Interview: bestselling urban fantasy author C.C. Solomon

Hello! How’s your summer going? We’re in the midst of a serious heatwave here in the UK, but we’re due a big thunderstorm over the weekend so hopefully the heat will break soon and we’ll all be able to get some sleep.

This week, I had the huge privilege of chatting to USA Today bestselling author C.C. Solomon, whose brand new book, Dark Hauntings, came out this week! Read on to see what we chatted about and find out more about her new release.

Hi C.C.! Thank you so much for joining me today. Can you tell us a little about yourself to begin with?

I’m originally from the suburbs of Baltimore, MD. I have a very dog behaving cat named Stormy.  I’m an avid traveler. Especially international travel. I’m also a big fan of karaoke, horror movies, anime and Asian dramas. During the day I work in civil rights, in the area of employment discrimination. 

I also love karaoke and international travel! But you can keep the horror movies, I’m a giant wimp. Your job sounds so interesting, I bet that’s really rewarding. So, when did you start writing and who encouraged you?

I started writing when I was around eleven years old. I wrote a short play in my English class that my classmates put on and did some other short stories as assignments. My English teacher, Ms. Weber, told me I was good and to keep writing and I have!

I love that, my teachers were really supportive and encouraging too. That’s so cool that your classmates performed your play! I bet that was an incredible experience. What would you say are your favourite genres to read and write?

I write what I like to read, mostly. I am a huge urban fantasy and paranormal romance reader. However, I also love a good contemporary romance novel. I mix them all up in my reading list. My favorite tropes are love triangles (I know many people hate them but I love the drama), friends to lovers, enemies to lovers (but only if it’s more banter and not the guy being a jerk or bully). And I love character driven story lines. 

I do enjoy a really well done love triangle, and enemies to lovers is my absolute favourite! But you’re right, only if it’s a bit of rivalry. I don’t personally understand the appeal of bully romance, but each to their own I guess! Tell us about your most recent release.

Right now I have a few recent releases. Last month, I along with several other authors released a YA fantasy and sci fi anthology called Girls of Might and Magic

I also updated the second book in my Paranormal World series, Mystic Journeys

This month, I release Dark Hauntings. This is technically the second in my new Paranormal Times series set in the same world as and a spin off of my Paranormal World Series. There is a first book/prequel novella called Mystic Memories. In this series a faerie with a missing memory is trying to navigate her way through a post apocalyptic world, solve a gruesome mystery, and capture a fae throne. All with a side of romance. 

OK, you have literally combined my two favourite things there – fae novels and true crime! Congratulations on your new release, I can’t wait to read it! I absolutely loved Girls of Might and Magic, it was such a fantastic collection. Where do you find inspiration for your characters or settings? 

I’m a huge anime, horror and k drama fan so they allow me to think outside of the box because of the unique, non-Western storytelling. I also am a daydreamer, people watcher and avid traveler so the combination is always giving me ideas, with new settings and scenarios popping up in my head. 

It’s always the strangest places inspiration can spring from, I find the final pieces of the puzzle for a story usually come from a completely different genre or format, like podcasts and documentaries. Do you consider yourself a plotter, pantser or plantser? 

Plotter. I usually have a fairly detailed outline but it gets revised along the way. Without some direction I’d have a hard time keeping focused and engaged. 

I’m the same, I need a vague map to where I’m headed, but I also leave myself room to take the scenic route. What are you working on right now?

I’m currently a little over mid way through my sequel to my novella, Mystic Realms, in which we again focus on my character Lisa who is forced to save an elven king from a curse or else she’ll have to repay a sinister favor to him. It’s heavy paranormal romance compared to most of my other work. 

That sounds like so much fun! I’ve recently fallen in love with novellas and short stories. Especially when they tie into a series I love. Before I let you go, what one piece of advice would you give aspiring authors? 

Keep writing. That’s the biggest thing. Especially for indie authors. A lot of our success can come from building a brand which comes from having several books published. This way you give readers something to come back to. Also writing that first draft is tough but don’t stop. Even if you know you’ll change something, just make note of it to go back to later and keep moving forward in the story. Once the first draft is done I think it gets easier and more rewarding. 

Such great advice, first drafts are always a hot mess, but they’re the only way to get to the second draft, and the third, and the final, polished book.

Thank you so much for chatting with me today, C.C.! It’s been so nice to get to know you better and hear about your new releases. How can we find out more about you and your books? 

