Hello everyone! Welcome to another Author Spotlight! These spotlights are for showcasing author’s (predominantly women and people of color) writing talents and published works. So without further ado let’s get on with the Author Spotlight! This spotlight is apart of the two-week February blog event, Amour Books.
About the Author:
Colleen Cowley writes romantic fantasy in (twisted) real-world settings because it’s fun to imagine how we’d cope with magic. She likes intrigue, slow-burn romance, twisty plots, long coats that billow impressively behind you, witty banter and upending power imbalances.
What and when started your love for writing?
I’ve always loved to write — you start with nothing, a blank page, and end up with something. A tiny miracle. And maybe that something isn’t so great at first, but you can keep working at it until the words are shiny and powerful. (Editing is writing.) It helps a lot to get encouragement, so I’m really grateful that my father suggested I write a book when I was a kid with a sci-fi idea that excited me. I finished it with a lot of help from him, drafted (bad) high fantasies as a teenager and eventually got back to writing novels as an adult.
Of all of the book genres, what drew you to write about yours?
Fantasy allows you to turn things sideways and look with fresh eyes. I love the way it can make us think about utterly human things—like power and injustice—while we’re caught up in a story with magic or time travel or dragons or sentient sourdough. So yes, I love fantasy. But I also love the journey that characters take when they’re falling for someone. So why not both? That’s the fun of romantic fantasy.
What does Valentine’s day mean to you?
This may sound strange from a person who likes romantic stories, but I’m not a fan of Valentine’s Day. To everyone who loves it, that’s cool, I’m glad it brings you joy! What it feels like to me is outside pressure. Like a voice declaring over a loudspeaker: TODAY IS THE DAY TO CELEBRATE YOUR LOVE. NOT TOMORROW. ONLY TODAY. (Complete with a disembodied side-eye for anyone who doesn’t have a romantic partner at the moment.) But I love the spirit of celebrating relationships—not just romantic ones, but also the friendships and family ties that make life richer. (I guess that categorizes me as a Galentine’s Day sort of gal?)
What’s your favorite romance cliche or trope?
Oh, enemies to lovers. No contest. It contains multitudes—there are such varied stories you can tell with that basic setup—and the characters almost always end up learning something about themselves as they change their minds. That’s endlessly compelling … and probably the reason Pride & Prejudice, the grande dame of enemies to lovers stories, keeps getting retold.
I’m also very partial to books where the romantic feelings take a while to spark because the characters fall for each other based on deeper things than their looks. (Which, coincidentally, works perfectly with enemies to lovers. Score!)
If you could meet your favorite author who would it be and why?
Ah, so many authors whose brains I’d love to pick. But I’d have to say Jane Austen—not just because I do truly love the wit and plotting and characters of her books, but also because I’m curious about all the things we don’t know about her life. She penned novels in the early 1800s that feel more feminist than many stories written long afterward. How did that happen? (Also, watching an adaptation of an Austen novel with Austen would probably be hilarious.)
What makes your book(s) special?
I don’t know about special, but what makes them my-kind-of-weird is that they’re never only romantic fantasy. The Clandestine Magic trilogy out last fall, for example, also comes with a dash of mystery, a big helping of political intrigue and a warped timeline that qualifies as dystopian (in an America run by wizards, women’s rights haven’t progressed for a hundred years). So, yeah—a bit of a genre mashup. I’m always interested to see how readers categorize the series.
So…what are you working on now?
A book set in the Clandestine Magic world. I’m not a fast writer—the trilogy took me eight years, though in my defense I’m doing this in my spare time—so I guarantee it will not be done soon. But that’s OK: I tried to tie up all the important loose ends in the trilogy so readers wouldn’t be left hanging. A book is ready when it’s ready. What I finished writing most recently is a novella set just before Subversive, the start of the trilogy. It’s called Clandestine, and it’s free. Delving into the events that cause my main characters’ lives to collide was a lot of fun—like going back in time to see what good friends were doing before you met them.
Thanks for your questions and for having me here!
You’re welcome and happy to have you here! Colleen was a great author to get to know. And I feel you on Valentine’s Day, it’s more like the free chocolate day for me (hehehe). If you want to get in contact or connect with Colleen you can follow her on:
Thank you all for reading and remember: