Today, I'm happy to have F.T. Lukens the author of SPELL BOUND answer some questions about their publication journey. This interview was made possible by Turn the Page Tours. Please find the interview below and be sure to enter the book giveaway!
Thank you for joining us today F.T. Lukens.
1. Tell us about yourself and how you became a writer.
Hello. My name is FT Lukens and I write YA speculative fiction. I started writing as a hobby, really as an outlet for creativity. I have always loved creating stories and characters. I began writing as a child but became really invested when I was a teenager and in college. Though I didn’t start to think about writing as a career until my twenties and didn’t publish any fiction until my 30’s. I absolutely love what I do and that I get to be creative and use my imagination as my job. That’s so special to me that I’ve turned my childhood daydreams of magic, dragons, and mermaids into a career.
2. Where did you get the idea for Spell Bound?
The ideas for Spell Bound actually came from a few different places. I was on a phone call with my brother while driving home from DragonCon (a big SFF convention in Atlanta) and brainstormed an idea about magical wifi. And talked about how modern phones are able to detect signals and what if there were devices that could do that but with magic and how that would work in a contemporary fantasy setting. Then taking that idea, I brainstormed how to create conflict within a reality with that setup. After that, I did a lot of research into tropes around sorcerers and witches (such as animals that act as familiars, differences between jinxes, hexes, and curses, sources of magic, etc) and incorporated those into the worldbuilding.
The themes surrounding gatekeeping and grief and being true to yourself stem from personal experiences with the subjects. And I hope readers take comfort and find joy from how the characters navigate those themes within the story.
Your Writing Process
3. How long did it take you to write and edit Spell Bound?
The first draft took about four months to write. Editing took much longer! The final draft was not ready until about ten months after the first words were written.
4. What were the challenges you faced in writing Spell Bound? How did you overcome it?
There were a few challenges. The first was that I did have limited time to write. When writing this book, I still was working a full-time job and was also editing So This Is Ever After and promoting In Deeper Waters. So balancing all the different aspects of being an author while writing this book was difficult. I ended up scheduling my time to be more efficient. Instead of having a block of time that was just “author” time, I ended up separating time out to be just specifically for writing versus specifically for promo etc. And I think that really helped.
Also, during this process, I wanted to make sure that I was creating a book and a world that was accessible and diverse for readers. So, I did a lot of research and I also utilized authenticity readers throughout the development of the characters and the plot.
Your Road to Publication
5. So are you Self-Published, Hybrid Published, or Traditionally Published? Why did you choose this route of publication?
My books are traditionally published. The first five books in my catalogue were published via a small press. The last three, including Spell Bound, are published through a large publisher. I chose this route honestly because of time and the resources available.
6. What tips, tricks, or secrets can you give a person about the type of publishing (self, hybrid, traditional) you did? For instance, for traditionally published, did you get an agent first or did you query the publisher directly?
This is a great question. For the books I have published through the small press, I submitted directly to the publisher without an agent. Which was great for those books. But when I knew I wanted to submit to a bigger press, I queried to find an agent. I researched several agents and sent out queries to varying responses. And I was actually about to look again at a small press when I saw an acquaintance post about their agent. It was someone I didn’t have on my list but from their recommendation, decided to query. That individual ended up becoming my agent. So my tip for writers who are looking for agents is to look at the agents who represent your favorite authors or authors who write in your genre and research if they might be a good fit for your work.
Just Wanting to Know…
7. I have several writers who follow my blog and are looking for inspiration and publication. What advice or inspiration could you give these writers?
This is a pretty specific piece of advice, but I’ve had to learn how to be patient. My early days of writing were a constant rush of trying to throw my work out into the world before it was ready and rushing from one project to the next. And now I really appreciate slowing down and taking my time with developing ideas and being patient with the process, both the creative process and the publishing process. And I think learning patience has served me well. That’s not to say that I don’t tend to rush headfirst into projects, but if I don’t have a good idea or something is not working, then I have learned to take a step back instead of trying to force creativity.
Thank you so much for telling us about your writing and publishing journey. We look forward to reading SPELLBOUND and your next book! Find out more about FT Lukens below, SPELL BOUND, and enter the giveaway!
TITLE: SPELL BOUND
AUTHOR: FT Lukens
PUBLISHER: Margaret K. McElderry Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster’s Children’s Division
RELEASE DATE: April 4, 2023
Two rival apprentice sorcerers must team up to save their teachers and protect their own magic in this lively young adult romantic adventure from the New York Times bestselling author of In Deeper Waters and So This Is Ever After.
Edison Rooker isn’t sure what to expect when he enters the office of Antonia Hex, the powerful sorceress who runs a call center for magical emergencies. He doesn’t have much experience with hexes or curses. Heck, he doesn’t even have magic. But he does have a plan—to regain the access to the magical world he lost when his grandmother passed.
Antonia is…intimidating, but she gives him a job and a new name—Rook—both of which he’s happy to accept. Now all Rook has to do is keep his Spell Binder, an illegal magical detection device, hidden from the Magical Consortium. And contend with Sun, the grumpy and annoyingly cute apprentice to Antonia’s rival colleague, Fable. But dealing with competition isn’t so bad; as Sun seems to pop up more and more, and Rook minds less and less.
But when the Consortium gets wind of Rook’s Spell Binder, they come for Antonia. All alone, Rook runs to the only other magical person he knows: Sun. Except Fable has also been attacked, and now Rook and Sun have no choice but to work together to get their mentors back…or face losing their magic forever.
About the Author:
F.T. Lukens is a New York Times bestselling author of YA speculative fiction including the novels So This Is Ever After, In Deeper Waters, and the forthcoming Spell Bound as well as other science-fiction and fantasy works. Their contemporary fantasy novel The Rules and Regulations for Mediating Myths & Magic was a 2017 Cybils Award finalist in YA Speculative Fiction, the Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Gold Winner for YA fiction and won the Bisexual Book Award for Speculative Fiction. F.T. resides in North Carolina with their spouse, three kids, three dogs, and three cats. Find out more about F.T. Lukens and their books at ft-lukens.com.
There are two (2) finished copies of this book available for a giveaway!