Author Feature,  Pride Feature

Writer Spotlight – Kale Lawrence

Hey friends! The entire month of June, we’ll be featuring LGBTQIAP+ authors on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Send them some love, check out their books, and let us know what you think! Enjoy!

Introduce yourself! What’s your name? Genre you write? Fun fact(s) about yourself?

Hi! I’m Kale Lawrence, author of upper YA/New Adult historical fantasy (and now horror, too, apparently! :P) I published The Magi Menagerie in September 2021 and am working on the second book in the series, The Magi Manifesto.  I’m also currently writing a short horror story called You Will See Such Pretty Things that will be published in an anthology later this year. 

As far as fun facts about me – where to begin? I’m a former Disney cast member, have lived in three different states the past twelve years, and love dyeing my hair pastel colors.

How did you start writing?

Writing has been a passion since I was very young. My mom instilled creativity in me at an early age by reading to me and helping me with grammar and spelling. I soon found I enjoyed the art of storytelling and started writing short stories on pieces of folded notebook paper.

What is your writing process like?

First, I’ll start a new document/project file (I use a program called Living Writer to help me stay organized with all my notes). Then, I’ll start “casting” my characters – basically meaning that I’ll find stock or celebrity photos of people who most resemble the characters in my mind and come up with profiles for each. At this point, before I even write a single word, I’ll do some research on the setting, any main themes or concepts I want to address, and compile website sources in one document so I can always revisit it later. Once I’ve laid down the foundation, I start outlining (yes, I’m a plotter), which looks like listing out the chapters but also bullet points of what happens in each chapter. Then, all I have left is writing the dang thing. (This is the hardest part, by the way.)

While I’m writing, I’ll frequently go back a few pages and edit, write a little more, edit a little more, etc. One thing that really helps with my dialogue is reading everything out loud so I can hear if it sounds natural and captures the tone I’m going for.

What inspired you to write The Magi Menagerie? What is it about?

The Magi Menagerie centers around Ezra, a seventeen-year-old immigrant moving with his parents to Ireland. But on the way, their train is ambushed. Ezra’s mother is killed and his father disappears, leaving him scrambling for answers. He soon stumbles upon a secret society of magical folk who operate a local chapter in Belfast but they, too, are reeling from the aftermath of their enemies. With the help of his newfound family, Ezra is swept up on an adventure across Europe and learns more about himself in the process.

I honestly don’t know the exact moment I said, “I’m going to write this story!” It had been something I was kicking around for a while, but the first chapter came as a free flow writing exercise. I just had to uncover who this boy was and why he and his mother were on a train to Belfast. 

When do we get the opportunity to read The Magi Manifesto?

The Magi Manifesto is the second book in the series, and I’m actually in the process of working on it now. The publication date is scheduled for December 13, 2022. It’ll be a lot faster-paced, twisty, and give readers a deeper understanding of the world of the Magi.

Do you have any other books published/are you working on anything new? 

I’m also working on my first horror piece for an upcoming anthology. I’ve always thought about dabbling in darker, creepier prose but nothing ever came to fruition. You Will See Such Pretty Things is a contemporary psychological thriller that involves some super creepy stuff. I don’t want to give too much away at this point, but I’m excited to give readers a taste of something different than what I usually write.

Do any authors influence your writing?

Originally, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and J.K. Rowling formed the basis of my writing influence. But over the years, I’ve been influenced by Garth Nix, the creators and writers behind BBC’s Sherlock, and just a touch of Casey McQuiston.

What is your favorite piece of writing advice?

Don’t go into a project thinking the first draft is going to be this magnificent piece of flawless art. First drafts are supposed to be messy; that’s what they’re for. A lot of writers (myself included) become discouraged during this phase because it’s not living up to the expectation in their minds. Keep writing; some of the best parts of your story will come in your second and third drafts.

Time to promote you! How can people find you? What should they look out for next?

These days, I mostly haunt TikTok – @authorkalelawrence and Instagram – @kalelawrence, but I also have a Facebook and of course, I’m on Goodreads and BookBub. Let’s be bookish friends! 🙂

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