Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Author Interview - Jessie Sanders


Jessie Sanders' life has been surrounded by books since the beginning. She learned to read at age four, realized she wanted to be an author at age six, finished her first novel at age fifteen, graduated with a degree in English at age twenty-one, and became a professional editor at age twenty-three. She is currently a freelance editor and self-published author working as Stormy Night Publishing.

Genre: Usually I write fantasy, but my latest is an LGBTQ+ romance

Q&A:

Q1: What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?

Making Room

It’s a long story. When I was a teenager, I had a story idea about a guy named Tobey who inherits a Victorian-era mansion and fills it up with a family he creates while fixing it up. A few years ago, I was tinkering with the idea of rekindling it, and at one point I thought, “Emma is not working for me. What if we replace her with an Emmett?” And everything seemed to fall into place, like Tobey and Emmett had been just waiting for me to realize they belonged together.

Q2: What do you need in your writing space to help you stay focused?

Headphones. Half the time I’m not even listening to anything, but they signal to my brain that I’m ready to get down to business—and helps block out the sounds of the children. Also coffee. Always coffee.

Q3: If you could spend a day with another popular author, whom would you choose and why?

I’ve met a few famous authors, and the one with whom I spent the most time was part of the writing duo K.A. Applegate of the Animorphs series. He was really nice and encouraged me to continue in my writing. I’d love to spend a day discussing theology, philosophy, and writing style with C.S. Lewis, but alas, he is no longer part of this world.

Q4: What, to you, are the most important elements of good writing?

I think I’d have to say characterization and character development. There’s nothing more important than an author understanding their characters’ (and not just their main ones) motivations and goals. A bad or mediocre plot can be worth getting through if I enjoy the characters or relate to them. On the converse, even if a plot has great potential, bland characters will ruin it. The greatest compliment I can receive is a reader telling me they loved my character(s).

Q5: What are common traps for new authors? 

A lot of mistakes new authors make come down to one big thing: not trusting their readers. Authors will over explain and tell with adverbs, or they use too many dialogue tags, or they use internal monologue instead of actions. You need to trust that your reader understands what is going on without laying everything out for them.

Q6: What is the most valuable piece of advice you’ve been given about writing?

Stephen King said in On Writing, “Write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open.” I write my books for myself first, and for the readers second. The times when I don’t convince myself to do that are the times I really struggle to finish the story.

Q7: How do you come up with character names for your stories?

Most of my characters arrive in my brain with a name. The ones that don’t I have to spend hours scouring baby name websites for something that means something important or comes from a certain culture. They’re almost always unusual and unpopular names.

Q8: At what time of the day do you do most of your writing?

At night after the kids are in bed.

Q9: What are you working on now?

Thanks for asking, I’m really excited about my current WIP. It’s titled Clouds of Coal and Magic, and it’s a steampunk time-travel fantasy!

Q10: What are you currently reading?

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon.

Making Room by Jessie Sanders is available on August 2nd, 2022. Keep reading for a sneak peek:

Emmett noticed that the hallway was a mess again as he made his way to the front door. He peeked out the small, diamond-pane window in the door. The sensor had turned on the porch light, and he could see Tobey’s truck pulling up. The headlights dimmed as the truck was turned off.

“Stay here, Benny,” Emmett said, more forcefully than usual. He opened the front door and closed it behind him.

Tobey slammed his truck door closed and gave an awkward wave. “Haven’t seen you in a while.”

“What are you doing here?” Emmett asked, stepping off the porch and outside the ring of light.

“I wanted to apologize about this afternoon. I was rude, and I brushed you off. And I shouldn’t have done that. I’m sorry.”

Emmett didn’t know what to say. He’d never heard a grown man apologizing, least of all to him. He crossed his arms.

“It’s just when it comes to Cosmo, sometimes I get…” Tobey held his hands up to his eyes to indicate tunnel vision. “You know?”

“You drove ten miles of dark back roads to say sorry for rushing your son to the hospital?”

“Well, yeah.”

“Why?”

“Because I don’t have your phone number.”

“Oh.” Emmett hugged himself tighter. “Well, it’s all good.”

“Okay. Good.”

“Good.”

“Good.”

The crickets chirped loudly.

“Well, uh, I need to get back to work. So if you’ll excuse me…”

“Work?” Tobey asked.

