Author Bio

I was born in Cape Town, South Africa, and now live and work in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, with my wife and 4 daughters. Shioni of Sheba began as a series of stories I told my own children, drawing on the history and mythology of ancient Ethiopia. The IsleSong series was inspired by a Chris Tomlin song, Indescribable, and draws on my love of the ocean, coming from growing up in one of the most beautiful seaside cities in the world.

Since coming to work in Ethiopia in 2009, I have had the opportunity both to read much more about its rich history, and experience this unique country for myself.

Africa is in my heart and in my blood. Growing up in South Africa during the dark days of apartheid, if you'll excuse the pun, coloured my world view from an early age. I have always loved a good tale, but only recently have begun to discover the deep, ancient history of stone-age and middle-ages Africa. Did you know Africa had its own knights and castles? Did you know that there was a thriving East-West trade stretching across the Sahara from Ghana and Timbuktu to India? That the Sahara was not always the desert it is today?

But in many ways, Africa is also the forgotten continent: ravaged by the legacy of colonization, exploited for its mineral wealth, and under-researched by scholars. Yet there is much more to Africa than stories of economic deprivation, tribalism, or famine. The heart of Africa is its beautiful people, in their dignity and hospitality, in their ways of living and co-existing in true community.

In the realms of fantasy fiction, much is written according to the Western/European tropes of elves, dwarves and fairies, and little about African themes. That is one of my motivating factors for writing Shioni of Sheba: to help the reader experience the heart of this great continent. Secondly, it is an opportunity to give something back. I plan to donate part of the royalties from Shioni to charitable work in Ethiopia. Thirdly, I would love you the reader to experience and be transported by the adventure, grandeur, myth and yes, the magic, of Africa.

I invite you to enjoy Shioni's world!

Marc Secchia