I’m so excited to welcome the multi-talented and amazing Stephanie Burgis to the Ball this week!
Stephanie grew up in East Lansing, Michigan, but now lives in Wales with her husband and two sons, surrounded by mountains, castles and coffee shops. She writes fun MG fantasy adventures and has published five so far, including The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart (Bloomsbury 2017), The Girl with the Dragon Heart (Bloomsbury 2018) and the Kat, Incorrigible trilogy (published in the UK as The Unladylike Adventures of Kat Stephenson). She also writes wildly romantic adult historical fantasies, including Snowspelled (2017), Spellswept (2018), Thornbound (2019), and Masks and Shadows and Congress of Secrets (Pyr Books 2016). She has published nearly forty short stories for adults and teens in various magazines and anthologies.
Phew – impressive!
Read on to the end of our interview – where you can learn how Stephanie balances writing both MG and adult – and find out how to win a copy of SNOWSPELLED, the first volume in the Harwood Spellbook, a fun and romantic series about hard-headed women, magic, and politics!
You’ve had some very different jobs and lived in some very different places (Austria! Michigan!) – what’s the strangest job you’ve ever had?
Ooh, so hard to choose. I spent three weeks working as the temp assistant in a senatorial office in the Michigan state capital building – that was fascinating and hugely educational (and I also had to take some really, really unusual phone calls). I also worked as the assistant to the director at the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy workshop when I was 19, and had to urgently find a replacement plastic slug at one point. And I ran the blog for a wonderful tenor opera singer when I was the web editor for an opera company in northern England.
You write a bit of everything! MG, adult, novels, novellas, short stories – how do you balance those different formats in your workflow? Do you find yourself leaning toward writing MG or adult during certain times? Of course you don’t have a favorite (but do you?).
I honestly don’t have a favorite genre! I love both adult and MG fantasy, and I figured out a few years into my career that I would burn out if I wrote only one. I take turns between drafts of MG novels and adult romantic fantasy novels or novellas, and I slip short stories in between. I used to write (and sell and publish) a LOT more short stories before I started selling novels; now the longer works take up most of my time, but I still write a few short stories every year, usually on reader request – fun tie-in short stories about characters from my longer works, which I send out for free to my newsletter subscribers.
What’s one book that made an impact on you?
My dad read me The Lord of the Rings when I was 5, then Pride and Prejudice when I was 8, so as a reader, I was pretty much hooked on fantasy AND historical romance from a young age! 😉 Then he passed on his copy of War for the Oaks (by Emma Bull) when I was a teenager, and that was it – from then on, I was a fantasy writer. Later, books by Terri Windling, Ellen Kushner, Delia Sherman, Nalo Hopkinson, Robin McKinley, Octavia Butler and Nina Kiriki Hoffman all had huge impacts on me.
Tell us a secret about Cassandra, the main character in Thornbound — something that’s not even in your book.
She’s terribly afraid of failure in every different aspect of her life (despite her strong and convincing façade of always-charge-ahead, never-back-down-from-anything, absolute confidence).
What’s one thing that’s making you happy right now?
Spending a month back in my hometown in Michigan! I’m a dual UK/US citizen now, as are my two UK-born kids, so although we live in Wales, we visit my family in Michigan every summer to swim in beautiful lakes, spend tons of time in my wonderful hometown library (and independent bookstore!), and let the kids know what it means to be American as well as British. I love living in the UK, but every year, that month back in my hometown is always really special and fun for me.
For extra entries, comment on this post. We’ll choose the winner on August 23rd and contact them shortly afterwards.
Learn more about THORNBOUND, the second volume in the Hardwood Spellbook series…
Cassandra Harwood scandalized her nation when she became the first woman magician in Angland. Now, she’s ready to teach a whole new generation of bright young women at her radical new school, Thornfell College of Magic…
Until a sinister fey altar is discovered in the school library, the ruling Boudiccate sends a delegation to shut down Thornfell, and Cassandra’s own husband is torn away from her.
As malevolent vines slither in from the forest and ruthless politicians scheme against her, Cassandra must fight the greatest battle of her life to save her love, her school, and the future of the young women of Angland.