“Yeah. I’ll be up all night compiling code.”

“Who’s watching Benny and Kate?”

“Benny can take care of herself, mostly.”

“No. Nope. No.” Tobey shook his head. “Cosmo, come on, we have more work to do.”

“Yay,” came the fatigued voice of Cosmo from inside the truck.

“Wait, what are you doing?” Emmett asked as Tobey pushed past him.

“Taking care of your kids so you can get your work done,” Tobey said.

“No, you can’t do that,” Emmett said. “I’ve got it.”

“Listen, Em,” Tobey said, putting his hand on Emmett’s shoulder. “I’m a single parent too. I know it’s hard. Accept help when people offer it, all right?”

Emmett grimaced. “Okay, fine. But just until Kate goes to bed. I can handle it after that. Really.”

Tobey nodded and pushed past him into the house. Cosmo slouched behind.

Emmett heard the shriek of Benny noticing they were back. “Cosmo! Let me see! Did you get stitches?”

Hanging his head in shame, Emmett trudged to his bedroom and sat at his desk, his computer monitors waking up as he jostled the mouse. He tried to focus and get back to work; this code wouldn’t compile itself. But the touch of Tobey’s hand still burned on his shoulder.

Find out more about Jessie Sanders by following her social media links below:

Instagram

Amazon Author Page

Website

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Author Interview - Amber Lambda

Reigning from the dreamy plains where tornadoes and imagination roam, Amber Lambda has always been filled with a creative streak, and you’ll never catch her without a notebook. (A pen, however, is a different story.

Though she adores the endless possibilities of a blank page, Amber's author heart belongs to YA love stories, often including low fantasy and soft sci-fi elements. Her mission is to create clean stories laced with themes and ideas that teens (and adults) will love and relate to.

You can follow Amber's life, writing, and caffeine adventures at her social links, and her debut novel Halos is available on Amazon.

Genre: YA romance and fantasy

Q&A:

Q1: What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My debut novel
Halos is about almost-sixteen-year-old Faye, who is an avid dreamer with recurring visions of a certain boy and a world in the sky—and it actually was first inspired by a dream I had of three main characters of the story! Of course, the story itself changed completely, but the dynamic between the characters stayed intact, which was pretty fun. As the story grew, it also became inspired by themes I felt like most young adults can relate to, when things aren’t quite going as expected, and you have to make a choice to keep going and believing anyway, or let the world drain your dreams.

Q2: What’s your favourite and least favourite part of publishing? 
My favorite part has been hearing from readers. It’s been so cool to know that people relate to Faye’s daydreamy personality, to hear what they took from the themes woven in, and that Icarus is growing a fanclub haha! On the flip side, my least favorite thing was formatting. I wished I’d had the skill to make the pages prettier, and someday I’d like to expand that skill and release a special edition with maps and fancy things. Someday.

Q3: What authors, or books have influenced you?
Th
ough I haven’t read her books in a long time, I remember Cassandra Clare being really inspiring to kicking off my writing journey. Her Mortal Instruments series was the first one that I’d read with multiple POVs and where I felt like I got to know individual characters on a deeper level. Likewise, I love a lot of manga for the same reason, especially series like Fruits Basket, where the characters’ arcs and the themes of the books are a huge focus. I definitely enjoy writing character-driven stories where the plot wouldn’t exist without them and their growth.

Q4: What is your schedule like when you’re writing a book?
As a homeschool mom and a freelance editor, my schedule is pretty tight most days! My writing schedule can be quite erratic and is often squeezed into small bits of time throughout the day, or late at night when I should be sleeping.

Q5: What advice would you give to a writer working on their first book?

Even if you’re not a plotter, at least knowing what your character wants (even if it’s obviously not what they need) can make a huge difference in the story. It gives them a focus to work toward and can help give you an idea of what they might do to work toward it when you get stuck.

Q6: What do the words “writer’s block” mean to you? 
It means that inspiration is
n’t flowing the way I’d like it to and writing life has become difficult! I might take a break to fill my creative well with some reading or kdrama, or dabble in a different project in a while. But I’ve learned that if I really want to finish my books, sometimes that means pushing through even when I’m not exactly feeling it.

Q7: What part of the book was the most fun to write?

