2019 Fall Curiositales Magazine: Erin A. Craig Kalyn Josephson Katy Rose Pool and Laura E. Weymouth

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CURIOSITALES New York, New York; USA Volume 14 Fall 2019


Gillian St. Clair



CONTRIBUTORS Leo P. Carney An-Mari Fouché Lauren G. Mieke Göttsche Mara Hubl Hailey I. Nasirah Kathrada Elishia Merricks Jessica Signori Melleny Smith Annie Sullivan Bianca Visagie Juliet White


Erin A. Craig Kalyn Josephson Katy Rose Pool Laura E. Weymouth

BOOKSTAGRAMMERS Jade Nargis Kalani Rawa Rabail Khan Raima

COVER Xochicalco Art Images used belong to the credited creator, or have been used through standard license agreement or creative commons. For more information, email support. Copyright 2019 by Curiositales Magazine. All rights reserved. This magazine or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in review.




Curiositales is a quarterly magazine. We also engage readers with a free newsletter. For your regular dose of all things bookish, subscribe at www.curiositales.com


Letter From The Editor








Interviews with Erin A. Craig, Kalyn Josephson, Katy Rose Pool, & Laura E. Weymouth

Essays on reading for healing and why we rarely see short stories retellings









PHOTO ESSAYS Cosplayers Lauren G. and Hailey I. present some of their most creative costumes





Q&A with Jade, Nargis, Raima, and Rawa, this month’s featured accounts

Book reviews from the Curiositales reading community

Bookish destinations to inspire your next vacation itinerary


CONTENTS 10 Giving Back 11 Contributors 12 News & Updates 16 Horror by the Sea

Erin A. Craig of House of Salt and Sorrows

21 Share Your Shelf | Erin A. Craig 22 Flights of Fantasy Kalyn Josephson of The Storm Crow

27 Share Your Shelf | Kalyn Josephson 28 Curiositales Ambassadors 30 We Predict Obsession Katy Rose Pool of There Will Come a Darkness

35 Share Your Shelf | Katy Rose Pool 36 Home is Where the Magic Happens Laura E. Weymouth of A Treason of Thorns

41 Share Your Shelf|Laura E. Weymouth 44 Healing with Reading by Jessica Signori

46 A Long Look at Short Stories Retold by Annie Sullivan

48 Fall Drinks 50 Dresses and Capes Cosplay 60 Parchment and Realms Cosplay 70 Upcoming Releases 72 Meet the Bookstagrammers 90 Book Reviews 94 Fall Favorites 96 Literary Tourism 98 Bookstagram Photo Tips by Elishia Merricks




k c a B g n Givi






Cosplayer Lauren G. @dressesandcapes

Cosplayer Hailey I. @parchment_and_realms

Writer Jessica Signori @thoseclassichues

Lauren uses her creativity and imagination to create costumes and cosplays. She is self taught and enjoys learning new techniques. Through pure determination she has won cosplay and costume competitions. She never let the color of the skin of a character determine who she cosplays; she cosplays characters she loves, not characters who look like her. She encourages everyone to embrace their sense of creativity!

Hailey is an animal lover, an artist, and a quiet soul. But to those who know her best, she is also an elven princess, a faerie, and a pirate (or whatever else strikes her fancy). Combining her love of books and other worlds with skills in thrifting, altering, and art, she brings to life beloved characters through cosplay.

Jessica Signori is an Italian in London. Blogger by day and usher by night, she loves architecture anything aesthetically pleasing and slow burn romance. You can find her blog at thoseclassichues.com

Author Annie Sullivan @annsulliva

Photographer Elishia Merricks @elishia.in.newyork

Writer Juliet White @julietwrites

Annie Sullivan is a Young Adult author from Indianapolis, Indiana. Her work has been featured in Curly Red Stories and Punchnels. She loves fairytales, everything Jane Austen, and traveling and exploring new cultures. When she’s not off on her own adventures, she’s teaching classes at the Indiana Writers Center and working as the Copy Specialist at John Wiley and Sons, Inc. publishing company.

Elishia is an English girl in New York and a lover of stories. She lets her love of literature and theater seep into her photography and is always looking to tell a story through the lens of her camera. She likes to lose herself in a good book, one after another, and she listens to audiobooks when she runs, walks, or travels in any way.

As a kid, Juliet White slept with a flashlight in her bed for late-night stealth reading. You can find her obsessing about libraries @JulietWrites on Twitter, or visit her website at www.julietwhite.com


News & Updates

U pcoming Interviews: Shea Ernshaw Tochi Onyebuchi Nancy Richardson Fischer

Curiositales Magazine is on the lookout for contributors. If you have an idea geared toward readers, or if you’d like to nominate a featured bookstagrammer or cosplayer, send us an email: contribute@curiositales.com. Our readers are creative and talented and we want to feature you. Send us an email to be considered for an upcoming issue. 12 K CURIOSITALES

Shamim Sarif Read them in the next issue!










I like quiet horror. I love the Gothic horror genre.

“ When you’re splashing around in the

HORROR BY THE SEA WITH ERIN A. CRAIG Interview by Gillian St. Clair Written by Juliet White

water, do images from Jaws flash through your brain? Does talk of camp bring to mind slasher flicks featuring murder and mayhem in the woods? For all its sunshine and fun, summer can be a scary season. And this one just got a little creepier with the release of YA novel, House of Salt and Sorrows, a tale inspired by the Edgar Allen Poe poem, “Annabel Lee.” The poem describes the relationship between the narrator and his dead lover—a devotion that extends beyond death. As if that wasn’t macabre enough, “Annabel Lee” was published two days after Poe’s own demise. Craig’s version centers around twelve sisters who once made their home in a manor by the sea. At the opening of the book, four of the girls are dead, and the eight living sisters may not stay that way for long. Annaleigh knows her siblings steal away to attend mysterious balls, but are these forbidden nights of intrigue linked to their abrupt deaths? There’s only one way to find out…


Author of House of Salt and Sorrows, Erin A. Craig, has long been fascinated and terrified by the things that go bump in the night or—worse still—the silent things that give no warning of their approach. “I’ve always liked ghost stories,” she confessed. “When I was a kid, I remember coming across Alvin Schwartz’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark in the school library. My mom wouldn’t have let me check it out if I’d gone to the regular library—there was no way. So, I kept it in my desk; I’d read it in-between classes or on the playground, and that was my first foray into scary stories.” “I like quiet horror. I didn’t watch scary movies until later in high school, maybe even college, but one of the plays my grandparents took me to see was called The Woman in Black, by Susan Hill. The whole thing is driven by sound effects. It’s the ‘what if’. Your imagination is always so much worse. What I tried to do with House of Salt and Sorrows is, when there are the ghost moments, a lot of it is suggested. It could be what [Annaleigh] thinks; it could also be explained away by 10,000 other logical reasons.” “I love the Gothic horror genre,” said Craig. “The Others is my absolute favorite movie.” Released in 2001, Alejandro Amenábar’s haunted house movie hooked in horror lovers. “If it’s got a haunted house in it, I’ll totally watch it; I’ll read it. If it’s done right, it can be so spooky.” Craig is also a fan of The Castle of Otranto, an 18th century novel that Horace Walpole wrote, essentially launching the Gothic genre. Craig freely concedes it’s a terrible book, but that hasn’t lessened the novel’s appeal for her. “I love all of the Gothic horror tropes: the girl in the white night gown, and of course she’s got a candle, and something is chasing her.” You’ll have to read House of Salt and Sorrows to see where Craig sticks to conventions and the spots where she steers the plot in an unpredictable direction. But she’s upfront about how her protagonist deviates from expectations. “I wanted to have the quiet, shy, dreamy girl as the main character and show that that can be a strength if it’s used in the right way,” she explained. “You don’t have to have the answers all of the time. I 18


think Annaleigh is naïve, and sometimes she’s too trusting—that was very much who I was as a teenager. It was important for her to have a quiet strength.”

I wanted to have the quiet, shy, dreamy girl as the main character and show that that can be a strength if it’s used in the right way.

“I love books like The Hunger Games with these tough, heroic women, but I’m not that person. I’ll totally stand up for injustice, but I’m not going to get out a bow and arrow. I wanted to show that you can fight for what you believe, and still want to wear a pretty dress. You can have a flamethrower and makeup!” Although fire is one of the first things that humans weaponized, flamethrowers aren’t exactly a hot accessory in Craig’s novel, since it’s inspired by the Victorian era, but you will find some unexpected additions. “I wanted it to be a Victorian setting but I really liked the Greek gods system,” said Craig. “I was like, ‘What if the Greek gods never left? What if they’re real? And, if they’re real, then they’re actually walking around interacting with the world, and what does that look like?’” “For all intents and purposes, we’re in Victorian England, with semi-modern sensibilities. Obviously, it’s fantasy, but part of the challenge was making it difficult for myself because they’re

a god; they can do whatever they want.” Still, the motivations of Craig’s characters had to feel authentic. “If a magic door opened up in front of you, you probably wouldn’t go through it; that’s a bad idea. There had to be something that would entice [my characters] into this weird portal. Trying to impose these magical, fairy-tale tropes into a real world was a big challenge for me.” The Victorian setting presented its own complications. “Language was my biggest hold back. [The characters are] not going to be saying a lot of the words we say now.” In terms of content, Craig didn’t feel the need to make concessions for a YA audience. “I don’t look at reviews often, but someone said, ‘Oh they were bandying sexual terms around.’ And I was like, ‘They were talking about kissing. What teenager doesn’t talk about kissing with their friends? It’s what they’re interested in.’”

Craig always read up and she recalls being introduced to adult horror, like Stephen King, in junior high. “I don’t think we have to dumb down anything for teenagers,” she said. “Kids get scared, especially in the world we’re in today; they’re seeing horrible things on television. So, there’s a childbirth scene [in my novel] that goes very wrong. I didn’t want to spare the reader any gruesome details, because birth is a part of life. But the scary parts all serve the greater plot narrative. The nature of a lot of entertainment right now is for shock value, but I think if you’re going to shock, there needs to be a reason for it.” A deceptively tough task is choosing the right title for a book. During the publishing process, novels shed titles like rejected outfits before a party, leaving behind mounds of cast-off monikers. House of Salt and Sorrows is actually the manuscript’s fourth title. “It started out as The Kingdom by the Sea because it was based on ‘Annabel Lee,’” revealed Craig. “The original title that I subbed to my agent was Of Salt and Starlight because that’s a line in the book, ‘We’re born of salt and starlight.’ I absolutely loved it and thought it summed up everything. Then we realized there are 10,000 books with stars in their title coming out or that had come out recently.” “I’m a big fan of alliteration,” she continued, “and I wanted something with an ‘s’. It’s very sorrowful, so we tried Of Salt and Sorrows. My editor was like, ‘This isn’t working for me.’ I went back to Edgar Allen Poe and I saw The Fall of the House of Usher.” Craig wasn’t sure if adding “house” to the title would enough of a change for her editor. “I pitched it to her on a Friday, so I had to wait all weekend on pins and needles. Then Monday morning she was like, “We love it, we talked to the marketing people and they love it, everyone loves it, and immediately you know it’s going to be Gothic and spooky. It still captures all of what the original title meant for me but just oomphed it a little.” “As far as characters’ [names], I was doing an ode to Edgar Allen Poe. I think almost all of the sisters are named after his characters. Annabel


