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Indie Author Spotlight interview: Raquel Raelynn

You may have seen my recent post about Raquel Raelynn's Debut novel "The Balance of Fates", a sapphic fantasy romance. Well I loved the book so much I reached out to the author and she agreed to an interview! So let's get to know our indie author of the month shall we?

Let us get to know you:

  1. Where are you from? Does that have any impact on your writing?

    1. I am from Washington State, and I think it impacts my writing from the people and culture surrounding me as I grew up to the beautiful, inspiring views of nature—water, sunsets and mountains I saw daily and while camping and exploring the forest as a child. I think all creative people are influenced by their surroundings.

  2. How old were you when you first started writing your own stories?

    1. I have been writing for as long as I can remember. As a kid I would make little booklets that I stapled together and create stories and draw pictures to go in them.

  3. Do you enjoy reading? If so, who would you say is your favorite author?

    1. I love reading. I like to joke that I came out of the womb reading because it has always been a part of me and helped me learn the biggest lessons in life. Books were there for me through every as cheesy as that sounds and taught me so much. I sleep, breathe and eat books—not literally haha. My favorite authors vary dramatically by genre but I really loved Jane Austen while growing up.

  4. Did you always want to be an author?

    1. I didn't because I never realized it was an option for me. It wasn’t until I was 17 studying for marine biology and my professor said my essays were so good she hoped I was pursuing writing and I immediately switched to a creative writing degree because it suddenly clicked for me. I had always been told by my English teachers in high school that my writing was good and it was my favorite subject but for some reason it didn’t come together until then and I decided to take a chance on a career in the arts.

  5. Do you have any hobbies?

    1. My hobbies are reading, writing, daydreaming and TV/Movies/Anime.

  6. How many unfinished novel ideas do you have lying around?

    1. Too many to count.

  7. Tea or coffee?

    1. Tea!

  8. Are you more of a morning person or a Night owl?

    1. Night owl. I stay up late reading fanfic.

  9. If you could change any one thing about our world today, what would it be?

    1. Many many things. But on a bit of a lighter note, more representation and opportunities for BIPOC and LGBTQ+ people within writing and media.

about your writing:

  1. How do you go about writing? Are you a planner or do you just write?

    1. I am a bit of both. My heart loves winging it but as someone who writes imaginative fantasy worlds, structure and planning is a must.

  1. How do you come up with your characters? Are any of them inspired by people in your life?

    1. My characters come to me in a myriad of ways. While I’m driving, showering, listening to music or having a conversation with someone, inspiration for character, story and plot come to me like puzzle pieces. I love to think of all of my characters carry a small piece of me.

  2. Are you a full-time or a part-time writer? How do you think that affects your writing?

    1. When I wrote book one I was writing full time but now I work part time and write for the rest. It’s nice and a privilege that I have so much free time.

  1. Knowing this is your first published book, could you tell us a little about the journey from beginning to end? How do you feel now that it’s finally out there?

    1. When I wrote this book I was in the middle of another project and then this one came to me and was begging to be written. I worked on this book and the other back to back, one draft then the other and back. I was so obsessively writing I barely took a break because this story was calling to me so heavily. Since this was my first published book there were many trials and errors which caused it to take two years to complete. Dozens of drafts and help from beta readers, editors and ARC readers. I was worried that there was much more I wanted to do but not yet skilled enough for but I really do love the final product and the passion readers have been reading and reviewing it with so I’m satisfied!

  1. What do you find to be the most difficult part about writing? The easiest?

    1. The most difficult part is juggling many characters and their individual ARCS and making sure to keep the plot/world building consistent in such a complex world. The easiest is the banter and creating bonds between characters in romance, family, etc.

  1. What comes first, plot or characters?

    1. It depends on each story. For the Balance of Fates plot came first. I was inspired by the TV show Young Royals—I wanted to write a sapphic royalty romance story, and originally the book was going to be called Your Royal Magus. I ended up deciding to turn it to fantasy and changed much of the original plot though, with Lucia becoming the centerpiece of the story.

  1. Do you prefer writing and planning all digitally or do you keep some notes and drafts on paper?

    1. I usually start on paper. I love writing pen to paper. With The Balance of Fates I started it in my notes app on my phone while I was at work and many many scraps of paper. Then when I left my job I wrote the next draft on paper. The rest I wrote on the computer.

