Zoe Perrenoud, author of the Bloodlender trilogy; Credit: Otilia Dragan/ Chronicle.lu

On the afternoon of Saturday 8 June 2024, local fantasy author Zoe Perrenoud held the launch event of Riftmender, the final book of the Bloodlender trilogy, at her personal residence in Dudelange.

The Bloodlender trilogy is a dark, coming-of-age Young Adult (YA) fantasy series blending magic, mystery and suspense. It was inspired by the author's favourite book, A Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett and by a 2017 exhibition on gardens at the Centre Pompidou in Metz. The author explained that the idea "just grew" from there. The final book is called Riftmender, and it comes after Bloodlender and Timebender

After writing a first draft of her first novel and sending it to literary agents, she was told to rewrite it, which took her about two years, she explained with a chuckle. However, she liked the result better after this extra work. Nevertheless, when the process became lengthy and the agents asked for more and more changes (including a different ending), she realised she liked it as it was and made the decision to self-publish. 

The author held a brief reading before the 20-odd guests representing various local writers' groups, including Luxembourg's Writers Who Talk. Her book is also a nod to Luxembourg's landscape and multiculturalism, as humorously expressed in one of the excerpts she read:

"I'd heard it described as a tax haven and something about a prince or a duke, but maybe that was Liechtenstein. (...) You were expecting three sleepy villages and a bunch of fields, weren't you? (...) Most people don't have a clue until they move here - then they either stay for the rest of their lives or flee as fast as they can back to the bustling metropolis they came from."

Talking to Chronicle.lu, Zoe Perrenoud explained that she decided to self-publish as many of her writer friends had had "success stories" with this and there were several ways to reach her goal. "I decided to take control of the process and I have no regrets," she added, nevertheless admitting that she sometimes "struggled to meet deadlines" in order to publish regularly.

Addressing the question of future plans, Zoe Perrenoud stated that she would like to write romance novels under a pen name and revealed that she has plans for a prequel novella to the series, Oathtaker, as well as an entirely new fantasy trilogy for adults.

When asked what she hoped readers would take away from her books, she said: "That you should embrace who you are and stop listening to the voices in your head that are trying to hold you back."

The launch was celebrated (as per tradition) with a deep-blue coloured cake, with decorations and real fresh roses inspired by the trilogy itself.

The books are available via online retailers such as Amazon (including in Kindle format) and Apple Books, and can be ordered through most bookshops on request.