Lee is shortened to Annaleigh. Morella, Octavia, Helen, Madeline… nearly all of the female characters are Poe characters. I had to name 12 sisters and he’s got 12 very likeable heroines. Rosalie and the Graces are the only sisters who aren’t named after Poe characters, but one of his cousins was named Rose, and the Graces are their own little thing.” For subsequent manuscripts, Craig sometimes uses a random name generator to fuel her creativity. Otherwise, “if I can extract meaning out of the name, I like to do that. The islands in House of Salt and Sorrows are all named after famous shipwrecks. I like drawing from historical things if I can, or famous literary things. Usually they’re for myself—it gives me a little fun.” Given the amount of thought behind Craig’s writing choices, it comes as no surprise that she prefers to outline her novels rather than winging it. “I’m a hyper plotter,” she said. “I’m trying to embrace the three-act narrative. I’ll go through and say, in each chapter, ‘This beat needs to be hit.’ But I never get to the point where I take the Harry Potter sorting hat quizzes for my characters! I like to leave them their mysteries because you want to be surprised, too, when you’re writing.” “My main focus is on trying to build a complete world for my characters to inhabit. It’s easier for me to see what they are going to do once I know their world.” Craig’s process can be painstaking. “My first book took me a decade before I actually got to the end! I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, I can’t be a writer. There’s no payoff in writing a book a decade.’ When I came across the idea for House of Salt and Sorrows, I wrote a chapter and was like, ‘There’s something missing.’ So, I put it aside for awhile. But, once I realized I wanted to pair my ‘Annabel Lee’ idea with a fairytale retelling, I wrote the first draft in three months. I’d never written anything that fast before. I got my agent three weeks after I finished! It was a whirlwind.” Craig’s been building up buzz for House of Salt and Sorrows, which was the most anticipated YA release in August on Goodreads. “I’ve been on Twitter for a couple of years,” she said. “There’s 20


a #Novel19s group. We’ve been doing monthly chats—the normal social media gauntlet. We’ve got some book trailers coming up as the publication date gets closer.” Craig recently attended YALLWEST. “That’s been so much fun. I know that I’m writing for teenagers but getting to see [them] holding the book? It’s so cool because it’s until now, it’s only been read by critique partners—and we’re all in our 20s and 30s—the editors, and all the team at Delacorte.” However, Craig also values her interests that take her beyond the literary world. “I’m very much a workaholic. It’s easy to get consumed by an idea or a project, and people absolutely need breaks to refill their creativity. Sometimes when I’m having a problem with a chapter and I keep picking at it and picking at it, it’s only in the moments where I step away [that help]. I think that unlocks something in the back of your head. It’s good to have diversity in your life. I always hate when you see interviews where it’s like, ‘I love books, and I love writing.’ Well, we all love reading and writing, otherwise we wouldn’t be in this business. Who else are you, as a person? What else do you like?” “Most of my hobbies are creative. I like to knit and quilt.” Other interests include basketball—Craig has season tickets to the Memphis Grizzlies. That appeals because “I don’t have to create anything; I can just consume it. It lets my brain go on autopilot, where I’m not having to think about, ‘Oh, if I had written this movie, how would I have done it differently?’ It’s basketball.” “Having aspects of your life where you [don’t have] to think about characters and what’s motivating them [is important]. Sometimes it’s as simple as wanting the shot to go in. We won, yay!” House of Salt and Sorrows is released on August 6. And, if you need to sleep with the lights on for a few nights, we won’t judge.

Follow Erin online: www.erinacraig.com @ penchant4words

Share Your Shelf with Erin A. Craig

1. Fossil Campbell Tote: There are SO MANY POCKETS in this gorgeous purse—perfect for hauling all your books, journals, pens, and wallet with you. 2. Tieks: These are the best shoes for wandering up and down the aisles of your favorite bookstore in. No sore feet with those padded blue soles! Plus, with over 60 colors, you can always match whatever you’re currently reading! My favorite are the Lovestrucks. 3. Burt’s Bees Brightening Moisturizer: You’ll never look like you stayed up all night reading—again!— again! 4. Fringe Studio Notebooks: I’m super picky about what notebooks I use and these are my absolute favorite! Oversized and flexible, great page weight, and so many pretty covers! 5. U-Brands Monterey Pens: These pens are fantastic! The heavy metal bodies make me feel like every word I write is weighted with importance, even if it’s just a first draft! 6. Azio Typewriter Keyboard: My darling husband got this for me for Christmas a few years ago and I just love it! We collect typewriters and it’s not always practical to write out long drafts on them—this makes me feel like I am though! 7. Coffee: I love a cup (or three) of hot black in the morning and big tumbler of iced in the afternoon. My all-time favorites from Magnum Coffee, roasted right in my hometown! 8. Book Nerd Hat: My favorite cap! Let the world know exactly who you are whenever you’re out on the go! 9. Edgar Allan Poe Fingerless Gloves: My hands tend to get cold while I type. These keep me warm without limiting movement and are perfect for inspiration! 10. Octopus Bookends: The perfect way to showcase your copy of HOUSE OF SALT AND SORROWS!




A magic system based on crows.



WITH KALYN JOSEPHSON Interview by Gillian St. Clair Written by Juliet White

murder of crows. When given a collective name that ominous, anything can sound scary. Seriously, try it. Call a pile of teddy bears a murder, and you start questioning just how huggable those fuzzy critters really are. In reality, crows are smart enough to recognize human faces, gather around their dead as if conducting a funeral, and generate long-term memories from a single experience. Think of them as the misunderstood teens of the bird world, clad in black and emitting an emo vibe—or at least that’s all some people see. But get ready to shelve your preconceptions, because crows may have found a new PR agent in debut author Kalyn Josephson. Dive into The Storm Crow, the first novel in her duology, and discover a vivid fantasy world where crows, magic, and majesty entwine. By day, Josephson works as a tech writer in the Bay Area, and that means constantly using both sides of her brain to merge creativity with facts. So, it makes sense that reading a nonfiction article about crows spurred her to start this novel. “I’ve always loved crows,” she revealed, “and [the article] gave me the idea for a short story about a princess who is trapped in a tower and the crows who brought her pieces of the world. They brought her magical-esque things, such as color and spring. I really liked the idea of a magic system based on crows.” And that’s exactly what readers will find in The Storm Crow. CURIOSITALES K 23

The kingdom of Rhodaire depends heavily on its magical crows, until the Illucian empire invades, wiping them out. Sisters Caliza and Anthia both suffer devastating losses in the takeover. Caliza reacts by immersing herself in running the kingdom. She also agrees to marry her sister off to the crown prince of Illucia. Meanwhile, Thia is caged by a deep depression. When she discovers a sole surviving crow’s egg, she sees a spark of hope for both Rhodaire’s future and her own. “The book deals with the themes of family and friendship,” said Josephson. “One of the things I was exploring with Caliza and Thia is how two people can go about trying to accomplish the same goal. They both want to protect Rhodaire, but they have completely different opinions on how to do that. Caliza, who has never cared for the crows and has never had a connection with them, thinks that relying on them is dangerous, and that’s what got them into the situation to begin with. Whereas Thia thinks the crows are their one last chance. And so, when the betrothal happens, it starts the divide between them and their attempts to accomplish the same goal—just in very different ways.” Many authors draw inspiration from their own experiences and that’s true for Josephson too. She channeled her own struggles with depression into Thia. “I wrote this book after college, after what had been a very hard year for me and it was a giant diary entry at first, a big journal of me figuring things out,” she explained. “Thia’s experience really emulates mine and I wanted that in there because it fit her character—she has absolutely everything ripped away from her. Also, [depression] wasn’t something I’d seen in a fantasy before, and if I’d been able to read while I was dealing with that, it would have helped me to understand a little more and to feel less alone. I wanted to fill that gap.” “It was a challenge because, with young adult fantasy novels, there’s an expectation for pacing and for action that didn’t fit with who Thia was at the time. I struggled with figuring out a balance between her dealing with her depression and with maintaining the story, which hopefully worked out.” 24


I wrote this book after college, after what had been a very hard year for me and it was a giant diary entry at first, a big journal of me figuring things out. Depression wasn’t something I’d seen in a fantasy before, and if I’d been able to read while I was dealing with that, it would have helped me to understand a little more and to feel less alone. I wanted to fill that gap.

Making sure that the crows were fully fleshed out also mattered deeply to Josephson. “When it came to writing the animal characters in my book, I wanted them to be their own, individual characters. I recently saw an Internet meme that referred to crows as ‘sky cats’ because if you have a pet crow you’re actually the pet human for that crow. You know, like cats own people. Same thing.”

Josephson is happily ruled by two cats and she infused some feline traits and behaviors into the crows. But much of her character development was based on scientific studies. “For example, crows hold grudges,” Josephson explained. “If one crow has a grudge against you, it will go get its friends and come back. Crows can remember people’s faces, so there are documented stories of people who have made them angry who they just stalk every day.” Note to self: never antagonize a crow! Thankfully it’s not hard to stay on the good side of these birds. “Crows love it when you feed them. Berries, nuts, stuff like that. Then they’ll be your best friend.” “People have a perception of birds in general as gross, dirty animals and don’t realize how intelligent they are. Also, there are a lot of movies that use crows as bad omens and bad luck. Before all that started happening, crows were actually positive symbols, signs of magic in Celtic mythology. I get a lot of people saying, ‘I didn’t really like crows, but then I read your book and now I think they’re cute.’ And I’m like, ‘Oh good.’” Before she could reach readers and convert them into crow appreciators, Josephson had to secure an agent and an editor. She majored in English and biology, but deserves an honorary degree in persistence. The Storm Crow was her fourth manuscript and she racked up over a hundred rejections, combined, for those novels. Submitting work is tough even when you’re feeling resilient, never mind when dealing with depression. Josephson learned ways to deal with the stresses and uncertainties of the publishing industry. “One of the biggest areas of support in my life is my writing group. They’re friends of mine who also write young adult, middle, fantasy, and a lot of them have struggled with depression. Having them there throughout this process has changed everything. I had one friend who’s a really good critique partner but, besides her, I was still looking around. I found [the group] right before my book got bought and their support and help has meant everything during this whole process. Having people who understand what you’re dealing with in the publishing world is extremely important.”

Josephson uses several other tools to balance her moods. “Exercise is a big one for me, even if it’s just going for a walk. It gives me a boost during the day, especially with the stress of work. Also setting strict schedules so that I don’t feel overwhelmed with everything that’s going on or that I have to do. Reading is a retreat for me. I just close my door, hide in my room, and read for an hour.” Some people are book monogamists, preferring to immerse themselves in one story at a time. Other readers pitch their tents in the “more books the better camp,” and juggle multiple reads at once. Josephson has no problem making the mental leap between different plots. “I read so much. I commute usually about two to two and a half hours a day, so I always have an audiobook going. Then I have a book that I’m reading at home and a book in my car for when I’m waiting. So, I’m usually reading three or four things at a time, especially with critique partner stuff.” Once you’ve zipped through The Storm Crow, Josephson recommends Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto. “It’s a bird book, but they’re phoenixes. It’s another debut. The [book] came out in February and it’s really really good. I love the phoenixes, obviously.” Josephson’s a voracious reader across the fantasy genre. “Every once in a while, I’ll read a thriller or a contemporary to break it up,” she shared, “but mostly fantasy. That has been the case for as long as I can remember. Ever since I was a kid, my mom used to read us Harry Potter, which definitely influenced my reading choices.” “When I was in high school and middle school, there wasn’t a ton of young adult fantasy out, so I was always reading adult fantasy, probably before I should have been. I remember picking up Neil Gaiman’s American Gods when I was 13, and I reached a point where I was like, ‘I probably shouldn’t be reading this,’ because it’s a very adult book!” Josephson has been writing since she was a child. In fact, her first fan fiction was a Scooby-Doo story that she penned around age seven. “I was obsessed with Scooby-Doo as a kid,” she confessed.


Still, Josephson isn’t immune to second guessing and doubts. “I’ll see authors who I really admire who say, ‘This is how I write a book,’ and I’m like, ‘That’s not the way I do it. Is my way wrong? Do I need to learn their way?’ You don’t. You just need to know what works for you. If you need to outline, to make a playlist, to know your character’s favorite foods before you can write about them, then that’s what you need to do. It’s okay if it doesn’t match up with what everyone else is doing.” In terms of more fixed writing rules, “the normal advice is don’t write or start working on a sequel until you at least get an agent or book deal for the first book, and so writing a sequel was a fun challenge,” said Josephson.

“I had a bazillion stuffed animals, every single movie, and a couple of video games. My mom claims to still have [my fan fiction story], but I’ve specifically requested her not to find it because I have a feeling that it’ll show up at my book launch if I do!” In many ways, starting a creative pursuit at such an early age made the writing process easier for Josephson. “When you’re a kid and you’re learning how to do something, you naturally find your own way, and what I mean by that is that you’re just doing it. When I was writing as a kid, I obviously wasn’t reading craft books or looking up stuff on the Internet. As an adult, while I was trying to get better at writing books and get an agent and get published, one of the things I discovered was that there’s so much advice out there.” “The most important thing you can do is to figure out what works for you in particular. For example, a lot of people say, ‘If you want to be a writer, you have to write every day.’ If I do that, I’m not going to like writing. There are some hard and fast rules and guidelines to adhere to, but when it comes to your process, finding what works for you and staying with it is really helpful.” 26


“On one hand, you know these characters and this world so well but, on the other hand, you’ve set a bunch of rules and limitations that you can’t change now. It was both easier in some regards and harder in others, but I’m really proud of how the sequel turned out, even though literally the moment I submitted it I was like, ‘I need to change this and this and this!’” The final book in Josephson’s duology is now with her editor, while The Storm Crow was released in July. “Remind people that there is a sequel,” she joked, “because [book one] ends on a cliffhanger. I didn’t mean for it to be a cliffhanger but, apparently, from the reader’s perspective it is, which I apologize for. That’s why it ends like that. To be continued.” Obviously, authors hope to attract a wide readership, but Josephson feels that animal lovers in particular will connect with her work. If you’re a fan of How to Train Your Dragon, Eragon, or The Dragon Prince, you’ll definitely want to add The Storm Crow to your summer TBR list. You can pick up a copy on Goodreads or your local bookstore. Follow Kalyn online: www.kalynjosephson.com @ kalynmjosephson

Share Your Shelf with Kalyn Josephson

1. My notebooks - I fill one out for each book. They include everything from world building aspects to character bios to quotes I want to use in the book. 2. My bookshelves - I’ve had these since I was in high school and have slowly been filling them up. They’re organized in alphabetical order for the most part, with a couple subgroups like my Novel19s shelf. 3. My planner - I have an absolute horrid memory, and without my planner I’d never remember anything. I just got my 2019/2020 planner! 4. Slack - This is how I communicate with my writing group, The Guillotine Queens. Without them, this journey would have been twice as hard. 5. My whiteboard - I brainstorm a lot of scenes on my whiteboard before writing them. It helps me think them through. 6. Incense holders - I collect them! And the incense that go with them. I love having them going while I write. 7. Mug and tea collection - I drink a loooot of tea, and I collect mugs. These are just a few! I always have a cup when writing or editing. 8. Fluffy sweaters - I’m all about the fluffy things. I usually wear gym shorts or pajamas with a fluffy sweater when I write. 9. Fuzzy socks - In addition to fuzzy socks, of course! These are just a few of my favorite pairs. 10. My cats - mainly my youngest, El, who will camp out in my lap for hours on end while I write. I’ve gotten a lot of writing and editing done just because I didn’t want to get up and disturb her!







You have the ability to make choices for yourself.

“ Katy Rose Pool’s There Will Come a

Darkness is about to hit the shelves and if you haven’t heard the buzz surrounding this book then it’s time to take off your headphones, because it’s blaring. This is the manuscript that launched a bidding war among publishers almost as epic in scope as the novel itself.


Interview by Gillian St. Clair Written by Juliet White

Told from five different perspectives, There Will Come a Darkness is the first in a high fantasy trilogy. “What I want to get across with the book is that you are more than your circumstances and you’re more than what people say you are,” said Pool. “You have the ability to make choices for yourself that are right for you and not necessarily what the rest of the world wants you to do.” Her book reels in readers from the opening scene, which features the slaughter of a corrupt priest. From there, we plunge into a high-stakes world where good and evil are not always as they seem. In this sweeping novel, seven prophets once steered humanity’s course. Until they vanished. They left behind one prophecy that predicts a looming Age of Darkness and the arrival of a new prophet with the power to save the world—or to undo it.


The core cast consists of a prince, a killer, a leader, a gambler, and a dying girl. “I have these five points of view, so it’s important that they be distinct and feel recognizable but also very real,” Pool explained. “I don’t start with an archetype and then get more specific. I usually start with something specific and build out from there. Even when I engage with certain tropes, I’m coming at it from a set place.” Pool uses the gambler to illustrate her character creation process. “His story arc revolves around his childhood and his fear of a family member who basically abused him and so, coming from that place, he’s [now] this seemingly free-spirited gambler who rolls with the punches. When I’m seeing these archetypes, that’s a later part of the process. I try and make it so each character has a distinct point of view about their world, based on how they’ve grown up, what they’ve gone through, and where they’re at now.” “I have a character who’s a prince, and he sees things in terms of justice—what’s right, and how he can live up to this leadership role that he has. Then I have a character who has basically been on the run for six years and she kills people! She’s more interested in a very definite goal (to save her sister) and anything she does is for that goal and therefore is justifiable to her. So, I had a lot of fun seeing how these characters play with their conflicts and the choices they make based on who they are.” Pool’s main characters cross paths, which gave her the opportunity to show viewpoint characters from both the inside and outside. “That’s actually one of the most fun things for me. We know each of [the characters] really well, but they ignore certain things about themselves. There are things they don’t want to face or that they don’t see themselves as and so, in these other points of view, we get an outsider’s perspective on how this person actually presents themselves to the world, versus who they think they are.” Even if you’ve never set foot in a psychic’s parlor, it’s hard to deny our collective fascination with prophecies—just look at Harry Potter. Although future predictions play an integral part in There 32


Will Come a Darkness, the version that made it into the book is barely recognizable from former drafts. “Early on there was a prophecy,” revealed Pool, “but it was pretty different. And the prophecy that’s in the book now was one of my last rounds of revision with my agents before we went on submission with the book. We were like, ‘We have all of these characters and we’re interested in their storylines, but we need to figure out a way for the person who’s reading the book to understand why their stories are intersecting and what’s going to come from that.’ [It] gave me the idea to make sure all of the characters were in this prophecy.” Editing a book is similar to driving and repeatedly missing your turn. Each time your GPS announces, “rerouting,” the voice sounds increasingly frustrated, as it steers you along a different path. With novels, at least, shifts in direction come with the territory and often lead to destinations far better than the original plan. This was certainly true for Pool. “One of the biggest changes in the book from the

first-ish draft to where it is now, is the villain of the story. The villain has taken over the prince’s kingdom and that’s where that conflict starts for him. Originally it wasn’t related to the prophets or the prophecy; it was just one big conflict in the world. Much later, I was thinking, is there religion in my world? People worship the prophets, and they’re gone now so there’s this vacuum left by that. What if someone came in to fill that vacuum and there was this new belief system starting to rise up? That gave me the central villain of the series. It’s crazy to me that I didn’t have that piece of the story yet, but that’s the strange process of writing a book.” Authors do all kinds of kooky things in the name of research—Internet search histories alone can look pretty incriminating—but Pool found herself playing a fictional card game that she invented for her novel. “I had to fix that scene in particular during the last stages of revisions because there were little details and I was like, ‘Oh that doesn’t make sense, or it just said he had this card.’ That was definitely challenging and, ultimately, I had to get my roommate to play this fake game with me in order to write it. My mom is an avid poker player so, I also sent [that scene] to her and was like, ‘Tell me if this makes sense.’” “A card game, or any leisure activity in general, adds a lot to a world,” Pool continued. “A lot of time when you are world building, you’re thinking about big picture things like politics and religion and history—even architecture or culture. But part of culture is these leisure activities. And the card game does play a crucial role in the plot.” Balancing the need to create a fully-realized world with the constraint of word counts is why so many fantasy novels run long. If you wanted to keep a book on your nightstand hefty enough to beat off an intruder, this is the genre to pick! At just shy of 500 pages, There Will Come A Darkness is no exception, making it not only an enthralling read, but also a practical self-defense contingency for any bibliophile. Still, there were some places where the manuscript required trimming. “My goal is always to create a great reading

experience,” said Pool. “Whenever I had to cut or change stuff, it was always with the faith that it would make the book better. And I think that it did. For the most part, I didn’t agonize that much. There were things it took me a while to figure out I needed to cut, but that’s sort of the process. When I do cut things, I save them so if there’s a place where I can use that in the future, then I have it. When I’m revising, I’m looking to make the story as strong as possible, to make the character arcs as moving as possible, and so I’m always ready to change whatever needs to be changed for that to happen.”

Endings are challenging for me.

In her blurb for There Will Come a Darkness, Sara Holland, author of the Everless series, references the novel’s explosive ending. “When I was first sitting down to write the book, I had no idea what the end was or what pieces needed to be in place for it, which made it difficult to edit,” Pool said. “I probably rewrote the last act four or five times. Parts of it were always the same and those parts were the natural conclusion of conflicts and mysteries that get set up in the book. It was a matter of deciding how all of those pieces fit together and what was going to be the most exciting and what made the most sense. Endings are challenging for me. I’m writing the ending of the second book right now and I’m like, ‘I need to sit down and figure this out,’ but that’s fun, too.” Pool pulls her ideas from diverse sources. “I really like games. A few years ago, I played a lot of board games with my sister and our friends.


There’s a board game that indirectly influenced my book, in terms of the world. It’s called 7 Wonders and it’s about the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World—it’s very fun—and the artwork and the way that the game goes inspired [me].” Having a screenwriter as a father helped Pool to grasp many aspects of storytelling, as well. “Being a kid, you don’t process what you’re doing or why you’re doing it, but seeing [my dad] in front of a computer typing, and knowing that that was making stories, made me feel like that was something I could do.” “In addition to being a writer, my dad also teaches screenwriting so he just naturally taught us about story. It was something we always talked about when we would go see movies: how story works and why people who write make certain choices about their stories. In very general terms, I’ll be like, ‘This is a mid-point scene, that is the climax.’ Story structure stuff—I learned all of that from my dad. By the time I was seven or eight, I was writing down my own stories.”

The books I read when I was really young have stuck with me and been central to my conception of what I like in stories, what I would like to write, and what I’m interested in.

