Interview: international bestselling and award winning fantasy author Carlysle Labuschagne

This summer seems to have flown by without pausing for breath. Especially compared to the last few years’ summers, which lasted from April to October with glorious sunshine and more than a few unbearably hot heatwaves here in the UK.

I’m not complaining though. Autumn is my favourite season (yes, I’m that basic) and I definitely prefer being able to sleep comfortably and walk my dogs without sweating before I’ve even left the street.

I will miss being able to let my toddler play outside quite as often, having a nice garden has been a godsend throughout the various lockdowns.

This week, I had the honour of talking to the spectacular Carlyle Labuschagne, USA Today and international bestselling, and international award winning author of A Beast So Beautiful. Here’s what she had to say…

Hi Carlyle, it’s so lovely to speak to you! Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am happy to be here, Lyndsey. I was born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa , and writing has been one of my favorite hobbies since I was ten years old. I used to often beg my friends to let me write their essays…

A hobby I had long left behind once the kids were born was decorating, but recently made a huge effort to upgrade my writing room. Few more things to do but must do it when the money comes in. I hate playing any card games. But kick ass at battleship and I need to get back into fingerboard.  

The first thing I did when we moved house during lockdown was decorate my office! I feel like working from home and writing my books means I deserve a really beautiful space to do it in. My husband doesn’t necessarily agree! When did you first discover you were a writer and who encouraged you?

I loved any story. Disney audio and read a long, Cinderella was my favorite. I used to pretend to be ill and sit and watch any story that was on TV at the time. My worst was Cocoon, ET and Gremlins – traumatized me forever. No one had to encourage me to write it was a part of me always. But to write a book, now that only became a reality when I read the Twilight Saga. It seemed so possible and it became possible because of her (Stephanie Meyer).

I love that Twilight was the book that made you realise you could do it too, that being a writer was a career path you could choose. I think mine was Throne of Glass. Do you have a favourite book? And what are your favourite tropes?

My latest favorite is Bone Criers Moon and it’s sequel. It’s very unique and the whole love triangle is very short lived. A Curse so Dark and Lonely and it’s two follow ups are also my favorites. It’s a royal fantasy book where female and male characters both have important roles and both genders are strong, equals.  As for Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom it’s follow up is my favorite because it takes a fantasy world and puts it in a heist and is filled with the thrill of conning for a living. And as for the trope – male leads.

That’s really interesting, because there’s been such an explosion of incredible female MCs over the last couple of decades that it can feel really surprising and fresh when a book (especially YA) is told from a male perspective. Can you tell us a little about your published books?

First published book was The Broken Destiny, it was about South African, genetically-enhanced children exiled to planet Poseidon, where they live side by side with Zulu’s and Minoans. 

Buy it here.

My most recent release is my first epic fantasy, fairytale kind of spin on GoT meets Beauty and the Beast, where the prince is locked in the tower because he is a beast – A Beast So Beautiful.

Add it to your TBR here.

Wow, those covers are stunning! I love the sound of Game of Thrones meets Beauty and the Beast, I’ll definitely be adding that to my to be read pile. Where do you find inspiration for your characters or settings? 

My settings and the worlds I create are some from memory, I adventured a lot in rivers, dams, hiked, swam in rivers and walked small villages growing up with my African nanny. Walking through the bush to get to the river every Saturday. I have always really lived in every moment, the smell, the noises, the feel, the mood and the voice of nature. For The Broken Destiny I made up my own world, a purple planet with three moons, and turquoise oceans, silver shimmering trees and modern technology in their dorms. 

In Dead of Night I created a toxic world where fish were poisonous to eat, acid rain could burn through cars. Swamp gas could put you on a trip. And mountains were made from bombs and others just broken in half. 

In A Beast so Beautiful, the world was pretty much like it would have been back in King Arthur’s day. But they had a white blight of snow and ice that forever stayed there, separating two kingdoms. One kingdom was very primitive in ways and relied on magic that was banned by Rurith Kingdom after the Queen died and the prince was locked in the tower when the king realized he was born of magic. I write very descriptively, the sound talons make on stone, how the wind howls around the steeples of the castle and the termites crackle under leaves. 

That sounds so immersive, it’s amazing that you’ve created so many completely distinct worlds for your stories, all totally unique. Do you consider yourself a plotter, pantser or plantser? 

Half and half. I pants the first half, then make notes of all the answers that need to be tied in and plot out the second half. 

That sounds like a perfect way to go, it can be difficult to know when to stop plotting and start writing when you’re a plotter or plantser. I reckon a free written first draft must be a much quicker, more organic experience. Even if it does mean somewhat more editing! What are you working on right now?

I am working on A Love So Lonely, the second in the A Beast so Beautiful duology. And I am half way through it. This is very different to the first book as we go way ahead in time, but the prince still remains in the story. 

I’m currently working on book two in a series as well, and I’m finding it a really strange and different experience to book one. Trying to balance where I want the story to go with reader expectations and the pressure of whether it’ll do well is a really interesting atmosphere to write a book in! What one piece of advice would you give aspiring authors? 

Write every day. Network on Facebook and Twitter everyday. Build up a readership while writing. 

Great advice, I’ve discovered the most amazing writing and reading community on Facebook since publishing my debut novel last year. Networking is so important in ever career and industry, it’s funny that we don’t expect it from writing as it’s such a solo activity, but publishing takes a village!

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

Visit Carlyle’s Website and sign up to her email list: https://carlylelabuschagnebooks.com

Follow Carlyle on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/carlylelab/

Like her Facebook page:   https://www.facebook.com/carlyleL

Find her on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorCarlyle


That was so much fun, I hope you enjoyed finding out more about Carlyle and her stories. According to Goodreads, she has 23 distinct works with over 700 ratings and an average of over 4 stars, and with books that cover sci fi, fantasy and fairy tales, you know there’s something in her repertoire that you’ll love. Personally, I’m going to download A Beast So Beautiful to my Kindle right now.

Go pick out one of Carlyle books and add it to your Goodreads shelf!

Lyndsey

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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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Announcement: The Fair Queen is coming to Audible!

Any fellow audio book lovers in the house? I’ve been addicted to audio books ever since my 30 day free trial of Audible six years ago, even before I discovered (and fell in love with) podcasts.

So, when I published my debut novel, The Fair Queen, I knew I wanted to have an audio book produced. Now, with the one year bookaversary of TFQ’s release fast approaching, I’m absolutely delighted to announce that the audio book of The Fair Queen will be released this Autumn!

The process has been so much fun. Getting to listen to narrators audition by reading a short chapter of my book (chapter fourteen, for those of you who’ve read it – it’s my favourite!) was incredible, and I’m so excited to hear the first fifteen minutes when my lovely narrator reaches the first big milestone.

My fabulous cover designer is also hard at work on the audio cover version, as well as a little something that I can’t talk about yet (don’t you hate when authors do that? Sorry! It’ll be worth it, I promise).

There’ll be review copies available when release day comes around, I’ll be posting them on StoryOrigin, so if you’re interested in listening to the audio book for free in exchange for an honest review, keep your eyes peeled for the announcement in a few months!

Lyndsey

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