My favorite parts of Halos are the building hints of romance and scenes where the characters grow closer. They made me feel super sappy and embarrassed at first because I hadn’t ever imagined being a romance writer when I first started out my writing journey! It was a learning experience, but I learned I really loved creating the romantic plot, and it started my journey into the realm of clean romance!

Q8: How would you describe your book’s ideal reader?
I write for other hopeless romantic young adult readers who love sweet couples to cheer for, a dash of whimsical adventures and dreams to chase—but who also want these elements rooted in deep themes that speak to real life, leaving them with something to think about even at ‘the end.’

Q9: What are you working on now?
Right now I
’m about a third through this draft of another YA fantasy romance called Comets Fade with Summer. It follows Halley, who is forced to start her social life over after a cross-country move, and is about making true connections, battling peer pressure—and maybe about not falling in love with your imaginary friend. I’ve decided I’m actually going to jump into the querying process with it this summer! I planned on trying to be a hybrid author, but I hadn’t really planned on querying just yet, so I’m a little terrified and excited all at once!

Q10: What are you currently reading?
I’m currently reading though a stack of some fun YA books I borrowed from the library. Including Once Upon a K-prom, which makes my inner kdrama fangirl super happy! I also love to arc read for other indie authors and am reading Belonging With Her Best Friend by Kristin Canary, a cute romcom!

Halos by Amber Lambda is available as ebook and paperback. Keep reading for a sneak peek.

The boy at the door quirked his brow. Not Andrew. Unruly dark hair, unreadable grey eyes, freckles speckled heavily across his face.

Faye’s heart stopped rigid, and her legs wobbled beneath her. Her jaw fell open, quivering. It was—

“It’s you,” the boy’s level voice stated the words her own mouth wasn’t forming.

Every bit as handsome as she’d dreamed and taller than imagined, he towered close to a foot over her. She moved her gaze down his iridescent silver jacket to his macho combat boots and back to the cool swoosh of bangs across his forehead. An awareness of her puffy, red eyes and the faded denim dress she’d thrown on flushed over her.

“M-me?” she squeaked. “You? What are you doing here?”

“I came for you.”

She searched his attractive features again for good measure, not a crease of joking in his tight lips.

“Wh-what?” Lightheadedness flooded her brain, and she braced against the doorway.

Somewhere, way deep down, she should be skeptical, confused, maybe even afraid. Instead, overwhelming wonder shivered through her with so many questions.

One blurted out as most important: “Why?”

“You’re needed,” he answered matter-of-factly.

Needed? Faye Wallace, the professional daydreamer? She blinked, unable to imagine. “For what?” He put his hands in his pockets and glanced over his shoulder. “I can’t say here. They’ll explain when you arrive.”

Find out more about Amber Lambda by following the social media links below:

Facebook

Instagram

Goodreads

Amazon Author Page

Website

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Author Interview - Lydia MacClaren

Lydia MacClaren has been writing stories since her earliest memories. She lives in rural Pennsylvania with her loving husband and sweet daughter. When she is not chasing around a never-sleeping baby, she writes. When she is not writing, she dreams about her fictional worlds.

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Q&A:

Q1: What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?

Seven Lives Saved is the name of my book set to be published July 14th. It was inspired by the first line, “Kathka was dead.” I was captivated by the line, and though the story changed along the road that line remained the same.

Q2: When you’re writing an emotional or difficult scene, how do you set the mood?

I listen to music! I have a Spotify playlist for all of my stories, and while I listen to those songs often while writing I find that more often, I’m captivated by one perfect song. And then I listen to it over, and over, and over, and over again.

Q3: What authors, or books have influenced you?

The first books to get me into fiction were dragon books, a creature included in my debut novel. A huge draw into the fantasy world was the Dragon Keeper Chronicles by Donita K. Paul. J.R.R. Tolkien as well as Brandon Sanderson have been impactful in my writing journey as well.

Q4: Which of the characters do you relate to the most and why?

I’m not sure I really “relate” to any of them, they are so drastically different to me! If I had to choose, I would say Nana. She is so optimistic and positive, I aspire to be more like her.

Q5: What advice would you give to a writer working on their first book?

Write the first draft. I think writers often get stuck agonizing over getting everything right the first time, but really the actual writing is such a small part of the book writing process. Editing is where it’s at, and don’t be afraid to take your time there!

Q6: How much research did you need to do for your book? 

