Interview: Fantasy author N. D. T. Casale

Hi friends, how’s life? Things are getting better every day here in the UK, public spaces are reopening and the weather has turned to full Spring, bringing the cherry blossom out on the trees.

This week, I want to introduce you to another lovely writer friend of mine, N. D. T. Casale.

Hiya, thank you so much for joining me today! Why don’t you start by telling us a little about yourself, e.g. where you’re from, family, pets, hobbies, etc.

I live in the New England region of the United States. I am Italian-American and very proud of my roots. I have a love for learning languages. I am trilingual (I speak English, Italian, and Spanish), I am trying to learn French and I have aspirations to learn more languages. I like cooking and trying foods from different cultures.

I have a love for animals. I currently do not have any pets but I want dogs and horses in the future. In my free time I snowboard, ride horses, workout, dance, travel, and go on adventures. I am a bit of a fashionista, I have an obsession for shoes, makeup, and skincare products. Lastly, I have a love for mysteries, I like to give my brain a workout, and challenge myself by solving the crime. 

Gosh, trilingual, that’s so impressive! I speak English and Spanish, but I’m really rusty so don’t ask me to prove it! Have you always been a writer, and what inspired you to start?

I have been writing stories since I was a child. My family had a big role in nurturing my creativity. When I was little during summer break, my mother gave me a notebook to practice my writing. She would give me random topics and challenge me to write a story.  My dad and I read Harry Potter together and the book series drew me into the world of fantasy.

Lastly, I used to tell my sister stories I created myself before she went to sleep each night. This inspired me to envision magical realms and go on adventures. As I have grown my writing has blossomed into multiple books that I hope to publish in the future. 

You must have some wonderful memories of telling your sister magical bedtime stories and creating your own worlds as a child, it sounds like an idyllic childhood filled with books and magic! What are your favourite genres to read and write now?

My favorite genres are fantasy and mystery. 

Me too, I love fantasy, but my second favourite genre is definitely a good mystery, especially anything by Agatha Christie. I love the mixture of period drama and whodunnit. Can you tell us about your upcoming projects and works-in-progress?

Enchanted Waters is my first publication. I look forward to sharing The Arctic Mermaid and Sea Ghosts of the Isle with all of you. I have more novels that I am working on and hope to publish soon. 

I’m so excited to read your stories in Enchanted Waters, and I can’t wait to see what you publish next. Where do you tend to find inspiration for your characters or settings? 

I find inspiration through life. The highs, the lows, the joys, the trials, the tribulations, the people, the feelings, all have a big influence in my writing. I love the quote “what we give power has power,” because being a writer gives us power.

In many of my stories, the situations my characters partake in mirror experiences I have gone through and what I have felt. Throughout my life there were times I did not like certain outcomes or I would wonder why something had to happen how it did. I will revisit those scenarios and emotions in my novels and rewrite it to have a better resolution. This helps me cope in a way.

Most importantly, I write for others. People are my inspiration. I incorporate characters of different walks of life, nationalities, races, and backgrounds in my novels because I want everyone to feel welcome in my books.  I hope that my stories can help people like myself who have gone through challenging times find hope again. I want readers to know they are not alone. No matter how challenging our lives can be, we can persevere. We can overcome, we are warriors, and we can find happiness again.

Lastly, many characters I magically create in my head. I wait for them to talk to me and tell me what to write.

I love that, life is the best source of inspiration, and it’s a beautiful gift to be able to make another person feel seen and understood. What are you working on right now?

I am in the process of revising my novel Sapphora: Shards of Secrecy. It is a fantasy story that combines sorcery and Egyptian Mythology. It is the first book in a trilogy.

Shards of Secrecy tells the tale of a young woman named Sapphora whose life is plagued by secrets. The secrecy begins when she discovers she is not a 19 year old college student. She is an 897 year old Egyptian princess, sorceress, and guardian of the Ankh for the magical realm of Avagodro. Avagodro is a parallel universe to Ancient Egypt. Sapphora’s memory has been wiped clean due to unknowingly consuming a magical potion for years. She has no recollection of her past life.

Sapphora discovers she is being hunted due to her failure to fulfill a prophecy. To make matters worse an evil foe is returning to Avagodro and seeks an ancient spell book that contains incantations of almighty control. In order to save the realm, Sapphora must navigate through a series of death challenges created by the Ancient Gods to protect the sacred book. As Sapphora continues to unravel the secrets of her past, she struggles with accepting her true self, who she can trust, and what to do when it comes time for her to battle evil to right the failures from the past.

I have more novels, short stories, and children’s books that I am in the process of creating. 

Wow. That sounds incredible! I haven’t read any fantasy novels inspired by Ancient Egypt, I can’t wait to read it! What one piece of advice would you give aspiring authors? 

Truthfully I still consider myself to be in the early stages of authorship. I am learning so much yet I still have a lot to learn. Advice I would give to others is write from your heart, believe in yourself, and believe in your writing. Never let anyone try to change your style. Get involved, join groups on social media, and talk to other authors.

