An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson is definitely one of my favorite books of 2017 (and just in general, too). It’s absolutely GORGEOUS and magical and… maaaybe just see my review for further fangirling because this could go on for awhile. The book comes out in a few weeks, but I decided to share this author Q&A today because so many of us are ready for fall colors! This really is the perfect fall read. Thank you so much to Margaret for stopping by my blog to share her thoughts — you can preorder her book here!
Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized among them. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes – a weakness that could cost him his life.
Furious and devastated, Rook spirits her away to the autumnlands to stand trial for her crime. Waylaid by the Wild Hunt’s ghostly hounds, the tainted influence of the Alder King, and hideous monsters risen from barrow mounds, Isobel and Rook depend on one another for survival. Their alliance blossoms into trust, then love, violating the fair folks’ ruthless Good Law. There’s only one way to save both their lives, Isobel must drink from the Green Well, whose water will transform her into a fair one—at the cost of her Craft, for immortality is as stagnant as it is timeless.
Isobel has a choice: she can sacrifice her art for a future, or arm herself with paint and canvas against the ancient power of the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel.
Margaret writes fantasy for young adult readers. Her books draw inspiration from old fairy tales, because she loves stories in which the beautiful and the unsettling are sometimes indistinguishable. She lives near Cincinnati, Ohio, and when she’s not reading or writing she enjoys drawing, watching documentaries, making pudding, gaming, and exploring the outdoors in search of toads and mushrooms.
Now I have to reveal that I’m an extremely boring person. I love reading, watching nature documentaries, taking long walks, and spending time outdoors. I also draw on and off, mostly digital artwork. When I’m not working on a book—which is what I’m always doing lately—I like to play World of Warcraft and invent RPG-style fantasy settings which I sometimes do artwork for. Back in high school I earned my coastal sailing license, and I love to sail, but don’t get the opportunity to do so often. And finally, I really enjoy making pudding.
2) Which scene in An Enchantment of Ravens was the most fun to write?
Without getting into any spoilers, I have to say it was the scene with the teapot!3) Are you going to write any other books set in this gorgeous world (basically, can I please get 5 more books about these characters)?Sadly there are no plans at the moment, but I would love to revisit the world and characters one day. Katherine Arden (author of The Bear and the Nightingale), who is a being of incomprehensible genius, recently sent me a brilliant idea for a companion book. Maybe if I beg her enough, she’ll write it for me…4) What was the most random thing you found yourself researching for this story?
Probably the weirdest thing I discovered while researching was that prior to the invention of rubber erasers, artists used wadded up bread to erase charcoal.5) What are some of your all-time favorite books?
Oh no! There are so many. For the purposes of this answer, just imagine me reaching into a hat full of dozens of pieces of paper which all represent my favorite books and randomly pulling three out. All right, here’s what they say: Howl’s Moving Castle, A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge, and the Queen’s Thief series. I could go on about the rest for days.6) If you could live in any fantasy world, which would you choose?
I know this is a stereotypical answer and I wish I had a more sophisticated choice to share, but the Harry Potter wizarding world, unquestionably. Harry Potter was my life growing up, and I feel homesick for Hogwarts as if it’s a real place! How is that even possible? My backup is the world of The Golden Compass, since I would love to have my own daemon, even though it would probably be a cuttlefish or something.7) Any advice to beginning authors?
I think the advice I wish I could give to myself as a beginning author is to stop worrying about writing a good book. Write from the heart, even if it seems cheesy or embarrassing or really pathetic compared to the work of authors you admire. I discovered with Enchantment that the parts I had fun writing but worried readers would find too corny are invariably the ones people seem to enjoy the most. Since then, I’ve realized that that feeling of embarrassment is an indication I’m putting something heartfelt onto the page, and what I’m *really* worried about is that people will judge it, and by extension judge that piece of my soul that’s in the book. How awful, right? But the more of your honest self you put in, the better the book will be. There’s nothing that will kill a book faster than writing it at arm’s length, carefully trimming out all the bits you think people might roll their eyes at. It took me a long, long time to learn that lesson.Thanks so much for sharing and congratulations on your new book!
Thank you so much for having me, Cait!