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  (https://www.instagram.com/ndtcasale/

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/n-d-t-casale 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21051236.N_D_T_Casale 


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.

Lyndsey

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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.

Lyndsey

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Writing rituals to get you in the mood

Writer friends – do you have a writing routine?

I struggle with routines as my life is a touch chaotic at this moment in time. Working full time, raising a very willful and somewhat maniacal toddler, forging a self-published author career and surviving through a global pandemic do not make for an easy environment to form new routines.

So instead of creating a strict, or even flexible, writing routine, I’ve taken to creating writing rituals instead. Ways to trick my brain into switching from mum, or wife, or employee mode, into writer mode.

My writing rituals

Here’s a little list of steps I take to prepare for a writing session.

  • Make a cup of tea (or coffee, or another beverage of your choice).
  • Fill a small bowl with snacks (nuts, pretzels, chocolate, whatever you fancy) and either eat throughout my session or check emails and do prep until the bowl is empty, and then the writing MUST start.
  • Light a scented candle (the scent doesn’t matter, but if you have one that reminds you of your current WIP, then all the better).
  • Play music that creates a mood without being distracting (for me it’s folklore and evermore by Taylor Swift, every time)
  • Mute my phone (set your In Case of Emergency contacts and make sure they can still reach you when in mute mode)
  • Choose a word count or time goal and try to focus until I’ve reached it
  • Allow breaks, allow my mind to wander, allow a drink and snack refill if required
  • Be kind to myself if writing isn’t going well today, and be proud of myself if I hit my goal

That’s it. I don’t have a set time that I write, some days I’m a morning person, others (most others) I’m decidedly not. Some days I want to hit 1k words, other days 500 will absolutely do. Some days I can’t face writing at all, so I watch TV with my husband or read a short story and don’t beat myself up for needing a break after a long, stressful day.


What little writing rituals do you observe? Do you have a strict writing routine or more of a set of rituals to get you in the writing mood, like me?

Are you taking part in Camp Nano this April? I’m trying, as I always find NaNoWriMo gives me a motivation boost and I come out with more words than I usually would, but I’m being kind to myself and not making myself write every single day.

Good luck with your current WIP! Tell me about it in the comments.

Lyndsey

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