Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the upcoming release of your latest book, The Will and the Wilds! For those who may be unfamiliar, how would you describe the novel’s premise?
Charlie N. Holmberg: Thank you! The Will and the Wilds is about twenty-year-old Enna Rydar, a woman who wishes to be a scholar for mystings, demon-liked creatures who roam the wildwood near her home. When a mysting attacks her, seemingly for the enchanted stone she wears, she hires a trickster mysting, Maekallus, of her own to fight him. But in the ensuing fight Maekallus is bound to the mortal realm, which begins eating him alive . . . and the only way to save him is with pieces of Enna’s soul.
BD: Given your work on previous novels which spanned multi-book series, do you feel that you approached the world building and character development in this standalone novel differently?
CNH: Honestly, I’m more of a standalone writer than I am a series writer! I don’t form the story differently, I just make it more concise and contained.
BD: What can you share with us about your creative process in working on this book, and what do you hope that readers will take away from the story?
CNH: One thing that was different with this book than others is that it was inspired by a dream. I’ve never before written a story inspired by the delusions of my subconscious. Granted, I had to tweak the book to fit my brand (The dream was, uh, a little more adult.), but I couldn’t stop thinking about that dream, even though I was under deadline for another book at the time. I actually ended up drafting The Will and the Wilds and The Plastic Magician at the same time.
I knew I wanted the familiar flare of herb and demon lore, but I wanted to make it my own, so some of the first things I did was create flora and fauna that could seem familiar, but was original to my world. I wanted to take a stab at the enchanted forest trope as well—it’s one that I never grow tired of.
With all my books, I want my readers to be able to escape to a place they can’t experience outside a book. I really want to pull at their heartstrings—it’s the #1 thing I look for in my own reading. As a reader, I want to feel something. I want a book to make me hurt (and then make me better! Only happy-ever-afters over here). So, my fingers are crossed that I can deliver what I myself so enjoy finding in the written word.
BD: Were there any previous creators or works that influenced your approach?
CNH: Honestly? Disney’s Moana. I didn’t realize until reviews started coming in that there’s a strong Beauty and the Beast flare to the novel, as well, though that wasn’t intentional.
BD: Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?
CNH: Yes! I’m finishing up my Spellbreaker duology, the first book of which should be releasing fall 2020. It’s in the vein of The Paper Magician—an alternate Victorian England where there are two kinds of magic users: those who make spells and those who break them. Elsie, an illegal spellbreaker, is trying to uncover who is stealing opuses—spellbooks formed from magicians’ corpses—while trying to keep her own secrets from unraveling.
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about The Will and the Wilds?
CNH: I post updates on all my works on my social media! I’m @cnholmberg on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. I also have a website and a newsletter, both of which are at charlienholmberg.com. And, of course, you can find the book on Amazon and Goodreads.