Pool’s first experiences with books also affected who she became as both a reader and a creator. 34


“The books I read when I was really young have stuck with me and been central to my conception of what I like in stories, what I would like to write, and what I’m interested in.” “I got a lot of my taste from my brother and my sister. And my brother was always into sci-fi and fantasy.” Pool’s family adored Animorphs. “We had the whole series; we would read them as they came out. Early on I was reading Ella Enchanted. It’s still one of my favorite books. I think it’s absolutely brilliant and I re-read it recently and it definitely stands up. Ender’s Game was another of them. And then, a little later on, the Harry Potter series was huge. I was obsessed with it, probably from the ages of 10 to 17. I read Game of Thrones relatively young—probably too young, around 13 or 14—so that got me interested in the big, epic-scope fantasy.” “But the books that I read later on also helped shape me as a writer—so Leigh Bardugo. And I love The Winner’s Curse series. I read that when I was first beginning to draft There Will Come A Darkness and I was stunned by her prose. It challenged me to step up my prose game.” More recently, Pool discovered The Merciful Crow by Margaret Owen. “We have the same publisher, so she’s also at Holt. I read the book a month or two ago and I loved it; I [finished] it in one day. Another book that I enjoyed was The Fever King—pretty different from There Will Come A Darkness, but if people have the same sensibility as me, they may like it. I always recommend And I Darken by Kiersten White, especially if you like books that are a bit dark and that have characters who are ruthless. [It’s] one of my favorite series of all time. There Will Come a Darkness is released on September 3, 2019. You can preorder at your local bookstore or purchase it online. Pool also encourages readers to request her novel at the library and to leave a review on a trade site, like Amazon. Follow Katy online: www.katyrosepool.com @ katypool

Share Your Shelf with Katy Rose Pool

1. Candles: I love to light a candle when I get to writing. It really puts me in the right zone. I don’t love scents that are too sweet, so I go more for earthy & citrusy scents. 2. Muji Notebooks: I need a notebook to jot down ideas and plan out my writing schedule, and these are my favorite. They’re super super plain which is great because get too intimidated by pretty notebooks to scribble inside them! 3. Muji Pens: I also love these Muji brand pens which come in all kinds of colors, perfect for color-coding! 4. Hamilton mug: I bought this when Hamilton came to San Francisco, and every time I drink coffee out of it I feel like it makes me write like I’m running out of time. 5. Commit30 planner: I recently switched from all digital calendar to this physical planner. I like it because it lets me set goals and write notes, and it encourages me to find one thing each month that I want to commit to. 6. Rosé: this is my favorite thing to drink during an afternoon of writing! Crisp and cool, it’s the perfect thing to get me relaxed and ready to create worlds. 7. Kepler’s Books & Magazines tote: This comes from my local bookstore, Kepler’s, and is the PERFECT size for toting around books. 8. Snacks: I live right by a Trader Joe’s so all my writing fuel comes from them. I am particularly obsessed with the strawberry licorice when I’m chewing on tough plot problems, and the ginger lemon seltzer to keep me hydrated! 9. Storyteller sweatshirt: My favorite podcast 88 Cups of Tea started selling these cute and cozy sweatshirts earlier this year and I just love them! The perfect comfy apparel to curl up and get some writing done in. 10. Forest App: technically not an item, but I started using this app to keep me off my phone when I’m supposed to be writing and I love it! You can set it for any amount of time and if you don’t touch your phone it grows a tree. It’s great motivation.




Crafting your vision of self and who you are as a person is what you do with your teens.

“ Popular ideas in fantasy get recy-



Interview by Gillian St. Clair Written by Juliet White

cled more regularly than hipsters grow beards. So, whenever a novel smashes that mold—then grinds it out underfoot—it’s super refreshing to read. In Laura E. Weymouth’s latest novel, A Treason of Thorns, the magic is contained in a building—specifically an English country house. This raises all kinds of intriguing questions, like: would you leave damp towels on the bathroom floor if your house could retaliate? That dilemma is admittedly not at the forefront of Violet Sterling’s mind. She yearns to return to her childhood home of Burleigh House, even though protecting it cost her father his life and sent Violet into hiding. Forget HGTV makeovers, where the biggest problems are load-bearing walls and wallpaper so gross it should peel itself off in disgust. Rescuing a neglected house, now filled with dark magic, is a dangerous task. Almost as dangerous as going up against the king. But why take on one seemingly-impossible challenge, when you could embark upon two?


A Treason of Thorns is rooted in nature, yet Weymouth’s inspiration stems from a far more modern source. “People go, ‘Oh where do your book ideas come from?’” she said. “Mostly Twitter,” is the unexpected reply. “There’s a bot on Twitter that Tweets out magical realism, like stuff happening in an English country garden. I wrote a micro fiction about one of their Tweets, and one of my writing friends kept pestering me to write a book based on it.” “I also read an incredible article about Highgrove House, which is the Prince of Wales’s country home in England. It’s such a beautiful building and it looks like it has a personality. Between that, Downton Abbey, and the micro fiction I’d written, it all pieced together. I wanted to write a book about one of these beautiful, old, English manor houses that have seen so much history. But what if the house itself has been witnessing the history and is alive? Essentially, it’s a person in its own right that the same family has been tending to.” “In the book, these houses’ magic has been constrained and bound by the royal family of England,” explained Weymouth. “That’s who their grudge is against because they’re not thrilled about that situation. The families that serve the houses act as caretakers and allow them to channel their magic. So, it’s a symbiotic, codependent relationship. The houses can’t exist without their caretakers, and their caretakers are very cognizant of that—it’s a big part of their job.” A well-developed magic system is key to immersing readers in any fantasy novel, and Weymouth’s is unexpected. “I’ve always been interested in the concept of blood magic; it’s vital and constantly flowing. How would a house channel magic? I decided that the mortar would be infused with magic—it’s something that can leach into people. Once I came up with that, it provided its own set of rules. If you have mortar flowing through your blood, that could be damaging.” “I wanted to play with the premise of home ownership: having magically endowed keys, people being put under house arrest. My agent was like, 38


‘Okay, at some point you do need to rein in the house puns!’ It was fun bringing in these things we associate with mundane objects and giving them a magical twist.” In terms of theme, A Treason of Thorns explores the idea of expectations. “It’s about how we choose to live up to the expectations that others place upon us and how we choose to go in our own direction, and whether or not it’s possible to find a balance between those two things. It’s up to you, as an individual, to decide whether that vision of you is one that you agree with,” observed Weymouth. “Crafting your vision of self and who you are as a person is what you do with your teens. I think that this book will resonate with a young adult readership because it does deal with that.” Despite her affinity for the YA market, Weymouth is currently at work on an adult novel. She’s one of those who mourned the untimely death of the “new adult” category, when it was laid to rest in a publishing graveyard. “I wish there was a new adult category,” she said. “I know there’s a big and quite important conversation going on in YA at the moment about how we serve the younger end of the spectrum, but my books do tend to skew towards upper YA. And my adult books would just take up from that and be for the younger adult spectrum— characters that are nineteen, twenty, twenty-one, twenty-two...” “Particularly for women readers, we’re always on a journey of figuring out who we are, how we fit in the world, and trying to redefine our place. And it’s not something that stops in your teen years so, with the adult work that I eventually hope to do, I plan to take the themes that resonate so strongly with adult readers of YA and bring them more into the adult category.” “I think the fact that there is such a big gap in the market for younger teens but that adult readers are gravitating strongly to YA shows that there’s

something wrong with the way that we’re marketing books, and the way that they’re being written and targeted towards different audiences. I don’t necessarily know what the fix is, but I just want to write books that will serve people well.”

“I was honestly petrified, the entire time I was drafting the book, that someone else would do it before me. And I drafted and revised it in three to four months, over the course of the summer. I spent a lot of long nights; I drank a ton of coffee, like Philippa does in the novel.”

Weymouth guards her privacy, but she realized that another way she could serve her readers was by sharing on her blog the mental health struggles she experienced as a teen, which was a strong theme in The Light Between Worlds. “You’re caught in it. There’s no perspective,” she explained. “Thankfully, as an adult, I have a little more perspective and hopefully was able to portray to readers some of the things that are more helpful and some that are ultimately destructive.”

“Along the way, it obviously became its own thing and it wasn’t just inspired by Susan Pevensie after Narnia. It was about what would happen to young people if they went through one of these adventures that are so popular in children’s fiction, and which would actually be quite debilitating to come back from because you can’t talk to anybody about it. It’s not [as if] you can go to therapy and say, ‘I went to the Woodlands. I was there for six years. Trust me, it actually happened!’ So, you have these three young people who are the only ones that can relate to what’s happened to them and they’re stuck in this giant secret that has profoundly impacted who they are and how they view the world.”

Like many writers before her, Weymouth finds comfort in nature. “I’ve always wanted to live near the woods. They’re so atmospheric. Now I’m lucky to live at the edge of a forest. They have that primal, cocoon-like appeal to them. For the most part, any threat in the forest is going to be natural and organic. Maybe there’s a bear in the woods, and where I live that’s not a big deal. It’s not, I might turn around this corner and get mugged, or I can’t walk down this dark alleyway. You know what to expect in the woods, more so than you do in a human environment.” This cherished landscape directly inspired the Woodlands in The Light Between Worlds. Weymouth’s debut novel was born from a combination of Twitter and Narnia!

Weymouth’s path to publication may not have involved clambering through magical wardrobes, but her love of fiction began at a young age. “I’ve been an avid reader since I was tiny. My mom would sit and read me chapter books when I was two, three years old, so I’ve always loved stories and storytelling,” said Weymouth. “I started writing at a pretty young age, too and kept at it. Even as a teen, I wrote all the time, without any thought of pursuing publication because it didn’t seem like something possible.”

“In 10th grade, I had a substitute teacher, whose name was Mr. Stapley, and he was supplying in “I saw on MSWL someone had been Tweeting my English class for about a month. He handthat they wanted to acquire a book inspired by ed back an assignment and told me, looking Susan Pevensie after the Narnia series had endme straight in the eyes, ‘If you’re not published ed,” she explained. “I love C.S. Lewis’s work; I’ve someday, I missed the mark.’ And that was the been a huge fan of his ever since I was a child and first time anyone ever implied that was someso it was in the back of my mind. A few months thing I could do.” later, I saw the same person Tweet again that they were looking for a book like that. I thought “I actually wrote poetry before I wrote fiction to myself, ‘I have to write this book. If somebody both as a preteen and a teen. Often, if I’m in the else writes it before me, I’m going to be furious, middle of working and I need a few moments of because they’re not going to do it the way that I downtime, I enjoy listening to spoken word poetwould want to do it.’” ry. It’s beautiful and such an inventive art form.


There are incredible poets doing amazing things with that medium. It’s definitely a passion of mine, more so from the consumption aspect than from the writing aspect, though I do occasionally write it—I don’t think it’s my strength necessarily. It’s just something I love.” “I put writing aside for a while when I got married and had kids. When my oldest daughter was six months old, I realized that I wanted to be able to show my children—particularly since I have girls—that it’s possible as a woman to both prioritize your family and pursue your own creative goals. That’s why I took it up again and started writing seriously and querying and pursuing publication.” Becoming an author is obviously exciting, but not always in the ways you might imagine. “I was thrilled to get to go to New Orleans last summer to talk to the American Booksellers Association. Another thing I loved was being involved with selecting narrators for the audiobook of The Light Between Worlds,” Weymouth admitted. “Harper sent me a shortlist of people they thought would fit for each of the girls’ voices and then I got to listen to samples and choose from between them. It was like being a casting director for my own book.” Weymouth was psyched to have her work released in an audio format. “I come into it with the view that you’re very much, as an author, in a contract with your readers. I’ve written the text and provided half of it, and then you bring the other half. With The Light Between Worlds, I left the ending open to interpretation because I want people to bring their own reading to it. We all have our own interpretation of characters. I really love what narrators Fiona Hardingham and Moira Quirk did with Philippa and Evelyn’s voices.” “We sold The Light Between Worlds as a standalone. And my publisher bought a second standalone from me without any actual pages, which was kind of a leap of faith—thanks Harper! I’m working on an option book for them which is also a YA fantasy standalone. I’ve had an amazing experience with Harper. They’ve been sup40


portive of everything I want to do and I have a fair amount of creative freedom.” “Right now, I like standalones because I have a six and a four-year-old, so my attention span is limited. I appreciate the artistry and the craft that goes into creating a fantasy that is self-contained. There’s something that appeals to me about generating a world and a magic system in such a small span of words. I don’t get through it and then, a year later, I’m confused about what’s going on because I don’t remember what I read because my children suck my brain cells out! I like to read standalones and I like to write them. But I would enjoy writing a series eventually, so we’ll see how that goes.” When they’re not demolishing brain cells, Weymouth’s kids are big supporters of her writing. “My oldest, who’s six, can read now and she’s the most enthusiastic fan of my work, which is really funny. She has to have her own copy of every single edition of the book that comes out and if she finds out that I have a version of it that she doesn’t have a copy of on her nightstand, she gets very annoyed and has to take one.” Given the lush cover art for both novels, who can blame the kid? “We had a bit of a journey with the cover for The Light Between Worlds, where we started out with one and, just before arcs were printed, they decided to scrap it and go in a completely different direction,” revealed Weymouth. “So the arcs didn’t even have a cover. Then Harper came up with the one that we currently have, which is gorgeous. For A Treason of Thorns, I figured they’d want it to be similar in layout to The Light Between Worlds, but I gasped when I saw it for the first time because I love it so much.” See the covers for yourself at Weymouth’s website, where you can also pick up copies of her books. A Treason of Thorns is available on September 10, 2019. Follow Laura online: www.lauraeweymouth.com @ lauraeweymouth

Share Your Shelf with Laura E. Weymouth

1. Plants: One thing I hate being without, either in a writing or reading space, is some kind of greenery. I always have a few plants nearby—my favorites on my desk are three African violets I bought at the local drugstore, and which I’ve named Harry, Ron and Hermione. 2. Current Nonfiction Read: I very rarely read fiction while I’m drafting, and definitely nothing in the same genre/category as the manuscript I’m working on, but I do tend to read a lot of nonfiction to fill the gap. Some of my standout nonfiction reads are How to be a Good Creature by Sy Montgomery, An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth, by Chris Hadfield, and Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art by Madeleine L’Engle 3. Personal Assistants: I have two very dedicated personal assistants by the name of Sammy and Fred, Sammy being a cantankerous ginger cat and Fred being a nervous, warm-hearted sheltie. They’re both essential to my writing process. 4. Lemon Ginger Tea: Awhile ago I had to give up coffee and caffeinated tea, due to some health issues. I replaced with lemon ginger tea, which is not only delicious but good for you. I almost always have a cup on hand! 5. Eugene the Plot Wizard: My absolute best friend as an author and totally indispensable to me. He’s a giant whiteboard that hangs on the wall right next to my desk, and I use him to help me sort out all my plotting issues/get an overview of where I’m at in a book and where I’m headed.

8. Pre-Raphaelite Artwork: Ever since I was a teen, I’ve adored the pre-Raphaelites and their gorgeous portrayals of idealized medieval life and folklore. I have four prints by different pre-Raphaelite artists hanging up in my living room, and love to sit and write surrounded by them.

6.The Lumatere Chronicles: The one exception to my no-books-of-the-same-category-and-genre preference is The Lumatere Chronicles, by Melina Marchetta. I love them inordinately and always have them close by, in case I want to reference something or start yet another re-read.

9. A Book of Poetry: I’ve been a poetry reader since childhood, and like to keep a book of it on the go most of the time. I read a lot of Emily Dickinson, Sara Teasdale, and Tennyson (as you can tell from my debut, The Light Between Worlds) but my most recent read was Devotions, by Mary Oliver.

7. Heating Pad: I have endometriosis, and there are a lot of days where using my trusty heating pad is the only way I can stay in my chair long enough to get anything done.

10. Spa Music: I cannot function without the sounds of panpipes, harps, birdsong, and running water. My all-time favorite album is The English Country Garden, from the Solitudes collection.







It Matters

Healing with Reading by Jessica Signori When you read a book you are great, but the most efficient way become the main character. persistence (in my experience) is representation- examples and stories that show us our reflection. You get to know the all know that representation is important. character’s thoughts and We Once something is represented or named, it has power. motives in fiction, representation gives people We know the mind is a beautiful and cruel Specifically outside that particular group experience insight to mistress. A connection of chemistry cocktails to make us swoon and cry and feel on the top of the world- or barely able to function. We, as humans, go through so much during our lives and - more than you might imagine - we suffer from setbacks, mental health problems, abuse, gaslighting, negative programming, and many other kinds of perceived deficiencies in that dainty little system that is the unique mix of elements that make up our brain. So what can we do? Therapy is obvious. Who better than someone with a degree to pick at your brain? But what if it’s not enough? Professional help is valid and useful. Sometimes it works wonderfully and can help those going through difficult times to find themselves again, or cope with ongoing problems of a chemical imbalance in the brain. But again- what if it’s not enough?

help them understand and be better allies. Hopefully, they’ll stop fearing the unknown and different, and be more accepting. But representation is about more than that. It helps the people represented to feel valid and seen, giving them the push to shine to their full potential.

The mental healing benefits of powerful representation haven’t been explored much, but countless examples of reader experience show what a powerful tool this is when you have a problem to face. So why books? Why not movies? That’s simple, it’s the difference between witnessing and experiencing. When you read a book you become the main character. You get to know the character’s thoughts and motives. These feelings become yours and they are not a reaction, not sympathy, but recognition. And maybe, just maybe, there is something within this character that propels you forward in your own story. Maybe you find something that tells you that even though your version of normal is not “typical”, that it’s ok. Things get better, plots unfold, thoughts change. You don’t get that by just watching.

Your brain works as it is trained, not as it should. For this reason, it can be easy to miss obvious clues so apparent to those close to us. Sometimes, for whatever reason, we’ve put up walls to protect ourselves. It’s not easy to let others in, whether they are loved ones or a therapist. When one closes their brain with a heavy lock, how can Stephen Levine says in A Year to Live, “If there is a the professional pick their mind? Intervention single definition of healing it is to enter with mer 44


there. You know what I mean. It’s annoying, distracting, painful to let the new teeth grow. But when you press on them, it’s so relieving. It’s a weird line of pain that makes you sigh in relief because at least the numb pain is broken, if for just a while. That’s what I felt reading that story. I thought, “ that’s it, that’s what I felt too!” Before that story, I had no words to describe my own experience, but... that’s it! That’s the word, that’s the feeling. It’s in my chest. It’s in my mind. And if that character got better, so can I! And I did it. I opened up to people dear to me, asked for help, and for the first time in years I wasn’t pushing to get better on my own. I was pushing with the people around me and everything was so much easier. It was a battle, but my experience wasn’t a giant anymore. Would I have gotten there any way on my own? Maybe. In time. But through this communal experience, I got there sooner. Life is meant to be shared. cy and awareness those pains, mental and physical, from which we have withdrawn in judgment and dismay. ” I agree. When you begin a new book you decide to embrace and learn, to read and live someone else’s life. And you can do that because they are fictional characters, not real people. It’s easy to forget and forgive, to embrace and refrain from judgment. In that way, true recognition can be achieved, and once it clicks, there is no coming back. Your world view has changed.

Reading can also be used as a form of escapism. That’s healing, too. You get away from your own mind and fly into a completely different world for a while. You go back and you realize that it’s not that bad anymore, because if a 16-year-old can face You Know Who, you can face an anxiety-inducing test/work/relative/challenge. Sometimes you have to confront a fictional dragon to recognize the strong part of yourself. There is bravery in action, there is bravery in naming, there is bravery sharing, and books can do all that and so much more.

I’ve experienced this on a personal level. If I look inward, both at my mental health and my experiences, I always see a work in progress, and it probably always will be! And that’s ok. Therapy helps, but you need to recognize a pattern to be able to delete it. Sometimes trusting your instinct and memories might be extremely difficult, especially if you’ve walled them off.

So when you are ready, or if you are not so ready yet, pick up a book. It’ll help you heal, recognize you need help, or just escape from your head for a while. But most of all it will - probably - have a happy ending and remind you that you can too . Don’t forget to care for your mind as you would for every other part of your body. Are you injured? Put on some ice and go to the doctor. Do A few weeks ago I read The Flatshare by Beth O’ you need mental help of any kind? Read a book Leary and I found myself going right back into my own past experiences. But I wasn’t triggered. and go to therapy. It’s easy, and it’s ok. You are I was oddly relieved. It felt like when your teeth entitled to happiness, no matter how you get are growing - we’ve all changed teeth, we’ve been there.


Author Talk

A Long Look at Short Stories Retold by Annie Sullivan

A story or tale has to be in the public domain in order for authors to be able to retell the story. When most readers hear “retelling,” they

every recently written short story is off limits to being retold.

This isn’t the case with so many of the old myths and fairytales because they have their origins long before 1924. Thus, they’re much easier to retell because they don’t have the potential of legal consequences attached.

However, there are some short stories out there that can be retold. The Gift of the Magi by O. Henoften think about fairytales or old myths—mayry, The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe, be even old stories like King Arthur. What they often don’t think about are short stories. But why and The Necklace by Guy de Maupassant are all are these stories overlooked so regularly when it well-known examples of short stories that are in the public domain. They all contain intriguing comes to re-tellings? worlds that pull readers in just like any old myth does. Most children grow up hearing myths and legends. They spend their childhoods watching Yet, authors may shy away from retelling them Disney movies and learning about the classic is because they are so short. They may be put off tales. Perhaps that’s why these stories get retold by the fact that they don’t feel like there’s enough so often—because they are beloved tales that their to retell. But there truly can be enough their remind us of our childhoods. to expand if writers look below the surface. Short stories, on the other hand, are usually something readers encounter when they’re older, For example, Frank Richard Stockton’s short story The Lady, or the Tiger, which is often taught in when they can read for themselves. And they’re classrooms across the world, is barely over three not often made into movies. single spaced pages long and even has an infamous cliffhanger ending—cutting the story even But there’s another obstacle that comes into shorter. play when writers want to rewrite short stories. Public domain. A story or tale has to be in the In the short story, there’s a barbaric king whose public domain, meaning there are no intellectuprincess daughter falls in love with a peasant, al property rights to worry about, in order for which the king deems unacceptable. So he puts authors to be able to retell the story. So many her lover in an arena for justice, where behind one of the well-known short stories, like The Lotdoor is a tiger (who will eat him if he picks that tery by Shirley Jackson and A Rose for Emily by door) and behind the other is a beautiful womWilliam Faulkner, are not in the public domain an (who the peasant will get to marry and have because they were written in 1924 or later. This also means that in all but some rare cases, almost a happy life with.) However, the princess finds 46 K CURIOSITALES

out that beautiful woman is the woman she hates most in the world, the one she’d never want to end up with the man she loves. The princess then finds out what is behind which door. When the peasant looks up to her from the arena floor, the princess directs him toward a door. He picks that door, the door opens, and the story ends.

By adding in these new elements and giving the princess and the peasant character more complex backgrounds, I was able to expand a few short pages into a full-length novel.

When retelling a short story, it all comes down to expanding on the elements that are there already while also mixing them with new parts, It was this story’s cliffhanger ending that got me characters, or settings that will add depth and interested in rewriting short stories. So in my new side plots to a story that may only have one origyoung adult fantasy book Tiger Queen, I retell this inal narrative. Additionally, as with any retelling, short story by expanding the story beyond what’s it’s great to add in elements that will appeal to contained on those few short pages. more modern readers. In Tiger Queen, I took the bland princess from “The Lady, or the Tiger” and I also give it the ending it always should have turned her into a warrior princess who practically had. But I framed the story in a longer context by was born with a sword in her hand. She’s now a focusing on the princess in the story and making strong female protagonist who can act as a role her a warrior who has to fight suitors in an arena model for young readers today. to win her right to rule on top of dealing with water thieves who are making her kingdom run Overall, it’s not hard to rewrite short stories once out of water. you find one that’s in the public domain. It just requires authors to really dig into the story to look But when her last opponent in the arena is anat the characters that exist in the story and figure nounced as the one man she’s never been able out how they can expand upon those characters to beat in a fight, she has to scramble to figure to create a more robust narrative that will intrigue out how she’ll keep her throne, which might modern readers. just mean teaming up with someone she never thought she’d side with—someone who turns her world upside down. And if she’s not careful, she Follow Annie online: might just find herself facing tigers in the arena www.anniesullivanauthor.com.com instead of her next opponent. @ annsulliva


FALL DRINKS Pumpkin Spice White Chocolate (Serves 4) INGREDIENTS -3 C milk -1 C canned pumpkin puree -1 tsp pumpkin pie spice -Pinch of ground cloves -1 tsp pure vanilla extract -Pinch of sea salt -4 oz. white chocolate chips INSTRUCTIONS

Perfect Cocoa (Serves 4) INGREDIENTS - 4 C milk - 1/2 C sugar - 1/4 C cocoa - 1 1/2 C mini marshmallows - 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract INSTRUCTIONS 1. In a saucepan combine all ingredients. Cook and stir over medium-low heat until the marshmallows are melted, about 10-20 minutes. 2. Remove from the heat and pour into mugs. Make your own seasonal variational by adding spices and oils like cinnamon or mint extract. Cloves and nutmeg make great additions, too. For a more adult beverage, add peppermint schnapps for a little extra something. 48


1.In a small sauce pan over medium heat, combine milk, pumpkin and spices. Continue stirring until just simmering. 2. Lower heat and add chocolate, stir until chocolate is melted. 3. Remove from the heat and pour into mugs. Make it your own: Top each mug with whipped cream, a few shavings of white chocolate, and a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice.



