Let’s get started:
1. Rogue Magic is deeply romantic, but more than that it’s a wonderful but never heavy-handed allegory for persecution based on religion, race, or any other human quality that might go against the values of the established culture. Was this intentional on your part?
Persecution based on religion, race, and countless other identities has existed for centuries. It’s a common theme in stories, and I don’t think I was doing anything revolutionary here! When I wrote this book, the political climate in the United States hadn’t quite reached its current fever pitch. I’ll be honest – I hoped that by the time the book was released, our nation might be entering a time of healing under the leadership of the first female president.
But that’s another story entirely.
Ultimately, I believe #ownvoices is incredibly important, and while ROGUE MAGIC might be read as an allegory about what marginalized people face today, I urge readers to seek stories written by members of those populations. I’m a queer white woman with anxiety. I can speak to those experiences, but I can’t begin to speak to the lived experiences of people of color, Muslims, and other marginalized people. I’m touched that readers have drawn parallels but a direct parallel was not my intention.
2. Do you remember the first moment this story came alive in your mind? The point of inspiration? Can you tell us a bit about it and how it made you feel inside?
The opening scene was always the foundation of this book. The act of sacrifice and the immediate consequences. The mix of confusion and fear and empathy. I get a little squiggly feeling in my stomach over that scene, and it’s that kind of excitement/inspiration that fuels me as a writer as the story unfolds.
3. Was there a point with this story when you felt like it was too much, or that you’d never be able to complete it satisfactorily? What got you through that time and led you to persevere?
I’m always very excited for the first 15,000 words of a new draft. Then I enter the “despair and whining” phase until I’ve got about 15% left. I stick to a fairly stern drafting schedule that gets me through the agony of the “I’ll never finish this garbage” doldrums. Revisions and line edits can be rough, but in this case I had amazing guidance. That always makes the hard work more gratifying.
4. Many authors write with music playing or use songs to drive inspiration and channel emotion. Is there a particular song (or songs) that will forever be attached to Rogue Magic or its characters for you?
I listen to moody Google Play Radio stations when I’m writing. I also listen to short, curated playlists that help me get into characters’ headspaces. The Shins played a large part in ROGUE MAGIC’s playlist, along with a little Belle and Sebastian. I have a feeling that was more Levi’s influence than Byron’s.
5. You have an annual star chart you use to track your writing and edits. I found it deeply inspiring and started doing a similar one for myself. Do you want to briefly explain it?
I’m deeply inspired by author V.E. Schwab. She popularized the “star chart” method and uses monthly calendars. Her productivity is amazing, and she’s very transparent with her fans about the amount of labor that goes into producing a book. Using a star chart to tracking drafting is particularly motivating, but I’ve found a lot of value in visualizing revisions, which aren’t nearly as sexy as cranking out brand new words. (But they’re so much more important!) I use a year calendar from NeuYear.net to track my book-related work.
6. What is the one thing you hope readers take away from Rogue Magic and what is the one thing you are most proud of when it comes to the book?
I hope readers enjoy themselves as the story unfolds. I’ve found great comfort and escape in books throughout my life, and it’s truly the greatest honor to offer that to others.