Join us in celebrating the THE WITCH AND THE VAMPIRE book birthday!
Francesca Flores, the author, shares with us all about the inspiration behind her story!
But first, a little bit about this young adult novel:
THE WITCH AND THE VAMPIRE IS a queer Rapunzel retelling where a witch and a vampire who trust no one but themselves must journey together through a cursed forest with danger at every turn.
What 3 words would you use to describe your book?
Romantic, dangerous, and hopeful. There’s a romance at the center of the story, lots of action with vampires, witches, and a deadly forest, and the main character, Ava, remains hopeful even though she’s constantly challenged throughout the book.
How would you describe your main character? Why did you create your character that way?
My main character, Ava, is a young witch who was turned into a vampire against her will and then locked away for her mother to siphon power off of her. Despite the horrible situation she’s enduring, Ava has a naive optimism about escaping and finding a better life for herself. Part of this is because she craves a true motherly figure in her life that will protect her, and she believes she can find someone like this in the forest near her town with other vampires. Instead of believing in herself, she believes in the vampire queen’s ability to protect her, if only she can escape her mother and find the vampire queen. But even while she has a lot of optimism, there’s a simmering anger in her at what’s been done to her. She wants to fight back against the people who’ve hurt her, but she believes herself to be weak. So, I made her an optimist, and somewhat naive, because of her lack of belief in herself. As her righteous anger grows through the book, so does her belief in herself and her ability to protect herself instead of needing someone else to do it for her.
What message are you hoping readers will take away from this story?
I hope that readers will grasp the messages of learning to speak up for yourself, to not let others define you, and to value your friendships.
What comes next for you as an author?
Right now, I’m branching out by writing middle grade and adult manuscripts. They’re still in the very early stages, so I don’t have a book to announce yet, but hopefully soon!
What 3 recommendations would you give writers who are starting out?
I’d say to find your community of writer friends, to learn what good feedback looks like so you can ignore the bad, and to learn how to embrace the core of your story. Good writer friends are essential to help you through this journey, but it can take some time to find them. As far as recognizing good feedback, watch out for feedback that only focuses on the negative, or where the person seems to enjoy being overly harsh, or where they only point out small things to fix (like typos or grammar) instead of focusing on things that are relevant to the story, like character and plot. Learning to recognize good feedback will help you reach your goals with your book much faster. With learning how to embrace the core of your story, I suggest looking for the most important aspects of your story that really make it what it is. This is usually a theme or something about the character, but it can be anything. If you ever feel overwhelmed with writing or revising, go back to those things, and remember that everything else can be cut, or re-shaped to better serve the core of your story and make it shine.
Francesca Flores is a writer, traveler and linguist. Raised in Pittsburgh, she read every fantasy book she could get her hands on and started writing her own stories at a young age. She began writing DIAMOND CITY while working as a corporate travel manager. When she’s not writing or reading, Francesca enjoys traveling, dancing ballet and jazz, practicing trapeze and contortion, and visiting parks and trails around San Francisco, where she currently resides.
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