A Letter from the Editor
What I love most about this time of year—on the east coast of the U.S.—is seeing trees come alive, bursting with the vibrant colors of the season. It doesn’t happen all at once, but each time I take notice, the leaves are a little greener, the flowers a little pinker.
It reminds me of something. But what?
Ah, I know! It reminds me of ChapterBuzz, our author & book discovery platform. As budding writers make progress on their debut novels, I delight in watching as new chapters appear on my feed, stories are fine tuned, and Fan Clubs grow.
As more readers and writers find a literary home there, our community blossoms like a tree in spring.
For right now, it doesn’t matter whether you write books or just want to read them, you are going to love the colorful arrangement of goodies in this issue. Let’s take a look:
On the cover this month is award-winning fantasy author Sebastien de Castell. Yes, that’s his real name—and not a name, as he assures us on his website, that was “concocted by a Madison Avenue advertising agency tasked with devising the most-fantasy-author-name-ever.” From childhood, Sebastien has always found ways to forge his own path through life, and this is what I explore in my interview with him. You’ll also hear about the question he gets asked the most in letters from his fans, his clever trick for changing up his daily routine, and the obscure find at a library that sparked his writing career.
Next, author Natasha Deen learned to treasure her Guyanese cultural roots growing up in Alberta, Canada, even though as the only mixed-race kid in her class, she often felt different from those around her. “I quickly learned to stay quiet about my background, to laugh at the ‘jokes,’ to be invisible and assimilate—at any cost—into Canadian culture,” she writes. Find out how her journey to embrace her personal identity, along with a bold decision made by her grandmother, inspired her latest novel.
Then, Paul Bahou sings the praises of music’s influence in life and writing. Just as soundtracks make movie scenes all the more powerful, he explains, music can be the driving force that shapes your novel. “We as human beings tend to love a tasty jam,” Paul writes. “Music pervades our lives in ways both big and small, good and bad.” By unleashing your favorite beats whenever you sit down to write—and making decisions about your characters’ musical tastes—Paul insists you can weave a richer narrative, stir up readers’ emotions, and create a more memorable novel.
Finally, JP McLean has some helpful advice on how to come up with names for your characters. “A name invokes an image in a reader’s mind,” Jo-Anne writes. “The way the name is spelled, how it rolls off the tongue, how it looks visually on a page—all these things add nuance to the character.” This award-winning author adds that choosing the right name can even make your job as a writer easier, because names go a long way toward defining your character’s role and personality.
There’s so much to discover and learn in these virtual pages, so dive right in … and enjoy this month’s issue of Books & Buzz Magazine.
Editor-in-chief, Books & Buzz Magazine
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