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Dark Academia and Magic

Karolina Wilde Author Interview

House of Pain follows a half-witch who attends a prestigious witchcraft university where she’s a target of one of the rival Houses and fights a dangerous attraction. What was the inspiration for the setup of your story?

When I sat down to write House of Pain, I wanted to write the darkest story I could. I wanted something gritty, toxic, and filled with characters that are very hard to like. I’m a huge fan of dark academia, but I often want fantasy with it. So, I wanted to mix fantasy with dark academia and magic and then add a sprinkle of high-society drama because who doesn’t love Gossip Girl?

Your characters are intriguing and well-developed. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Thank you. Honestly, I took a lot of my inspiration for the main characters, Alecto and Blaze, from social media, particularly TikTok. I’ve stumbled across so many real-life stories of women struggling with sexual trauma, men who treat them poorly, and similar stuff, and so Alecto became a combination of it all. Val’s personality and drive, the cutthroat approach to getting things done no matter what, and the hunger for more power was inspired by my grandmother in a way. It’s hard to pinpoint one source of inspiration, really.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

I would say that the most important one was toxic family dynamics and family trauma. We are often affected by our surroundings growing up more than we think, and it’s very easy to turn into our parents/grandparents and repeat the cycle of toxic behavior because it feels familiar. In House of Pain, the main cast of characters is all from prominent families that look pretty on the outside but hide dark secrets. I loved writing about how the main characters navigate the expectations they have and what they truly want.

Another theme that was very important for me to explore is the true nature of love. In House of Pain, Alecto is struggling with her place in a world that doesn’t want her, with her sexual trauma, and she finds herself gravitating toward bad men, looking for validation and probably some form of affection. On the other end, we have Blaze, who appears to have all the love and admiration from the outside world, yet he’s as lonely as Alecto. Maybe even more so. I also talked a lot about the nature of love and whether there is one right person for us, a soulmate if you will or if we’re meant to love more than one person in our lifetime. I find the topic of love to be fascinating.

What can readers expect in Precious Villains Book 2?

Precious Villains Book 2, House of Ruin, will be a wild ride. Readers can expect lots of steamy action between Alecto and Blaze, dark family secrets uncovered, high society drama and the themes of vengeance explored.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

During this year’s Game, hearts would break.
Gothic Harry Potter meets Gossip Girl, House of Pain is the first book in a dark fantasy romance trilogy set in the magical world of Inathis, where the witches are beautiful just as much as they’re wicked.
Alecto Black has spent her whole life in Inathis, yet she never quite fit in being the half-witch amongst the purebloods. When she finally enrolled in the most prestigious witchcraft university, The Venefica Academy, last year and joined the House of Snakes as a rightful legacy member, she thought she had finally found her place.
But every year, The Venefica Academy students that belong to 12 Houses all participate in the deadly Game that many witches don’t survive. And when the second year at Venefica starts, Alecto finds herself a target of one of the rival Houses while also having to face the enemy from the inside — fellow Snake, Blaze Leveau. As secrets start unraveling, hate turns into something more dangerous and deadly.
While Alecto tries to fight her new dangerous attraction to Blaze, she also finds herself asking how far she is willing to go to secure her place in the world that wants to destroy her?
House of Pain will be perfect for dark academia and Dramione fans who want morally grey characters with spice and loved The Atlas Six, The Ninth House, and Zodiac Academy. It’s a dual POV, steamy (extremely) enemies-to-lovers bully romance, so please read the content warning list before reading.
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