I had been in an intense reading slump when I picked up Two Princes of Summer, the first book in the Whims of Fae series and let me just say that I'm so glad I did.
Not only did it pull me out of my funk, but it introduced me to a new favorite world and characters. If you like YA fantasy, I would highly recommend checking out Nissa Leder's series.
Throughout the series, there is great character development, the storylines are unique and interesting, and the world full of magic and fae is just so fun!
With Whims of Fae set to wrap up at the end of this month with the final book, Queen of Dark and Light, Leder was nice enough to answer some questions on both the series and writing.
How did the idea for Whims of Fae come to you?
I’ve always loved reading fantasy, and found that the fae were my favorite supernatural creatures to read about. I loved the idea of these beautiful creatures, full of magic and allure who seem to have everything we humans desire, also having traits that aren’t as celebrated like greed and jealousy.
I am especially fascinated with the different emotions we all experience, and I wanted all of my characters, supernatural or not, to have struggles and things they must overcome.
How would you describe the series for any readers who are unfamiliar?
It’s a series about a mortal girl being so grief-stricken after the death of her mother that she’s willing to do anything to make her pain go away. She’s lured into Faerie and her emotion is dimmed by a fae prince, but she realizes that if she loses her pain, she also loses herself and everything she cares about. Her journey is about discovering that sometimes the changes we wish for won’t make our lives any better, and with magic and power comes sacrifice.
What would you like readers to take away from your books?
Reading has always been such an escape for me, I hope my books allow readers a chance to get away from their regular lives and enjoy the world and characters I’ve created. The theme at the heart of the series to me is love in all forms of relationships and adjusting to the curves life throws at us by growing stronger through the challenges. But the thing I love most about writing is that every reader takes away something different, so the book I wrote is unique to every single person who reads it.
Are your characters based on any real people?
None of my characters are based on any real people, though some of the themes of the book are based on my own experiences. I lost my mother to cancer when I was just a little older than Scarlett is at the beginning of the series, and I remember the desperation to make the hurt of missing her go away, but also knew that my memories of her are precious and I would never want them to lose them.
How do you select the names for your characters?
I usually browse name lists on the Internet and research meanings. But I’m flexible, and if I find a name I like, the meaning doesn’t matter.
Who is your favorite character to write in Whims of Fae? Who was the most challenging?
Kaelem is the most fun to write, but I’ve loved exploring the Sage storyline in the later books in the series. I love Kaelem’s wit and obsession with the mortal world and Sage’s fierceness and willingness to take chances.
The most challenging character to write is probably Cade. I’ve always known he is a better person than he begins the series, but sometimes his personality annoys me. But I love character growth, and I think anyone can learn from his mistakes, and I think he’s a great example of this.
If you could only choose one, what would you say is your favorite moment in the series?
Oh, this is a tough one! I would have to say it’s probably when Kaelem visits Scarlett at her house in book two, Prisoner of Darkness. Any scene where she lets her guard down and his gancanagh gift gets the best of her is a lot of fun to write and reread! And I loved writing about Scarlett adjusting to her life after the events of the first book.
What can you tell us about Queen of Dark and Light (Whims of Fae Book 6)?
Scarlett is still struggling with the aftermath of everything that happened in book five and fighting the darkness within. She’s also trying to sort out her feelings for a certain character and where those feelings fit in the middle of everything that is happening as they prepare for war. There’s lots of growth for all of the POV characters as they all deal with everything they’ve lost.
Why do you write and where is your favorite spot to write?
One of the hardest things about life for me to accept is that I only get to live it once. By being an author (and also a reader), I come as close as I can to living many lives. And not only do I get to experience life through the eyes of other characters, I get to experience magic and explore emotions that aren’t natural to me. I will never be lured into Faerie, or fight my brother for a crown, or run away from home to join an all-female tribe, but I get to create these narratives through my imagination. I couldn’t ask for a better job!
My friend J.M. Stredwick and I will get together at a local coffee shop usually once a week, which is great. Since we’re both writers, we get each other and love to talk about our work-in-progresses. But most of the time I write at my desk at home.
If you didn’t write, what would you do for work?
I love graphic design and marketing and could see myself having a career in either of those fields. As an indie author, I get to utilize those skill sets all of the time, so it really is an amazing career for all of my strengths and interests.
What was your favorite book of 2018?
This is another tough one! I didn’t do as much reading as I would have liked this year, but I reread Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor which is one of my favorites in preparation for the release of Muse of Nightmares, which I’m only halfway through but I’m loving it so far!
Who are your writing heroes?
As with so many others, Harry Potter has always been one of my favorite series, so I’ve always admired JK Rowling. She’s an amazing author but also seems like an amazing human being.
Also, I really am in love with Laini Taylor’s writing style. It’s so poetic and descriptive, elements I’m constantly trying to improve on, so she’s one of my favorite authors as well.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Don’t overthink it, especially in the beginning. The biggest key is getting the story on the page a word at a time. It can be ten words a day and, as long as you stay consistent, you will finish your first draft. And once you have that, it’s just a matter of polishing. Remember to believe in yourself and don’t let other people tell you that writing is silly. There are so many great writing communities to connect with online or in person, so if you don’t have a lot of encouragement in your regular life, definitely try to make other connections.
Anything else you would like to share?
Writing the Whims of Fae series has been a blast. I love the world and the fae so much, that though this series with these main characters are coming to an end in Queen of Dark and Light, I’m planning a spin-off series set in the same world after the events of this series, so stay tuned!
Pre-order Queen of Dark and Light on Amazon here or order the other books in the series below.
Two Princes of Summer
Prisoner of Darkness
Whims of Fate
A Dark Eternity
A Cursed Reign
For more on Nissa Leder, visit her website at http://nissaleder.com/