Laurie Forest lives deep in the backwoods of Vermont where she sits in front of a wood stove drinking strong tea and dreaming up tales full of dryads, dragons and wands. The Black Witch (May 2017, HarlequinTEEN) is her first novel, and Wandfasted (The Black Witch prequel, Summer 2017, HarlequinTEEN) is her first e-book novella
(taken from Laurie's website)
Have you always wanted to write a young adult novel?
I had never read much of any fantasy until my pre-teen daughters pushed me to read Harry Potter (and I was instantly hooked!). I started devouring all the books they were in love with and more - Tamora Pierce's books, Robin Hobb's books, The Golden Compass, Cassandra Clare's books, Graceling, Wicked Lovely, and hundreds more. Over time, a story of my own started forming in my mind.
Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what do you listen to?
Yes! My main musical inspirations for The Black witch were Imogen Heap, Goo Goo Dolls, U2, Rage Against the Machine and many others. I'm on Spotify.
Are you more of a coffee or a tea person when writing?
Oh, I am a complete tea fanatic! Especially Irish Breakfast Tea. My books are completely fueled by the power of tea :) And there's quite a bit of tea drinking that pops up in my books. Watch for it!
What makes your protagonist stand out from other YA heroines?
My protagonist, Elloren Gardner, is growing up in an insular, fascist, isolated society (picture the dark side of LOTR or Harry Potter or The Naming (I could go on) winning and taking over the lands - that's loosely my starting point). Elloren happens to look just like her powerful grandmother, the legendary Black Witch, although she seems to be lacking magical power in a society that values magic and power above nearly all else. When Elloren ventures forth to attend Verpax University, she soon finds the wider world is a treacherous place for the granddaughter of the Black Witch, and that everything she's been taught might be cruelly unjust and dangerously wrong.
Did you have a writing schedule while you worked on The Black Witch? What did your average day of writing look like?
I get up at 5am pretty much every morning and write for about an hour. I also write pretty intensively on the weekends. That's been the schedule for a while now :)
What is one underrated book you would like to recommend to everyone?
The Bird of the River by Kage Baker is one of the most beautiful YA Fantasy novels I've ever read. Here's the description I found online.
"Two teenagers join the crew of a huge river barge after their addict mother is drowned. The girl and her younger brother try to make the barge their new home. As the great boat proceeds up the long river, we see a panorama of cities and cultures, and begin to perceive patterns in the pirate attacks that happen so frequently in the river cities. Eliss, the girl, becomes a sharp-eyed spotter of obstacles in the river for the barge, and more than that, one who perceives deeply."
A Great Winged One will soon arise and cast his fearsome shadow upon the land. And just as Night slays Day, and Day slays Night, so also shall another Black Witch rise to meet him, her powers vast beyond imagining.
So foretells the greatest prophecy of the Gardnerian mages. Carnissa Gardner, the last prophesied Black Witch, drove back the enemy forces and saved her people during the Realm War. Now a new evil is on the horizon, and her granddaughter, Elloren, is believed to be Carnissa’s heir—but while she is the absolute image of her famous grandmother, Elloren is utterly devoid of power in a society that prizes magical ability above nearly all else.
When she is granted the opportunity to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming an apothecary, Elloren is eager to join her brothers at the prestigious Verpax University and finally embrace a destiny of her own, free from the shadow of her grandmother’s legacy. But she soon realizes that the University, which admits all manner of peoples—including the fire-wielding, winged Icarals, the sworn enemies of her people—is an even more treacherous place for the granddaughter of the Black Witch. (taken from goodreads.com)