Thrilled to have fantasy author Katherine Forrister on the Spotlight this week to discuss her novel, Lodestone
Author Name: Katherine Forrister
Book Title: Lodestone
Book Genre: Dark Fantasy
Release Date: April 20, 2021
Publisher: GenZ Publishing
Welcome, Katherine! How would you describe Lodestone?
Lodestone-peddler Melaine is desperate to stop hustling her raw magic for a tuppence. For a better life, she pledges her loyalty to the dark Overlord of Highstrong Keep, but the haunted castle holds far worse dangers than its reclusive ruler.
What sparked the idea for this book?
Lodestone grew from two seeds of ideas. First, I imagined what would happen if raw magic could be sold and how that might affect people who were willing to, or due to economic circumstances, had to deplete their own power to make ends meet. How would it feel to weaken yourself to make others stronger? The second seed was a question regarding the “evil dark lord” trope. What would a story be like if told from the point of view of someone who chose to serve the villain? Lodestone combines these two ideas and expands them into a full-fledged dark fantasy novel that explores the gray area between good and evil and the reasons why society leans into prejudices that create the two perceived extremes.
How long did it take for you to write it? Did you have to do any research?
The first draft of Lodestone took me two months to write. After that, I did several rounds of self-revision, which took several months, before querying it to agents and editors. After that, fifteen months of work passed from my publishing deal until publication day. Since Lodestone is high fantasy, I didn’t have to do as much research as I have for my science fiction or historical fiction novels, but I did base some of the clothing and architecture on real-world styles, so I researched those while writing.
What drew you to the fantasy genre?
I’ve been drawn to fantasy stories ever since I can remember, so I’m not sure why I’m so swept up by them aside from it being a personality quirk. I suppose a portion of it is due to a sense of escapism. I often thought “real life” was very dull growing up, and I was bullied for reading, so I escaped into books and daydreams. I do enjoy being present in the moment more as an adult, but I still love bringing other worlds to life. The more fantastical the world, the better, because that’s something I’ll never experience anywhere other than the page.
What’s your favorite part about being an author? What do you find challenging?
My favorite part about being an author is sharing my silly daydreams with other people, hoping that what brings me joy, entertainment, and inspiration will touch others in the same way. The most challenging aspect is how lonely writing can be. I’m an introvert, so it’s not agonizing, but I do spend so much time in my own head and sitting at my computer, it can be difficult.
If you were speaking to someone who hasn’t read your writing before, why should they want to read Lodestone?
Lodestone would appeal to fans of A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas, Uprooted by Naomi Novik, or Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson. Readers who are drawn to “Beauty and the Beast”-style romances, but who wish Beauty had more agency and got to choose her path to the Beast, would love this book, as well as anyone who enjoys unique magic systems, tales of dark magic, and ghost stories.
What about the writing/editing/publishing process has been the most surprising to you so far?
How much I love collaborating with editors! I was intimidated at first whenever I imagined the critiques an editor would give to my drafts, and it does take some thick skin sometimes to accept those critiques. But overall, I was surprised by how much I enjoy the process. My editors from GenZ Publishing for Lodestone were fantastic, and I’m grateful for all the critiques and suggestions they gave to help me improve my manuscript and ready it for publication.
What advice would you give your pre-published writer self?
Don’t write a full series before the first one gets a publishing deal! I wrote a trilogy of science fiction novels and got a deal with the first book (Curio Citizen, forthcoming in 2022). However, throughout the editing process, several key components changed that made the majority of the second two books of my trilogy irrelevant. While writing them was certainly good practice, those drafts will now never see the light of day! If I do write sequels, I’ll be starting mostly from scratch. While some authors do get deals for an entire series at once, that is less likely for debut authors, which I was at the time when I signed the deal for Curio Citizen. When I started querying my debut fantasy novel Lodestone, I wrote it as a standalone with series potential, rather than a story that would take more than one book to tell. That has saved me a lot of time and heartache!
What are your interests outside of writing and reading?
I play video games and watch shows or movies to relax. I also enjoy spending time outdoors, and when I have time, I make woodburnings as a hobby. I love baking as well!
How are you adjusting to promoting your book during a pandemic?
Virtual events and online interviews have been amazing! I’m so glad that I’ve been able to connect with readers despite the pandemic. And to be honest, as a new author who is an introvert, they’ve been great practice for public speaking. While I wish I could have participated in in-person events, I found a silver lining in this situation–I can ease into public appearances and interacting with fans, so when the pandemic ends and my next books come out, I’ll be ready to take the next step!
Are you working on a new project? Please tell us about it.
I have several projects underway. Two of my books are releasing in 2022: a science fiction romance, Curio Citizen, from Inkshares, Inc., and The Hand-me-down Maiden, a historical fantasy romance from GenZ Publishing. I am also now starting a brand new project that is a paranormal historical novel.
Where can readers find you?
Readers can find me at my website or on social media:
Thank you, Katherine! Lodestone is available NOW.
Lodestone-peddler Melaine is desperate to stop hustling her raw magic for a tuppence. Her rare gift of infusing her magic into a lodestone to sell for another’s use and never keeping any for herself is nothing but a degrading path to an early grave.
Yearning for a better life, Melaine turns to her unconventional childhood idol, the powerful but sinister Overlord, sorcerer-ruler of Centara. When she achieves an audience and arrives at his reclusive retreat of ancient Highstrong Keep, she finds that the compelling, handsome man who conquered a kingdom by the age of twenty is now a weak, shadowed husk, and he needs her lodestones to give him strength. In exchange, he will take her on as his apprentice.
Trapped in Highstrong with a half-crazed prisoner, a strict servant, and the Overlord, Melaine learns that they may all be prey to far more malevolent forces than the Overlord’s black-magic experiments. Faced with menacing apparitions, ancient curses, and an even greater horror that could threaten the entire kingdom if unleashed, Melaine’s penchant for survival is contested by her growing feelings for the Overlord and her path toward finding a deeper meaning to life than the pure power she once craved.
Katherine Forrister is an author of speculative fiction with a love of fantasy, history, science, and romance. Her dark fantasy romance novel, Lodestone, is now available from GenZ Publishing. Her historical fantasy romance, The Hand-me-down Maiden, is forthcoming from GenZ Publishing in 2022, and her science fiction romance novel, Curio Citizen, is forthcoming from Inkshares, Inc.
She lives near Kansas City with her family, where she enjoys local festivals and conventions, hiking, playing open-world video games, and curling up on the sofa to read on cold winter days.