by Timothy Pike
On the cover this month is K.T. Anglehart, an award-winning fantasy author from Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Her latest novel, The Twin Flame, is book two in her debut young adult fantasy series, The Scottish Scrolls. In our interview, Katrina talks about why she’s drawn to Scotland and Ireland, how often she writes, and that time in elementary school she realized she was meant to be a writer—after surprising all her classmates.
Thanks for joining us, Katrina! Being from Montreal, what brought you to Toronto?
My husband, Andy, received a job offer here, and we were feeling young and adventurous, so we thought we’d give it a go! I’m always up for a change of scenery, but I should mention that I wouldn’t have agreed to the move if one of my best friends hadn’t already been living here.
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When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Back in elementary school, I won a storytelling competition, which came as a surprise to my classmates given my shy nature. They voted me to the next round, which meant I’d have to present in front of my entire school. I was thrilled, but I declined the opportunity. There was no way I was built for that. In that moment, it became clear to me that I was more of a writer than a performer.
Do you write every day, or have any daily writing rituals?
Put it this way: the tighter than deadline, the more inclined I am to write every day. When I’ve got a bit too much time, I’m much less disciplined. That said, I am trying to establish a daily writing practice for book three of The Scottish Scrolls!
Where did the inspiration for the Scottish Scrolls series come from?
The inspiration for my idea didn’t come from a single “aha” moment but from a blend of things, fueled by my passion for magical stories and travel adventures. My fascination with Celtic mythology, Irish folklore, and the rich history of places like Ireland and Scotland played a significant role. I also drew inspiration from real-life accused witches, which is where a lot of the history and intersecting storylines come in.
Did you sit down to write a series, or did you realize that what you’d written was only the first part in a longer story?
The latter! About halfway through writing The Wise One, I had a realization that this story wasn’t going to conclude just yet. It didn’t come as a huge surprise, considering I originally conceived it as a TV series. But my attachment to the characters grew to a point where I couldn’t bear to let it languish in a slush pile on some agent’s desk. As a result, I made the decision to adapt it into a novel and formally declared it as my MFA thesis.
The inspiration for my idea didn’t come from a single “aha” moment but from a blend of things, fueled by my passion for magical stories and travel adventures.
Why did you choose Ireland and Scotland as the backdrop of your stories?
A pull I can’t quite explain is all I can say. As I embarked on writing my book, I delved deep into research, and “coerced” my husband into planning our honeymoon to these enchanting places. Fortunately, he also had a longing to see Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Scotland. Suffice to say, our trip served a dual purpose. During our journey, we visited some incredible locations, had heart-to-heart chats with locals, and uncovered captivating stories, many of which found their way into my book. But what truly enchanted me were the landscapes—I knew I had to make them come alive on the pages.
As for your writing process, do you start with a premise, or do you just start writing and see where it takes you?
I begin with a premise and a loose outline—I like to leave ample room for spontaneity. I tend to make lots of plot changes around midway through the book. That’s about when everything starts to become clear.
How does your multilingual background influence your writing and storytelling?
That’s an intriguing question. I’ve never really thought of my multilingual background as having any influence on my writing, but I suppose it makes sense that it does, particularly in terms of being accustomed to different perspectives. As an Italian Montrealer, I’ve been surrounded by various languages and cultures my whole life, and that’s one of the things I cherish most about my hometown. I consider myself fortunate to have grown up in such a multicultural environment. It has profoundly shaped who I am and has taught me that embracing diverse traditions is a beautiful thing, and without a doubt, it’s inspired me to learn about other traditions. My deep cultural appreciation for Scotland and Ireland is something I hope shines through in the passionate way I depict the places that my main character, Mckenna, visits.
Have you ever encountered an obstacle in your writing life? How did you overcome it?
Certainly. I faced a challenging time when it came to writing during the pandemic, which is the reason behind the extended duration it took to complete The Twin Flame. I came to realize that I was dealing with persistent depressive disorder, which is akin to chronic, mild depression. As a result, my mood swings were constant and had a significant impact on my motivation to write. Coupled with a case of imposter syndrome, it created quite a formidable obstacle.
What’s the best show you’ve binged on Netflix recently?
I’ve got two: The Lincoln Lawyer and One Piece! Please don’t ask me to pick just one.
What’s next for you? Can you give us any teasers?
My primary goal is to publish the third book of The Scottish Scrolls in 2024, and I’m already exploring ideas for a stand-alone magical realism novel and two concepts for TV shows. Additionally, I’m toying with the idea of launching a podcast or YouTube channel. If I decide to take the leap into any of these exciting ventures, subscribing to my newsletter will ensure you’re among the first to know!
Katrina Tortorici Anglehart is an award-winning author from Montreal. A dedicated academic, she holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism, a graduate certificate in scriptwriting, and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing. Inspired by the wizarding world, the land of Narnia, and parallel planes, she penned The Wise One, inviting readers to connect with nature and its ever-present magic. Her exploration of the landscapes and folklore of Ireland and Scotland greatly influenced her debut young adult urban fantasy, marking the inception of the Scottish Scrolls series.
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