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Chelsea Abdullah Books In Order

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Publication Order of The Sandsea Trilogy Books

The Stardust Thief (2022)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Chelsea Abdullah
Chelsea Abdullah is an American-Kuwati author born and raised in Kuwait, where she grew up hearing these stories about some mysterious desert creatures and some wily (yet only sometimes likable) heroes. Consumed by wanderlust, she has set down roots in various states.

After she earned her MA in English at Duquesne University, she moved to New York, where she lives.

When Chelsea’s not immersed in her own fictional worlds, she spends her free time doodling characters, playing video games, and hoarding all these books that she does not have the shelf space for.

The central driving force behind “The Stardust” was nostalgia. She grew up on stories “1001 Nights” and with oral stories from around the region. When she left the country to attend university in the states and began missing home, these stories were the very first thing that she latched onto as a writer.

She mused on the idea about writing an Arab-inspired fantasy for years until this one day, where the opening scene of the novel simultaneously came to her. In her mind she saw a merchant in these star-dusted robes sitting on this ship, a coin dancing across her knuckles. Behind her was her bodyguard, whom Chelsea new was a jinn. The minute that these two characters popped into her head, she just knew that she had to write this story in order to figure out their entire history.

The novel, and the rest of the series is a love letter to her Arab heritage and to the stories that she grew up on. It has been a joy to breathe some life into it.

When she began writing it, Loulie was the only perspective she had planned for this story. However then Mazen, the cowardly prince, popped into her head. Initially, she never intended for him to be a POV character. The first out-of-context scene that she conceptualized for him had him wandering around this marketplace. She needed to mentally rewind this scene a few times before she found her entry point for Loulie and figured out how and why exactly she would meet Mazen.

Having their meeting scene all planned out, Chelsea started the novel fully expecting she would write everything through Loulie’s point of view. Then, immediately after she wrapped up her very first chapter, her mind drifted. She became too curious about Mazen’s life to remain solely in Loulie’s head, so she allowed herself to write Mazen’s introduction in his own voice. The minute that she wrote his opening chapter, she gave up on making “The Stardust Thief” a single perspective story. Mazen’s voice became a breath of fresh air, and felt his naive tenderheartedness was the perfect balance to Loulie’s snarkier voice.

On the other hand, Aisha, was always sort of a wildcard. Chelsea never planned her introduction into the novel whatsoever, she just showed up. At first, she was more of a minor character without much page time. However while the plot continued to evolve, so too did her narrative. While she continued revising and drafting, she added more and more of her, slowly but surely getting a handle on Aisha’s narrative voice.

After signing with her agent, one of her first suggestions was pretty much add more of Aisha. So she did. And out of all of the characters, she has surprised Chelsea the most, simply due to the fact that she never anticipated that she’d become this much of a central part of the narrative. So much so she’s baffled that Aisha was ever “minor” at all.

She was introduced to genre fiction, because she was very lucky to have grown up with a mom that was a librarian. When she wasn’t in classes, she pretty much lived in the school library, curled up in an armchair doing reading quizzes or with a good book. Chelsea’s mother always was in the know about what books were new and popular, and she would make it a point to introduce her to various genres.

While it’s difficult for Chelsea to pinpoint a specific book that made her want to be a writer, she does remember reading stories like “A Series of Unfortunate events” and “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” and feeling more motivated to write. Yet she believes video games are what truly inspired her love for the fantasy genre.

Chelsea played a bunch of RPGs growing up (still does, actually), and she distinctly remembers being awed by the scope of the worlds and the depth of the characters. The majority of her early elementary school writings were short story collections that were inspired by the epic worlds found in those games. Were any of these stories she wrote any good? Nope. But they’re still charming in their own way, and she loves looking back on them.

“The Stardust Thief” is the first novel in the “Sandsea” Trilogy and was released in 2022. Inspired by the stories from One Thousand and One Nights, this novel weaves together the gripping story about a cowardly prince, a legendary smuggler, and a dangerous quest across the desert to locate a magical and legendary lamp.

Neither here nor there, but a long time ago.

Loulie al-Nazari is the Midnight Merchant: a criminal, with the aid of her jinn bodyguard, hunts down and sells illegal magic. When she saves a cowardly prince’s life, she draws the attention of his powerful dad, the sultan, who then blackmails her into finding this ancient lam which has got the power to revive the barren land, at the price of sacrificing all of the jinn.

Without any choice but to obey or get executed, Loulie journeys with the oldest son of the sultan to locate this artifact. Helped by her bodyguard, who’s got his own secrets, they have to survive ghoul attacks, outwit some vengeful jinn queen, and confront some malicious killer from Loulie’s past. And, in a world where story is reality and illusion is the truth, Loulie is going to discover that everything: her magic, her enemy, and even her own past, isn’t what it appears, and she has to decide who she’ll become in this new reality.

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