Last week, I had the privilege of writing a review of the amazing YA Fantasy novel, Brayden’s Darkness by S. L. Abbott. This week, I’m excited to announce that I had the honor of interviewing S. L. Abbott.
S.L. Abbott is an Instructional Assistant for her local school district in addition to being a gifted writer. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing from the University of California, Riverside. In her spare time, she enjoys baking, reading, and spending time with her family. Read our full interview below to learn more about Abbott and her writing.
Q) Why do you write?
A) I write because I love it. I honestly can’t imagine not writing. I have been creating stories ever since I was a child. Even in elementary school, during recess, I would sit beneath a shaded tree and think of stories. After college I took a break (somewhere around 5 years) where I didn’t write at all. I was burnt out from college and just couldn’t get myself to sit down and focus…but then once I found my way back to it, I realized how relaxing it is when you get to write what you want with no deadline. If I have had a busy or stressful day, it is a way for me to just relax and unwind.
Plus, I love the unknown of writing. I have always loved reading and not knowing what will happen next…and this is even better. Because not only do I not always know what will happen to my characters, sometimes they surprise me! I know that sounds strange…but sometimes I’ll be so focused that my fingers are practically flying off the keyboard and I’ll end up writing a scene that I had honestly never even thought of before that moment.
Q) What inspired Brayden’s Darkness?
A) Back in college I was reading so many YA Fantasy novels that I reached the point where I couldn’t decide on another book to read. I was hooked on a particular story type and nothing seemed to fit. Then while lying in bed I began getting ideas. So, late at night, I’d scribble down all of the ideas on the notepad I kept on my nightstand. More often than not, the next morning I couldn’t actually read half of what I wrote…but slowly a story began to form. It’s actually funny, because my very first draft of Brayden’s Darkness is nothing like my, now, published version. Just over the years it changed and morphed into what it is today.
Q) Can you tell me about your short stories “Tantalizing and Tormenting” and “The Boy with the Glowing Eyes,” and how they are connected to Brayden’s Darkness?
A) “The Boy with the Glowing Eyes” was the first short story I wrote in relation to Brayden’s Darkness. I actually wouldn’t even call it a short story, it’s more of a glimpse into a moment.
In the novel Brayden’s Darkness, we meet an old woman who we find out cared for Brayden as a young child. I wanted to keep her rather mysterious in Book One, so readers don’t know too much about her. “The Boy with the Glowing Eyes” is about the moment where she first meets Brayden. Not only do you get a glimpse of the tragedy that Brayden endured at a young age, but you begin to meet the old woman. You find out her name, a little about her past, and also you discover what she is. You will see more of her in Book 2, so it’s important for readers to know more about her.
“Tantalizing and Tormenting” was my second short story. In the novel Brayden’s Darkness, there is a scene that takes place at a Masquerade Dance. (One of my favorite scenes in the book.) Without giving too much away, as Evren ascends the grand staircase up to the castle, a young man offers to escort her. Something always stuck out to me about him. At the time I knew nothing about him, nor what would happen…but then one night it hit me. I knew that there had to be something going on that I didn’t want the reader to know about yet. So, the short story was a perfect opportunity for the readers to experience the Masquerade ball from a different perspective, and experience what was actually going on.
Q) Are you working on any more short stories?
A) I have a long list of short story ideas, but have not started them yet. I am currently devoting all of my spare time into writing Book Two AND a Novella/ Novelette (that takes place after Book Two ends).
Q) I’m so excited for Book 2! Do you have any teasers that you would be willing to share?
A) Hmm…..Excellent question. Book 2 is very much an experiment for me. It alternates from Past to Present. The “Present” chapters follow Brayden immediately after Book One. Which, if you’ve read it, you can imagine what his mental state may be. You will follow him and watch the Darkness consume him.
The “Past” chapters, well that’s where I’m afraid of giving away too much. I will say that the main character’s name is Maealynn. She is a little feistier than Evren and a little less proper…that’s probably all I will say about her. Trust me, you’re going to love her. I can also tell you, you will meet a guy named Artemis. And I must say, I really love his character. He is probably my favorite character so far.
The “Past” and “Present” chapters tell two separate stories until they merge at the very end and you finally see the importance of all of the characters.
Q) Can you describe your hope and vision for your series?
A) My hope is that people fall in love in love with my characters as I have. I have so many ideas for short stories and books. If no one reads them, then whatever, I am still going to write everything for me. . . but if I can get someone else to be excited about my characters that would be amazing.
Q) What advice do you have for other writers?
A) My advice to other writers is to just write. Write because that’s what you love to do. I think we are all self conscious and worry that our work is terrible. Heck, I even have days where I convince myself my writing is awful and I should never publish anything ever again…but then I meet someone like the wonderful person conducting this interview. When you meet someone, who enjoys what you write, you are able to stop being so critical of yourself and just get back to doing what you love.
Be sure to order your copy of Brayden’s Darkness today! Also follow Abbott on social media!