Author Feature,  Pride Feature,  Writing Tips

Writer Spotlight – Liv and Sterling

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 yourselves! What are your names? Genre you write? Fun fact(s) about yourselves?

We are Liv Savell and Sterling D’Este. We write Queer Fantasy/Fiction. In 2021 we published 4 books, two duologies both in the world of Illygad (Pronounced Ill-ee-Gad), which we created during the lockdown for COVID in 2020, and an entire season of episodic stories based in Zuwan, another queer fantasy world. That’s on Kindle Vella.

When we’re not reading or writing, Liv makes fantastic meals, and Sterling is dog training.

How did you both start writing?

We’ve both been tellers of stories for most of our  lives—Sterling starting with small books of her own creation and Liv with stories to regale her younger siblings. We both ended up in the text-based roleplaying world where we learned to write collaboratively and eventually found each other. Once we started writing together, we created the world of Illygad and our books stemmed from that.

What are your writing processes like?

We started writing together when Liv lived in Alabama and Sterling in Texas, so it was long distance. We used Google Docs, which you can both write in at the same time, and see it live. Then Liv moved to Texas. We still use Google Docs, but on occasion are in the same room as each other. For editing we use beta readers for content, Grammarly for obvious reasons, and multiple read throughs on our part. We create inspiration playlists on Spotify and mood boards on Pinterest. 

What inspired you two to co-write?

We met on a collaborative writing site, right before the pandemic. The initial ‘goal’ was simply to have fun co-writing stories, a hobby we each shared for years, but then with the lockdown shutting down Sterling’s Business and heavily affecting Liv’s income as well, we decided to write multiple books which we hoped one day would be published. Basically the options were go stir crazy with the lockdown, or start a publishing business. 🙂 

What inspired you two to write the Illygad Series?  What are these series about?

The first book, Vassal, was initially just meant to be fun. To have fun making a world and creating characters. But as it grew, and we decided to start publishing, it became much more than a way to pass the time. Goddess, the second book was the natural continuation of Vassal. Those two books belong to the Call of Calamity series. The other duology in Illygad is the Shepherd of Souls Series (Shepherd of Souls and its sequel, Death Seeker), which follows one of the characters in the Call of Calamity series, 15 years after the events of Vassal and Goddess. 

The Call of Calamity series follows two mage students in training after they unwittingly release an ancient old world Goddess, Enyo. They go on a journey to try and fix their mistake, meanwhile joined by Delyth, the loyal priestess to Enyo, and Tristan, a mysterious rogue. Friendships, morals and vows will be tested as they take the Goddess to her forgotten temple, Thlonondras. These books are LGBTQIA+ fantasy adventure, with a sapphic romance as well. 

The Shepherd of Souls series picks up 15 years after the events of Vassal and Goddess. It’s a fantasy/mystery in which one of the characters from the previous series—Etienne—now has to get to the bottom of a mysterious chain of unsettling murders with the help of a handsome pirate and the spirit of one of the victims. The duology features more LGBTQIA characters and romance, as well as some wild adventures in places not explored in the first duology.

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

We have the four books, Vassal, Goddess, Shepherd of Souls, and Death Seeker. Those are all in Illygad. We also have a Kindle Vella series, which is currently in season two, called The Thistle Queen’s Thorns. We have podcasts to help indie authors like ourselves, and we are currently working on publishing our first epic fantasy, The Last Contender. That series will be called the Song of the Lost. We hope to have book one out this fall and book two early next year. 

Do any authors influence your writing?

Sterling: I love Tamora Pierce. All her works in Tortall, the world she made, made me so happy. She’s a constant reread for me. I love how her heroines were down to earth, worked hard for what they needed/wanted instead of just being a chosen one, and each unique and different. Kel is calm and collected, Alanna is fiery and stubborn, Daine is idealistic and kind. Etc. etc. She doesn’t just produce the same story, trope, world or character over and over again.

Liv: I love everything by Kristen Britain and Naomi Novik as well as Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon. I love the vibrancy of their worlds and the growth of their characters. Also, Shannon’s language. That Priory first sentence tho *swoons*

What is your favorite writing advice?

You can’t edit a blank page. It doesn’t have to be perfect, just get something written, and then you can edit it. 

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

You can find us on Instagram @LSFables, our website: LSFables.com, and our podcasts are on all podcast platforms, just search for the L&S Fables Podcast. Our books are all on Amazon, and our vella episodes are on Kindle Vella. Be on the look out for our next epic fantasy series, Song of the Lost.

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