Interview: Romantic fantasy author Carol Beth Anderson

Hi folks! I hope you’re having a fantastic July so far, the weather has been a bit hit and miss here in the UK, but when isn’t it?

Today I want to introduce you to another fabulous fantasy author and help you build that vertiginous TBR just a little higher. Step inside and say hi to Carol Beth Anderson, author of The Magic Eaters trilogy, and more.

Hello! Thank you for chatting with me today, why don’t you tell us a little about yourself.

I was born and raised in the Arizona desert, where I played make-believe games with my twin sister and older brother, transforming blankets into princess capes and my mother’s dresses into fine gowns. Almost as soon as I learned to write words, I began turning them into stories.

As a young adult, I moved to Texas and have lived here ever since. In addition to writing, I enjoy baking sourdough bread, hanging out with my teenage kids, husband, and miniature schnauzer, and hosting high-school exchange students.

Amazing, I was an exchange student back in my teens! We exchanged with France and Spain, and it was so much fun. When did you start writing and who inspired you? 

I’ve always written, but I was inspired to start writing a novel when I happened to meet a local author doing a signing at a bookstore. I read her novella that day and thought, “I could do that!” I started brainstorming for my first novel that night and started writing it a few days later.

I love that, I would absolutely love to do a signing in my local bookstore! And the idea of inspiring someone else to follow their dream is wonderful. I hope you wrote to that local author and told her she inspired you! What’s your favourite genre to read?

I love fantasy with romance in it (whether as a primary plot or subplot). I love Brent Weeks, Michael J. Sullivan, and Leigh Bardugo.

Romantic fantasy is my number one genre to read and write too, and Leigh Bardugo is one of my favourite authors! Six of Crows was just brilliant. Can you tell us about your published books and where we can get our hands on them?

The Frost Eater is the first book in The Magic Eaters Trilogy, which is upper-YA fantasy with dragons and romance on the side. The trilogy is complete, and I’ll admit … I adore this story. I’ve been thrilled to find that readers do too!

Buy The Frost Eater here, available in ebook, paperback, hardback and audio.

Add it to your TBR shelf here.

I have to admit, I’ve seen those covers around and been coveting them for quite a while! I’m definitely going to have to get the audio book of The Frost Eater! I’m in the process of having an audio book made of my debut novel and it’s such an exciting process! Where do you find inspiration for your stories? 

A lot of it just comes from letting my mind wander over the course of time. I write down ideas, and some of them stick! However, I also find inspiration from covers. For The Magic Eaters Trilogy, I just had some rough ideas. I found the covers as premades—the designer had already made them and had them for sale. I bought them, had her change the titles to the ones that would fit my series, and used the covers to help guide the series. I bought a premade for my next book (Faerie Fallen) too. I didn’t have any ideas for my next series that were “sticking” until I got the cover and suddenly had tons of ideas, based on the image.

I’m addicted to premade covers, The Fair Queen was a premade too and as soon as I saw it I knew it was the one. But I love the idea of taking inspiration from the cover itself! It sounds like you’re very visual, I bet you love Pinterest! Do you consider yourself a plotter, pantser or plantser? 

Plantser! I plan out major plot points in advance, but some of them do change as I go. I only do a chapter-by-chapter outline for one-quarter of the book at a time. (When I finish the first quarter, I do the detailed outline for the second quarter, and so on. And it still ends up changing along the way.)

I think most of us are plantsers at heart, my writing process is pretty similar. So, what are you working on right now?

Faerie Fallen, a romantic fantasy novel. It’s the first book in my Feathered Fae series, and I’m loving this world and characters and the slow-burn, enemies-to-lovers romance!

Faerie Fallen is on pre-order and comes out in December.

You had me at enemies-to-lovers romance! Your new series sounds like a combination of all my favourite things. What one piece of advice would you give aspiring authors? 

Publishing is a marathon, not a sprint.

So true. Thank you so much for chatting with me today! It’s been lovely to get to know you and your writing methods better. Before you go, where can we find out more about you and your books? 

Carol Beth Anderson’s website: https://carolbethanderson.com 

Sign up to my newsletter: https://carolbethanderson.com/sign-up-for-insider-emails/

Find me on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cbethanderson/

Join my Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/CBAStreetTeam

Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/cbethanderson

and Tiktok! https://www.tiktok.com/@cbethanderson


Well, that’s me on an official book-buying ban after adding all those gorgeous covers to my TBR!

I hope you’ve discovered a few new reads, I for one can’t wait for Faerie Fallen to release in December, it sounds right up my alley.

Happy reading friends,

Lyndsey

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Interview: New adult fantasy author K. L. Kolarich

This week, I had the absolute privilege of chatting with K. L. Kolarich, author of the gorgeous, epic New Adult fantasy series The Haidren Legacy.

Come along and find out what she had to say on writing, favourite tropes, and what to expect from book two in her new series…

Hi K.L., thank you so much for joining me on the blog today! Can you tell us a little about yourself to begin with?

