Sekella, Maggie

US author Maggie Sekella has joined the John Jarrold Literary Agency.


Her debut novel Duodenary is a reimagining of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night as an adult, fantasy, sapphic romantic murder mystery. It’s a standalone novel set in a fantastical world of the author’s own making, though it follows the broad strokes of the original play, with themes including corrupt monarchy, were-creatures, metaphorical discussion of human nature, and a realistic depiction of horror and mystery within a medieval fantasy setting…


Evelyn, Hound of the Holy Crown, knows how to handle dangerous criminals, it’s her profession after all… Or rather, it used to be. A year after the investigator’s dishonourable discharge from the King’s ranks, she finds reason to believe her twin brother and incorrigible bard, Bastian, has gone missing, his last known whereabouts being the near-forgotten island of Illyria. What’s even worse, rumours of a murderer stalking that very island have reached Evie’s keen ears, and knowing her brother, he’s most likely involved. After a shipwreck nearly takes her life, the investigator finally finds herself upon Illyrian soil, having been pulled from the waves by a mysterious saviour. And so, the Hound’s hunt begins.


She meets…


Morgan, she is the tiny town’s esteemed Jarl, sole bartender and innkeeper, and she knows the lower streets of Illyria like the back of her hand. So when her people begin turning up dead, disembowelled, pieces stolen off their corpses, her top priority becomes finding the bastard responsible. Luckily for her, a professional investigator has just washed up on her shore, ready to sacrifice anything to bring their killer to justice, and find her brother alive.




Lady Octavia Love, heir to the Love family, who has recently claimed her title as duchess of Illyria. Her brother, the former Duke Love, was found slain, assumed to be the murderer’s first victim on Illyrian soil. The lady has since locked herself within her estate, stating that she is in a period of mourning, and all outside visitors are forbidden from entering the property… including local authorities that wish to investigate her brother’s death.


The three protagonists’ lives become intertwined, in more ways than one.


Maggie says: “Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night has been an important piece to me for quite a while, since I was fourteen, and cast as Sebastian in a school play. I found the story charming, the characters hilarious, but the conflict resolution… Something about that stood out to me, noticeable and niggling as a hangnail. A lecture by Shanta Lee Gander, the author of Black Metamorphoses, about the importance of reimaging older works, initially planted the seeds for this project in my subconscious. It’s not simply about pointing out that centuries-old works may in fact promote centuries-old ideals, but recognizing the purpose of the original, what made it important, what made it worth reading, watching, etc. and then helping it transition into a new age of new people with new ideals, and less secretive identities. This reimagining is for you, for us, anyone who has  felt it is safer to keep your identity hidden from the world. We all deserve better than secrets and silence.”


John Jarrold said: “I’ve loved Shakespeare even longer than I’ve loved fantasy and SF.  When I read this I was immediately entranced by the way Maggie used the original play and story brilliantly, while creating something new.  The characters sing, the tale is wonderful and the events drew me in throughout. Romance, horror and mysteries suffuse the novel.”



Maggie is a New England-born author with one book, an anthology of short stories titled Eros Thanatos –  an Anthology of Love and Loss, that she self-published through Kindle Direct in her  senior year in high school, 2022. She has also won two Young Writers awards as well as a silver key for fiction from Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Her website is at: