Rebekah Shafer is an author who published her first book in October. I met her in a Camp NaNoWriMo group and have been keeping up with her promising career as an author since. Here’s an exclusive interview with her about her first novel, her background as a creative type, and her future projects.
Dan: Hey, Rebekah! Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions. Have you been having a good winter?
Rebekah: Hi, Dan. It’s a pleasure to chat with you. As for this winter, well, it’s been a strange mix of family transition, new projects, and unexpected spare time. It’s a little disorienting, compared to my usual pace, but it’s vivid and rich and full.
D: Your first novel, A Twist of Fae, was published in October. How would you describe it to someone who hasn’t read the book?
R: It’s an urban fantasy about a special agent in charge of policing and monitoring illegal faery activity on earth. (Basically Men in Black meets gumshoe detective with a fairy twist, but you didn’t hear that from me.)
D: I read and really enjoyed A Twist of Fae (and recommend it to anyone looking for a fun read). One thing about your story’s world I found intriguing was the alternate fantasy dimension, Fae. What were some of your inspirations for Fae?
R: Classic old fairytales definitely account for the darker areas of Fae. Years of reading added up to my own mental perception of what a gritty Fairyland could be like. But then, of course, I had to balance the tense tone with some humor and beauty, so I added in a dash of “magic.” I’m a visual writer, so my concept of adding sparkle or magic to a made-up world usually consists of throwing in a sense of saturated colors, bits floating around, and “almost anything can happen.” Like a Miyazaki film, or Avatar: The Last Airbender’s spirit world.
D: Burgundy Graves is a memorable protagonist. If you had to describe in her three words, what would those words be?
R: Snarky, focused, powerhouse. (Fun fact: She was so snarky, focused, and powerhouse, I couldn’t come up with a name for her until the third draft.)
D: Who are some of your favorite authors? Who else inspires you?
R: Oh boy. I read tons, and enjoy almost all of it. Let me see. . . some of the authors who have stuck with me over the years are Rudyard Kipling (Jungle Books, Kim, Captains Courageous), C.S. Lewis (The Space Trilogy), and Lloyd Alexander (The Vesper Holly books, Prydain chronicles, The Iron Ring). I do have four books I go to when I need a little extra writing oomph. Patrick Rothfuss’ The Name of the Wind, and the 100 Cupboards trilogy by N.D. Wilson. Any of those four can ignite my drive to write, and remind me what amazing and almost mystical things can be done with words.
D: I’ve seen from your Twitter and Etsy pages that you have a talented hand for crafts. What are your non-writing interests?
R: I’ve been crafting/creating things for almost as long as I can remember. Cardboard castles, Barbie clothes, stuffed toy platypuses. . . . It started out as self-entertainment and then, when some friends and I began moviemaking, turned into everything from production design to creating the actual props and costumes (while acting, chauffeuring, and cooking to feed the cast and crew). I’ve also dabbled in various yarn arts, beading, bookbinding, and water color. Basically, I have to keep active or get flooded with waves of bottled-up creativity. A pleasant excess, but a bit insanitary if it explodes.
D: How long have you been writing? When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
R: I started writing stories when I was seven or eight. They were mostly blatant rip-offs of old favorites (thanks to a hard drive crash, the majority of them are lost) but the process sparked some ideas. When I hit early teens I started writing on a regular basis and joined an online forum for teen writers. On the forum I found a core group of writing buddies who wouldn’t let me rest on my laurels and kept encouraging me to keep working. After roughly seven years of intensive writing I emerged from the story shrapnel with A Twist of Fae and another full-length novel, and the inner sense that I was ready to share with the world. Now I just have to keep writing and presenting.
D: What can you tell us about the sequel to A Twist of Fae?
R: Well, the sequel is out for initial feedback at the moment, so any of these spoilers may change without warning. It’s called The Mirror Knife. The gist of it is that Burgundy steps in to prevent a fairy-on-fairy kidnapping, and finds herself on the wrong side of a Faery house war and in possession of an illegal relic. All of that is complicated, of course, by a blood feud with the Faery mafia, an awkward attempt to act as agent trainer, and a creepy new batch of villains. The current plan is to release it in the second half of next year.
D: Are there any other projects or exciting endeavors on your horizon? Non-Surfaeillence books?
R: There are always exciting projects on the horizon. The biggest at the moment is A Sea of Purple Ink. It’s a fantasy-meets-superpowers-and-guns story, with some really interesting situations and character interaction. The main character is a wanted woman with a trait they call “mastermind” – the ability to observe, deduce, and react at lightning speed. She’s been working for years to find and rescue other people with special abilities before they are killed, and now has found a slim chance to overturn the ban against supers and end the oppression.
At the moment, the story is out for editing, and I’m supposed to be busy writing marketing copy and getting the cover art sorted out. Hopefully I’ll release it in the first half of 2015, and then focus in on editing a couple other projects I have in the wings, like a Dickens-esque nautical fantasy called The Luck Child, or the eastern-flavored novel The Serpent and The Swallow.
You can keep up with Rebekah Shafer at her website, Lantern Leaf Press, where she frequently posts updates, tips, and poems. You can pick up a copy of her first book, A Twist of Fae (which has a 4.5 star average), on as an ebook on Amazon for $3.49.