Published Fantasy Author Erin Forbes: On Writing Her YA Trilogy, Publishing Journey, and Character InspirationRead Now
Interview conducted by Cailey Tin
First and foremost, thank you, Erin, for taking the time to have this written interview with me. It’s an honor because your work has been a great contribution to the fantasy genre, and it’s also particularly inspiring to the younger fanbase who dream of becoming future writers. Without further ado, here are some burning questions prepared for you–particularly about your debut fantasy book series, Fire & Ice.
What aspect of your fantasy series, Fire & Ice, do you treasure the most? Were there any moments from the first book that you hold dear and wouldn’t miss a beat to bring up again in another book?
E: More than anything, I treasure my characters and their development throughout the series, as well as the overarching themes of sisterhood and feminine strength. I am so thrilled to bring this tale to a finale in The Ember Sword. At the same time, a part of my heart aches to know that this story I grew up with is finally at its end. I imagine I'll return to Aisling and the world I've created someday soon, in another book.
When you finished writing The Elementals, the first book in your fantasy series, what were your plans for the rest of the books, and how did those initial ideas go? Were you scared or excited at the thought of writing more?
E: When I finished my first book, The Elementals, I knew I wanted to share it with the world. Becoming an author was a long-held dream of mine. I daydreamed about holding my work in my hands and making a place for it on my bookshelf. Yet I never imagined my book would be read and cherished by so many bookworms across the globe. I feel very fortunate for this. After the first book was a success, I realized I needed to continue the series. I was so invested in the characters and their story, and so were my readers. I’m so grateful for the world I’ve built through each of the books in the Fire & Ice series, and I’m so excited to share more in the finale, The Ember Sword. While this may be the final chapter in Alice’s story, a part of my heart will always belong to Aisling and the characters within. I hope to open the story again one day, perhaps with the spotlight on another set of characters.
How does it feel to have written books in the Fire & Ice series at pivotal, constantly transforming stages in your life? Are there any particular changes you’d like to make now, and if you could somehow go back in time and alter something, would you?
E: At times, I’ve thought about what I might alter or add to the plot if I went back to my first book. And yet, I know now that I wouldn’t change a thing. Sixteen-year-old Erin wrote that story, and it encapsulates every bit of her voice and the way she imagined the tale of the Hanley twins. That’s a treasure to me.
And when I go back and read my original work now, I smile and think of the days I spent writing every word. I was the same age as my main character, Alice, when I began the Fire & Ice series. Readers surely witness the growth of my writing style and voice throughout each book in the series, and likewise, readers witness the growth of Alice as well. To me, there’s something very special about that.
Which of your book characters resonate the most with you, and was that similarity intentional?
E: I relate most to the four Elementals (Alice, Emery, Ariadne, and Juniper). I always say a piece of my heart formed their spirits and personalities. This happened naturally throughout the writing process.
As I went through different phases in my life, the Hanley sisters and their friends experienced similar moments throughout their character arcs. Their sisterhood and friendship is something every young woman can find in her life, and their stories are so akin to bits and pieces of my own. I cherish them, as if they were real friends of mine.
What’s your favorite thing to do after a long day of writing?
E: After a long writing session, I like to relax with my husband and watch a good film, or enjoy time in nature.
If you could meet any author you haven’t met yet, who would it be?
E: Tolkien, for sure. His mind for world-building inspires me so much. I remember attending an exhibition of his work and sketches several years ago, and it was fascinating. If we had lived in the same era, I would love to have a cup of tea with him. Also, Jane Austen. How I adore her work!
What part of fantasy makes it your favorite genre, and in the future, would you still consider writing in it?
E: When it comes to fantasy, there are no rules to what you can create. You can let your imagination be your guide. There is so much potential, and I think this is what makes fantasy my favorite genre. I also love historical fiction and poetry. I don’t care to limit myself when it comes to what genre I will continue to write in the future.
What do you do when you’re at the lowest point in your writing journey, or when you’re not motivated to write because of things like lack of time? (It feels like plenty of authors have a problem with finding the time to write, and it’s definitely understandable, too!)
E: These days, my writing schedule is less consistent, and I really have to take advantage of my spare time. To find motivation, I like to listen to the Spotify playlists I created for my series, and I also enjoy browsing the Pinterest boards I curate with images that take me back to Aisling, the realm within my series.
When all else fails, I’m never afraid to take a step back from my work and spend time with friends or enjoy time in nature. My greatest inspiration tends to arrive when I least expect it.
What’s your process for taking your love for nature, art, etcetera, and making them ideas for your stories?
E: I’m not sure if I have a particular process, per se. Bits and pieces of inspiration often come to me at random. Yet so much of my series is rooted in my culture and love of the natural world. I keep a few notes tabs on my phone, where I collect ideas and quotes that come to me when I am away from the writing desk. I refer back to these while I am writing or plotting my work, and I’ve found it to be so helpful!
What was the tedious process of publishing and marketing the series like for you? How did you go about with book covers, promotion, author events, etc?
E: Honestly, the publishing and marketing process is always so fun for me! I loved working one-on-one with my cover designer to make my vision for the books a reality. I love chatting with readers and interviewers about my characters. Author events are always a blast! It’s really humbling to meet readers who drove hours to have their books signed.
How does it feel to end a book series that you’ve worked so long with and to have the final installment on the way? Do you have any plans for future projects already?
E: I have a few other stories I am looking forward to writing after the Fire & Ice series is complete! I also have a fully illustrated children’s book on the way. I am hoping to publish A Crown of Curls this autumn or winter. Stay tuned!
That sounds so exciting! Lastly, if you could tell your younger teenage self any writing, practical, or publishing advice, what would it be?
E: Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Reach out to other writers and authors, and ask how they got started. Learning from the experiences of others has been so beneficial for me as an author. It’s always great to receive advice from those who have gone before you! And most of all, believe in the beauty of your Gift. God gave you great dreams for a reason. Never be afraid to follow them!
Visit Erin online:
Buy “Fire & Ice” on Amazon
About Erin Forbes
Erin Forbes discovered her passion for literature at a very early age. Since the date of her first publication, her work has spread to readers across the globe, and her books have developed an international fanbase. She is known for her vivid descriptions and fantastical fiction. When she is not reading and writing, Erin enjoys art, nature, music, dance, and riding her horse. She lives on a small farm in the Hudson Valley of New York. Follow her on social media! @erinforbesauthor and @fireandicebookseries
Cailey Tin is a Philippine-based teen creative. A vivacious reader and spirited writer, she is a writing manager and spoken word co-host at Incandescent Review, a columnist for Paper Crane Journal, Spiritus Mundi, and Incognito Press, among others. When not editing poetry for the borderline or Sophon Lit, she’s (imagining) chipping away at pieces—some appearing or forthcoming in Eunoia Review, Ice Lolly Review, and Sage Cigarettes. Check out her Instagram @itscaileynotkylie.
Would you like to publish a guest column? Insert your email and we will contact you.