Blog Archives

My Favorite Writing Place

Hermione Lee Author Interview

Where the Magic Lies follows a girl who’s forced to marry a prince under threat of death and learns that her decisions will affect more than just her. How did the idea for this novel begin and change as you wrote?

I’m sure nobody will believe this, but this novel was adapted from one of my experiences! Last year in July, my mom carried an abandoned hollowed log home to put in her garden as a decoration. Luckily, no fairies from Portia confronted us, took me away, or made me marry anyone. But the incident kindled an inspiration in me. I wondered whether the old log might have belonged to some mysterious creature, whether it would be regarded as a treasure to them. So, I recorded the idea down and fleshed it into a novel a year later. I knew I had to add some complications to the plot, and that a log theft wouldn’t be enough to hook many readers, hence the innumerable plot twists that dominate the latter chapters.

What scene in the book was the most emotionally impactful for you to write?

Ha, I am not an emotional author at all! Rather, I’m cold-blooded and detached when it comes to writing. (I never cry when writing, and instead, I think torturing my characters is great fun.) I see myself as a director, a fly on the wall, so I don’t find any scene particularly emotional or impactful. However, I hope the gigantic plot twist at the ending that results in a funeral is the most emotionally impactful scene. Although I cannot reveal what it is in fear of spoiling the plot, the scene is meant to show readers how much Amethyst has matured and grown.

What is your writing process like? Where do you write most often, and what do you use for inspiration?

My writing process is very messy! If I am very confident in a novel idea, I outline it first and tackle the chapters I like the most. (Among my thirteen finished novels, eleven were written in an irregular order.) In Where the Magic Lies’ case, I finished Chapter 4 first, then 5, 1, 2, 6, 7, 8, 3, 10, and finally, 9. (It’s also worth mentioning that I finished this book in 14 days, setting a new record for myself.)

95% of Where the Magic Lies was written at my grandma’s house. That’s my favorite writing place! I also love writing at various Starbucks. The atmosphere there is always magical. I use anything for inspiration; as I mentioned before, a single log can spark an entire story. Random phrases come to my mind from time to time, and if I like them enough, I will make them possible future titles. Story ideas also visit me randomly. One morning at my grandma’s I KNEW I had to write a story about a lost siren. I didn’t know why, but I knew I just had to write that story. (The premise of the story was inspired by a chapter in Where the Magic Lies.) And so I did. This is something I can’t quite explain, but I am grateful for my endless fountain of story ideas.

This is book one in the Perils of Portia Saga. What can readers expect in book two?

I don’t know the answer any more than my readers do! I’ll have to have a meeting with myself to structure the outline for book two. Right now I’m working on A Gathering of Tales, a novel about a mashup of four fairy tales. What will happen if Rapunzel escapes her tower, saves Little Red Riding Hood, meets Cinderella, and wakes Sleeping Beauty? My book answers that question. I’m not sure when I’ll return to Amethyst and Angus and the Perils of Portia Saga. Well, someday! I’ve still got quite a bit of time and enthusiasm left!

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

When Amethyst Quartz’s mother carries a hollowed log home, a group of furious fairies confront her and Amethyst. Hailing from the Kingdom of Portia, they claim that the stolen log is King Matthew’s lost treasure. The fairies threaten to kill her unless Amethyst agrees to leave the mortal world and marry Prince Angus, who is in need of a bride. To save her mother’s life, Amethyst agrees, but is plagued by melancholy when in Portia. However, she bonds with Prince Angus after three failed escape attempts, and the two develop a close relationship. Yet when things are getting settled, two assassination attempts threaten to destroy her life. Misfortunes, one after another, befall Amethyst as she struggles to survive in the palace. She once thought she had zero control over her life, but now, her choices matter more than anything. With Angus, her decisions will shape not only her future but also their relationship.

Where the Magic Lies

Where the Magic Lies is the beginning of an imaginative fairytale series following Amethyst Quartz, who collects logs with her mother in the forest. When they discover one of the logs is an important artifact that belongs to a king from another world, their lives change forever. In this world of fairies, Amethyst’s acquiring this special artifact is forbidden and punishable by death, and her mother, as the adult responsible for retrieving the item, faces this fatal end unless there is a way to save her.

To save her mother from certain death, Amethyst agrees to follow the fairies in Portia, the name of their kingdom, and marry their prince, who is eagerly searching for a bride. Facing the frightening challenges of this new life, homesickness, brutal assassinations, and a new romance, Amethyst must decide how to navigate this strange world and find herself.

The author brings a refreshing vibrance to the classic fairytale narrative, with solid character development, intriguing magic, and the abrupt changes that a person must face in life without warning. Amethyst must think and act quickly if she wants to escape, as her position of isolation and scrutiny is a form of imprisonment. She learns who she cannot trust and how every decision she makes has a ripple effect on her life and the outcome of the situation.

I enjoyed the visual writing in this book and the author’s talent for detailed storytelling that painted a vivid image of the world and its inhabitants. I recommend Where the Magic Lies for its overall great story development, the heroine’s triumphant nature, and her commitment to survival and fighting for love. It’s an artistic fantasy novel with a meaningful storyline that combines elements of traditional fantasy themes and nostalgia with realistic characters.

Pages: 245 | ASIN: B0B9M7HNBY

Buy Now From Amazon
%d bloggers like this: