I had the chance to interview Kaylie Smith about her debut novel, A Ruinous Fate, writing, and book recommendations.
A Ruinous Fate, a YA fantasy published by Disney Hyperion, released on January 3, 2023. It is book one of the Witch’s Dice series. I received an advance reader copy last year, so I had the chance to read it early. I enjoyed it immensely and would describe it as Studio Ghibli mixed with The Infernal Devices. If you like the world building that is synonymous with Studio Ghibli and the main characters of The Infernal Devices, I think you’ll enjoy it. It contained the fantasy tropes I love along with a stakes filled adventure.
Kaylie Smith is a writer and lover of all things magical and fantasy. She grew up in Louisiana where she frequently haunted bookstores and practiced her writing craft. When she isn’t writing or voraciously reading all things witchy, she can be found at home with her menagerie of animals and annoying people about astrology.
Calliope Rosewood is a witch with a long streak of bad luck. Like all witches in Illustros, her fate is directly tied to Witch’s Dice―powerful artifacts that have blessed her kind with limitless magic but also set them on a path toward destruction. Cursed with unspeakable powers that terrify even the most dangerous witches and fae, Calla deserted her coven four years ago and has been in hiding with her two best friends since. But Calla is also hiding a grave secret: She is only three Rolls away from becoming the last Blood Warrior and starting the Fates’ War that will decimate her people and eradicate their magic.
After a betrayal from her ex leads her one step closer to fulfilling that age-old prophecy, Calla is desperate to do whatever it takes to reset her fate . . . even if that means journeying into the deadly Neverending Forest with said ex and his enigmatic older brother to find the one being who can help her forge her own path. As Calla ventures farther into the enchanted woods, she finds her heart torn between her past desires and alluring new possibilities. But she soon learns that choosing your own destiny may come with dire consequences.
What was your inspiration for A Ruinous Fate?
My love of board games and how easily your fate can change from a simple roll of a dice! I really wanted to write a fantasy where absolutely anything was possible and anyone was welcome– throwing in my love for games was just the cherry on top!
What was your favorite part about writing A Ruinous Fate?
Calla, Delphine and Hannah’s friendship was a HUGE highlight to me as well as the romance! I absolutely adored getting to write a strong, emotionally connected female group and the romantic aspects were just an extra treat. I love romantasy and definitely wanted this to feel as romantic and angsty as possible 😉
A big theme of this book is found family—how did you create such a wide cast of characters?
A lot of character sheets! I wanted to make sure everyone felt like their own individual person, and that they weren’t only together because of circumstance. They needed to have ties to each other and similar goals. Personalities may clash but that’s not always a bad thing. I think with such a big group that’s even realistic. The most important thing was making sure everyone was fleshed out enough that in any situation you’d be able to tell who’s voice was on the page. Character sheets helped immensely with that even if some of the info didn’t make it into the text!
How did you create your world and magic? What was your thought process?
I’ve always loved the idea of anything being possible in a fantasy world. When world building I know there needs to be rules and limitations, so I built a flexible magic system. There’s room for so many things to still come into play later because I haven’t even delved into a third of what is possible for the characters. Every type of being has their own set of rules and limitations. Because I have such a large cast that means when one character is having trouble with their magic another might be able to step in and help out. I’m also obsessed with how magic actually physically affects the user and really wanted to delve into the symptoms and traits that might show up when magic is overused or when it acts up.
Did you plot out your novel or did you figure it out as you went?
I had a very intense outline for the overall series as well as each individual book. My outlines are broken down into bullet points so it was easy to shift things around or change things out on a smaller scale that wouldn’t necessarily disrupt the entire story. I like knowing how I get from point A to point B in each section of my novels but also don’t want it to be so rigid that if something isn’t working I can’t easily change courses.
What is your favorite book/ do you have a favorite author?
Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson is probably my favorite book, I adore the pacing, the whimsy, the romance, everything about it feels like a cozy adventure.
What books are you looking forward to that are coming out this year?
SO MANY!! Sing Me To Sleep by Gabi Burton, Delicious Monsters by Liselle Sambury is INCREDIBLE, Where Darkness Blooms by Andrea Hannah, Seven Faceless Saints by M.K. Lobb— honestly too many to name. This is going to be an incredible year for books!
What advice would you give writers?
This is a rough industry and if you’re trying to be traditionally published remember that getting into this industry is a lot of luck, right place right time, and privilege plays a huge role as well. Be kind to yourself and know that everyone’s journey and timing looks different, and your worth is not tied to just one project or how quickly success comes for you. You’re not a bad writer—your time may just be coming at a different pace than others’.
Thank you for letting me interview you Kaylie!
Here’s where you can Kaylie online:
You can get a copy of a Ruinous Fate at most retailers.
I’m doing a giveaway for a physical copy of A Ruinous Fate. It’s open to everyone, including international readers.
How to enter
Any comments on any post (no spam) between now and Jan. 13, 2023 will count towards an entry. This isn’t limited to a single entry. If you are commenting as a guest, make sure to leave your name. If you’re under 18, make sure you have your parents’ or guardian’s permission to enter.
I’ll draw a winner on Jan. 14 and the winner will have a week to claim it before I pick again.
Great interview. I always enjoy hearing about the process that an author goes through to create a novel. I also didn’t know that “found family” played such a role in the story. Just another reason to look forward to reading it.
Hi! You won a copy of the book Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can send it to you!