Lastly, do your research, there are many steps to publishing a book that I never knew existed. Take your time and go at your own pace. 

That’s great advice, it’s so important to be yourself and take as long as you need to write, edit and publish. It’s not a race, and we all have different speeds and are on different steps of the publishing journey.

Thank you so much for chatting with me today, it’s been so lovely getting to know you better! How can we find out more about you and your books? 

Instagram: @ndtcasale  (



I hope you enjoyed getting to know N. D. T. Casale as much as I did! How amazing does Sapphora: Shards of Secrecy sound?! You can read The Arctic Mermaid and Sea Ghosts of the Isle in Enchanted Waters from 16 July, along with 8 other magical short stories about fantasy water creatures.

Interested in getting your hands on a free ARC in exchange for an honest review?

Join our street team!

You’ll receive two exclusive short stories by EW authors just for joining, and when we reach 100 members in the private Facebook group you’ll be entered into a huge giveaway to win a stack of fantasy ebooks and short stories!

Click here to fill in the Google form and join our street team.



Interview: Fantasy Author and Artist Elena Shelest

This week, I had the privilege of catching up with Elena Shelest, author of contemporary fantasy The Seven Lives of Grace and creator of beautiful artwork, which she shares on her Instagram account, @lena_fiveminutediscovery.

Read on to see what we chatted about…

Hi Elena! Thank you for chatting with me today. Why don’t you tell us a little about yourself?

I was born in a port city of Odessa, Ukraine by the Black Sea (and still can’t swim well, go figure). When I was almost fifteen, I immigrated to the States and switched my major from art to nursing. Still do both. I currently reside in Oregon with my hubby, two busy and always hungry boys, a cutely annoying dog, a standoffish cat, and a nosy bunny. I wish we were closer to the beach and somewhere warmer but love the nature here. 

Wow, an artist and a nurse? That’s incredible! When did you start writing and who or what inspired you?

I’ve been writing poetry and journaling since I was a teen as a way to express myself. I think writing is in my blood as my mother is a poetess too. I’ve started a few stories but never had enough time to finish them until my husband sent me on a mission to test the waters in Texas (we’re always trying to move somewhere, by the way). It didn’t work out, but I had a few free weeks doing nothing at my friends’ house with no family to take care of (always hungry boys were at the mercy of my husband’s cooking abilities). So, I sat by the pool for hours and finally wrote a story that’s been on my heart for a while. New ones just kept coming afterwards. 

Gosh that sounds like the dream – weeks to spend writing while your husband takes care of the kids! I’m jealous. What’s your favourite genre to read and write?

Everything I read has to have a fantasy element in it. Otherwise I get bored. I love when authors explore the impossible, the magical, the realm of the unknown, stretching our imagination. Of course, some romance needs to be present as well. 

Romantic fantasy is my number one favourite too! On that note, tell us about your debut novel.

My book The Seven Lives of Grace is about dreams coming true. My heroine, Grace, is a twenty-something bookish Seattle dweller who’s struggling to make ends meet. She gave up her dream career to take care of her ill mother and younger sister but now wants to do something different with her life. Getting a magical inheritance was not what she had in mind! Mayhem begins when she decides to give mysterious gifts and tries to discover not only her destiny but also herself.

There is a caveat. She has only seven days to figure things out and make a decision that can alter her life forever. If you want to read a book that makes you go deep while having fun, check it out on Amazon.

That sounds wonderful and so uplifting! Where do you find inspiration for your characters or settings?

I like it when magic meets everyday reality, so all the places in my books are real. Therefore, I do a lot of research. For The Seven Lives of Grace, the setting is Seattle. I loved visiting this port city that’s not too far from where we live. My character was inspired by my desire to see women realize their potential and reach for their dreams in life, so she’s very relatable to our everyday struggles.

With The Healer’s Choice that’s coming out this year, I wrote about places I’ve never visited but plan to. Istanbul and the culture behind it is fascinating. Southern Ukraine/Crimea is amazing too. The characters have some traits of different people I’ve met but it’s a completely new DNA. It’s like watching your kids grow up. I might do some initial molding, but then they take off on their own. 

Istanbul is incredible, and I’d love to visit Ukraine! Do you consider yourself a plotter, pantser or plantser?

I am a total pantser. I love being surprised by the characters and the story. But that makes editing a longer process than I’d like it to be. So… I am transitioning to plantser. Does it make me a reformed pantser now? 

Haha, I think a lot of pantsers transition to plantser eventually. What are you working on right now?

Currently I am working on a historical fantasy set in the 17th century Ottoman Empire. It follows the journey of Adiela, the daughter of a Jewish merchant and the first carrier of the magical gifts. It was super fun doing the research for the story as well as looking a little deeper into my own cultural roots. The male character is a Slavic Cossack warrior from the territory that was the birthplace of modern day Ukraine.