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Upcoming Releases



1. Serpent & Dove 11/3/19 Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine. There, witches like Lou are hunted. The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou’s enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made.

3. The Lady Rogue 11/10/19 Traveling with her treasure-hunting father has always been a dream for Theodora. What she doesn’t have is her father’s permission. Then, Theodora’s help is needed rescuing him. Journeying into Romania, Theodora embarks on an adventure through Gothic villages and dark castles.

2. The Girl the Sea Gave Back 11/3/19 Tova’s home and clan are long-faded memories, but the symbols and staves inked over her skin mark her as one who can see into the future. She sets into motion a series of events that will change the landscape of the mainland forever and give her something she believed she could never have again—a home.

4. Kingdom of Souls 11/3/19 Born into a family of witchdoctors, Arrah yearns for magic. Each year she fails to call forth her powers. Arrah’s last resort: trading years of her life for scraps of magic. Until children begin to disappear, and Arrah is desperate to find the culprit. She uncovers something worse.



5. The Beautiful 10/08/19 In 1872, New Orleans is a city ruled by the dead. But to seventeen-year-old Celine Rousseau, New Orleans provides her a refuge after she’s forced to flee her life as a dressmaker in Paris. Taken in by the sisters of the Ursuline convent along with six other girls, Celine becomes enamored with the vibrant city. She soon becomes embroiled in the city’s glitzy underworld, where she discovers an age-old feud from the darkest creatures of the underworld revealing a truth about Celine she always suspected simmered just beneath the surface.





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6. Into the Crooked Place 10/08/19 The streets of Creije are for the deadly and the dreamers, and four crooks in particular know just how much magic they need up their sleeve to survive. These four magical outsiders must come together to save their home and the world, before it’s too late. But with enemies at all sides, they can trust nobody. 7. The Never Tilting World 10/15/19 Generations of twin goddesses have long ruled Aeon. But seventeen years ago, one sister’s betrayal defied an ancient prophecy and split their world in two. Now their daughter’s set out on separate journeys across treacherous wastelands, desperate to heal their broken world.

8. Gravemaidens 10/29/19 The start of a fierce fantasy duology about three maidens who are chosen for their land’s greatest honor...and one girl determined to save her sister from the grave. 9. Marrow Charm 10/01/19 Azure ‘Azzy’ Brimvine lives in a world decimated by magic, where humans have retreated underground from the overwhelming dangers of the surface. But Below is no safer than Above. Magic borne plagues continue to eat away at the remaining human cities. The world Above is full of monsters.

10. Crown of Oblivion 11/12/19 Astrid is the surrogate for Princess Renya, which means she bears Renya’s physical punishment. But there is a way out of this life. Astrid must decide what is more important: risking her life to remember the mysteries of the past, or playing a cutthroat game in order to win her freedom. 11.Sisters of Shadow & Light 11/5/19

Zuhra and Inara have grown up in an abandoned fortress where warriors once lived before disappearing. For fifteen years they have lived, trapped in the citadel, with little contact from the outside world…until the day a stranger passes through the hedge, and everything changes.


Meet the Bookstagrammer: @bookyste




What’s on your bedside table (or the equivalent)? There’s always a book, most of the time sitting atop one of my book sleeves so that it’s ready to take everywhere with me! Lately, I often have some post-its to note my ideas about the book I’m writing. It sometimes happens during the middle of the night and I don’t want to turn on my phone, so I write blindly and try to understand it the next morning, haha. Favorite read of the last 6 months? I’ve read many amazing books like The Wicked King, King of Scars and the two first books of Throne of Glass, but I think my favorite would be the one I’m reading now: Nevernight by Jay Kristoff. Seriously, this book is amazing! I’m not an English native so I struggled a lot with the writing at the beginning, but now I’m more than halfway through to it and I only adore it. The world, characters and story are amazing, and Mia is such a badass! I’d love to have a cat made of shadows, too… Who is your favorite debut author from the past year? I discovered Leigh Bardugo last year with the translation of her books in French. I first read Six of Crows and absolutely loved it. I fell in love with Kaz, amazing companions, and the writing of Queen Bardugo. So, when Shadow and Bone was released in French, I literally threw myself on it. Does it count as for a debut author? All-time favorite author? That’s hard! I already talked about Leigh Bardugo so let’s say V.E. Schwab. At that moment, they did just translate the second book of her A Darker Shade of Magic trilogy. I hadn’t read the first one yet nor any real review or resume of it, but I knew this was going to be one of my new favorite books. So, one day I picked up the two books at the same time. I was currently reading book 2 when I went to a convention and saw to V.E. Schwab. She signed my copy of the first book and took some time to speak with me (I was wearing cat ears and she said she liked them hii I like to think it’s my fault she now often wears some too haha). Then I finished A Gathering of Shadows and cried hard until the release of A Conjuring of Light. I cried even harder after finishing it.

Which character would be your arch enemy? Uh I pretty like every villain. I’m the Darkling’s wife, didn’t I tell you? Maybe Tamlin because he’s such a blind man and I don’t like him. A lot of people loved him in the first book of ACOTAR, but I was always looking forward to Rhys, haha. If you read a book again for the first time, which would it be? But stop making such hard questions! My favorite book of all time is Warcross (and Wildcard, I can’t choose only one). I cried during my first reading of the two and I’m still crying at every reread. I think it’d be a thing to rediscover them. First book first hooked you as a reader? Well I remember two book series. The Selection by Kiera Cass and the Chroniques du Monde Émergé by Licia Troisi (an Italian series fully translated in French but in English only the first book). First one is wholly glitters, nice dresses and romantic tension. Second one is full of wars, battles, Knights of the Dragon… Well two very opposed styles. If you could switch lives with a character for a day, who would it be? I often get that question and I never know who to answer. I’d love to be Alina and discover the Little Palace and Grisha world (it’s absolutely not for the Darkling and Nikolai), Lila to travel into the Red London (and have Kell) or Inej to visit Ketterdam (and have Kaz… well only to have Kaz because I don’t think I’d survive on the streets of that city). Bookstagram account recommendations we can support? I got plenty of amazing bookstagrammers to recommend you! Here are some of my favorite English-speaking: @paperbackbones @therosereader @anareadin @anovelescape @tometraveler @lunabookaddict (I think she’s the cutest and kindest person on bookstagram)


Tell us a bit about yourself and why you bookstagram. Well I suppose that’s for the same reasons than a lot of other persons. Speaking and yelling and crying about books with people having the same love of them. Sometimes we also don’t really feel well in ‘the real world’ for many diverse reasons and having a whole community there to support each other is amazing. I’m every day grateful for my friends across the world I couldn’t have met otherwise.



“Every locked door has a key. Every problem has a solution.” -Marie Lu, Warcross


Meet the Bookstagrammer: @n.k_literarynerd

Nargis Kalani



What’s on your bedside table? I technically don’t have a bedside table but every night I do keep a book (which I am currently reading) and my headphones beside me. After books, music is my solace. Favorite read of the last 6 months? My favorite read of the last 6 months would be Archibald Finch and the Lost Witches by Michel Guyon. The author has created such a different fantasy world by merging the history of Leonardo Davinci with science fiction. This book is actually middle grade and includes so many astounding illustrations that it was hard not to fall in love with the book. Not only that, it contains a deep message for youngsters and adults alike about adaption in life while fighting your own fears in the process. It’s actually a book for all ages with a spell bounding thriller.

All-time favorite author? This is the hardest question to answer because I have read so many authors from different genres who have inspired me so much throughout these years. I tried to narrow them down and so I ended up selecting two authors from my two favorite genres, fantasy and sci-fi. Cassandra Clare and James Dashner. Cassandra created this diverse world of shadow hunters with such diverse characterization and while reading her books, you are able to relate to these people who are part of a whole different world than yours. I have read all the books from her Mortal Instruments series and the infernal devices. Both these series are just so epic. Honestly, the concept of shadow hunters itself is so unique and the background story is so in depth but you won’t feel for one second that she’s dragging the series or something.

Coming on to James Dashner. I think he and his Who is your favorite debut author from the past books are really underrated and people don’t talk about them enough. As much as I appreciate year? Favorite debut author from the past year would be books focusing on female protagonists, I feel that we are starting to neglect the male protagonists. Tomi Adeyemi. At the age 24, she published her This is another reason why I chose James Dashfirst book which embodies people of color. Her ner. I genuinely loved reading the Maze Runner book is an amalgamation of her experiences as a series and the Mortality Doctrine, both of which black woman and a fictional world with African contain male protagonists. James Dashner has Gods and goddesses. All those police brutalities built such a diverse sci-fi world in both these and violence inflicted on the people of her comseries. These stories contain such a deep backmunity drove her to write about it. She basically spread awareness on these events by creating such ground of each world, like I was so amazed while reading it. I thought, “Woah, this author is such a spell bounding tale that tears your heart and a genius for writing such minute things in grave soul. I still cannot stop thinking about the main character Zelie. Here, I am waiting impatiently for detail.” While, reading these books, I felt smart and geeky. In fact, reading from the male protagher second book to come out. onist’s perspective was such a different experience from what I usually read. Which character would be your arch enemy? Amarantha from A Court of Thorns and Roses. She Bookstagram account recommendations we can would definitely be my arch enemy because of support? all the horrible things she did to Rhys, Tamlin and other fae lords. Her hatred for humans went @abibliophileobsession , @books_and_coffee03 @bookgirlingmoments @stars.brite @mode2geek beyond anything and she became the High Fae Queen of Prythian by deceiving all the high lords. @browngirllovesbooks @coffeefueledfiction She cursed Tamlin just because he rebelled against @storiesandplottwists @bookstalesbyme her and did not love her back. Rhys had to be Am- @gurlwithbooks @haventreadityeti arantha’s whore as he was protecting his court, his @missmaddychats @thebookishword family & friends from her injustices and cruelties. @absolutelybooked @madhatter.reads She is literally the worst one out there and I hate her with all my being.


If you could switch lives with a character for a day, who would it be? Two years back I read this manga The Death Note and it’s pretty famous. There’s an anime too, of this manga. The main character in this story ‘Kira or Light Yagami’ stumbles upon this notebook which is a death note. This death note belongs to the death demon called Shinigami Ryuk. This death note has the ability to kill an individual, all you have to do is write the name of that person with the description of his or her death. I was so intrigued with this manga and the whole plot. Obviously, I was also curious about the death note and literally wished sometimes to have something like this. I would definitely want to switch lives with Kira for a day just to experience writing the name of a person whom I wish, should die. I know that sounds kind of evil but well, I do want to kill criminals and frauds like Kira did. If you read a book again for the first time, which would it be? If I read a book again for the first time, that would be Matilda by Roald Dahl. I read this book in 6th grade as a part of my school course book. I clearly remember finishing this book even before the end of the term. I was just so inspired by Matilda’s character because she became so independent when she was just 1 and a half year old. She taught herself to read and 78 K CURIOSITALES

cook and do her own chores because her family left her all alone. Amidst this abandonment, she became such a strong and confident girl. Books became her best friends and books were her first love. Her story teaches a lesson to young children and adults alike. I read the book again when I was like 16 or 17 year old and I still loved it. This book is one of the oldest in my shelf but it’s definitely one of my prized possessions. Tell us a bit about yourself and why you bookstagram. I am Nargis Kalani from Karachi, Pakistan. I am 24 and currently working as a social media executive. Working full time and running a book blog side by side is so tough but it’s been a year and I have learned to manage it pretty well. Reading books is something I cannot live without, and I think reading helps me deal with the professional world. As to why I bookstagram? Because bookstagram is one big community where you can reveal your true inner bookworm. I found so many amazing people here not only from my country but also from other countries around the world. I love clicking bookish pictures and experiment with my artistic and photographic abilities. Bookstagram is a platform for me to express my bookish feelings, interact with my friends around the world and spread the love for books to the world.

