June 8, 2022

Interview with Lenore Stuznegger, author of Blue Shadows Fall

Hi friends! I am so excited to welcome Lenore Stutznegger to my blog today. Her debut novel, Blue Shadows Fall, came out last November with Immortal Works Press. I wanted to take this opportunity to interview Lenore and get to know her better. Make sure to add the book to your TBR today!

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Lenore!

About the Book

“They wear the faces of your loved ones, but are more beautiful than you could ever imagine. Lovely things shouldn’t draw you in and kill you. You almost want them to.”

Seventeen-year-old Blue Haven, gifted with superhuman sight since birth, dreams of becoming a warrior—not that anything’s happened near the wall since Old Man Amos was attacked by that beaver. The Shadow Elves—humans infected by a zombie apocalypse-like plague—have died out over the past 150 years, leaving life altogether boring. In her quiet farming village nestled in the shadows of the Smoky Mountains, warriors are no more than a formality.

But Blue's unique sight is beginning to show her some troubling things. A suspicious green-eyed outsider. A strikingly beautiful Shadow Elf. These visions can’t be real—because if they are, that means everyone's been wrong. Dead wrong. They are not the last survivors in the world. And they aren't prepared for the reality Blue's eyes are showing her.

The outsiders want in, and they’re hungry.

A Quiet Place meets Shadow and Bone in this southern, post-apocalyptic, dark fantasy.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Blue-Shadows-Fall-Lenore-Stutznegger/dp/1953491286

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/58108374-blue-shadows-fall

Audible: https://www.audible.com/pd/Blue-Shadows-Fall-Audiobook/B09WY52YSP

Bookshop.org: https://bookshop.org/a/80536/9781953491282

Q&A with the Author
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be an Olympic Gymnast, then an Olympics swimmer–and when my body (and training habits) proved that to be impossible, I wanted to be a world famous artist! :)

What do you hope readers will take away from Blue Shadows Fall?

I’m an escape reader. I love to live in a fantasy world for a while, away from the crazy and boredom of my own life. But I found that I couldn’t connect with any characters in my go-to genre of YA Fantasy. They were all hardcore assassins, orphans–who’d lived these hardened lives. I couldn’t care less if they lived or died. But as I walked the trails, characters, places, thoughts began to percolate and I thought–I’ll just write my own story with all of my favorite things! 

Country setting—check! Super senses–done! Creepy creatures crawling out of the shadows–obviously!

It became a love letter to not only myself as an awkward, insecure teen, but a nod to some very special people in my life who are on the spectrum. Some of my family members have a hard time with loud sounds, certain clothes, or looking people in the eye. So, I wanted to write a book where these sensitivities were seen, not as a bad thing–but as superpowers! Blue and Kaleo, the two POV’s in this book, have enhanced senses–sight and smell. I try to illustrate the difficulties of these things, while also making them into incredibly useful tools.

What was the hardest scene to write in Blue Shadows Fall?

The hardest scene to write never made it in the final book. I rewrote the first chapter, literally 8 times. Each time trying for a different angle. But really, it was the relationship with her twin brother that pulled it all together. I ended up tossing out the first 3 chapters and taking the word count down from 130,000 to 98,000! Much more palatable to agents and it made my story a lot stronger.

What came first for you when writing Blue Shadows Fall - the plot or the characters?

The characters 100%. As I walked the trails of the blue Ridge Mountains in that mind-blowing week of creativity–Blue, my main character, just came alive little by little. The world slowly wrapped around Blue like a scary, yet comforting blanket. 

What is your favorite under-appreciated novel?

I love the novel “I Am Legend” I don’t know how “under-appreciated” it is, but it was one of the first of its kind. It was a book/idea game-changer and is a very immersive, quick read. The movie is fun–hello Will Smith–but there are a lot of differences that are very well done in the O.G. book.

What other authors are you friends with, and how did they help you become a better writer?

I have several writing groups of friends and I LOVE them!  My llamasqaud group was formed on twitter years ago–now has so many fantastic successful authors. Catherine Bakewell, We Are The Song, Lyndal Clipstone, Lakesedge, Cyla Panin, Stalking Shadows, Lillie Vale, Beauty and the Besharam. We are there for eachother through the intense and stressful querying process, agent drama, and being out on sub. My critique group, the Ravenquills are also amazing friends and authors. Amy Michelle Carpenter, Becoming Human, C. F. Kreitzer, Blood Numbers–but I will say they are all just getting started!!! Some of the best authors in the group aren’t published yet, but will be. These friends taught me to believe in myself and how to be a better writer!

If readers love your book, what other books do you recommend they check out? 

“I Am Legend” :) Red Queen, Realmbreaker, The Grivaverse by Leigh Bardugo (Shadow and Bone)

Aside from writing, what is one thing you do for fun?

I’m an artist, so I love to take some gouache paints out back and dabble in painting some flowers or landscapes. I love Star Wars and the MCU, so I mess around with making art for those and sell them on my etsy shop.  I love going out back to my little fruit orchard, check on the fruit and feed my backyard chickens with my pug, Bosco, sleeping in the grass.

Can you tell readers something about your next project?

I am working on the second book in the series! I’m halfway through and am really excited about the direction it’s going!!!  I also have another completely different book idea percolating!

About the Author:

Lenore grew up running barefoot in the woods of Mechanicsville, Virginia with a dog at her side, five crazy siblings, and creative parents. She learned from a young age to hone her talents in art, trust in her voice, and compete for the most marshmallows in “Lucky Charms”. She graduated from Brigham Young University in Fine Art, married the love of her life, and lived in North Carolina for many years. She considers the South to be her happy place. She now resides in Northern California with her handyman husband, four spirited children, a pug, two cats, and backyard chickens in a new kind of crazy paradise. Lenore loves all things fantastical--from Marvel, Star Wars, and Harry Potter to shark and alien movies. Supernatural and humor play equal parts in everything she writes.

Blue Shadows Fall, YA Dark Fantasy, is her debut novel.

Note: Photography credit for author photo goes to Aria Bethards

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