I performed sporadic research. As it’s in a fantasy world I could make up a lot of the stuff myself, but since I don’t live in an arid region a lot of random information had to be looked up as I wrote.

Q7: What was your hardest scene to write, and why?

The transitionary scenes are always the hardest for me to write. Action is easy, but the lulls? Hard.

Q8: What is your writing process like? Are you more of a plotter or a pantser?

Absolutely a plotter, but a pantser in world building. The first step of my writing method is brainstorming, then I plot out each scene, then I write. A lot develops as I’m writing, things like history, lore, character voices, geography. Those are then all streamlined in the editing process. For Seven Lives Saved I had 10 drafts!

Q9: What are you working on now?

I am working on another stand-alone novel called, The Bound. I hope to publish the book in Winter 2023. Seven Lives Saved and The Bound are complete opposites! One is set in the desert, the other in the snow. One is fast-paced, the other slow. One has an antagonistic main character, the other is compassionate. One has a positive end, the other is a tragedy. It makes it fun to work on them both!

Q10: What are you currently reading?

Too many books. On audiobook, Caraval by Stephanie Garber. Ebook, ARC of Jimmy Chartron and the Lost Keystone by J. T. Michaels. And last, I’m rereading The Song of the Sparrow by Lisa Ann Sandell.

Seven Lives Saved, by Lydia MacClaren is released on July the 14th. Check out the excerpt below from Chapter 1:

Kathka was dead.

The silver edge had sliced his throat, and he had lain upon the desert as his blood soaked into the parched earth. Hatred boiled away what life was left in his veins. There he died, abandoned and defeated.

Kathka’s murderer knelt beside his body and pressed two fingers to his jugular. He found no life. As the old man withdrew his hand he spoke, the only words that Kathka would hear him say. Words that cursed, words that damned.

Words that stuck like thorns into Kathka’s soul. They bound him to his killer. He strained to speak, to move, to act, but he had no corporeal body that had been buried by his murderer in the dust of the desert. He was a soul and nothing more, an awareness that saw the world of the living but unable to interact with it.

A soul cursed to remain tethered to his murderer, the Wise Man, the last of the gods. The only one who had not forsaken the land.

The damning words were the last that Kathka would hear for a very long time. But time was a difficult thing to comprehend. His senses had become warped, all he knew was his murderer.

The god kept to his caves, large carved-out rooms filled with ancient tomes and sheaves of paper, quills and inkwells, little trinkets of rock and feathers, and glass jars filled with dried plants. There were no visitors, there was nothing but the god.

It was a strange limbo that Kathka inhabited. Every passing moment could be a day or a thousand years. In that uncertain expanse of time the old man shuffled back and forth between his books, tugging Kathka’s soul along with every step.

Kathka seethed.

Unable to speak, he still possessed the ability to think. In his convoluted thoughts, he replayed every moment that led to his death, and his hatred for his murderer grew. He had come with his army to conquer, but he had met the Wise Man alone. Alone before the god. Then his blood was spilled. That moment looped in his mind and he tried to discern how he could have avoided that fate.

His death seemed inevitable. His murderer was a god.

Still, he dwelt on the memories. The blade slicing again, and again. It was rage that had driven him to the wilderness to kill the old man, and that rage continued to grow.

It consumed him.

The old man straightened at his desk, joints protesting with weary age. Then, he turned and caught Kathka in his gaze. Calm as a still pool.

Kathka’s wayward thoughts ceased. Anger and fear wound seamlessly together until it was impossible to find the start of one and the end of the other or where he lay amidst it all.

The god knew. He knew all that went on inside of what remained of the man named Kathka.

“I will make you a deal.” His voice, rough from disuse, shattered the fragile space. As if the god expected a verbal response he paused. Even if Kathka could speak, he did not know what to say. Ages had passed, or what felt like ages, and these new words were as dangerous as the last the old man had uttered.

“If you save seven lives, I will give you a second life.”

The rage welled within Kathka. The Wise Man knew of the wrath that yearned for physical expression. He also knew the fear that Kathka’s fury could not smother.

Fear that the past would be repeated.

“If you agree, at the right time you will know who to save. You will be bound to them, you will not be free until they are saved.” The Wise Man explained. Confusion swept through Kathka, but the man simply repeated, “You will know who to save. Do you accept?”