About The Balance of Fates:

  1. The world building in your book was so well thought out, would you share a little about that process? Are there any specific cultures, mythos that you used in your world building?

    1. I have always loved fantasy and after the twilight craze I read a lot of vampire and werewolf stories, so I definitely took inspiration from those but I wanted to put my unique spin on it. Most of it just came from my brain. A little bit of the world revealed itself to me until I pieced it into a whole story. That’s how it works with all of my writing. A seedling of plot will come to me and I will write that down. Then I will expand the idea and do a bit of research. From there I let the universe and the mysterious depths of knowledge and creativity within my mind concoct the rest of the story. A lot of my stories just come to me and it’s a hard thing to explain.

  2. I have to ask, I noticed the use of daylight rings for your vampires, does that have something to do with an actual myth or are you just possibly a Vampire Diaries fan?

    1. I am a huge Vampire Diaries fan. It was a weekly ritual for me, my twin brother and my mom to watch the show and we even have the DVDs. My brother and I still quote the show to each other. Team Damon and Klaus! (Also Bonnie deserved better!)

  3. You market it as a sapphic “rivals to lovers” novel, but you could also potentially have a love triangle, or even “why choose” situation. Why did you settle on that branding?

    1. Thanks to my wonderful, developmental editor who recommended and brought the idea of marketing the book as a love triangle to me, but I really wanted to focus on the Sapphic aspect because of how little representation WLW books get. And writing a sapphic Young Royals was my inspiration. Also, I wanted to move away from the early 2000s love triangle craze.

  1. Your characters are all so well thought out and well rounded. Can you tell us a bit about how you came up with their specific stories? I’m most interested in Siphon and Caitlyn. They may be side characters but they have importance to the storyline that I didn’t see coming. I’d also like to say I love that Lucia as our MC is flawed and far from perfect. I love that she has to learn to believe in herself and really grows as a person throughout the novel.

    1. For each character I stated with their purpose and a few character traits and slowly with each draft I built them more and more into fully rounded people. Siphon was a fun one for me because of how tortured he is and I actually had to cut a lot of his stuff from book I but you will see much more in the following books from him. I wanted to show the darker/grittier side to the vampires and an opposite for Adelaide. Caitlyn was a sleeper character for me who changed a lot over the course of the drafts. I look forward to showing how her story plays out in the following books. She really surprised me in the ways her character chose to speak to me. Out of all the characters she was the one I really had no control over. She wanted to do her own thing.

  2. Do you have a favorite character? Scene?

    1. My favorite character would have to be Lucia because she’s the one who is most similar to me. I used a lot of inspiration for her insecurity and people pleasing, etc. from a younger version of myself, and it was very therapeutic to write her. She also just seemed the most flawed/human to me. I dug deeply and be very vulnerable while writing her. My favorite scene is when Lucia asks “Will we see each other again?” and Adelaide says “If the world is fair.”

  3. If you could be any of the Mystics from your world what would you be?

    1. I would be a witch. I really want to be in the Black Basilisk coven and live in a huge castle in the Rocky Mountains with lots of money and flashy clothes. And I would love to be a Mallei like Gabrielle, so I can create cool things.

  4. Were there any parts of the novel you found challenging to write?

    1. The political stuff was the hardest. As in real life politics are confusing and infuriating, but luckily I get to make the rules in this world.!

  5. You left us on quite the cliffhanger. Is there a release date planned for the sequel?

    1. There is no release date, but I am aiming for around the same time as I released book one—March—so fingers crossed!

  6. And lastly, is there anything you wished someone would ask you but hasn’t yet? If so, share that with us.

    1. You asked so many great questions. I honestly can’t decide so I’ll go with something fun.Favorite quote? Stay Golden Ponyboy. And favorite poem? Nothing gold can stay by RobertFrost—

Nature’s first green is gold,

Her hardest hue to hold.

Her early leaf’s a flower;

But only so an hour.

Then leaf subsides to leaf.

So Eden sank to grief,

So dawn goes down to day.

Nothing gold can stay.

Needless to say I think that Raquel is very interesting, though to choose tea over coffee confuses my very soul. Anyway go check out her book "The Balance of Fates" if you haven't already. It's a must read for anyone who enjoys LGBTQIA+ books, and fantasy.

Also you can follow her on TikTok


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