And the final guest of the 2019 Debutante Ball class is…
Shelby Mahurin, author of the gorgeous, swoony, and all-around amazing YA fantasy novel Serpent & Dove!
Shelby Mahurin grew up on a small farm in rural Indiana, where sticks became wands and cows became dragons. Her rampant imagination didn’t fade with age, so she continues to play make-believe every day—with words now instead of cows. When not writing, Shelby watches the Office and obsesses over her Twitter feed. She still lives near that childhood farm with her very tall husband, semi-feral toddlers, two dogs, and one cat.
Serpent & Dove comes out on Tuesday September 3rd, so there’s still time to preorder!
Talk about one book that made an impact on you.
There are so many—especially MG—but one book I still think about often is The Arkadians by Lloyd Alexander. Here’s the official synopsis: To escape the wrath of the king and his wicked soothsayers, an honest young man joins forces with a poet-turned-jackass and a young girl with mystical powers as they embark on a series of epic adventures through the land of Arkadia.
It has everything I love in my fantasy: magic, humor, powerful women, immersive world-building, etc. And that young girl with mythical powers? She’s a pythoness. I never in a million years thought snakes would be my brand, yet here we are. This book also gave me my first taste of forbidden romance—namely, a boy taught to hate and fear magical women falling in love with one. This didn’t have a profound impact on my later work or anything. 🙂
Which talent do you wish you had?
More than anything, I wish I could sing. Seriously, can I brew Whitney Houston’s, Christina Aguilera’s, and Adele’s voices into some sort of potion? I’ve always been OBSESSED with musicals (my husband and I danced to “Your Song” by Elton John at our wedding because of Ewan McGregor’s rendition in Moulin Rouge), but unfortunately, my voice is truly terrible. I don’t let that stop me though! My oldest kids—a four-year-old and two-year-old who think they’re little Simon Cowells—really appreciate all the serenading.
Share one quirk you have that most people don’t know about.
I have a somewhat obsessive personality. When I get into something—whether its sewing clothing or binging True Blood or even reading—I tend to have a one-track mind, and it’s all I want to do for days. The flip side of that is that once I burn out—even if I haven’t finished sewing the shirt or watching the show or reading the series—I’m done, and I don’t think about it anymore. Unfortunately, this means I start a lot of things and rarely finish them. Or is that just a Gemini thing? Either way, it’s a weird quirk I’m trying to work on.
What was the first piece of writing you ever published or saw in print?
I wrote quite a bit of poetry as a child. Most of it was nonsense—I often wrote about Neverland because I was infatuated with the idea of never growing up—but some of it was poignant. One poem in particular, When I’m Gone, was about grief. I don’t know where those emotions came from, as I’d never lost anyone close to me at the time, but the poem resounded with enough people that it was published in a small anthology. When my grandma passed three years ago, my mom honored me by having When I’m Gone read at her funeral. I still get choked up thinking about it. That poem will always hold a special place in my heart.
What does literary success look like to you?
So much of literary success resides outside the control of the author. We don’t control anything but the story we tell—all the lists, awards, movies, and prestige that sometimes follow are in others’ hands. While those things are obviously indications of success every author wants, I think it’s healthy to look at success through a smaller lens. Even if none of those things happen, if my books find a loyal readership—people who connect with the work and love the characters enough to talk about them, recommend them to friends and family, purchase the next book in the series—that looks like success to me.
Bound as one, to love, honor, or burn. Book one of a stunning fantasy duology, this tale of witchcraft and forbidden love is perfect for fans of Kendare Blake and Sara Holland.
Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.
As a huntsman of the Church, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. But when Lou pulls a wicked stunt, the two are forced into an impossible situation—marriage.
Lou, unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, must make a choice. And love makes fools of us all.
Set in a world of powerful women, dark magic, and off-the-charts romance, book one of this stunning fantasy duology will leave readers burning for more.