Charlie N. Holmberg is an up-and-coming fantasy author known for The Paper Magician series, of which the first two books are currently available for purchase. You can learn more about Charlie on her website, blog, or by following her on twitter @CNHolmberg.
The Paper Magician is your debut novel, and its publication was soon followed by the sequel, The Glass Magician. You also have two more books on the way, to be published even before The Paper Magician‘s first anniversary. What is it like to have all of this happen so quickly? In what ways has this changed your day to day life and the amount of time you focus on writing novels?
It’s pretty awesome to have it moving so quickly. Within thirteen months I’ll have four published books, and that really makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something. As for time, it hasn’t changed my normal schedule too much, but deadlines and such definitely help motivate me to get my work done!
Do you intend to remain writing in the fantasy genre? What other genres interest you the most in regards to both reading and writing?
I do, actually. I consider myself solely a fantasy author. Fantasy is just what interests me. I like telling the stories that don’t happen in real life. Were I to ever write outside the genre, it would probably be a non-magical historical fiction or contemporary YA. I have one idea for a sports-related contemporary YA, I just haven’t mustered enough gusto to write it.
For reading, the bulk of what I read is YA and adult fantasy, but I love historicals (especially Regency novels) and the occasional contemporary. Once in a while I pick up a science fiction. I adore romance, but I always think it works better as a B-story than a central one.
You run a very active blog that seems very connected with your audience. I particularly enjoyed going through the winners of the art contest you held recently. Writing for a blog is presumably a very different experience from writing novels. Do you consider one form of writing to be more work and the other to be more for pleasure? What has your experience interacting with fans been like?
If I had to label them, I’d probably say the blog is more “work” while the novel-writing is more pleasure. 😉 I really enjoy my job. It rarely feels like work to me. I am a very lucky gal!
Interacting with fans is GREAT. They’re so nice! I am floored by how many people take the time to reach out to me just to tell me they love my books. It really is so uplifting to get that kind of validation.
The type of magic you created for this universe is really original, with all magicians being limited to only one man-made material. In the earliest incarnations of this novel, did you always know that Ceony would be bonded to paper? To what extent did you entertain the notion of having a main character bonded to, say, plastic?
Yes, I always knew Ceony would be bonded to paper. That was one of the novel’s first seeds, so I never considered anything else.
How much research into origami did you have to do for this novel? Did you actually practice certain folds and creating shapes such as birds, frogs, and hearts yourself?
For this novel, specifically? Ha . . . not much, to be honest. I already knew a handful of paper creations (cranes, frogs, fortune-tellers, snowflakes, and the “ripple” spell from the second book) and used those in the book. Others I looked up, but didn’t actually learn how to make them myself. I get away with it because no one wants to read the detailed step-by-step instructions of EVERY spell in the novel, right?
The third book in the series, The Master Magician, will be published this June. Have you always known that this would be a three part series?
No, actually! The Paper Magician was written as a standalone. I originally had no plans to expand on it. But I always wonder what happens after any story is told, and I got a lot of ideas for what would happen after the first novel, enough so that I queried the book as having series potential, and it sold that way. The Glass Magician was only a vague outline when I sold it to 47North.
We greatly appreciate you taking the time to answer our questions fully, Charlie. If you’re interested in her books, you can also read my review of The Paper Magician.