Visit C.C.’s website

Join C.C.’s email list

Find C.C. on Instagram

Follow C.C.’s Facebook page

And join her FB group here


That was so much fun, if you love urban and paranormal fantasy I hope you’ve added C.C.’s books to your Goodreads! And don’t forget to check out her brand new release, Dark Hauntings: A Paranormal Times Novel.

Happy reading!

Lyndsey

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Interview: Epic fantasy author Kala Merseal

Hi friends! How are we already half way through July? This year has absolutely flown, especially after last year seemed to drag so much.

I’ve been a busy bee this month, making my new story A Fair Deception available on Amazon (if you’ve read it I’d absolutely love it if you left a review on Amazon, Goodreads and/or Bookbub!), drafting my new 2k word flash fiction story for an anthology coming out next year with a group of 20 fellow authors, and ramping up the marketing for my new release, Enchanted Waters, which comes out tomorrow!

In between all of that though, I made time to chat with the lovely Kala Merseal, author of The Guardians of Altana series. Come along and see what we talked about…

Hi, it’s so lovely to be speaking to you! Why don’t you start by telling us a little about yourself?

Hi, I’m Kala! I’m an indie fantasy author that lives in southeast Missouri. I’m married, with three furbabies. I love books, comics, anime, and Asian live-action dramas, as well as playing The Sims, Skyrim, and Summoners’ War!

Aw, I have two furbabies and now I want another one! I used to play a lot of Assassin’s Creed and I actually miss it, I’ll have to start playing again when my son is asleep. So, what are your favourite genres to read and write?

My favorite genre hands-down is fantasy. Epic/high fantasy, dark fantasy, urban. I’ll take any of it. As for tropes, I do love the “enemies to lovers”, the “bad guys are actually good guys”, the “bad guy becomes redeemed”, and finally the “good guy spirals into corruption” tropes. The Guardians of Altana has redemption for the antagonist in the end but doesn’t follow any of my other absolute favorite tropes. I would say GOA’s main theme is redemption though. 

I do love a redemption arc, but “good guy spirals into corruption” sounds really interesting, you’ll have to give me some recs! Tell us about your first published book, was that a fantasy novel?

My first published book was actually back in 2016 and it was called Purge, a vampire horror novel. I have since unpublished and buried it deep in the backyard.

In 2020, I published my first epic fantasy novel, The Shadow Curse, embarking on a new journey as an indie author. At the end of this month, exactly a year since I published the first of my series, I’ll be publishing the conclusion, The Dark Realm!

That’s so exciting! Congratulations on having a complete series, that is the absolute dream for any author I think. Where do you find inspiration for your characters or settings?

My latest series (my first officially published and finished series) is from a dream I had a few years ago.

I’d love it if story ideas came to me in dreams, mine always seem to be from podcasts! Random, I know. And I’m always driving or doing dishes so I can’t write them down. Do you consider yourself a plotter, pantser or plantser?

I am a plotter all the way. I can’t keep my head straight if I don’t have a voluminous amount of notes for my stories and their worlds.

Same! Although I’m more of a plantser, I love a big story bible with character profiles, magic rules, geography and flora and fauna, and a chapter by chapter list of what needs to happen, but I do leave some room for discovery writing. What are you working on right now?

I just released the last book of my series, The Guardians of Altana, on June 29. So exciting! In my spare time, I’m outlining my next series, The Hunted Duology.

That’s so exciting, I hope your release went well! That’s amazing that you already have another series to get stuck into, I need to think about what I’m going to do after The Fair Chronicles is complete. But that’s a problem for 2023 Lyndsey! 

Thank you so much for chatting with me today, Kala, it’s been lovely! Before you go, what one piece of advice would you give aspiring authors?

Don’t give up. I think that’s the best thing that needs to be constantly drilled into writers and creatives in general. It’s so easy to stop doing what you love just because life gets in the way. 

Absolutely, it’s not the easy choice, especially if you’re an indie, but it’s so worthwhile and there’s room for all of us on the bookshelf! How can we find out more about you and your books?

You can join my newsletter or join my Facebook group! I send out emails twice a month but I’m frequently on Facebook.

 Website: www.kalamerseal.com 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kalamersealwrites/ 

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/KalaMersealAuthor 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KalaMerseal 


If you’re anything like me, you feel absolutely spoiled with incredible new fantasy books to add to your TBR now! It’s going to be a long, hot summer of 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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