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Today, I have a special treat lined up just for you! Indie author interviews are back and I had the amazing opportunity to catch up with indie author, V.B. Lacey, the creative mind behind the elemental magic debut novel, Long Live.
Trust me, you’re going to love her, and the story and characters she’s created! We’re diving into the world of Iona and uncovering the magic behind her writing process. So, grab your favorite beverage and cozy up because this one’s a real page-turner!
1. Congratulations on the release and success of “Long Live”! Can you tell us a bit about the inspiration behind the story and its characters?
“Thank you! Honestly, this question always stumps me a little, because I don’t have a specific anecdote or “lightbulb” moment to share. I’ve always wanted to be an author and have had snippets of stories and themes floating in my head over the last few years. One that kept calling to me was the idea of the elements of nature having personalities: what would they look like? Act like? Dream of? Be scared of? And from there, the elementals created themselves in my head, and the rest fell into place.”
2. “Long Live” is described as a New Adult fantasy romance novel. What drew you to this genre, and how did you approach blending these elements in your story?
“I mostly read NA fantasy romance, and I’m a believer in writing what you love. While the content of Long Live is appropriate for a YA/younger audience as well, the characters are adults in their early 20’s-30’s, because that’s what I identify with most right now and it was easy to draw on my own experiences and emotions to bring it all together.”
3. What was your favorite part of the writing journey for “Long Live”? Any memorable moments or milestones that stand out to you?
With the actual writing aspect, learning my characters was definitely my favorite part. I wrote 5 points of view, which is incredibly daunting, but each character was so vivid and loud in my head that it was easy to step into their shoes and tell their individual stories. A moment that stands out to me is the night I finished my first draft—I took a video and saved it so I’ll always remember that feeling. There’s nothing like standing at the top of the mountain and seeing how far you’ve come!
4. As an indie author, you have control over every aspect of your book. What aspects of self-publishing did you find most rewarding, and which were the most challenging?
All of the hype leading up to release day was so rewarding and encouraging—the cover reveal, the excitement over ARCs, and seeing Long Live start to pop up on my feed was unreal and very humbling.
The newness of this entire journey for me was challenging across the board, with trying to figure out marketing strategies, what resources to use, what to do when things started to fall apart, etc. I’m thankful to have made several wonderful connections with other authors who were there to offer support and advice when I needed, because without them, I probably would’ve had a breakdown!
5. Could you share some of the challenges you faced during the writing and publishing process, and how you overcame them?
One of the biggest challenges for my mental health in the entire process was the beta reading stage. Imposter syndrome and self-doubt starts to creep up when you hand your draft over to new people for the first time. I had to grow thick skin and remember that feedback is important, and that my book may not be for everyone. Along the same lines, once ARCs were out in the world and after pub day, I had to set a rule for myself to not look at reviews online—reviews are for readers, and it always did more harm than good to my mental health when I saw negative comments or critiques. Having a solid foundation of supporters and fellow indie authors to lean on was huge for overcoming the bad days.
6. “Long Live” is your debut novel. How did you feel when you held your book in your hands for the first time? Can you describe that moment?
I took a video of me opening the package with my first proof, and there really is no feeling like it! It was emotional and exciting, but also felt like a long time coming, and I have such a deep attachment to it that it felt like saying “hello” to an old friend.
7. Can you give readers a glimpse into the world you’ve created in “Long Live”? What makes it special and unique from other fantasy romance novels?
This world consists of 4 island kingdoms, each with their own unique landscapes and culture that I dip into a little bit in book 1. It’s a seemingly magicless world, until the main character learns of a history of ancient magical beings that used to live among the humans, and we slowly see more of those elementals and what their immortal lives have looked like. The magic is nature-based and ties very closely with their individual elements. I know elemental magic isn’t a unique idea and tons of amazing books include it! I hope that I added my own flare by tying their personalities so strongly to their elements and weaving the chaos and beauty of nature into their character traits.
8. Readers often enjoy knowing more about the characters in a story. Do you have a favorite character from “Long Live,” and if so, why?
It’s hard to choose, because I love them all for very different reasons! I think Aidan, the fire elemental, has always been one of my favorites because of his sense of humor and the way he views the world. He’s got a tough exterior, but is a complete cinnamon roll who loves a good dirty joke. But he’s got this complexity to him because, unlike the other elementals, there’s a part of him that fears his fire—and exploring the idea of needing that fire while also worried about how volatile it can be was fascinating.
