I’m so excited to have Claire M. Banschbach on the blog today for a short and sweet interview in celebration of her newest book release in the Faeries of Myrnius series:
A half-breed faery. A war-weary princess. A quest to free three kingdoms from the deadly winter spell.
I strapped Claire to a virtual chair and tortured her with focused random questions about her writing, inspiration, and the characters of Winter Spell. She tried to resist, but as you’ll find from what came out of that interview (including a giveaway!), she could not resist my wiley ways.
Rachael: Ahhhh, Claire! You have found yourself the guest of my little virtual interrogation room. Welcome. Just kidding! This is my living room. Please take a seat and make yourself at home. I’m so glad you’re here. I’ve been looking forward to the release of Winter Spell since I found out it was a thing a couple of years ago, and I’ve got to say, it did not disappoint! The triology from the lands of Myrnius is such a fun and imaginative series, and one I appreciate because I can share the enjoyment of it with my daughter!
Let me ask, how long have you been planning this trilogy?
Claire: Adela’s Curse was actually the 3rd or 4th book I’d ever written, so from first draft of book 1 to publishing book 3 this week, it’s been about 8 years of planning and writing!
Rachael: Wow! That’s pretty sweet. You published two YA books in your Rise of Aredor duology and then started this MG/YA series along with another series and several more in the works! Was the Faeries of Myrnius always meant to be a trilogy?
Claire: It was not! It started out as a little novella titled Adela’s Curse, but then I’d really loved this world that I’d created and the characters and wanted a way to bring them back. Then I got the idea for a prince turned into a wolf. And then after that, a faery with no magic that somehow freezes the world!
Rachael: And I’m so glad you did! My youngest daughter (MG-reader age) is one of your biggest fans. She has read both Adela’s Curse and The Wolf Prince several times. They are some of her favorite books (and that’s a huge compliment as she reads A LOT). As I’ve read the series, I’ve noticed that the content matures. I think part of that is you maturing as a writer and also as part of a clever reader-related plan. What really inspired you to transition this series through MG to younger YA?
Claire: I think it was mostly just me maturing as a writer! But in Winter Spell especially, there ended up being some different things of self worth and PTSD and owning your strengths that I felt it necessary to age it up a little to really be able to hit the age group that would identify with it the most!
Rachael: I think you did a great job of that too! And with care. And I love how you’ve carried characters from Adela’s Curse through The Wolf Prince and into Winter Spell. The books can be read as standalones, but they are best read in order. What is the motivation for making the stories work that way?
Claire: I really enjoy series like that. I think it makes them less intimidating, with being able to jump in anywhere and get a standalone story, but then also getting the fun little Easter eggs referencing the other books. (It also takes a little pressure off as a writer in putting together a series, and instead just writing three books connected by story world and some brief character overlap.)
Rachael: Ah, yes. That makes complete sense. I prefer books that are distinct yet connected, so that might be why I like that aspect so much. I don’t always like stories that end on cliffhangers, but I totally don’t mind when there are some string left undone that pull us into another story.
I’m curious, are there any real-life people who have inspired any of your characters in Winter Spell? If not, where would you say your inspiration for characters comes from? If so, what about them made you want to emulate them in your characters?
Claire: Me actually. Lol! Both Tonya and Diane got some traits and battles that I’ve fought at different times in my life. Tonya got self-doubt, fear of never belonging, of never being good enough. And Diane who hasn’t yet learned to see her value.
Rachael: I think it’s so cool how you are able to identify in yourself the characteristics and qualities you’ve infused your charaters with. What, if anything, did you learn about yourself while writing this book?
Claire: That I can sit down and write a 95K word book in 6 months? Lol! This wasn’t a book that really taught me a lesson about myself, but rather just pushed me as a writer to try and produce a fairly clean draft because I was on tight deadline for it.
Rachael: You did learn something about yourself! You are capable of writing a great adventure fiction novel in six months! And even with some pretty far out creatures that imply a pretty twisted and interesting history. In fact, I’m curious, how did you come up with the creepy, frightening Remmiken?
Claire: I like coming up with scary monsters. Lol! But the idea was that evil sorcerers had smashed together a bunch of scary creatures that inhabit the world to make some super monster. So then it was just figuring out which animals to use. The scariest part is the eyes which were taken from the Baedons we see in The Wolf Prince (also fun to develop!).
Rachael: AND a fun Easter egg for readers of previous books to find! I’m thinking monsters weren’t inspired by real life (I hope!), but did anything in your life inspire the plot of Winter Spell?
Claire: No, thankfully I’ve never caused winter in summer. Lol! But the most inspiration from my life was helping flesh out flaws for the girls.
Rachael: You are such a strong, courageous and compassionate young woman. It’s hard to imagine you having any flaws! But I understand what you mean, and I think you did a lovely job. Do you think you might write any more novels in the world of Myrnius?
Claire: Not at present! Winter Spell is the last of the ideas I’d had planned out, and it seems pretty final right now. But who knows? If I have a good enough idea, I might head back.
Rachael: To be honest, Claire, I’m a huge fan. I love your writing, and the worlds you create feel both familiar and new…like fresh snow. I’d probably read anything you wrote! What are your future plans for writing MG/YA?
Claire: There is one other series that I might look into publishing sometime in the future, but it’s nowhere near ready. And I’m pretty steadily writing more NA/Adult fantasy which is where my brand is primarily focused on now, but I’m not saying ‘never’ to returning to MG/YA novels!
Rachael: That’s okay with me. You keep writing the quality novels you write, and I see you having continued success in your career. No pressure! You rock, and I’m so thankful you took the time to come over to my living room/interrogation room for a little heart to heart!
Congrats on Winter Spell!
I hope, dear friends, you enjoyed this interview with author Claire M. Banschbach as much as I did! Do you have any questions for her or myself? Please feel free to ask in the comments!
Book & Giveaway Info
I like to add books to my WANT TO READ list on Goodreads, so if you’re like me, here’s a link to make it easy to add Winter Spell: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/52914656-winter-spell
And if you’d like to support the author, go ahead and preorder Winter Spell! When you do, you can also submit an email image of your receipt to firstname.lastname@example.org to receive some fun goodies: a character post card of four characters from Winter Spell designed by the talented H. S. J. Williams and a Northern Lights sticker! Make sure to submit by May 7th, 2020 to get your extra special gift.
Claire M. Banschbach is a native Texan and would make an excellent hobbit if she wasn’t so tall. She’s an overall dork, pizza addict, and fangirl. When not writing fantasy stories packed full of adventure and snark, she works as a pediatric Physical Therapist where she happily embraces the fact that she never actually has to grow up.
She writes New Adult/Adult fantasy as C.M. Banschbach.
All photo cred on this blog interview courtesy of Claire M. Banschbach.