Indie author Rebecca Chastain has one of the best online platforms I’ve ever seen. She’s an international bestseller, and her newest book, LEADS & LYNXES will be available on November 17. Have a look:
Be careful what you ask for…
Kylie got into journalism to write important stories. Ones about gargoyles and dryads, elemental warriors, and thwarted magical attacks on her city. The bigger the story, the better. So when she lands the opportunity to ask an enchanted everlasting tree for the answer to any question she desires, she doesn’t have to think about it. She wants the story of a lifetime.
So does her nemesis, Nathan. If anyone is going to write a high-profile story, the senior journalist believes it should be him—and Nathan’s not above playing dirty to get his way. Kylie must work fast or risk losing control of her story.
But with every new lead forcing Kylie and her gargoyle companion Quinn deeper into a deadly maze of murder, warped magic, and monstrous beasts, rushing could prove fatal. Kylie is determined to write her dream story, but even she is beginning to wonder: Is the story of a lifetime the last story she’ll ever write?
In your bio, it says you’ve been writing stories since you were 11. What drove you to get that very first story on the page?
For as far back as I can remember, when I wasn’t reading, I was creating stories to amuse myself. Fortunately, in elementary school, I got some fun assignments that let me write these stories down. I still remember getting called out in class for having written “the roots reached up to trip her” in a short story. My teacher praised me for how the words brought the scene to life, and I swear I walked on clouds the rest of the day. I mean, I still remember that moment decades later! With my teacher’s encouragement, I entered a short story contest. I came in second (and won a bookmark), and I was officially hooked.
Naturally, I thought I was destined to have a published novel on the bestseller list before I graduated high school. Turns out, writing books is hard! I didn’t hit the USA Today bestseller list until I was in my thirties, but the drive to write and my passion for telling stories has never waned.
Proof that no writing journey ever goes as expected! I love how LEADS & LYNXES centers on a journalist in a fantasy world. How did you know this was a story you wanted to tell?
Kylie, the protagonist of LEADS & LYNXES, first appeared in MAGIC OF THE GARGOYLES as the best friend of that book’s protagonist. Kylie was energetic, ambitious, and optimistic, and she didn’t hesitate to leap into danger to help her friend rescue kidnapped baby gargoyles. She rushed to assist her friend again in the sequel, showing impressive bravery and heart. She was always meant to be a secondary character, but every time she entered a scene, I wanted to write more about her.
When I was asked to write a short story for an anthology, I decided to make it about Kylie. That story became the prequel DEADLINES & DRYADS (currently free wherever ebooks are sold). Before I finished outlining DEADLINES, I knew Kylie deserved her own trilogy.
I also wanted to write a series with a protagonist who values her career. Kylie is ambitious. She wants to write the story of a lifetime—because she believes big stories help the most people, but also because she wants the recognition of her writing skills. I see a lot of women, myself included, struggle to prioritize their career goals, especially with societal pressures telling them they should be caretakers and family focused. Writing a story with a go-getting female protagonist was important to me. I didn’t make it easy for Kylie, either. LEADS & LYNXES pits her ambition against her heart…in between deadly battles with mythic creatures and wild magic.
So excited about how DEADLINES & DRYADS is currently available for free and about your current giveaway! Have you ever been conflicted as far as a story’s particular direction? If so, how do you know, in your gut, which direction a story needs to go?
For me, determining the story’s direction is all about deciding the emotional journey I want the reader to experience, especially the emotional resonance of the ending. I enjoy reading books that leave me feeling refreshed, happy, and hopeful, and those are the kinds of books I write.
I typically know three things before I begin outlining: who the main character is, her current flaws, and how the book is going to end. Everything in the middle is where I muddle through possible directions to take the story. That’s why I tend to have massive 30- to 60-page brainstorming documents and 20-page outlines.
It sounds extreme, but I learned not to be a pantser the hard way. My first completed novel was 500,000 rambling words. After that, I’ve been a stickler for outlines!
Yeah, I learned that lesson late too. Sometimes, I still let myself discover things on the page, just in case something unexpected pops out. What are some of your current projects?
HEADLINES & HYDRAS, the sequel to LEADS & LYNXES, is with my proofreader, and I’m currently writing the third book in the trilogy. I’m surprised Kylie is still alive and hopeful about her future at this point, with how much I’ve put her through! Though in all seriousness, I’m so proud of this series. Not only does it have a courageous heroine who evolves to meet her challenges, but it also has a slow-burn romance, a scene-stealing gargoyle companion, inventive magic, a slew of new and inimical mythic creatures, and page-flipping pacing.
For Rebecca Chastain’s other books, go to https://www.rebeccachastain.com/
REBECCA CHASTAIN is the USA Today bestselling author of the Madison Fox urban fantasy series and the Gargoyle Guardian Chronicles fantasy trilogy, among other works. Inside her novels, you’ll find spellbinding adventures packed with supernatural creatures, thrilling action, heartwarming characters (human and otherwise), and more than a little humor. Rebecca lives in Northern California with her charming husband. Visit https://www.rebeccachastain.com/ for more information. You can also find Rebecca on: