Singer and actor Willow is writing a series of fantasy novels together with Jess Hendel, publisher Del Rey announced in a press release.
The Penguin Random House imprint will publish the first book in the series, Black Shield Maiden, this fall. The publisher describes the novel as “a powerful and groundbreaking historical epic about an African warrior in the Viking world.”
“Encouraging intersectional feminism, freedom of gender expression and dialogue between cultures, Black Shield Maiden confronts the most pressing issues of our time, showing a path forward, through connection and community,” said Del Rey.
The book follows the unlikely friendship between Yafeu, an enslaved young warrior taken from her home in the Ghanaian Empire, and Freydis, a Viking princess.
Willow, the daughter of actors Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, became a child star in 2010 with the release of her hit single “Whip My Hair.” Since then she has released four albums, the latest of which, Lately I feel everything, came out last year. Hendel is a writer and musician based in Los Angeles.
willow shared news of the book on Instagram, writing: “I have been working on this historical fiction for over 4 years [and] I couldn’t be more excited to see which aspects of the story will cause more catharsis for all of you.”
Black Shield Maiden is scheduled for release on October 4.
Michael Schaub is a Texas-based journalist and a regular contributor to NPR.