In my previous years as an SPFBO judge, I always tried to offer spotlights to as many authors in our group and to the finalists as I could. I planned to do it for SPFBO 8 too, but life was busy kicking my arse as I slowly clambered out of years of burnout. The 5th anniversary shenanigans forced me to revisit some of my old features and update them, and thus enabling me to reach out to the finalists and ask them if they wanted to play. I offered them a choice between What the Hungarian?!, Tales from the Asylum, Stuck in the Pages, Party with the Stars, an interview, and a guest post.
Stephanie Burgis, author of Scales and Sensibility, The Weatherwax Report’s SPFBO 8 finalist chose an interview, and so we had a good chat!
Stephanie Burgis grew up in East Lansing, Michigan, but now lives in Wales with her husband and two sons, surrounded by mountains, castles and coffee shops. She writes wildly romantic adult historical fantasies, most recently Good Neighbors, Scales and Sensibility, and the Harwood Spellbook series (beginning with Snowspelled). She also writes fun MG fantasy adventures and has had seven published so far, most recently The Raven Heir and The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart trilogy. She has had over forty short stories for adults and teens published in various magazines and anthologies. You can find out more and read excerpts from all of her novels on her website (www.stephanieburgis.com), join her monthly bookclub and get early copies of all of her self-published ebooks through her Patreon (patreon.com/stephanieburgis), or find her elsewhere on Twitter (twitter.com/stephanieburgis), Instagram (instagram.com/stephanieburgisinwales) or Mastodon (wandering.shop/@stephanieburgis)
Connect with Stephanie Burgis
Sensible, practical Elinor Tregarth really did plan to be the model poor relation when she moved into Hathergill Hall. She certainly never meant to kidnap her awful cousin Penelope’s pet dragon. She never expected to fall in love with the shameless – but surprisingly sweet – fortune hunter who came to court Penelope. And she never dreamed that she would have to enter into an outrageous magical charade to save her younger sisters’ futures.
However, even the most brilliant scholars of 1817 England still haven’t ferreted out all the lurking secrets of rediscovered dragonkind…and even the most sensible of heroines can still make a reckless wish or two when she’s pushed. Now Elinor will have to find out just how rash and resourceful she can be when she sets aside all common sense. Maybe, just maybe, she’ll even be impractical enough to win her own true love and a happily ever after…with the unpredictable and dangerous “help” of the magical creature who has adopted her.
A frothy Regency rom-com full of pet dragons and magical misadventures, Scales and Sensibility is a full-length novel and the first in a new series of standalone romantic comedies.
Welcome to the Asylum, Stephanie! Take a seat by the fire, have a glass of beverage of your choice and tell us something about yourself that’s not in your bio!
Mmm, I’m drinking a really dark hot chocolate with added cinnamon and vanilla — and something that isn’t in my bio is my over the top passion for fountain pens. I am always on the hunt for more!
What inspires your writing? Do you listen to music, stare into the fire, listen to the whispering of the wind, make deals with the Devil?
I love travel for creative inspiration and also historical nonfiction — history is so full of fascinatingly weird and dramatic true events and characters, and history books (and old letters/diaries/etc) always send my story-brain spinning in new and interesting directions. I also make a playlist for every one of my big writing projects, and I listen to it every time I write, to get myself immediately into the right mood.
Tell us about your writing journey! How did you become a self-publishing author and what advice would you give to someone who is considering taking this path?
I started out in traditional publishing and had four MG fantasy novels and two adult historical fantasy novels published by various publishers in the US and UK before I first got serious about self-publishing as well. At first, I only planned to self-publish a few novellas on the side, but then I was so thrilled with how well my first novella (Snowspelled) actually did — financially, it out-earned both of my first two trad-published novels by quite a long way, while leaving me still in full control of the rights, which I appreciated — that I decided to become a fullblown hybrid author. I would never swear off trad-publishing, because I truly love many aspects of that, too — but I really enjoy the flexibility of getting to take both paths and choose, on a book-by-book basis, which one to pursue.
Which character of your book do you identify with the most and why? Who would you like to live with in an asylum?
Well, like Elinor, I’m an oldest sister so was definitely expected to be the responsible, practical one (whether or not that necessarily turned out to be the case)!
Your novel, Scales and Sensibility was one of the SPFBO 8 finalists. Congrats! Tell us about your experience with the competition! What was your most important takeaway? Would you do it again?
It’s been so much fun! I love the writers and bloggers I’ve met through SPFBO. Honestly, I’d be happy to do it again anytime.
If you were a character in your book, how would you be described? And what your profession/role would be? How long do you think, you would survive in that world?
Ah, well, I’d be a dowdy neighbour with a pair of lively children, someone who doesn’t say that much—but secretly publishes thrilling gothic novels under the Regency-style pseudonym “Miss B—”
Which part of Scales and Sensibility was the hardest to write, and which was the most satisfactory?
I had so much fun writing this novel, throwing my poor heroine into more and more impossible situations with the questionable help of her rescued dragon! Probably the hardest part was just figuring out how to tie it all together neatly at the end, but it was SO satisfying to do it.
Well then, it was a pleasure to have a chat with you! Please allow these nice attendants to escort you out. We hope you’ll enjoy your stay in the Asylum! Any last words?
I hope my room is well-stocked with books, paper, and a fresh stack of quill pens!
Grab a copy of Scales and Sensibility by Stephanie Burgis!
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