Kathka could not respond, but he accepted the deal. He barely understood the proposition, but he would accept the terms. He would save however many lives to find release from the endless torture he endured tethered to the immortal god. Then, with his new life, he would finish what he could not in his previous.

He would kill the Wise Man.

The old man knew his intentions. Nothing was hidden from him, the god of wisdom. But he sighed, nodded, and murmured, “Then Kathka, we have a deal.”

Find out more about Lydia MacClaren and her novel Seven Lives Saved by following the social media links below:

Instagram

Goodreads

AmazonAuthor Page

Website

TikTok

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Friday, July 8, 2022

Book Review: To Chase the Sun, by Craig Randall

 

To Chase the Sun is a poetry collection about growth and coming out of the darkness of depression. I read a poem or two each morning and found it such an uplifting way to start my day. The poems are accessible, lacking the confusion language so many poems seem to have, and there’s a nice mixture of longer and shorter poems depending on the amount of time you have to read. I love discovering poetry that is not daunting, that anyone can enjoy. If you’re after a new poetry collection that you can wade in and out of then I highly recommend this book.

In the author’s words: “Hold to what hope you’ve found. Treasure it. Cherish its warmth and glow.”

Find out more about the author by checking out his Instagram account @craigrandallwriting. His poetry collection is available from online stores such as Amazon.

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Author Interview - Sarina Langer


Sarina Langer is a dark fantasy author of both epic and urban paranormal novels.

She’s as obsessed with books and stationery now as she was as a child, when she drowned her box of colour pencils in water so they wouldn’t die and scribbled her first stories on corridor walls.

(‘A first sign of things to come’, according to her mother. ‘Normal toddler behaviour’, according to Sarina.)

In her free time, she usually reads one audiobook, one ebook, and one paperback (one for every occasion), plays video games, and obsesses over mythology.

She has a weakness for books on writing and pretty words. (Specificity, anyone? Or perhaps nebulous?)

Sarina lives with her partner and daughter (read: their cat) in the south of England.

Genre: dark epic fantasy

Q&A:

Q1: What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?

My latest is Blood Song, the second book in the Blood Wisp trilogy. I barely touched on Midoka in the Relics of Ar’Zac series and felt that the country had a lot more story in it, so I wanted to give it its own series. With Blood Song, I really wanted to explore the Mists. My main character Yua is in a unique position to explore what’s beyond that forbidden veil and my curiosity was too strong. I couldn’t resist.

Q2: What’s your favourite and least favourite part of publishing? 

My favourite part is the initial plotting, worldbuilding, getting to know the characters—all that fun stuff! My other favourite part is writing the first draft. It can be such a rush to surrender to the words and see where they take me, to set my characters onto their journeys and see how they cope.

My least favourite part usually sets in some time during my own edits. I reach a point where I’ve worked on it so much that I begin to change things around just for the sake of it, not because they need changing. It gets harder to see what needs doing, and to be honest, I get tired of my own books after a while. You can only spend so much time in the same story before you’ve read it all too often and none of the plot twists have any effect on you anymore. This becomes my least favourite part when it’s also too early to send the book to my critique partners—I really need someone else’s feedback, but it’s not ready just yet. It can be difficult to push through that.

Q3: What authors, or books have influenced you?

I believe that every book we read influences us on some level. We learn something from every book, even if it’s only something small like ‘huh, I don’t like love triangles!’ But there was one book that made me realise I wanted to be an author, and that’s Empress by Karen Miller. It had my first anti-hero, the worldbuilding was phenomenal, and it was the first time I felt betrayed by a main character. Because Empress showed me that I wanted to write and be an author, it’ll forever have a special place in my heart. I’m sure another book would have done this eventually, but it was Empress for me. It was like it had whacked me over the head with a table and screamed, ‘This! This is what you’re meant to do!’

I don’t see enough love for Karen Miller’s books. Please check them out.

Q4: What is your schedule like when you’re writing a book?

It depends on the time of year. I work term-time in a university library, so my time during term-time is very limited. I get up extra early so I can write or edit at least a little before work. There’s never time for much, but it gets it done, albeit slowly. It can be frustrating when the words are flowing and everything is going so smoothly, and then I have to stop because I’ll be late for work otherwise. I imagine lots of authors who have to fit writing around day jobs have the same problem. I’ve had to jump up and get ready now many times because I forgot the time.

