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? 

Plotter.

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 CRPSBookshelf.com 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:  https://crpsbookshelf.com   

Sign up to Bekah’s Newsletter: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScKtpnIcpsNIV8gnvUfxHQAwK7VVj9RACEHdPbXaqrmIBNW2Q/viewform?vc=0&c=0&w=1&flr=0

Follow her on Instagram: https://instagram.com/Bekah.Berge

Like Bekah’s Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/crpsbookshelf   


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

Interview: fantasy debut author Ashley Steffenson

Hello book dragons! How was your September? Did you read many books? I’ll be honest, I didn’t finish a single book in September because I was focusing on my revisions for The Solitary King. It’s coming along nicely and will be off to beta readers in October and my editor in November, and I’ve really enjoyed being immersed in the Fair Realm again!

Today, I’ve got a really exciting interview to share with you. Ashley Steffenson is one of the incredible authors that I’m collaborating with on Enchanted Forests, the follow up to Enchanted Waters, as well as Once Upon a Name! I’m so excited to have my name on two beautiful covers with Ashley, and I can’t wait to introduce you to her.

So, without further ado…

Hi Ashley! Thank you so much for joining me today. Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I’m Ashley and I currently write under my married name – Ashley Steffenson. I’m a born and raised California girl turned Southern. My husband (a 50% Irish hottie – swoon!) and I moved to South Louisiana about a year ago and we are LOVING it. I received my BA in Intercultural Studies from William Jessup University, and am now working as a Librarian Page at our local library. I also have a small candle-making business on the side called Estellian Treasures, originally inspired by my debut novel. We have three wily cats – Ember, Milo, and Piper – and we are expecting a third tiny human heart in the family in April 2022.

Oh, congratulations Ashley! What an exciting adventure you’re about to begin, I’m so happy for you! Can you tell us when you started writing and what inspired you?

Funnily enough I haven’t always been a writer. My passion for writing began 3 years ago when I started a new job at a jewelry shop as a saleswoman. I hated that job, but I loved learning about gemstones. That led me to the birth of ‘Estellia’, my debut novel. Furthermore, Adrienne Young (an ah-may-zing YA writer) also indirectly inspired me. Now I’m beyond blessed to be a part of Enchanted Forests with all these incredible award-winning, and up-and-coming authors!

That’s so interesting, I can totally see how learning about gemstones could be the inspiration for a fantasy novel. I love world building, personally, and one of the things I did when I was creating the world for The Fair Queen was to choose gemstones that symbolised each of the five different types of Fair. OK, I’ll pick your brain about gemstones later! What are your favourite books or your favourite genre?

Favorite genre would definitely have to be Fantasy/High Fantasy/Sci-Fi. And I have too many favorite books! A few of my favorite authors include J.R.R. Tolkein, C.S. Lewis, and George MacDonald (originally known as the ‘master of the fairytale’). Joseph Campbell is pretty awesome too. I listened to The Hero with a Thousand Faces on audio three times and still didn’t understand all of it lol. He’s a philosophical mastermind!

Those are some of the greats right there! I love high fantasy and portal fantasy, and I’m so excited to read your upcoming debut novel, can you tell us a little about it?

Estellia is now officially ready for preorder on Amazon! Click here to read the blurb and get your copy.

My short story ‘A Lesson in Refinement’ will also be coming out in another anthology titled Once Upon A Name in 2022.

I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of Once Upon a Name! It’s such a cool project and I’m really glad we’re working together on it, along with eighteen other awesome authors! Where do you find inspiration for your stories? 

Oh I 100% go to Pinterest and type in all sorts of fantasy creatures/places and if a picture speaks to me then I base my characters/story on that!

Also, I’m blessed to have an amazingly talented artist for a cousin who can help bring my characters to life based on my descriptions. You will be able to see some of her artwork in my debut novel!

Oh you’re so lucky, I love character art and illustrations in books, that’s one of my favourite things about the Enchanted Anthologies. Do you consider yourself a plotter, pantser or plantser? 

I use the ‘Save the Cat’ Blake Snyder Beat Sheet, but sometimes my characters take the reins and the story goes in a different direction lol. So I’d say I’m a plantser. Guess that’s what happens when you have such headstrong characters! 

I’m exactly the same, I love a strong, detailed outline to keep me writing and on the right track, but I also like a little wiggle room for those pesky characters to have their say! What are you working on right now?

Final edits for Estellia, beta reads/editing for Once Upon a Name, and I need to start plotting out my story for Enchanted Forests. Also working on a book review for the library on Enchanted Waters which will eventually be posted on our Staff Picks webpage at lafourche.org

You’ve got some really exciting projects on the go, I can’t wait to read them all! Thank you so much for chatting with me today, Ashley, it’s been lovely. Before I let you go, what one piece of advice would you give aspiring authors? 

Don’t give up. Be patient with yourself, and with what life throws at you along the way. Enjoy the journey of creating a masterpiece and be proud of your work. You wrote a freaking NOVEL for heaven’s sake! That’s something to be proud of.

Don’t rush yourself. George R.R. Martin has been writing for over 20 years. And J.R.R. Tolkien didn’t finish his books overnight. You got this. And KEEP WRITING. No matter what it is, always try to write something each day. Even if it’s a simple journal entry. And never stop reading.

Yes to all of this! We should all be so incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved by persevering and finishing an entire story, whether it’s a short story, novella or full-length novel. Not many people do it and it’s a hugely impressive achievement.

How can we find out more about you and your books? 

Instagram: @authorashleyanne

Facebook page/group:  Writerly Adventures in Estellia and Beyond

Other: @estellian.treasures

Amazon: Buy Estellia now!


How incredible is Ashley? If you’re a writer I really hope you found her advice helpful, because she’s absolutely right! And if you like the sound of Ashley’s debut novel, Estellia, or our upcoming anthologies Enchanted Forests and Once Upon a Name, then you can preorder them on Amazon right now!

Happy reading,

Lyndsey

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