Forty Days (Neima's Ark #1)
by Stephanie Parent
Release Date: 02/10/13
The entire village knows Neima’s grandfather is a madman. For years the old man has prophesied that a great flood is coming, a flood disastrous enough to blot out the entire earth. He’s even built an enormous ark that he claims will allow his family to survive the deluge. But no one believes the ravings of a lunatic…
…until the rain starts. And doesn’t stop. Soon sixteen-year-old Neima finds her entire world transformed, her life and those of the people she loves in peril. Trapped on the ark with her grandfather Noah, the rest of her family, and a noisy, filthy, and hungry assortment of wild animals, will Neima find a way to survive?
With lions, tigers, and bears oh my, elephants and flamingos too, along with rivalries and betrayals, a mysterious stowaway, and perhaps even an unexpected romance, FORTY DAYS is not your grandfather’s Noah’s Ark story.
FORTY DAYS is approximately 45000 words, the length of a shorter novel, and is the first installment in a two-part epic story. It does contain a cliffhanger ending.
Readers looking for a traditional, religiously oriented version of the Noah’s Ark story should be warned that FORTY DAYS may not appeal to them. The novel will, however, appeal to lovers of apocalyptic fiction, historical fiction, and romance, as well as anyone who’s ever dreamed of having a baby elephant as a pet.
Guest Post by the Author
THE DOVE IN NOAH’S ARK…NOT JUST A RELIGIOUS SYMBOL
Anyone who’s even slightly familiar with the story of Noah’s Ark probably remembers the important role the dove plays in the story. After the ark lands on Mount Ararat, Noah sends out a dove three times to see how far the flood waters have receded. The first time, the bird returns to the ark empty handed. The second time it brings back an olive leaf, revealing that life has returned to earth. The third time, the dove does not return, showing that it is safe to leave the ark.
Look closely at this picture, and you’ll see the olive leaf in the dove’s mouth!
Whether you’re viewing the story in a religious context or not (and in my novel, I chose not to focus on religion), I think the dove’s three trips are one of the most beautiful parts of the story. The dove’s journey feels almost like a fairy tale with the repetition, the symbolism, and the use of the number three. Both the dove and the olive branch symbolize the return of peace and life after the long storm—in fact, olive branches have symbolized peace from as far back as the 5th century BC. Dove symbolism also dates back to the time of the ancient Greeks, who associated the birds with wisdom and love.
I knew I wanted to make the dove an integral part of my novel, but when I began to research doves, I realized they’re basically the same species as…
…pigeons. Or as some people call them, “rats with wings.” But I didn’t despair, and I reread a favorite childhood book, Wringer by Jerry Spinelli, about a boy with a pet pigeon. I loved Spinelli’s detailed descriptions of the funny ways pigeons bob their heads and move their feet, their intelligence and playfulness (the pigeon in Wringer is named Nipper because he loves to nip at his owner’s head). And I realized writing about a dove/pigeon wouldn’t be so bad! So I created my own slightly mischievous dove, Aliye, in Forty Days. And seriously, if you ever see a pigeon and you’re not too busy, take a minute to watch the way they move…they’re funny and cute, even though they often look like they’re grouchy and complaining!
When you really look for dove symbolism in art and culture, it’s amazing how often you can find it and in how many contexts—a dove even appears in the sci-fi movie Blade Runner, at the moment when the hero accepts his death.
My dove character, Aliye, play an important part in Forty Days and an even bigger part in the sequel Forty Nights, so I hope you enjoy reading about her!
About the Author
Stephanie Parent is a graduate of the Master of Professional Writing program at USC and attended the Baltimore School for the Arts as a piano major. She moved to Los Angeles because of Francesca Lia Block's WEETZIE BAT books, which might give you some idea of how much books mean to her. She also loves dogs, books about dogs, and sugary coffee drinks both hot and cold.
Forty Days is on sale this week only for only $.99! Go get your copy!
(1) e-book of Forty Days and $10 gift card to Amazon (INT)
(3) e-book copies of Forty Days (INT)