Risingshadow has had an opportunity to interview Katherine Forrister.
Katherine Forrister is an author of speculative fiction with a love of fantasy, history, science, and romance. Her dark fantasy romance novel, Lodestone, is forthcoming from GenZ Publishing in 2021, her historical fantasy romance, The Hand-me-down Maiden, is forthcoming from GenZ Publishing in 2022, and her science fiction romance novel, Curio Citizen, is forthcoming from Inkshares, Inc.
She lives near Kansas City with her family, where she enjoys local festivals and conventions, hiking, playing open-world video games, and curling up on the sofa to read on cold winter days.
by Katherine Forrister
Lodestone-peddler Melaine is desperate to stop hustling her raw magic for a tuppence. Her rare gift of infusing her magic into a lodestone to sell for another's use and never keeping any for herself is nothing but a degrading path to an early grave.
Yearning for a better life, Melaine turns to her unconventional childhood idol, the powerful but sinister Overlord, sorcerer-ruler of Centara. When she achieves an audience and arrives at his reclusive retreat of ancient Highstrong Keep, she finds that the compelling, handsome man who conquered a kingdom by the age of twenty is now a weak, shadowed husk, and he needs her lodestones to give him strength. In exchange, he will take her on as his apprentice.
AN INTERVIEW WITH KATHERINE FORRISTER
- Could you tell us something about yourself in your own words?
My name is Katherine, and I live in Kansas, U.S.A. I enjoy reading, playing video games, baking, traveling, and hanging out with my family. I have a loving partner, two great kids, and a little hound dog named Special Agent Cooper.
- How did you become a speculative fiction author?
It's very difficult for me to stop my brain from spinning up daydreams, so I decided that those stories had to go somewhere. I've always loved reading and writing, especially fantasy and science fiction, so I started writing in earnest a few years ago. After dedicating my time to writing several novels, one of them was picked up by a publisher. Now, I have three forthcoming speculative fiction novels, and I don't plan on stopping!
- Are there any books, stories or authors who have been an important source of inspiration to you?
Childhood fairy tales told through various mediums were my first inspirations, followed soon after by films such as Star Wars and hardier books like The Lord of the Rings, which all immersed me within the realms of the fantasy, science fiction, and horror genres.
- You're the author of the fantasy book Lodestone. Could you tell us something about it? What kind of a book is it?
Lodestone is a dark fantasy novel that leans into romance. It's been compared to Beauty and the Beast, Howl's Moving Castle, and Naomi Novik's Uprooted. It follows a gritty, ambitious young woman named Melaine who is a lodestone-peddler. She can pour her biological magic into crystallized form, and sells these "lodestones" to others so they can use her magic, but she can never keep any magic for herself. For a better life, she turns to her unconventional childhood idol, the powerful and sinister Overlord, and offers her magic to his service in return for being his apprentice. He accepts the deal, but he is mysteriously weak and requires her lodestones to give him strength. So, Melaine finds herself within a haunted castle, surrounded by shadows, black magic ,and apparitions, trying to unearth the reason for the Overlord's sickly state--all while following her own ambitions to gain power, no matter the cost.
- What inspired you to write this book?
Lodestone grew from two seeds of ideas. First, I imagined what would happen if raw magic could be sold and how that might affect people who were willing to, or due to economic circumstances, had to deplete their own power to make ends meet. How would it feel to weaken yourself to make others stronger? The second seed was a question regarding the "evil dark lord" trope. What would a story be like if told from the point of view of someone who chose to serve the villain? Lodestone combines these two ideas and expands them into a full-fledged dark fantasy novel that explores the gray area between good and evil and the reasons why society leans into prejudices that create the two perceived extremes.
- Is there anything you could reveal about the protagonist of Lodestone, Melaine?
Melaine is an orphan who has scraped by on the streets of Centara, the largest city in Dramore, for her entire life. She sells her raw magic to survive, but she hates that others can use her magic while she never has more than scraps left for herself. She is resourceful and ambitious, a true survivor. She has a dark streak but is a good person at her core and will face both sides of herself in the story to come.
- How would you advertise Lodestone to potential readers?
Lodestone would appeal to fans of Uprooted by Naomi Novik, Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson, and anyone who loves tales of dark magic and ghost stories. Readers who are drawn to "Beauty and the Beast"-style romances, but who wish Beauty had more agency in her story and got to choose her path to the Beast, would love this book.
- Is Lodestone a standalone book or will there be sequels?
Lodestone is a standalone book with a satisfying conclusion, but the characters and world I've created still leave room to explore. Sequels may be possible!
- Is there anything you'd like to add?
Lodestone releases April 21, 2021 from GenZ Publishing and will be available from all major retailers. I have two other upcoming books to watch out for: a 1920s historical fantasy The Hand-me-down Maiden and a science fiction romance called Curio Citizen. Check out my website at katherineforrister.com for details! Thank you to Risingshadow for hosting this interview!