Interview: Debut Fantasy and Sci-Fi Author Marie Reed

Hello lovely people! We’re down to single digits until release day for The Solitary King and I cannot wait for you all to get your hands on the second chapter of Aria’s story. You can get your hands on it here:

Today, I’m chatting with another one of my Once Upon a Name anthology coauthors, Marie Reed, so keep reading to find out more about our upcoming collection of fantasy short stories…

Hi Marie! Thank you so much for speaking to me today. Why don’t you start by telling us a little bit about yourself?

I was born in Ohio but have lived in Illinois as long as I can remember. I met my husband in high school; we have 2 kids who are both in school. My major in college was Archaeology and Classical Studies, and I would love to work in a museum or library.

That sounds absolutely fascinating! And a perfect background for creating fantasy stories. Working in a library would be such a dream job! When did you start writing and what inspired you?

I’ve been writing on and off since elementary school. My school had an author contest every year and we’d get to write and illustrate our books in hardback form. In fifth grade, mine was voted Best In Show and I got to go meet published authors and show them my book. I still have a signed copy of a book I got that day as well. I went through a poetry phase in high school and have since thrown all evidence of that away. Now that the kids are in school, I have quiet time to sit and write down the ideas that have been swirling around my head for years.

What an amazing opportunity your school gave you! I’m very jealous. My school had us write poems in the style of Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes, and when the school assessor came round they liked mine so much they took a copy to show round other schools. I was (and still am) so proud, but I didn’t get to meet a published author or get a signed book!! What are your favourite books that you’ve read?

I’ve read so many books that it’s hard to pick favorites. I read mostly urban and epic fantasy and sci-fi. However, Pride and Prejudice will forever be one of my favorite books. Terry Brooks is also one of my absolute favorite authors. And so many indie authors that I’ve come to find in the past few years!

I’ve loved reading more indie books over the last couple of years, both of my absolute favourite reads from 2021 were indie. Tell us about your upcoming debut publication!

My story about Callie Azuresmith in Once Upon a Name will be my first published story, but I am working on an urban fantasy/superhero story that I hope to have finished in the next year. I love reading about fantastic, magical places, so that’s what I write about.

I’m really excited to read your story, Forged in Fire, in Once Upon a Name, and your first novel! Where do you find the inspiration for your characters and story?

I’m not really sure where my characters come from; I usually start with a random scene in the middle of my story and the character builds themselves a history from that.

For my debut series, The Fair Chronicles, it was actually the setting that came first and then the story and characters came out of that, so there’s infinite ways inspiration for a story can strike. Do you consider yourself a plotter or a pantser?

I’m definitely more of a pantser, but am trying to outline and plan more to help with the pacing of my stories, and to make sure I can hit novel length word counts.

I’m a chronic underwriter, hitting word count goals is such a challenge for me, even as a card carrying plotter. What’s your current WIP?

My superhero story is about a girl named Natasha, who wanted to go into law enforcement, but found that no one trusts her in her hometown because of her…shocking outbursts. So she leaves home and decides to fight crime in the big city, and of course gets in over her head.

That sounds so cool, I love a good superhero movie so I’ll definitely be reading that when you publish! What one piece of advice would you give to fellow aspiring authors?

I would say to stay at your own pace and do your own thing. One person might tell you that you need to write a thousand words every day, another might say you need a detailed outline before you can write. Do whatever feels natural.

Brilliant advice, I love that. It can be really disheartening to hear some writers say you need to write every single day, or showing off their huge daily word counts, especially when some of us work full time and have young kids. Staying in your own lane and keeping your eyes on your own paper can be challenging, but it’s so important if you want to achieve your own goals and not be distracted by what everyone else is doing.

Thank you so much for chatting with me today Marie! Before you go, where can we find out more about you and keep up to date with your works-in-progress?

I’m still starting out, but I have an author page on Facebook and Instagram, and have profiles on Amazon, Goodreads, and Bookbub. There isn’t much there yet, but hopefully that will change soon!

How lovely is Marie? I’m excited for Once Upon a Name’s release so you can read both Marie’s story, Forged in Fire, and mine, Baroness of Blood and Bone!

Have you seen the 2022 reading planner we’ve put together to raise even more money for Book Aid International? It’s full of really useful layouts like habit trackers, month at a glance, a year in books and review pages to help you keep track of your reading and make notes on the books you read. It also features quotes and illustrations from our stories in the anthology, which you could even colour in if you fancied!