Term breaks are another story. I get to work from home full-time for two and a half months, so I focus on new-WIP-writing during my summers. I get two shorter term breaks, too (Christmas and Easter), but I’m often too busy catching up on everything else I didn’t have time for during the term to get much writing done then. My summer break is a fantastic time to get all the writing done.

I’ve also been able to edit at work on occasion when it’s been quiet enough. I’m extremely lucky to work with such supportive colleagues and managers! That doesn’t work for writing though. I need the peace and quiet of my home study for that or else I’m pulled out of ‘the zone’ every time a student has a question. That’s its own kind of frustrating. I need to be able to surrender to the writing, if that makes sense, and I can’t do that at work.

Q5: What advice would you give to a writer working on their first book?

This is a huge learning curve, so be patient and be kind to yourself. Don’t worry about getting it right from your first draft. Perfection is an illusion—you can totally strive for it, but only if you can accept that you’ll never reach it. Your first book will likely be the messiest because you’re at the very beginning of your writing journey. Everything you learn from this first book will flow into your second book, and so on. It will get easier if you keep at it and learn on the way. Your writing approach will adjust and change as you go. That’s fine and completely normal. It’s a fluid process.

And, perhaps most important of all: persevere. Your first book is very unlikely to make you rich. Your second and third book are also unlikely to pay your bills. They say that overnight success takes ten years, so stick with it, learn, and you’ll be a stronger writer for it. Don’t give up if you can’t quit your day job right away. This stuff takes time and a commitment to learning.

Q6: What do the words “writer’s block” mean to you? 

This may be unpopular, but there’s no such thing. I believe that writers use writer’s block either to blame something they have no control over and therefore it’s not their responsibility, or as an excuse because it’s easier than admitting that they’re scared of other people reading their book, of this book not being as good as their last, of everyone hating it, of not being good enough in general—lots of things.

Writer’s block itself—being physically unable to write because the muse isn’t talking to you today—isn’t a thing. Inspiration comes as you write. If you’re waiting for the muse to come to you, you’ll be waiting for a long time. Instead, show the muse that you’re serious and get writing.

If you’re staring at the screen or your notebook and feel drained, you may have burned out. Take a break. If you’re staring at the screen or your notebook and can’t think of what to write, move on to another project. It may not be this book’s time. If you can’t get excited about your book, you can’t expect your readers to be excited either.

If you’re a pantser and swear by winging the whole book, then that’s great if it works for you. If you tend to get stuck and don’t know how to move on, just do a tiny bit of plotting. I don’t mean the ‘plan every single chapter in extreme detail’ kind of plotting, just enough to give you a road map. Give yourself somewhere to go.

As an editor, I often see writers frustrated because they can’t figure out what their characters should do next. They’re thinking about what the character should do or what would be most exciting for the story when they should consider what the character would do. It’s not really up to the writer to decide. It’s up to the character—all you need to do is listen and let them act as they would according to their nature. Think of them as real people. When you really know your characters, you’ll never wonder what they would do again, because there’s only one option. When you ask yourself ‘what would my best friend do?’, you don’t think about what would be most exiting for your situation. You know what they would do, because that’s just who they are. It’s the same with your characters.

Instead of blaming something that doesn’t exist, figure out what exactly is stopping you from writing—fear, burnout, a lacking understanding of your characters, not enough direction, a lack of excitement for this particular project, etc—and address that issue.

If you want to write a book, it’s your responsibility to make it happen. Blaming writer’s block takes at least some, if not all, of that responsibility away from you.

Q7: What part of the book was the most fun to write?

I had a great time exploring the Mists and seeing how Yua and her Shadow grew closer! I wasn’t sure what to expect from either—Yua and her Shadow weren’t off to the warmest start in Blood Wisp, and the Mists have always been a taboo subject—so it was really fun to see Yua explore both.

Q8: How would you describe your book’s ideal reader?

Oh boy. This is a harder question than it should be.

The Blood Wisp trilogy is very dark, and a little bit witchy because it plays with shadow work. Yua’s Shadow is a real demon living inside her and trying to control her. So, if shadow work and/or the shadow from Jungian psychology are your thing, I think you’ll love this. This book focusses on what some might call dark magic as Yua slowly builds an accepting relationship with her Shadow and explores dangerous, forbidden places (the Mists). It’s also very LGBTQ-positive as Yua and Aza’s relationship develops.