I also LOVE LOVE LOVE the dark god. But…spoilers. 😉
9. What themes or messages do you hope readers will take away from “Long Live” after they’ve read it?
The main female character, Isla, goes through a lot of anxiety and internal conflict over her decisions and things that have happened in her past. I think healing and coping with these dark thoughts is a major theme of both Long Live, and will be even bigger in the sequel, Forever Reign. The idea of corruption and power is also seen a lot with the elementals and their struggles. Many of these characters have dark pasts and have made huge mistakes that they didn’t think they could come back from, so the theme of forgiveness and change is one I really played into with them.
10. “Long Live” is a New Adult fantasy romance novel, a genre known for its passionate and emotional storytelling. Can you share a particular scene or moment in the book that was emotionally significant for you as an author, and why it had such an impact on you?
There were 3 times that I cried while writing this book. One was during chapter 5, where Isla recalls how she felt after her mother died and the process of grieving that she went through. I’ve never lost someone so close to me, so figuring out how to accurately depict what was going on inside her head was difficult and emotional. The second time was in chapter 29, still one of my favorite scenes to date (and we might be getting some artwork for soon…). This is where Kai and Aidan are opening up to each other about the sins of their past, and it was both heartbreaking and healing to write about such deep desires of Kai’s heart and the burdens she carried, and then having them come together and forgive each other with so much love was beautiful. The third time was the last chapter…but that’s a spoiler, so you’ll have to read and find out! But I was a wreck writing that scene.
11. What’s next for you? Are there any upcoming projects or ideas you can give us a sneak peek of?
I’ve recently finished the first draft of the sequel and final book in the duology, Forever Reign! This is set to release on April 23, 2024, and I’m so excited to finish their story. After the Elementals of Iona, I plan to write a Wizard of Oz meets Hunger Games fantasy standalone that’s been on my mind for months. I have big plans for this one!
12. Can you share a fun or interesting behind-the-scenes tidbit about the creation of “Long Live” that readers might not know?
Hmm…a small tidbit is that I changed several of the main characters’ names! Isla was originally named Leigh, and Brielle was originally Ava. I never felt that either of those names quite matched their personality, so I changed them when I was almost completely done with the first draft.
13. Finally, how can readers connect with you further, stay updated on your work, and get involved in your writing community?
Follow me on social media! My username is @vblacey.books on TikTok and Instagram. I have a newsletter that goes out once a month and gets exclusive access to cover reveals, new art, early chapters, and more. You can sign up for that here: Newsletter Signup Link
GRAB YOUR COPY
Long Live – Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Now, without further ado, it’s time for the cover reveal of the much-anticipated sequel to Long Live—Forever Reign!
This breathtaking cover was designed by Maria Spada (@mariaspada.design)
Blurb (But beware – Spoilers from Book 1 ahead!)
Nothing could have prepared Sebastian and the elementals for what occurred on the beaches of Iona three months ago. In the aftermath of loss and betrayal, they’re left to pick up the shattered pieces of their lives, recovering in their separate corners of the world. That is, until the long-lost kingdom invites them back to their shores for a festival of peace.
Isolated to the spirit plane, Isla Vasileia has received a quest from the ancient gods.
Ever since Isla took the magic from the elementals, the balance of nature has been greatly altered. Violent disasters have wreaked havoc across the kingdoms, decimating villages and tearing families apart. To bring the world back into balance, what was taken must somehow be restored.
When Isla finds herself back on the beaches of Iona, she reunites with Bri, Sebastian, and the former elementals, and they are thrust into a world of secrecy, fear, and lies. Danger lurks around every corner, but so does new love and a chance for a happy ending. Isla is once again caught in a game amongst gods, racing against fate and time to save the kingdoms from destruction, forced to make a decision that will change her world forever.
One way or another, the end will come for all.
- elemental magic
- found family
- “who did this to you”
- ballroom scene
- he falls first
- “stay with me”
- multiple POVs
- no spice but heavy tension
- witty banter
- political intrigue
- “touch him & die”
Forever Reign is the heart-pounding conclusion to the Elementals of Iona duology by V.B. Lacey. Book 1, Long Live, is available now, and Forever Reign will be released on April 23, 2024. It’s available to pre-order now on Amazon.