Hello everyone! Today we’re welcoming Inessa Sage, who you all know as A.N. Sage, to the blog to celebrate her book Portal of Ruin that just came out yesterday! It’s the 8th in her Shadowhurst Mysteries series, and the first one to release through OHB!
Welcome! How do you feel to finally have this book out in the world?
It’s a very surreal feeling. I’ve lived in the Shadowhurst world for so long that it seems strange to no longer write in it. I’m happy to bring such a long series to an epic end but am also sad it’s over. For now. . . Haha!
Before we get any deeper into things, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what got you writing?
I’ve loved writing since I was very young. According to my parents, I wrote my first poem when I was two so the writing bug has always been there. When I was in middle school, I completed my first novel. It was a ghost mystery and was quite terrible, but it got me into the habit of writing! These days, I do a multitude of creative things. When I’m not writing, I work as a cover designer, editor, and run an illustration shop on Etsy. If it’s a creative venture, I want a part of it!
We love that!
So, Inessa, for those who haven’t yet dived into the world of Shadowhurst, can you tell us a little bit about the series? Do readers need to read the first seven books before grabbing Portal of Ruin?
Shadowhurst Mysteries is the story of a young witch, Billie Stonewall, who gets banished by her coven for using magic in front of humans and sent to a boring small town. Or so she thinks. You see, Shadowhurst is not like other towns and before long, Billie finds herself in the one place she never thought she’d be—a high school full of witch hunters. When students start dying, all signs points to magic. Billie has only one option, find the killer or go down for the crime.
I would recommend reading the series in order so as not to miss any of the important pieces of the plot.
What inspired you to start this series in the first place?
I think Billie has a lot of me in her. We moved around a lot when I was younger, and it often felt like I was being banished from one place and sent to another. There were new friends and new problems to take on, much like Billie is facing. The idea for the series started from my love of all things witchy. When I was developing Billie’s character, I knew I wanted to put her in a position where her viewpoint of magic and the coven was forced to change, what better way to do that than to make her fall in love with a witch hunter? The series snowballed from there as the world grew exponentially. It’s been quite an adventure!
Likewise, what influenced you to start writing Young Adult? We’ve seen you triumph YA and middle grade books on your Instagram (which everyone should go check out), so we know they have a special place in your heart.
Growing up, books were a big part of what shaped me as a person. I loved the fantasy and escape of them and when I started my journey as an author, I knew immediately that I wanted to do that for other young people. Despite my age, I find I still relate to YA novels. Something about the stakes and themes being so grand make me lose myself in the worlds the authors create. I’m also currently raising a rambunctious little girl and can’t wait to share my stories with her.
One thing we really love about YA is the way it unabashedly embraces what it’s like to be someone just learning how to exist in this world (or others). It allows readers to see themselves in the characters, to feel strong emotions, and it can even help inform their experience going forward. Without giving too much away, is there anything in particular you hope readers take away from their time with Billie?
My favorite part of Billie’s personality is her ability to take risks. She has a very strong moral compass and while it gets her into trouble, it’s a character trait I truly admire. Billie isn’t afraid to make mistakes (trust me, she makes plenty) and this courage is what allows her to find the hidden parts of the magical world that others might not see or experience.
Without any spoilers, do you have a character, besides Billie, that always threatens to steal the show; one that you just love to write for?
Probably Savannah. She’s a mean girl you love to hate and really came into her own throughout the books. I don’t think this counts as a spoiler but we have multiple POV’s in the later books, Savannah being one of them. I absolutely loved her perspective on the world, and I think her growth throughout the series is very impressive.
Lastly, we’re going to end with something fun. If you could insert yourself in these books who would you be? Would you have any magical strengths or weaknesses?
I am quite witchy in my personal life so I would probably be a part of the High Coven. I’d love to say I’d be a rogue witch, but I think I’m not adventurous enough for them. Haha! My specialty would be divination since I love my tarot cards. As for weaknesses, I think I’d fail at anything to do with potions. I am terrible at following recipes.
A.N. Sage is a bestselling, award-winning author of mystery and fantasy novels. She has spent most of her life waiting to meet a witch, vampire, or at least get haunted by a ghost. In between failed seances and many questionable outfit choices, she has developed a keen eye for the extra-ordinary.
A.N. spends her free time reading and binge-watching television shows in her pajamas. Currently, she resides in Toronto, Canada with her husband who is not a creature of the night and their daughter who just might be.
A.N. Sage is a Scorpio and a massive advocate of leggings for pants.
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