Click here to get your copy:



Interview: time travel sci-fi author D.M. Taylor

I hope you’re having a relaxing, restorative and joyous festive break, friends! I scheduled this post before the big day, so right now I’m probably knee-deep in mince pies and Baileys. Or sneaking the batteries out of whichever annoying new toy the grandparents bought for my three-year-old…

As a little Twixmas treat (that’s the scientific name for the gap between Christmas and New Year where we only wear pajamas and have no idea what day it is), I’m sharing my interview with the lovely, talented and very down-to-earth D.M. Taylor, one of my Once Upon a Name co-authors.

Read on to find out what we chatted about.

Hi, thank you so much for chatting with me today! Tell us a little about yourself to begin with.

I’m from Michigan. I’ve lived here my whole life. My favorite part about living in Michigan is that we have the most spectacular summers surrounded by the Great Lakes. It’s never too far to get to a beach. 

That sounds wonderful, we’re not too far from the Lake District in England, and we’re right on the edge of the Peak District, so I definitely appreciate a good natural backdrop! When did you start writing and what inspired you?

I’ve been a writer my whole life. In grade school, always writing stories and entering the Young Author’s contests. I have stacks and stacks of diaries, poetry notebooks, story starters that I’ve written in throughout my life. 

I made the move to become a published author a few years ago after writing a story that was inspired by the loss of my mom. Once the first draft of that story was on paper, a fire ignited to see it to publication. 

I’m so sorry for your loss. What a beautiful tribute to write a story inspired by your mother, and for that story to have been the catalyst for your publishing career. What are some of your favourite books?

I am all over the place with what I like to read. In a nutshell, I love a story that I can totally lose myself in. Some favorites include; Dark Matter by Blake Crouch, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Dracula by Bram Stoker, Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien.

Good choices! And quite a mix there, you obviously have an eclectic taste. I think it’s great when you can enjoy a wide range of genres and look for the story elements you love that link them together. Tell us about your first published book.

My debut book is titled, The Reckoning: A Time Travel Thriller.

It’s about a young woman who is facing the grief of losing her mother to cancer. She goes on to become a renowned physicist who is driven to discover time travel and get back to her mom. But, what she thought would undo years of turmoil, might have triggered the downfall of society and put those she loves in peril danger. 

That sounds so fascinating, and grief is such a strong motivator, your protagonist sounds incredibly courageous. Where do you find inspiration for your characters or settings? 

I am a people watcher! Most of what I write comes from people I know, I’ve watched, or experiences I’ve read about. The stories of real people that impress on me the most, stick around and take up space in my brain until I get them onto paper as a character in the world I make up for them. 

I love that, reality is such a rich source of inspiration. And creating a fantastical world to set the story in just adds another layer of possibility to let your creativity go wild, while keeping the story grounded in truth. Are you a plotter, pantser or plantser? 

I’ve evolved from a straight pantser to a plantster. I am unable to tap into creativity in straight out plotting but I do a rough outline to keep my timelines straight. Time travel is tricky business. 

I can imagine! I’m a plantser too, I need some structure, but not so much that it stifles my creativity. What are you working on right now?

I’m in editing for my third book in The Reckoning Series and the short story I am contributing for Once Upon a Name: The Sultana of the Deathly Stars.

Editing is my least favourite stage of the writing process, so I’m sending you lots of coffee and good vibes! What one piece of advice would you give aspiring authors? 

Write the book. Everything else can be figured out afterward. 

Thank you so much for joining me today, D.M.! Before you go, how can we find out more about you and your books? 

D.M. Taylor’s Website:

Follow her on Instagram:

Like her Facebook page:

Or find her on TikTok: @authordmtaylor

Book 3 in The Reckoning Series is coming soon! 

I hope you had fun getting to know D.M. Taylor and learning more about her books and upcoming releases. I’m so excited to be working together on Once Upon a Name! Have you heard about our new 2022 reading planner? It’s a gorgeous book filled with weekly, monthly and annual calendars, reading trackers, review pages and illustrations and quotes from our stories in the upcoming anthology. If you order yours now, you can start using it in January and keep track of your reading in a beautiful, mindful way all year long.

Get the Once Upon a Name 2022 reading planner from Amazon

Happy reading!



Interview: YA and NA fantasy author Bekah Berge

Happy Sunday friends, how was your week? I hope you’re taking the time to rest and recuperate before next week, you deserve to take it slow today and refill your cup, whether that’s reading a book, taking a nice, hot bath, going for a long walk, or playing your favourite music at full blast and dancing around your kitchen. (I’ll be doing all of those things, and going for a big roast dinner at the pub later, too!)