“For you, a thousand times over” -Khalid Hosseini


Meet the Bookstagrammer: @_thatgirlwiththebook_

Rawa Rabail Khan



Who is your favorite sidekick? Sophie Neveu from The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. She is a cryptologist in French Judicial Police and the smartest one of the rest of all sidekicks in the Robert Langdon series. Her character was powerful and robust throughout the book and she was an absolute beauty with brains. The most important characteristic about Sophie’s role is her calmness throughout their mysterious journey to investigate the crime. I loved how composed she remained through all of the bizarre revelations about the truth that had been hidden from her all her life and she never once let down her calm demeanor. So yep, Sophie wins it for me. Which season do you read the most? I read in winter break the most because my semester ends before it and I get rid of all the academic pressure. Plus, I love winters and it’s the most pleasant time of the year around here. I love reading till late at nights with a cup of coffee and Is there be a better combination than a steaming cup of coffee with a book on your lap in a winter night? What book could you read 100 times? The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. This book is special for me for so many reasons. It was the first book I read apart for my course books in 2015 and fell in love with it. It would not be wrong if I say this book encouraged me and got me into reading. I love this book for all the reasons but my main is how real this book feels to me every time I read it. TFIOS is a complete package. We meet our darling Hazel and see the ins and outs of her daily life with cancer. Then Augustus, the star cross love of her life enters and pretty soon they are swooning over the same books and bonding stronger with all those late night calls. Then there’s this beautiful Euro-trip to Amsterdam where they finally give into their feelings and in the midst of everything good, their worlds fall apart and there’s this unbearable pain. One of them has to see the other die which just breaks my heart all over again no matter how prepared I am for the fatal ending. In spite of having read it 6 times since 2015, I always end up crying like the first time. So as I said, this book is a complete package with the right amount of love, romance, friendship and everything a teenager feels – even the pain.

Which fictional character would be your best friend? Park from Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell. Park is adorable, he is caring and smart and brave and isn’t afraid to stand up for Eleanor. The way he understands her was just so beautiful and so rare to see beauty in someone people despised. Park is the kind of guy who would stick around you no matter what. He is one of the most practical guys I have ever read. And luckily I do have a best friend with all of Park’s traits. If your life was a book what genre would it be? I wish it was YA Fantasy. I mean I have had enough of reality I guess, it would have been great to have a little magic and a few super powers like reading people’s minds or having the power to go invisible or at least a power to be able to fly. But clearly that’s not possible. My current life can fall into the ‘non-fiction memoir’ category about daily life struggles of a mediocre girl, living far away from home in a not-so-advanced city for studies. Reading lots of books to escape the bitter realities and trying to experience more than one lives all at once. Favorite reading accessories? Bookmarks and literally every jewelry item with a bookish quote. I have more bookmarks than I have books and a really pretty TFIOS inspired pendent. And most of the bookmarks I own are made by myself because I cannot always find specific quotes or fandom bookmarks anywhere so I make them myself. The last book you read that you loved? I recently read Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz and it directly landed into my ‘recent favorites’ category. Dante befriends Aristotle and both the boys then embark on road to friendship that lasts for a lifetime. Their story will always remain one of my most cherished tales. Their growth together had so much to learn from. There was so much uncertainty in the lives of those teenagers and they wanted to figure it out all at once which reminded me of my own teenage years. I love the books that you can relate to on more personal basis than just for the sake of entertainment or a mere time pass.


Tell us a bit about yourself and why you bookstagram. I am from Pakistan and I am a 3rd year Software engineering student. I have great friends but unfortunately none of them is really into things that I love, like reading. So to connect to similar people like me and to spread my love for books I started Bookstagramming. And it sure did enable me to find so many great fellow readers that I have befriended in the last 10 months of my Bookstagram journey. I can now freely discuss about books with people who would actually want to listen and not just act to seem interested. I am now able to sometimes get a chance to commute with an author when I review their books and they comment or like. I learn about new books every day. My TBR has gone wild since I started Bookstagramming because of so many great recommendations. I remember I was so skeptical about starting Book Blogging because of uncertainties but I am so glad now that I did start it back then. It has brought so many good things my way and I love this community. 82


“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.� -John Green, The Fault in Our Stars


Meet the Bookstagrammer: @its4eyedgal




What’s on your bedside table? As of right now, I have Arzee the Dwarf by Chandrahas Choudhury, Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi and Introducing Philosophy For Everyday Life: A Practical Guide by Trevor Curnow. These are the three books I’m currently reading. I also have a reading lamp, notebook, mug with pens and bookmarks, photo frame, coaster and a trinket dish. Favorite read of the last 6 months? Without a second thought, Dolores Claiborne by Stephen King. Two badass, resilient and fierce female characters with wild secrets, one got haunted by hers and the other is trying to survive by being a high riding bitch because sometimes that’s all a woman can be. It’s in the form of a monologue but not once I felt bored. It’s not a horror book but I was on the edge the entire time. It’s entertaining, thrilling and one of a kind. I absolutely love it! Who is your favorite debut author from the past year? Not my favorite but I like her a lot, S. K. Ali, author of Saints and Misfits. Her writing style is simple yet she accomplished to portray the struggles of a Muslim girl trying to fit in the modern world by striving to find the perfect balance between Islam and everything else. She has represented Islam, hijab and Muslims with clear understanding. Her book says, it’s the people who are defaulted, not the religion. All time favorite author? Hands down, Agatha Christie! Her books are my new found love. I started reading her books in 2018 only but I instantly fell in awe of her story and character building skills. She writes with such minuteness that you can’t help being engrossed in her stories and the interesting array of characters she comes up with; and let’s not forget Hercule Poirot. He’s a gem! Mysterious, meticulous, always using his ‘little grey cells’ and that incredible mustache of his. I don’t have a crush on him , but he’s one charming fellow! Which character would be your arch enemy? Dolores Umbridge. She was torturous, manipulative, disrespectful and that devilish smirk of hers is the worst. I’d be scared of her power but

I wouldn’t think for a minute before kicking her butt. I was overjoyed when the Centaurs took her away into the woods of the Forbidden Forest. Feast for all! If you read a book again for the first time, which would it be? Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. That book made me fall in love with Classics. To read it for the very first time again just to experience that feeling of wonderment would be totally worth it. First book you remember hooking you as a reader? Malory Towers series by Enid Blyton. I don’t remember my exact age when I first read them but I was in school. My best friend and I, we were crazy for these books. I still remember my excitement before the library period because that’s when I got to borrow them. Later, my best friend bought the entire series and I got so happy since I could borrow them whenever I wanted and that was just as good as owning them. If you could switch lives with a character for a day, who would it be? Celia from The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. To see that magnificent circus in all its glory with my own eyes and to be a part of it would be one hell of an experience! Bookstagram account recommendations we can support? Dr. Asmara @thedoctorreads Make some popcorn, sit back and enjoy her detailed reviews. I always look forward to them. Amina @browngirllovesbooks her role game where she introduces her readers to to-die for guys but can only choose one from the lot. It’s sweet torture! She also designs cool t-shirts. Poonam @bookish.behaviour she always reminds me to read thought-provoking books. Bill @kenyan_library his pictures are BEAUTIFUL! He’s one talented guy.


Tell us a bit about yourself and why you bookstagram. I’m Raima, a 26 year old stay-at-home mother who is on a mission to make her child just like her, a book nerd. I’m from Karachi, Pakistan. I’ve studied Philosophy and English Literature. One of the reasons I started bookstagram is because I had no one to share my passion for reading with. It gets lonely and a bit frustrating when you are excited about a book but you have no one to discuss it with. So, when I discovered this amazing community with like minded people with whom I could not only relate but learn so many things, I knew I had to jump on board! It was the best decision ever. I can talk endlessly about books and everything related to it. I can show my creative side as well. It truly is the best!



“if you have good thoughts it will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely” -Roald Dahl, The Twits




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Book Reviews:

Red, White & Royal Blue is Casey McQuiston’s highly anticipated LGBTQIAP++ romcom debut novel, published in May 2019. The story follows Henry, the Prince of England, and Alex, the FSOTUS. It was hate at first sight, for Alex at least, until one fateful night under a tree in the shadow of the White House that changes their relationship forever. This book was one of my most anticipated reads of 2019. I was scared it would not live up to all the raving reviews but this book deserves every single star it’s gotten (5/5 from me). I was intimidated by the book at first since I don’t live in the United States but it surprised me. The book is a fun and easy read but at the same time doesn’t lose the importance of it’s political undertones. The book balances romance and politics perfectly. McQuiston manages to tackle a wide range of social and political problems we face in society today without shoving it in your face. A lot of the problems are tackled head on with a witty Power Point by Alex’s mom, the POTUS. The book is witty, fun and so super sexy. I enjoyed reading Henry and Alex’s escapades in horse tack rooms and Wimbledon storage closets. The characters are older and in college so it falls perfectly into the New Adult genre. If you enjoyed What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera but you’re looking for something sexier, this is the book for you. Photo and Review by Mieke Göttsche @mousethatreads 90


We Hunt The Flame is the highly anticipated debut from Hafsah Faizal. This beautifully written fantasy is inspired by ancient Arabia and contains various traditions and food from the Middle-East. Zafira is The Hunter but if she reveals who she is, all of her accomplishments will be undermined. Nasir is the Prince of Death who cannot reveal his compassion without being punished by his father. Both are asked to complete a task that will change their lives and the fate of Arawiya forever. Whilst the book does not do anything new in regard to the genre, I found myself attracted to the characters and an ending that left me asking what’s next. Arawiya is a unique world with a complex political system. I have to admit that the world building fell flat for me. I felt as if the effects of the Arz wasn’t fully explained and I got confused in the beginning by the opposing views presented by Zafira and Nasir. I loved the feminist undertones that Zafira brought with her perspective. Whilst Zafira does struggle with making the identity of The Hunter her own, she refuses to stand idly by and fall into the misogyny that the older men of her community teach. Zafira does not verbally defy the words of the elders but her actions speak loudly against their practices. We Hunt The Flame is a slow-burn fantasy with an explosive ending that will leave you on the edge of your seat, wanting more. Photo and Review by Melleny Smith @abooktropolis01

Set in modern-day Seoul, South Korea, The Wicked Fox follows Gu Mi Young. Mi Young, a gumiho, has the ability to shape shift into a nine-tailed fox and must feed on the life force of men to stay alive. When she protects a boy named Jihoon from a dokkaebi (goblin), she accidentally loses her fox bead, the physical representation of her soul. As she struggles to mend her soul, she gets entangled in a romance with Jihoon, endangering both of them from the unsavory forces of Korean folklore.

Love from A to Z by S.K Ali

From the beginning, this debut novel felt fresh and unique. It didn’t hold back when it came to showcasing life in Seoul, and conjured it through the interactions between the characters. The romance between Mi Young and Jihoon felt genuine and had depth and layers that stem from not only the supernatural circumstances but their own personal struggles. There were foreshadowed twists that would easily ensnare a reader into a comfortable, “That’s predictable” attitude, but in reality, it drives the story deeper until you’re reading every word and thinking, “What just happened?” Overall, The Wicked Fox is fresh take into YA Urban Fantasy and a wonderful debut for Kat Cho.

I have so much of love for this novel, Adam’s character in particular touched my heart. He is so soft and pure, so level-headed and calm, all whilst going through so much. Zayneb’s character reminded me of myself as we are remarkably similar! I too am a hot-headed hijabi who has a passion for making the world see how peaceful my religion is.

