Interview with A.F.E. Smith

So, here we are in June! I don’t know about you, but this year seems to be flying by!

Anyway, time for another interview 🙂

I recently had the pleasure of chatting with A.F.E. Smith, a marvelous writer whose new book ‘DARKHAVEN’ will be released 2nd July 2015 as an eBook, with the paperback following 14 January 2016.


Here’s the blurb for your reading pleasure!

Ayla Nightshade never wanted to rule Darkhaven. But her half-brother Myrren – true heir to the throne – hasn’t inherited their family gift, forcing her to take his place.

When this gift leads to Ayla being accused of killing her father, Myrren is the only one to believe her innocent. Does something more sinister than the power to shapeshift lie at the heart of the Nightshade family line?

Now on the run, Ayla must fight to clear her name if she is ever to wear the crown she never wanted and be allowed to return to the home she has always loved.


Sounds good, right?

So, without any further delay, let’s move onto the interview…


So, tell me a little about Darkhaven.

It’s a fantasy murder mystery. The basic premise is that Ayla’s father has been killed, she’s the sole suspect and she has to clear her name. So it’s a bit like the movie The Fugitive, if the Harrison Ford character had been able to turn into a winged unicorn. (And I think we can all agree, that would have made the movie awesome.)

I totally agree!


Out of all the characters in Darkhaven, which one do you relate to the most?

I see a lot of myself in Ayla. She’s impatient, argumentative, and wants to do everything herself because she doesn’t trust anyone else to do it properly. But she’s also determined, fiercely loyal, and tries to do the right thing even if it costs her.

She’s a lot more outspoken than I am, though, so I suspect I’d find her intimidating if we were ever to meet.


I like the cover art who did it?

Thank you! I’m very fond of it myself 🙂 The cover is by Alexandra Allden for Harper Voyager. She’s done lots of gorgeous covers – you can see some of them on her Twitter profile @Lexiesox.


Do you listen to music when writing? If so, what kind and why?

I can’t. I wish I could. But I’m very much a sing-along sort of girl when it comes to music, so if I try to write and listen to music simultaneously, I just end up singing instead of writing.

Also, on a practical level, I do a lot of my writing when Tiny (my younger child) is napping, so music would be a little counterproductive.


What novelty item would you like to see spawned from your novels?

Maybe a board game? The city of Arkannen, where the novel is set, would lend itself to a great strategy game. It consists of seven rings, each accessed by a single gate, with Darkhaven itself in the middle. So you could have an Escape from Darkhaven game where the aim is to get from the centre of the board to the edge before you’re caught.

I am totally going to make that game and force my children to play it.

Let me know if you do, I’d like to give the game a go!


What motivates you to put pen to paper (or fingers to keys)?

Right now, the fear of impending deadlines 🙂

More generally, I just want to tell stories and have someone, somewhere, enjoy them. I’ve been writing since I was six years old, so I suppose it’s in my blood. No matter how disillusioned I’ve become with the writing process in the past, I’ve never quite been able to stop doing it.

I’m not someone who feels like they have something important to say, though. My sole desire is to entertain people. Books have been the greatest source of comfort and excitement and interest in my life, so if my writing can provide those things for someone else, that’s really all I’d ask for.

Meeting deadlines and a desire to entertain. Yeah, I’d say the same about myself, except I’m terrible at the whole deadline thing!


Which book do you wish you had written?

The Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness. I read the first one, The Knife of Never Letting Go, when I’d just been introduced to ebooks for the first time, and it blew me away. As soon as I finished it, I went straight back to download the other two.

Anyone who thinks young adult literature is more simplistic than adult, or has to contain a tired old love triangle subplot, should really read these books. They are also an excellent example of how writing in multiple first-person, present-tense viewpoints can be done really well.


The best thing about being a writer is

Finding people who actually enjoy what I write. (Hopefully there will be some!)

Oh, I’m sure there will be!


The worst thing is …

Never being convinced that anything I’ve done is good enough. I battle constantly with feelings of total and utter inadequacy. I suppose it’s true of all artistic endeavours, that what we imagine in the unfettered spaces of our own heads is always far grander and more beautiful than what emerges on the page.


What next from A.F.E. Smith?

I have a second book coming out in January, and (in theory) a third the following July. With any luck, I’ll get some sleep sometime between now and then.

Exciting times ahead! Looking forward to your future releases and hope you get some good sleep. 

Ladies and Gents, you know what to do!

Here are all the links you will need to follow A.F.E. Smith and her fantastic works. Oh yes, and a bio too! Don’t say I don’t spoil you.

Author biography

A.F.E. Smith is an editor of academic texts by day and a fantasy writer by night. So far, she hasn’t mixed up the two. She lives with her husband and their two young children in a house that someone built to be as creaky as possible – getting to bed without waking the baby is like crossing a nightingale floor. Though she doesn’t have much spare time, she makes space for reading, mainly by not getting enough sleep (she’s powered by chocolate). Her physical bookshelves were stacked two deep long ago, so now she’s busy filling up her e-reader.

What A.F.E. stands for is a closely guarded secret, but you might get it out of her if you offer her enough snacks.

Buy links

Amazon (global link)
Barnes & Noble
Google play

Author social media links

DARKHAVEN on Goodreads

Facebook release party:,

One thought on “Interview with A.F.E. Smith

  1. I think most of us writers struggle with that feeling of inadequacy. I’m constantly split between feeling that I’m quite talented and then feeling that none of my work is any good.

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