I recently did a review for the a very anticipated upcoming release called An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson. And now, I am here to give you a guys with the author! I’m so glad I got to talk to and discuss with Margaret about her debut novel. The book releases on September 26, 2017 so make sure you pre-order a copy! I’ll leave a few links below.
Here is a synopsis of the book:
Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes—a weakness that could cost him his life.
Furious and devastated, Rook spirits her away to the autumnlands to stand trial for her crime. Waylaid by the Wild Hunt’s ghostly hounds, the tainted influence of the Alder King, and hideous monsters risen from barrow mounds, Isobel and Rook depend on one another for survival. Their alliance blossoms into trust, then love—and that love violates the fair folks’ ruthless laws. Now both of their lives are forfeit, unless Isobel can use her skill as an artist to fight the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel.
Alright! Now onward to the interview.
ABP: What was your inspiration to write your debut novel, An Enchantment of Ravens?
MR: An Enchantment of Ravens was inspired by my love of folklore and my own experience doing portrait art in high school. I wanted to write a romantic fairy tale in the vein of Robin McKinley’s Beauty that featured a strong heroine who perseveres not by being kick-ass in a physical sense—though I love those types of heroines too—but instead by utilizing a unique and unexpected talent. I also wanted the story to feature a more traditional depiction of the fair folk as capricious beings who are powerful but live by a rigid set of rules (cannot lie, can’t tolerate iron, hide their frightening true appearance beneath a glamour, and so forth). What I love most about supernatural creatures is that they can be incredibly powerful but also have glaring vulnerabilities at the same time, a duality that makes them fascinating to write about.
ABP: I thought the depiction of the fair folk was amazing. I haven’t read much about the traditional fair folk, especially with the other versions we’ve had in YA recently, so I thought it made the plot overall seem more captivating – especially since you did use Isobel’s talent in such a way. (Which I can’t wait for everyone to see, by the way)
ABP: Both Isobel and Rook are very unique characters – did any of their personality traits come from your previous art experience or your passions?
MR: I definitely gave Isobel my perfectionism and passion for art, though she’s a far better artist than I will ever be! Meanwhile I don’t have much in common with Rook, but a couple of his personality traits were inspired by a boy I met on a trip during college.
ABP: That’s so interesting about Rook’s traits! And mysterious, but that’s the vibe I got from him in the beginning and kind of throughout as well. But I’m sure you have amazing work considering you did such an amazing job with the descriptions of this book! Which leads me to my next question.
ABP: The descriptions of both Whimsy and the Courts were absolutely breathtaking in the ARC – was it difficult to create and build the world that we got to see?
MR: Thank you so much! I had a lot of fun with the worldbuilding and descriptions. I love writing descriptions, so I found those parts fairly easy to write. Other aspects of writing a book, like plotting and dialogue, tend to be much more challenging for me.
Now that I think about it, though, I did have a little trouble constructing the spring court—it was tricky figuring out how the fair folk lived without being able to perform Craft, which meant they couldn’t live in anything approaching human-like structures. I took a break when I reached that section of the draft and spent a few days figuring it out.
ABP: I felt like I was in Whimsy with them with the vivid imagery and that has always been one of my favorite things about books, when authors can transport me to their world in that way. I can only imagine that it would be hard to predict any of the courts when the fair folk have such restrictions on what they can touch. That’s not even something that entered my mind as I was reading.
ABP: If you had to pick one moment from the publishing process as your favorite, which would it be?
MR: Great question! I have so many incredible memories of my journey to publication, but I think the one that stands out to me the most is when I accepted an offer of representation from my literary agent, Sara Megibow. I had the sense that I was making one of the best decisions of my life, and I was right. The funny thing about agents is that they’re sort of invisible outside of the publishing world; before I started trying to get published, I never realized how important they are and how much work they do for authors. Now I know I would be lost without Sara.
ABP: I always had the idea that agents did a lot, but hadn’t really thought much else about it! Or really how much they do. Now all I can imagine is that they sit around in capes haha. But I have been able to chat with Sara a little bit and she really is so amazing and sweet.
ABP: And for my final question, what is one piece of advice would you pass along to aspiring writers?
MR: If I could go back in time and give myself any piece of advice, it would be to write from the heart. I spent a lot of time holding my work at arm’s length, trying to come up with ideas that felt intellectual and wouldn’t embarrass me if a friend or family member read the story. I felt like I had to prove to everyone that I was a good writer, so I wrote with my inner critic dictating every sentence, cringing away from scenes that felt too emotional or personal in the fear they’d come across as cheesy. That extreme level of self-consciousness ultimately sabotaged me, because the end result was that my writing didn’t feel authentic.
So I would advise aspiring authors to embrace ideas and tropes that they love with their whole heart, even if doing so feels silly. Write your ideal book—the book you’re always secretly craving. That’s the one you need to write.
ABP: That is great advice! There are so many ideas that have been done, that it is amazing and refreshing to see something unique, which I truly believe An Enchantment of Ravens has done. I think it is understandable that a person would want to gravitate towards what everyone wants. I’ll have to remember that though, write from the heart. Thank you so much for the advice and discussing your book with me! I can’t wait to get my hardcover finished copy. It’s such a stunning book both inside and out.
MR: Thank you so much for having me on your blog, Jen!
Alright guys! Hope you enjoyed the interview with Margaret. Here are some purchase links in case you would like to pre-order An Enchantment of Ravens: