the future, what can we expect to see from you? I’m working in baby steps, as this whole thing is not only an ambition/over glorified hobby of mine. But it is also an exercise to get over my own anxiety about intimacy and sexuality. Yes, believe it or not I’m actually quite shy and anxious when it comes to these things. It’s not just about money and popularity, though those things are nice. But it’s also my own personal journey in, letting go *wink*. So far, the journey’s been fun! I hope I discover more.
From a creative standpoint I hope to create a broad media platform for my Ferall Tales brand! That’s definitely a goal of mine. I hope to expand beyond writing books and actually have an entertainment platform equipped with podcasts, books, artwork etc. Most of it will be erotic and others just, Ferall things lol. I have a lot in me I want to share with others... If they would have me lol.
Definitely expect more books from me! I just really love writing lol. I also have a YouTube channel. There I discuss my experience with Kink, erotica, BDSM, excerpts from my writing and so on. I intend to add more content on there as well as more blog posts on my website, FerallTales.com. I also make artisanal handcrafted spanking paddles for kinksters who want something pretty to spank their bratty subs with lol! Who says you have to sacrifice beauty for efficiency?
Thank you so much for taking the time to be in this interview with me, I adored your book and I can't wait to read the rest in the series.
And thank you for having me! This is very exciting 😊. I’m really happy you enjoy my work. That means a lot to me! I hope Ange Noir II is just as engaging! Stay Ferall!