Strange things are happening to Daire Santos. Crows mock her, glowing people stalk her, time stops without warning, and a beautiful boy with unearthly blue eyes haunts all her dreams. Fearing for her daughter’s sanity, Daire’s mother sends her to live with the grandmother she’s never met. A woman who recognizes the visions for what they truly are—the call to her destiny as a Soul Seeker—one who can navigate the worlds between the living and dead. There on the dusty plains of Enchantment, New Mexico, Daire sets out to harness her mystical powers. But it’s when she meets Dace, the boy from her dreams, that her whole world is shaken to its core. Now Daire is forced to discover if Dace is the one guy she's meant to be with...or if he’s allied with the enemy she's destined to destroy.
Alyson Noël Blog post on Researching THE SOUL SEEKERS series
I did a lot of research while writing both THE IMMORTALS and RILEY BLOOM series, and the inspiration for THE SOUL SEEKERS was born from there. During my reading, I kept coming across themes of Shamanism, and was so intrigued by the concepts, I knew I wanted to create a new series where I could continue to explore those ideas.
The first book, FATED, introduces Daire Santos, a sixteen year old girl who lives a fairly glamorous and global life with her Hollywood make-up artist mother. Surrounded by celebrities and raised on movie sets around the world, Daire has never lived in any one place long enough to make a real friend, or attend a real school—she’s never experienced the sort of “normal” life that most teens are used to. But all of that changes when the visions that have haunted her for years intensify in a way that can no longer be denied, and she’s sent to live with the grandmother she’s never met, but who recognizes the hallucinations for what they really are—the calling to her destiny as a Soul Seeker—one who can navigate the worlds between the living and the dead.
Research has always been one of my favorite parts of the writing process. Not only does it help create a more authentic world for my books, but it also allows me to study the kind of subjects I’ve always been interested in. For THE SOUL SEEKERS, the research is ongoing, but so far I’ve read a lot of books on Shamanism, mysticism, ancient spiritual practices, ancient myths and legends, etc. I also took a three-day “Introduction to Basic Shamanism” class that was taught by a female shaman. The class was truly fascinating, and I had some amazing experiences that definitely found their way into the books. In addition, I made a few trips to the beautiful state of New Mexico where I interviewed local teens about what it’s like to grow up there, as well as a Native American about life on the reservation where he lives.
The first time I visited New Mexico—over a decade ago—I fell in love with the landscape and it’s remained one of my favorite places ever since. With its rugged setting, mystical legends, rich cultural mix, and Native American influence, it was a natural fit for the world of THE SOUL SEEKERS. So I created the fictional town of Enchantment and placed my story there.
I’m fascinated by all forms of myth and mysticism, and Shamanism, being one of the most ancient practices, seemed like an interesting world to explore. Though, to be clear, the mythology I’ve created for THE SOUL SEEKERS, does not prescribe to any one belief system. Rather I’ve cribbed together various concepts I came across during my research and tweaked them for my own storytelling purposes. So while, Daire Santos’ lineage began as Shamans centuries ago, Daire is now known as a Soul Seeker- a new generation of Shaman.
While a student can learn the practices of Shamanism through extensive study, the title of Shaman can only be bestowed by the community in honor of the quality of healings provided. So while Daire Santos is one of a long line of Seekers, in order to claim the title, she will have to prove herself of its worth.