The community has found solace in the words that combine our childhood fantasies with the urban landscapes we know today. Many have ached for books just as diverse as our modern cities. With the publication of The Wicked Fox by Kat Cho, that thirst may very well be quenched. Photo and Review by Leo P. Carney @leopcarney

Marvel: Zayneb meets Adam. Oddity: Adam has just been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and has left school in hopes of learning the art of “making things”. Adam and Zayneb are both trying to get through their lives whilst recording everything in their journals of Marvels and Oddities

This book is more a marvel than an oddity. The writing is spectacular, the book isn’t rushed and neither are the relationships. I like that the author included a Muslim girl with Indian roots and a Chinese Muslim boy with multiple sclerosis; both tropes have almost no representation in contemporary YA books. I’d give this book 4 stars and recommend it to anyone who’d like to know more about Islam or anyone who just wants to read an adorable YA novel! Photo and Review by Nasirah Kathrada

@ Allthingslightwood


The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren: This adorable romantic comedy was amazing! It definitely lives up to the hype. It follows Olive and Ethan, two sworn enemies who somehow managed to avoid the food poisoning at their respective siblings wedding. This forced them into taking their places on their honeymoon, because the tickets couldn’t be changed. I enjoyed the storyline of this witty, banter-filled romance. Especially when paired with the tropical Hawaiian vacation, I found myself laughing out loud for the majority of their story. This novel took fake dating to the next level! The characters in this novel are all strongly defined which made this story so much more enjoyable. It had me hooked to the very end because this light read also had some drama. I love Olive’s Spanish background, as I haven’t read many books with this representation so actively present. Olive’s bad luck trait is relateable, and I found every scene with it hilarious. Ethan was mysterious in the beginning and quickly turned into one of the best male leads I’ve read in this genre. Swooning over him was easy, and my goodness the ending was so cute.

Romanov picks up the story of the Romanov family just after the Russian Revolution and during their Siberian exile. Those who know the history will know how that story ends, and that is where the stories of Anastasia are born. The rest is a struggle for survival, for healing … and for love. The first part of the novel, based on history, is slightly bland, reading more like a memoir or autobiography. However, as reality becomes myth, Brandes’ writing turns poetic and emotive, pulling the reader ever deeper into the world of Anastasia, her royal family, the guards who became their friends … and Zash, the handsome soldier with secrets of his own. Their love and heartbreak become your own, leaving you devastated at times. Anastasia is a fiercely loving character and known as a mischief-maker. Desperate and determined to save her family after her father gives her an ancient spell hidden in a Matryoshka doll, it’s her character that truly makes this novel brilliant. She is smart. She is a survivor. She doesn’t rebel simply for the sake of rebellion but instead shows a resourcefulness and strength of character that truly makes her the stuff of legends.

I highly recommend this enemies-to-lovers novel, as it was a very enjoyable read. This was definitely 5/5 stars for me! For lovers of Rom-Com’s like The Hating Game, this novel is for you!

A beautifully written novel with memorable characters that will make you laugh and cry and will stay in your heart for a long time to come. Romanov is a story founded in reality, fueled by magic and enchanted by love.

Photo and Review by Mara Hubl @marasfoldedpages

Photo and Review by An-Mari Fouché @ami.thebooktrovert



Find the reviewers on Instagram: Leo P. Carney @leopcarney An-Mari Fouché @ami.thebooktrovert Mieke Göttsche @mousethatreads Mara Hubl @marasfoldedpages Nasirah Kathrada @ Allthingslightwood Melleny Smith @abooktropolis01 Bianca Visagie @ yourwordsmyink Sorcery of Thorns is an extraordinary story that made me long for rainy days, libraries, and the smell of books. Rogerson has crafted something truly special with this book. Rogerson’s writing is phenomenal. Her vivid descriptions made me feel as if I were standing next to Elisabeth, the MC, watching the story unfold. Her writing pulls you in and doesn’t let go. It’s as if you’re being transported into the book, and that’s the best kind of feeling. The world building is stunning. The story of the Great Libraries and all their books is weaved beautifully into the history of the world, and the magic system used is easy to understand. We always know the stakes and consequences of sorcery. We’re immediately orientated in this new world and we navigate it along with Elisabeth’s journey. The characters are what really stood out for me. Can Nathaniel Thorn be my new boyfriend? He’s the perfect kind of brooding, witty and charming that makes you wish he appeared on every page. I loved the interactions between him and Elisabeth. Elisabeth is truly my favorite. In this book we get a heroine who’s not afraid of questioning the norm or being herself. She’s fierce and determined and she’s the kind of person I hope to be – someone who always does what is good and right for others. If you haven’t read this book yet, I suggest you do. Immediately. Photo and Review by Bianca Visagie @ yourwordsmyink

Are you a book reviewer? Curiositales Magazine is looking for readers to create thoughtful reviews of recent releases. If you love dissecting your latest reads and picking out why exactly you loved them, send us an email and let us know! hello@curiositales.com


A few of our favorite things: Fall Edition

1. homesick Library Candle $29.95

Recall floors of literature waiting to take you anywhere. The smell of old leather and the feeling of antique pages. Return to that mingling calmness and curiosity that makes a library so magical. www.homesickcandles.com

2. Literary Insults Chart $ 25

Winston Churchill once said, “Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip.” On the other hand, you could throw tact to the wind and go straight for this collection of zingers from great authors. www.uncommongoods.com



3. Banned Book Socks $12

Put a sock in censorship. Each purchase helps to fund literacy programs and book donations to communities in need.


4. What I Read Mini Journal $9

The What I Read journal is ideal for jotting down thoughts and keeping track of all the books you’ve read and can’t wait to start. It’s great for keeping checklists, taking notes, and deciding what to read next, and it’s the perfect size to take with you anywhere. www.Amazon.com

5. Novel Teas Box $12.50

Spend teatime with CS Lewis, Rita Mae Brown, Alice Hoffman, and more as they share their thoughts on the delights and comforts of tea and books on each individually printed tea tag. wwwbagladiestea.com

6. Folding Book Lamp $29

Wireless & Rechargeable: Powered by Li Battery inside which can support the lamp for five to six hours. Recharge it by connecting the power charge wire to your computer or your mobile power adaptor USB port. www.Amazon.com

A few of our favorite things: Fall Edition

7. HP Throw Pillow $35+

Room accents shouldn’t be underrated. These beautiful indoor pillows in various sizes serve as statement pieces, creating a personalized environment. TwelveFlowers on Etsy

8. XL Book Paper Lamp $135

This is a handmade paper lamp which adds magic atmosphere light to any room. Fits Bulbs E26 / E27, The E26 is the standard American bulb. The E27 is the European variant, However, it fits both without problem. KwalaPaperArt on Etsy

9. Scout Finch Pendant $16.46

HomeStudio features affordable Jewelry Presents & Gifts made in my home studio. Some designs have images or words of inspiration to brighten the day. Each is perfect for a cherished memento, a thank you gift, or recognizing a life event. HomeStudio on Etsy

11. Edgar Allen Poe Mug $18

Looking for a mug for a book lover? Something punny? Edgar Allan Poe once opined, “Of puns, it has been said that they who most dislike them are least able to utter them.” Well, Poe, we absolutely love them. ObviousState on Etsy

12. Jane Eyre T-Shirt 10. Scoring Wilder Book Ends $20.70 $21+ This design has been screen The book ends are a made from a lightweight plastic and have been designed to ‘hook’ under books, this makes them sturdy as the weight of the book is supporting the product. Bespoke3DPrinting on Etsy

printed in the South West of England, onto a soft, light grey t-shirt. The relaxed fit top is a comfy, yet stylish item of clothing and makes a great literature themed gift for a book lover. LiteraryEmporium on Etsy


Literary Tourism

Kansas City, Missouri

Iowa City, Iowa

A library is a bookworm’s best friend, a step up from bookstores because here, you can read all the books for free. The Kansas City Public Library goes above and beyond to impress book lovers- its Central Branch parking garage façade is made up of larger than life (25”x9” to be exact) literary favorites towering over patrons. It gives the impression that here, one really can get lost in a book.

There are twenty-eight United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Cities of Literature across the globe, and one is in the heartland of America, Iowa City, Iowa.

Though it was built in 2006, it features classics such as To Kill a Mockingbird, The Lord of the Rings, and Fahrenheit 451. This modern structure was built to beautify the city, provide additional parking, and honor literacy, proving that you really can have it all. What’s more, on July 1, 2019, Kansas City Public Library terminated late fees. We’re in love. 14 W. 10th St. Kansas City, Missouri, 64105 photo by David Lee King 96


This isn’t news to writers, but readers may be surprised to learn that some of our favorite storytellers have been learning their craft in Iowa City for over eighty years. Not to be missed on your visit is the Lit Walk, a celebration of 49 writers with ties to Iowa including Bess Streeter Aldrich, Gail Godwin, Elizabeth McCracken, and W.D. Snodgrass. On the walk you’ll see a series of bronze relief panels featuring the authors’ words and attribution, and a series of general quotations about books and writing stamped into the concrete sidewalk, all created by artist Gregg LeFevre. www.iowacityofliterature.org

Literary Tourism

New Orleans, Louisiana

Amherst, Massachusetts

Within walking distance of The House of Blues is Hotel Monteleone. And within that hotel is a carousel bar, built in 1949. The Carousel Bar does, in fact, rotate- a full rotation every 15 minutes.

The Emily Dickinson Museum is comprised of both the birthplace and home of the poet from 1855–1886, and the next-door home of her brother’s family. The museum is a must-see destination for lovers of Dickinson’s poetry and nineteenth-century culture.

Authors and playwrights like Tennessee Williams, Richard Ford, and Winston Groom (author of Forrest Gump) stayed at the hotel frequently. Truman Capote even claimed to be born there! The rotating bar has been featured in stories by Hemingway, Faulkner, and Eudora Welty. More recently, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells. Readers and writers alike will find inspiration in this playful, world-class cocktail bar described as “a treat for the young-at-heart”. 214 Royal St New Orleans, LA 70130 photo by Chris Cook via Wikimedia Commons

Emily Dickinson produced almost 1,800 poems in her lifetime, a feat made possible by her quiet, reclusive lifestyle. Her poems were discovered in a locked chest in her bedroom after her death in 1866. The museum features a large collection of 8,000 objects, including bedroom and furnishing restoration, and outdoor restoration. When planning your trip, keep in mind that guided and self-guided tours are offered from April through December. 280 Main St Amherst, MA 01002


Bookstagram Photo Tips by Elishia Merricks



The best advice a photographer can give is ‘it’s all about the light.’ This doesn’t mean that it has to be perfect every time, but it does mean that you should shoot with intention. I’m a natural light photographer so don’t like to work with flash, especially with books, because if you don’t know how to use it, flash can iron out all the interesting nooks and crannies of an image. So, it’s best to take pictures in direct sunlight, right? Wrong. The best conditions for a photoshoot are on a cloudy day as it reduces harsh shadows and casts a soft, diffused light. With this picture, it was a really beautiful day – so naturally, I hid in the shadows to recreate cloud cover. Although the un-edited image looks dark and gloomy, the edit was incredibly easy and can be done on any smart phone in a matter of minutes. Don’t be afraid of editing – just think of it as recreating what your eyes could see when you were in the moment. I increased the exposure, highlights, and whites to make the background pop, and then to give more definition to the book I lightened the shadows and intensified the black point. You can recreate a similar effect with the contrast slider BUT learning to work each element of an image will give you more control over the final result. There is, of course, no hard and fast rule when working with light. But once you know the beginner’s rules, that’s when you can learn how to break them and get creative.



“FINALLY! The female version of James Bond we’ve been waiting for!” – NATALIE C. ANDERSON

“A ferocious, take-no-prisoners thriller.” –PATRICK NESS, New York Times bestselling author of THE REST OF US JUST LIVE HERE and A MONSTER CALLS




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