Hello everyone! Welcome to this month's YA author interview. Today we will be talking to E.A. Burnett, author of Silverglen and Isle of Wings. If you're enjoying reading these interviews as much as I am enjoying writing them, be sure to join my newsletter and get updates. Also, a free book in every newsletter. Join here.
Evelina: Hi E.A.! It's a pleasure to have you here with us today! Why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself.
E.A.: I am a YA/NA epic fantasy author, and I love writing and reading books with strong female characters who struggle with identity.
Evelina: Sounds perfect for teen readers. Why YA?
E.A.: I don’t think it was a very conscious choice for me. I started writing as a young teen, so everything I have written has been YA, and most of what I read is also YA. I love the typical YA conflicts, which usually center around identity and romance. These are such compelling conflicts to write and read, so that is what I’m drawn toward when brainstorming characters and plots.
Evelina: If you had to choose, which do you lean toward: A) strong characters B) mind-blowing plot twists or C) epic worldbuilding?
E.A.: Although all of these parts are great to have, if I had to choose one it would be strong characters. They are what drive the story (because we wouldn’t be too invested reading a story with very flat or boring characters), and I can use characters to create plot twists and reveal epic worldbuilding through their eyes!
Evelina: Hahaha. I love that answer. You stealthily worked them all in there! 😂 Do you have any writing rituals? Do you listen to music, sit at the kitchen table, summon the powers of darkness, etc?
E.A.: As a mother with two very young children, I’ve lost most of my former “rituals” around writing. I used to write at a specific time every day, which was great for developing writing as a habit. Now that my time is MUCH more limited, I find I can drop into writing whenever I have time for it (although the end of the day is a bit tougher, since I’m usually exhausted!). I used to have an office, which is now a nursery, so I currently sit at my writing desk in my bedroom. I think the biggest thing for me though is just having quiet or white noise to focus (so complete quiet or coffeeshop noise… Focusing with a toddler and baby awake in the house is definitely impossible.). In the summertime, I do love taking my laptop out in the backyard, where I am serenaded by birdsong and the whisper of wind through the white pines right behind my house. At least for me, it seems that the longer I write, the more flexible I am with where and when I am able to write. I’m able to drop into writing and the creative flow more quickly than I was a few years ago.
Evelina: That's great. I think establishing a writing habit is one of the trickiest things to master as a new writer. It sounds like you're moving around a good bit these days, do you have a preference between old school (pen and paper) and high-tech (laptop, phone)?
E.A.: I use both methods at the moment. I usually have a composition notebook that I work out of during the brainstorming phase. The outlining and actual writing I do on my writing software, only taking a few more notes or jotting scene ideas in my notebook. Sometimes I’ll doodle settings or character appearances as well in the notebook to help inspire me while I write.
Evelina: If you could have a cover by any artist, living or dead, who would it be?
E.A.: Well, I ADORED the art for the cover of Silverglen (illustrated by Leesha Hannigan), so I would definitely go with her if I had the money to. Otherwise, I’ve always loved Michael Whelan, who has done some fantastic covers for DAW (actually, pretty much any of the artists who have done DAW epic fantasy covers because they are always so stunning)! I’m such a visual person and ALWAYS judge a book by its cover haha, so this is really important for me. I love looking at new artists’ work, especially if it’s something illustrated (as opposed to graphic design).
Evelina: Out of all your characters, which is your favorite?
E.A.: I’ve had a lot of fun writing most of my characters. I think my favorite though is Devondra from Silverglen. She was very fun to write and I could see her with sharp clarity in my mind.
Evelina: If you could drop into any fantasy world (television, movies, books, games) for a visit, where would you go? And why?
This is an interesting question because I feel that most fantasy worlds are actually very dark places to be. But assuming no impending wars or serious societal issues, I would adore living in the Shire from Lord of the Rings. I love the down-to-earth living and close-knit families. Plus, if I ever got bored, there are so many amazing places to explore!
Evelina: That's such an insightful answer, especially after the recent dystopian trend. Even the romances can be scary! How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
E.A.: I’m so glad you asked this question because what I wrote before I published is just as important to me (from a writing development standpoint) as what I have published. I have one completed (utterly terrible) novel, plus two (also horrible) half-finished novels. They’ve all been fantasy, of course! I do have a short story that hasn’t been published, which received an honorable mention in the Writers of the Future contest.
Evelina: Last but least, tell us about your new book!!
E.A.: My newest release, Isle of Wings, is a companion novel to my debut (Silverglen). The story is told by two love interests who struggle to keep a stolen creature (a giant raptor known as the Ikari) hidden from a powerful sorceress. Roana, one of the protagonists, is suffering from the recent loss of her family, and this affects the way in which she deals with her emerging weather-controlling powers. Iniko, the second protagonist, supports Roana while attempting to recover his lost memories of a recent shipwreck. He also grapples with his morally ambiguous ability to influence other’s minds.
Thanks so much to E.A. Burnett for joining us today! Be sure to check out her links above and give Silverglen and Isle of Wings a read. If you enjoyed this blog post, join my newsletter and be the first to learn about new interviews. Also, get a free book in every newsletter! Just click here. No spam. Ever.