Interview by The Young Adulting Editors
Liselle Sambury is the Trinidadian Canadian author of the Governor General’s Literary Awards Finalist Blood Like Magic and its sequel, Blood Like Fate. Her work spans multiple genres, from fantasy to sci-fi, horror, and more. In her free time, she shares helpful tips for upcoming writers and details of her publishing journey through a YouTube channel dedicated to demystifying the sometimes complicated business of being an author.(Image Credit: Stuart W)
Hi Liselle! Thank you so much for taking the time to answer some questions—we’re so excited to have you! Your upcoming standalone Delicious Monsters is a YA Horror/Psychological Thriller and sounds positively terrifying (in the best way!). What inspired you to branch out from the Urban Fantasy genre?
Thank you for having me! I had always planned to write in multiple genres though I had expected that to be fantasy and sci-fi, not horror. Then, while on a trip, I had a friend ask me if I had ever considered writing horror, and it got me thinking because I’ve always been a huge horror movie and tv show fan. It hadn’t occurred to me to take that love and transfer it to writing, nor had I read much horror literature up until that point. But after my friend asked me that, I couldn’t get the idea out of my head and decided to give writing a horror a try. It ended up having a great psychological thriller lean to it as well and I really fell in love with the genres. I regularly read horror now and plan to continue writing it.
You have a fantastic YouTube channel which chronicles the ins and outs of being an author. For those who may not be familiar with your videos, what advice would you give to emerging writers trying to make it in the YA publishing industry?
The advice I would give is to read a lot of the recent books coming out (don’t just rely on the mega hits you read years ago) and to give yourself permission to take the time you need for your story. I think it can be easy to be impatient to publish. I’m an impatient person myself. But I had the best success when I took the time to make my story the best it could possibly be before attempting to acquire literary representation or seek publication.
Toronto is the primary setting for the Blood Like Magic duology, as well as some of your upcoming novels. What about the city inspires you?
For one, it’s my hometown. I grew up in the city and I have a lot of love for it. It also has a lot of different fun pockets, and neighborhoods, and a variety of interesting people. I feel like there’s so many opportunities to find stories to tell in that space, and I’m the most inspired by places I’ve lived because it gives me extra insight into the nooks and crannies of the setting that people outside of it might miss.
Which character have you had the most fun writing (either in the Blood Like Magic duology or in one of your upcoming projects), and why?
There are honestly so many characters that I’ve had a fun time writing, but I did really like the challenge of writing Grace, the mom of my main character Daisy in Delicious Monsters. That mother-daughter relationship is quite prominent in the book and as a children’s writer sometimes parents can become very background as characters, so this was a fun challenge to work on a nuanced and complicated parental figure while still keeping the story focused on Daisy.
What YA books or authors do you adore reading?
I love YA fantasy, sci-fi, and horror novels, so I read a lot of those. I have a lot of authors whose work I love but a few that I’ll mention are Tracy Deonn, Aiden Thomas, and Margaret Owen, and some of my favourite books that I’ve read this year are A Cruel and Fated Light by Ashley Shuttleworth, These Fleeting Shadows by Kate Alice Marshall, and Hurricane Summer by Asha Bromfield. Right now I’m reading The Sunbearer Trials by Aiden Thomas and loving it, and I’m most looking forward to diving into Bloodmarked by Tracy Deonn before the year is over.