– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –
Today I’m on the ‘Dueling Fates’ blogtour, organised by R&R Book Tours.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but b
About the Author :
Stephanie M. Allen graduated from California Baptist University in 2009 with a B.A. in English and a desire to share her imaginative stories with the world. She loves to write fantasy, particularly centered around young adults. Aside from writing, Stephanie loves to read, ride horses, and sing. She currently lives in Wyoming with her husband and two children.
Title: Dueling Fates
Publication Date: June 30th, 2020
Genre: Fairy Tale / Fantasy
Publisher: Liminal Books
In the world of Erez, three kingdoms share a tentative peace. In the far west, Princess Isemay yearns for much more than frilly dresses and etiquette classes. While her twin sister, Alena, prepares for life as a monarch in a neighboring kingdom, Isemay roams the woods with her loyal cheetah, hunting dagger strapped to her belt. It’s only when two surprising visitors arrive at the castle that Isemay must come to terms with her royal future – and a secret magical heritage. Now engaged to the king of the east, Isemay prepares for a position she never wanted.
After saying good-bye to all that she loves, Princess Alena travels north in trepidation – fully prepared to marry a spoiled prince she does not desire and usurp the throne from his insane father who does not deserve it. But when tragedy strikes at her wedding ceremony and she is wrongfully imprisoned, she can only hope that her hurried plea for help will reach her father in time.
Frantic to save her sister – and against the wishes of her betrothed – Isemay joins the army sent to free Alena. A mysterious encounter with a dragon in disguise leaves her with a warning that her life is in danger – but can it save her from the battle to come?
First of all thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions, I really appreciate it. Here we go! 🙂
My pleasure 🙂
Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I think I’ve always thought of myself as someone who likes to tell stories. I had such a vivid imagination as a child and played “make believe” well past the “normal” age. I started writing my stories down at the age of 12 and it grew from there. I liked to write fan fiction when I was in high school. The original idea for Dueling Fates hit me when I was 20 and it evolved from there. One fun fact about me that has nothing to do with writing is that I love to sing and act. I have been involved in many theatrical productions over the years and I auditioned for The Voice twice (I didn’t get on the show but I would’ve chosen Adam Levine if I had!).
Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
I have always loved fantasy novels. Though I venture into other genres, that is always my go to. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis were my favorite books when I was younger. Today, I tend to pick up YA novels quite frequently, especially the ones that have fantastical or paranormal elements, though I love dystopian and sci-fi as well. Some of my favorite authors are Sarah J. Maas, Holly Black, and Cynthia Hand.
Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
I would love to sit down with J.R.R. Tolkien and ask him how he conceived the world of The Lord of the Rings. Until he and C.S. Lewis began writing their now famous novels, fantasy wasn’t even close to the genre it’s become today. Tolkien was a master of descriptive details and world building, even more so than Lewis. If he were still alive and I had the opportunity, I would love to spend hours just picking his brain and discovering how he developed the LOTR world.
If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
Oh, that’s a tough one. I can only pick one character?? Let’s see…I think I would love to sit down with Erik, the phantom from The Phantom of the Opera. I have long been fascinated by that story, particularly the rumors that he once existed in some form! I think it would be amazing to explore below the Paris Opera House, find his “lair” and sit down with him for a meal. I don’t think I’d be comfortable inviting him to my house. He might find ways of adding secret passages or something.
Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
I have some interesting habits and rituals for writing. For each book, I create a Spotify playlist that I add to as I write. I don’t usually listen to it while I’m sitting at my laptop typing but I refer to it and change it often. It’s kind of my outline for each novel. I find I always need something to drink while I’m writing, whether it’s flavored water or some kind of diet soda. Lately, I’ve had a lit candle near me while I work. I find it soothing for some reason.
Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
Ha ha, maybe! No, I’m just kidding. Honestly, a lot of my inspiration comes from reading novels and watching movies. My self-published series, The Harmony Saga, was originally inspired by Avatar: The Last Airbender and Unearthly by Cynthia Hand. But sometimes, an idea just hits me. When Dueling Fates became a whisper of a thought, I was driving home one night. I had this idea of twin princesses who had been separated. The story evolved from there into what it is today. I couldn’t really tell you what inspired the thought. It just…ghosted into my mind.
Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
I am DEFINITELY a plotter. Aside from my Spotify playlists, I always have a general outline either written down on a sticky note or on a Word document. I don’t plan out every little detail. I like to let my imagination take over as I’m writing, allowing for true inspiration. It’s true that sometimes, I find myself writing parts of the story that surprise me. Sometimes, the characters react in unexpected ways and during those times, I go with the flow. But for the most part, I know what my beginning, middle, and end is and I stick to it.
Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
I think the biggest piece of advice I can give is never quit. It took me a decade to write Dueling Fates and then six years of writers conferences, query letters, rejections, and rewrites before I finally found a home for it. I also went the self-publishing route with my Harmony Saga, which taught me a lot about the editing and publishing process. If you’re serious about becoming a published author, look into attending writers conferences. You’ll meet so many wonderful authors and have the opportunity to meet agents and editors who give fantastic advice.
What are your future plans as an author?
For right now, my focus is completing the Dueling Fates trilogy. After that, I have some ideas for future novels with series potential. I might delve into the romance genre a little bit. I would love to write a novel based on ancient Japanese culture. I’ve also considered writing a novel based on ancient Egyptian culture as well.
Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
Sure! Jordan is my favorite character in this story and this is one of my favorite quieter, though important, moments in the book. He is speaking with Isemay, one of the twin princesses. This conversation isn’t a surprise for the characters or the readers at this point in the story and I just love the sweetness of this moment:
“I was going to speak to your father first, but since he approves heartily of my intentions anyway…” He smiled. “I wanted to ask you something while we were alone. I don’t know how many opportunities I will have with all of the coming events.”
Isemay looked down at the grass, absently running her palm across the tops of the blades. She sighed deeply as she plucked a tall stalk out of the dirt. “As you wish, your Majesty.”
“You know you don’t have to be formal with me. I would very much like for us to be closer than that.”
“Very well, your…Jordan.” Isemay smiled, her green eyes sparkling. “What did you want to talk about?”
He took a deep breath, thinking he might as well get straight to the point. “Have you thought about the phoenix song I sent you?”
“How could I not?” Her voice was so quiet that Jordan barely heard her whisper. “Yes, I have,” she said more loudly.
“I have given this a great deal of thought for a long time, much longer than my advisors would’ve liked. And I must be completely honest with you, they have some…reservations with my choice.”
He heard her swallow.
“But I can no longer deny what I feel.” He echoed her swallow. “I long for a partner. Someone whom I can trust with both my kingdom and my heart. And I believe that you are a woman who is not only beautiful, but intelligent, kind, compassionate, and loyal.”
She gasped. “You…flatter me, Jordan. I’m not –”
“But you are. You are those things and more.”
Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, Stephanie M. Allen.
The Magic of Wor(l)ds
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P.S. Are you an author (or publisher) who also wants a FREE interview like this? You can always contact me via e-mail!