In short, I’m just an itty bitty nymph who lives in a quiet, small town about an hour south of Nashville. Originally from Metro Detroit, you can imagine my nerdy haven, nestled in a loudly cicada-filled woods, is a far cry from those Motor-City origins. I reside in the humidity and ever-present trill with my four Bengal cats and mysteriously patient husband, who endures said cats along with myself. When I’m not scrawling away on the next installment in the THL series, we are usually lounging on our porch, sipping heavy handed pours, or traipsing around our little downtown square, doing the same.    

Well, that sounds absolutely dreamy! I’m from the UK and have dogs, so imagine the exact opposite of your fabulous, sunshine-filled life and you’re probably not far off! When did you start writing and what inspires you?

I never actually intended to become an author—it just happened. Which sounds overtly vague and nonchalant, but it’s true. I’d gone from working on a sort of research project to, through the prodding of trusted confidante, drafting a fantastical realm of my own, as the subject matter more accurately mirrored my bookshelf.
 
In my own writing, I find inspiration from the magic of music and language. Most especially, how different cultures tell their own stories and histories. This is, in part, why the worldbuilding in The Haidren Legacy is so vast. To some, even a bit daunting. I wanted the reader to truly feel as if they were in a foreign land, in which they needed to enlist a handy-dandy codex to navigate, like one traveling to a foreign country today. It could be said that the reader has to “work for it”, but then again, so would an American, for instance, to fully experience France. The goal was for that multi-layered richness to permeate off the page and their mobile devices. In a sense, I wanted my inspiration, the force propelling my heart, to setup residency in their own.  

I love a book with really rich world building, so that sounds perfect to me. I studied European languages at university, so I wonder if that experience is what draws me to fantasy novels with new and different cultures. I especially admire writers who can create entire languages! It’s not something I feel confident I could do. What are some of your favourite genres and tropes?

I’m going to answer this question by sharing that the most coveted possession in my entire home is my father’s decades-worn collection of Louis L’Amour books. These old westerns I grew up reading are filled with action, snark, and of course, unrelenting heroes who always win. In truth, I’m a sucker for hard-earned triumph. My softer side likes seeing the “guy get the girl”, so to say. But that isn’t always the case, is it? It’s ironic how what we love to read isn’t always what we need to write. Thus, it will be interesting indeed, to see the fruits of those old loves spring up, when permitted, throughout the remainder of the THL saga.  

That’s so true, I think sometimes we’re writing the stories we didn’t have when we were younger, trying to fill the gap between what we loved reading and what we felt was missing. On that note, tell us about your first published book.

My debut publication, The House of Bastiion (The Haidren Legacy, book 1) released just recently in January, 2021. Described as an intricate epic fantasy, full of political intrigue, complicated characters and sharp objects, HOB is best suited for fans of Sanderson, Hobb, and Rhodes (ie. Anyone who fancies a thick spine and a fat glossary).  

Additionally, I am already halfway through drafting HOB’s sequel, which I’m extremely excited about. While Book 1 undoubtedly laid a thorough groundwork for the worldbuild, its characters, and subsequently, a plethora of questions about everything in between, Book 2 compounds upon those questions, gives them further weight, and compels the reader to dig for clues; all of which, likely to result in many more delightfully head-scratching theories.  

I can’t wait to read it, political intrigue, complicated characters and sharp objects are three of my favourite things! Where do you find inspiration for your characters and settings? 

THL boasts a diverse cast. This was primarily inspired by my upbringing, alongside a wide variety of cultures, which is partly why I miss my northern state so much, aside from its snow. I wanted the Orynthian map to highlight the prism of beauty; how loveliness refracts in so many variegated ways.

Likewise, the tension among some of my invented peoples was inspired by the prejudice sometimes thrown against groups dissimilar to others…. An unfortunate human experience repeated throughout history. Adding that honest, often uncomfortable component to each character’s POV and personal experience was a crucial facet in honoring their differences, as well as showcasing why those differences should be treasured in the first place. 

I love that, it’s so important for literature to hold a mirror up to the realities of our world. And where better to reflect the darkest side of humanity than in a fantasy novel? Do you consider yourself a plotter, pantser or plantser?  

Plotter, plotter, and you guessed it, plotter.  
 
I’ve framed my entire series, but the in-depth plotting takes place per book, by chapter, by scene. It’s a bit meticulous, but to be honest, I think the whole book would become a giant rabbit trail if I didn’t. We all have our strengths and our areas for improvement. My strengths are just usually rooted in tedious marathons of systematic scheming. So, to that end, I stay in my obsessively organized happy place. 

 I plan my books by the scene too, but where I fall down is the series planning. I need to take a leaf out of your book with my next series and make an outline from the start! Plotting books whilst pantsing the series arc is a little chaotic! Tell us, what are you working on right now? 

As mentioned above, Book 2 is currently underway. This installment pulls the Quadren (a group of ambassadorial advisors assigned to each seated regent) out of the crown city, Bastiion, as they begin to travel the Orynthian map. This is an endearing development because it brings certain Houses to the forefront of our story. In Book 2, we will discover more about our male MC, Zaethan, who represents the House of Darakai, and in doing so, must investigate his origins to better understand who he is and who he is becoming.