Today, I want to introduce you to an incredible woman who is not just a brilliant writer and a huge supporter of indie authors, she’s also a really inspiring human.

Meet Bekah Berge, author or Needlework and Sedendum, and one of the amazing authors I’m working with on Once Upon a Name!

Hi Bekah, thanks so much for joining me today! Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Hi everyone, my name is Bekah Berge and I write YA and NA fantasy. When not writing, I am often found reading or trying out a new vegan recipe. I also have a rare chronic pain condition called CRPS (complex regional pain syndrome) that can make life a little more complicated… 

YA fantasy is my favourite genre, and I love trying new recipes! I’ve seen your posts about CRPS on social media and it sounds like such a tough condition, I admire you so much for facing it head on and still going after your dreams! So, when did you start writing and what inspired you? 

I began writing a little over 10 years ago. I had been crafting stories in my head for years, but never thought of becoming a writer until one day when I decided to put my thoughts on a page. Over 400 pages later, I had my first book. It was awful with several plot holes, but I was hooked. I couldn’t wait to start writing another story. Now, over a decade later, I’ve written eight books and published four of them.  

Wow, eight books! You’re a total writing veteran. What would you say is your favourite book or genre?

My absolute favorite book of all time is Brightly Burning by Mercedes Lackey. I love reading fantasy, historical fiction, historical romance, rom coms, biographies, and a few classics. I’m a sucker for enemies-to-lovers, as well as anything set in or involving Egypt. 

Enemies to lovers gets me every single time. I haven’t read Brightly Burning but I’ll have to check it out! I love getting book recs from the authors I interview, they’re always the best. Can you tell us about your first published book?

My first published book was The Whisperings in the Shadows, which is part of the Shadow Series. It’s a fun series for me to write because my hero and villain are the same person. You’ll have to read it to learn more. 

Ooh, that sounds very intriguing! I can’t wait to read it. Where do you find inspiration for your characters or settings? 

For me, inspiration often comes in the form of music. Other times I’ll be inspired by a piece of poetry or (strangely) when I’m cleaning. People would be shocked by how many storylines have come to me while cleaning the kitchen.  

I get most of my ideas while doing mindless tasks like cleaning too, or out walking the dogs. Something about nature and no distractions, it’s my prime creative time. Are you a plotter, pantser or plantser? 


Me too, I need a good, strong outline to keep me on track while my mind wanders off on a tangent! What are you working on right now?

I’m working on two short stories going in two different anthologies, as well as a few other projects that I’m keeping close to my chest for now. 

Exciting! I can’t wait to read your story for Once Upon a Name, and to find out more about your upcoming WIPs! What one piece of advice would you give aspiring authors? 

Figure out your “why” with the story. Why are you writing it? Why should readers care? Why is the character making that decision? Why does it drive the story forward? Once you know your “why” I think the story blossoms into something really magical for readers.  

That’s great advice, I definitely think motivation is really key to a story that grips readers and stays with them long after. So many books feel just slightly flat because the ‘why’ either isn’t there or isn’t credible enough.

Thank you so much for chatting with me today, Bekah! Before you go, how can we find out more about you and your books? 

Visit my website to learn more about me and my books. I am also very active on Instagram and all four of my books are available on Amazon. 

Visit Bekah’s Website:   

Sign up to Bekah’s Newsletter:

Follow her on Instagram:

Like Bekah’s Facebook page:   

Bekah is currently raising funds to help her with the cost of her treatment for CRPS at the prestigious Spero Clinic. If you suffer from a chronic pain condition or know someone who does, then you’ll know how challenging and debilitating it can be. If you can spare just a few dollars to help Bekah reach her fundraising goal, I know it will be so appreciated!

Click here to donate to Bekah’s GoFundMe

And, of course, you can buy Bekah’s books too! Her newest release, Needlework, is a dark fantasy about a music festival and two ambitious young musicians, with themes of mental health and overcoming traumatic experiences. It’s a slow burn romance filled with secrets and the looming threat of war, with fully-formed characters and beautiful, descriptive writing.

Click here to visit Bekah’s Amazon Author page

Once Upon a Name is still available to preorder for just 99c, and will be released in April 2022. Bekah’s story, Salty Sweet, follows Norenia Scarlettreasure as she enters into a cooking competition against some shifty and shady fairy creatures!

Preorder Once Upon a Name

Happy reading, folks!

Lyndsey x