If you’re interested in following my writing journey, being my beta-reader or getting some behind-the-scenes details about the story + a few other extras, you can sign up to be notified of the progress (you will also get my once-a-month newsletter. It’s fun and insightful, I promise!

17th Century Ottoman Empire? Sign me up! What one piece of advice would you give aspiring authors? 

I wish someone would have told me how much time and effort it takes to birth a book. The only reason I didn’t quit was because I had a fully written manuscript on my hands before I realized how much further I needed to go. So my advice would be, if you’re serious about it, write the whole story first, then get into the nitty gritty of the writing and publishing jungle. 

Great advice, it definitely isn’t easy. How can we find out more about you and your books? 

If you want to look through my inspirational blog posts, check out my website: 

If you want to see my awesome updates about writing life and life in general, find me on Instagram:

If you just want to know when my next book is coming out, follow me on Goodreads:

Get a free novella, Sweets Make Everything Better (yes they do, especially if they are laced with some magic) when you sign up to my newsletter:

I definitely recommend checking out Elena’s gorgeous artwork, some of her pieces are going to be included in Enchanted Waters alongside Helena Satterthwaite’s illustrations of the ten enchanting short stories we’ve written for this collection.

Elena’s story, The Wishing Well, is inspired by Slavic folklore. It’s a haunting and captivating tale, complimented by stunning paintings by Elena herself. You’re definitely going to want the paperback of this collection! I’ll show you some sneak peeks of the artwork when I’m allowed.



Interview: YA Fantasy Author Jennifer Kropf

I recently had the absolute pleasure of chatting with Jennifer Kropf, author of the gorgeously festive fantasy novel A Soul as Cold as Frost, about her upcoming projects and where she finds inspiration for her stories.

Here’s what she had to say…

Hi Jen! It’s lovely to finally get to chat with you. Tell us a little bit about yourself. First of all, where are you from?

I’m from Canada, where it snows too much and often smells of pines. I have a husband and three kids, and we live in a little town on the cusp of Stratford, Ontario that has all the small-town-charm you can imagine. I like to write late at night, and I’m one of those weirdos who would rather brew a hot beverage and snuggle up with a book on a weekend instead of going out to do things.

That sounds like the dream! I’m definitely one of those weirdos too. When did you start writing and what inspired you? 

Growing up, my dad used to read The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis to me and my siblings before bed. We became obsessed with the world of Narnia, and Aslan. When I started having kids, I imagined having those same experiences with my kids at Christmas time, so I started writing A Soul as Cold as Frost with the hopes that every year at Christmas we can spend the month of December snuggling by the fireplace reading exciting Christmas stories, and bonding over them as a family. 

What a lovely idea, that sounds like the perfect family tradition. Aside from The Chronicles of Narnia, what are your favourite books?

My favourite books to read have always been fantasy books, especially with exceptionally built worlds. 

Those are my favourites too. Speaking of which, tell us a little about your debut novel.

I published my first book last year called A Soul as Cold as Frost, which centres around a girl whose eyes are opened to another realm at Christmas time, and throughout the series, will face all sorts of mythical villains pulled out of old Christmas legends.

It sounds like such a magical read, where do you find inspiration for your characters? 

Obviously I love Christmas, so a lot of my characters are drawn from Christmas stories or legends. I have a few different versions of Santa Claus (multiple characters who impersonate different versions of Santa) in my books, along with The Snow Queen, The Gingerbread Man, and the Nutcracker. 

I love characters inspired by myths and legends! What are you working on right now?

Right now I’m working on Book #2 of The Winter Souls Series (A Soul as Cold as Frost #2) which I’m calling A Heart as Red as Paint. AHARAP centres around my main character, Helen, who gets a visit from a ghostly being (inspired by the ghost of Christmas past/present/future in the story A Christmas Carol) who gives Helen three warnings in the form of a riddle. She has to solve the riddle before her time runs out, or she’ll face the dreadful future she was warned about.

I’m so excited to read it next Christmas! What one piece of advice would you give aspiring authors? 

Market your books way ahead of time. With the pandemic, most of my marketing plan was squashed when our province started going into lockdown and all my kids ended up being home for most of the year, but your best way to get people excited about your book is to start telling people about it way in advance.

Thank you so much for chatting with me Jennifer, it’s been lovely getting to know you and your books better. Where can we find out more? 

Go to Jennifer’s website to learn more

Join Jennifer’s newsletter to hear about her upcoming releases

Find Jen on Instagram

Or on Facebook

I hope you enjoyed getting to know Jennifer Kropf better, I highly recommend A Soul as Cold as Frost, it’s going to become a modern Christmas classic and would make the perfect family read over the winter months. And keep an eye out for book two, A Heart as Red as Paint.

Jen is also contributing a story to Enchanted Waters, Merrily Merrily, which tells the origin tale of snow pirate, Zane, with cameos by other ASACAF characters you’ll recognise! You can preorder Enchanted Waters for just $2.99 and get more than ten fantasy short stories from bestselling, award-winning and up-and-coming authors, with all profits going to Oceana to help save the world’s oceans.