That sounds fascinating, I love when book one in a series introduces a new world by focusing on one small section of it, but then book two takes you farther afield to see what else is out there. I’m excited to see where your characters end up at the end of the book!  What one piece of advice would you give aspiring authors? 

I give the same advice to anyone who asks, usually because I still need to hear it myself: Write your favorite book, because no one else can.  
 
When at my best, I’m treating myself like THL’s biggest fan. No one will ever know my characters as well as I do, love them as dearly as I do, so how dare I belittle their value in unnecessary comparison or subject them to unproductive critique? Ratings and reviews will always vary because readers do. We should continue to grow and expand, no matter our success. But from day one, from the initial page, you are your first reader. Feed that soul what it craves, and the rest will follow.  

I think I needed to hear that today, thank you K.L. I completely agree, write for yourself first and foremost. Thank you so much for chatting with me today, it’s been a pure delight. Before you go, how can we find out more about you and your books?  

The best way to keep up to date on Luscia, Zaethan, and all future THL installments, giveaways, events, etc. is to subscribe to the #TeamHaidren Newsletter. While I am active on social media, I tend to give extra love to the team in the form of bonus content and exclusive raffles through our NL.  
 
Additionally, Team Haidren causes a good amount of ruckus in our reader group (hosted on FB). Being a rowdy menagerie of misfits, we welcome everyone to join!   

K.L.’s website:   https://www.thehaidrenlegacy.com/  

Signup to the Team Haidren newsletter:  https://www.thehaidrenlegacy.com/contact  

Follow the THL series on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thehaidrenlegacy/  

Follow the author on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/k.l.kolarich/  

Join the Team Haidren Facebook group:   https://www.facebook.com/groups/teamhaidren  

Like the THL Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/thehaidrenlegacy  


That’s it, I’m off to read House of Bastiion, hold my calls.

It was so lovely getting to know K.L. better, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. I can vouch for how much fun the Team Haidren Facebook group is, I’ve been a member for a while and it’s a great place to find new fantasy book recs, so go check it out if you’re looking for a new fantasy-loving gang to join (motorbikes and leather jackets not required, but you do you boo).

Lyndsey

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Why you should be your own biggest cheerleader

In my newsletter a few weeks ago, I opened up about juggling all the balls, letting some drop and struggling with “adulting”.

It can be really tough doing everything you HAVE to do and leaving any time for the things you WANT to do. Especially without those want-tos starting to feeling like just another item on your neverending to-do list.

If you’re nodding along right now, I feel you. After my 9-to-5, looking after my 3-year-old and keeping all the essential plates spinning, I struggle to prioritise anything that brings me joy or is good for me (workout? Ugh, I don’t have the energy. Reading? I wish I had the time! Eating healthily? I don’t have time to cook a delicious, nutritious meal from scratch, it’ll have to be beige food from the freezer again).

But the thing is, if we don’t make time for the things we enjoy or that will move us towards a personal goal, then we’ll end up burnt out and miserable, and we’ll still be a mile away from the life we dream of in five, or ten, or twenty years’ time.

Be your own cheerleader

You know how we’re told not to worry about what others think of us, because they rarely do? They’re too busy focusing on themselves. Well, it’s absolutely true (wear the dress, eat the donut, dance like no one’s watching! Life is too short, people). And you know what else? Nobody is going to give you the life you dream of or the opportunity you’re waiting for if you don’t put in the work.

I said what I said.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Doesn’t it sound liberating to know you’re the only one responsible for your own success, and there’s no one out there who can keep you away from it if you’re willing to work hard and persevere? OK, a little scary, but also liberating!

The thing is, no one cares about your life, your career, your goals and dreams and hopes for the future as much as you do. I’m sure your friends and family are really supportive and would do anything for you, but at the end of the day kids, it’s down to you.

Carve your own path

So, no gatekeeper is letting you into your chosen career or industry by the front door? Use the back door. Find a tiny, second-story window. Take a sledgehammer and smash your way in. (OK, that last one was a bit aggressive, be kind while also smashing your way in).

The best thing about the internet, social media, and the way we live our lives online nowadays is that it’s created so many options and so many ways to get ourselves and our work out there in front of the world. No matter what you want to do, there’s a way to do it yourself using the internet and a bit of brass neck. (Probably. I mean, if you’re trying to become a glaziologist studying icebergs in the Arctic, you might need a biology degree. But you get my meaning.)

Start a blog, launch a podcast, self publish your book, build an online following and sell your handmade crafts, study remotely and take classes by experts the whole world over. Find your community, make a name for yourself, support a cause that’s close to your heart, pay it forward and help the next person up the ladder behind you.

But most of all, be your own biggest cheerleader. And when it feels tough, let me do it for you.

You’re filled with unlimited potential, you can do anything you dream of, I believe in you!

Lyndsey

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