So, the short answer is that my ideal reader for this book is someone who likes all of those things!

Q9: What are you working on now?

My summer break is just starting, so I have a lot of plans.

I’m doing the First Big Edit of Blood Vow, the final book in this trilogy. Once that’s done, I’ll send it to my critique partners. It’ll be great to get the first feedback on it. I love Yua and this world, which started with Riseof the Sparrows, but I’ve spent so much time here that I’m excited to go somewhere else and let someone else do the thinking.

My editor and I are currently working on Book 10 (title and cover reveal pending – I may have announced them by the time this interview goes live, but I’m unsure right now), the first book in my dark paranormal urban fantasy romance. I loved writing this book so much and the first feedback I’ve had has been incredible, so I can’t wait to share it later this summer. We’re getting close to wrapping it up, so I can focus on plotting and writing the first sequel. It looks like it’ll be a decology, so I’ll be here a while!

I’m also working on my contribution to the Twice Upon a Name charity anthology. The first edition was a big success, and by the time this interview goes live, I’m hoping to have the first draft of my story written.

Then there’s Shores of Bone, my Patreon exclusive novel. I’m hoping to get the whole thing finished this summer so I can start scheduling new chapters every two weeks rather than once a month. I’m having a lot of fun with this one. It’s great to be back with Reeve and Ludo, for Aza to have her own POV, and to see how Yua is getting on after the trilogy. There’s a new character, too, whom I love writing.

My next epic fantasy series will start with The Silence of Magic. I had this one benched for a while, but I figured out what was missing (multiple POVs; I only had one, and this world is too big for just the one view.) and I’m slowly coming back to it now. I have a lot of worldbuilding and character meeting to do, and I’m excited for both. I love seeing a new world come to life and how my characters navigate it.

More long-term I have my mythology project. It’s very early days, and with all the above projects, I’m letting it grow in its own time. Mythology is one of my favourite things, so I’m really excited to learn more about all the different pantheons and consider which stories and deities I might include in this novel. I’m in the early stages of the discovery phase, so I’m really just having fun with it right now.

Q10: What are you currently reading?

I like to have a book on the go for every part of my day, so I can read no matter what I do.

My current paperback is The Dark Forest by Cixin Liu. I fell in love with The Three-Body Problem (book one in this series) last year, and I’m enjoying this one too! The science gets pretty heavy at times, but surprisingly, I don’t feel lost. I failed all scientific subjects in High School, but these novels are doing what my teachers never could: they make me want to study Physics. It’s also making me realise that I don’t read enough sci-fi.

My current ebook is the Adamant Spirits charity anthology. Reading these short stories is motivating me to write my own, which is a nice feeling. I know I’m not the only writer who finds writing short stories much harder than writing full-length novels, so it’s great to have this boost!

I’m also listening to The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan. I liked his Percy Jackson series but I’m more of an Egyptian-mytholgy girl. It’s possibly my favourite pantheon, so I’m enjoying it a lot!

Blood Song, Book 2 of the Blood Wisp trilogy, is available on July 8th. Here is a sneak peek:

‘We’re not planning an invasion, if that’s what you’re worried about,’ Shizue said. ‘The Mists are unknown. Much of our fear comes from that lack of knowledge.’

Yua didn’t agree. Previous failed attempts were plenty of knowledge, as far as she was concerned. The whole country of Ar’Sanciond was dust because someone had thought they could research the Mists. She knew better than to say anything, though. Shizue didn’t need her agreement, just her co-operation, and Yua wasn’t about to give it.

‘We weren’t there,’ Yua said, ‘but I still know what happened in Rifarne not that long ago. What do you call that if not knowledge?’

‘A misguided attempt by a na├»ve and arrogant run-away. We could do better, Yua. You could do better. We’ve never had this opportunity before.’

‘And if it goes wrong? Would you leave me in there to be torn apart, make a note that I died tragically during your experiment, and move on? Or would you pretend it never happened and I just ran away, under too much pressure from my new responsibilities? And just so we’re perfectly clear, this is not one of my responsibilities.’

At least, she didn’t think so. Eventual war with other countries was. Learning to control her powers was. Maybe, one day, serving at court was.

But going for a stroll through the Mists was not.

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