Today I am honoured to welcome Allison Saft over on Misty Realms!
Allison is the incredible author of Down Comes the Night and A Far Wilder Magic (out March 2022!) which are my favourite books <33
So I invited Allison over on my blog to chat and answer some questions I had in mind. Let’s begin!!
About the Books
Title: Down Comes the Night
Author: Allison Saft
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Publication Date: March 2, 2021
Publisher: Wednesday Books
He saw the darkness in her magic. She saw the magic in his darkness.
Wren Southerland’s reckless use of magic has cost her everything: she’s been dismissed from the Queen’s Guard and separated from her best friend—the girl she loves. So when a letter arrives from a reclusive lord, asking Wren to come to his estate, Colwick Hall, to cure his servant from a mysterious illness, she seizes her chance to redeem herself.
The mansion is crumbling, icy winds haunt the caved-in halls, and her eccentric host forbids her from leaving her room after dark. Worse, Wren’s patient isn’t a servant at all but Hal Cavendish, the infamous Reaper of Vesria and her kingdom’s sworn enemy. Hal also came to Colwick Hall for redemption, but the secrets in the estate may lead to both of their deaths.
With sinister forces at work, Wren and Hal realize they’ll have to join together if they have any hope of saving their kingdoms. But as Wren circles closer to the nefarious truth behind Hal’s illness, they realize they have no escape from the monsters within the mansion. All they have is each other, and a startling desire that could be their downfall.
Allison Saft’s Down Comes the Night is a snow-drenched romantic fantasy that keeps you racing through the pages long into the night.
Love makes monsters of us all.
Title: A Far Wilder Magic
Author: Allison Saft
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Publication Date: March 8, 2022
Publisher: Wednesday Books
A magical secret. A mythical hunt. And a love that could risk everything.
When Margaret Welty spots the legendary hala, the last living mythical creature, she knows the Halfmoon Hunt will soon follow. Whoever is able to kill the hala will earn fame and riches, and unlock an ancient magical secret. While Margaret is the best sharpshooter in town, only teams of two can register, and she needs an alchemist.
Weston Winters isn’t an alchemist—yet. He’s been fired from every apprenticeship he’s landed, and his last chance hinges on Master Welty taking him in. But when Wes arrives at Welty Manor, he finds only Margaret. She begrudgingly allows him to stay, but on one condition: he must join the hunt with her.
Although they make an unlikely team, they soon find themselves drawn to each other. As the hunt looms closer and tensions rise, Margaret and Wes uncover dark magic that could be the key to winning the hunt – if they survive that long.
In A Far Wilder Magic, Allison Saft has written an achingly tender love story set against a deadly hunt in an atmospheric, rich fantasy world that will sweep you away.
Interview with Allison Saft
Hi Allison! Thank you so much for joining me over here on Misty Realms. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your writing journey till now?
Hi, Kashvi – thank you so much for having me! I write eerie fantasy romances and live in the California Bay Area. When I’m not writing, I spend my free time training to join the circus. I do aerial silks and, more recently, pole! I’m also on a quest for the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe.
As for my writing journey, I wrote Down Comes the Night in late 2017 after trunking a few manuscripts that I didn’t fall in love with enough to revise. Down Comes the Night was a story I’d carried with me in some form for the better part of ten years, and the first draft poured out in about six weeks. After polishing it on my own, I happened upon a program called Author Mentor Match, which matches un-agented writers hoping to break into traditional publishing with agented/published mentors. I was absolutely ecstatic when I got in, and I can say with certainty that it changed my life for the better. My mentor and I revised Down Comes the Night together for about eight months. I started querying with DVPit in October 2018, signed with my agents in January 2019 from a cold query, and sold Down Comes the Night (and A Far Wilder Magic) later that year. Since then, it’s been a wild ride : ) I’m immensely grateful to my friends and my readers for weathering this deeply weird debut year with me. I can’t wait to see what 2022 brings!
Pitch your debut novel, Down Comes the Night and your upcoming novel, A Far Wilder Magic in a short sentence!
Down Comes the Night: A magic doctor accepts a job at a crumbling Gothic manor–only to discover her new patient is the sworn enemy of her nation.
A Far Wilder Magic: Two outcasts fight nationalism and their feelings for one another in the lead-up to a magical fox-hunt.
Do any of the characters or themes present in A Far Wilder Magic resonate with some of your own? If so, how was that writing experience for you?
One of the biggest challenges of writing A Far Wilder Magic was allowing myself to be vulnerable in a way I hadn’t been before. When I first came up with the premise, I knew Margaret was an outcast in her community, but for almost the entire first draft, I couldn’t figure out why. I’d chosen to set the story in a fantasy version of 1920s America. I needed the other competitors to want Margaret and Wes to lose desperately. Finally, the answer came to me. Why not make Margaret Jewish, like me?
Margaret grew up in an interfaith household. Although she experiences antisemitism and rejection, she has lost touch with the side of her family who connected her to a community, its faith, and its traditions. As I continued to revise the book, I leaned into her feelings of dislocation and isolation, her deep yearning to belong somewhere. I wrote Wes as Irish-Catholic and grounded their romantic arc in finding belonging in their shared not-belonging. It was both painful and healing to write. I really hope readers, whether they’re Jewish or not, find some comfort in the book.
A Far Wilder Magic is one of my most anticipated releases of 2022! What was your inspiration behind writing this whimsical, cozy, and incredibly enjoyable novel?
When I sat down to write A Far Wilder Magic, I had two things in mind: a romance dynamic and a mood. I had a very clear sense of who Margaret and Wes were, as well as how they would play off each other. I also knew I wanted to write something “quiet,” something where I could give myself the space to really delve into these characters and what made them tick.
The fox hunt was originally something I came up with to give Margaret and Wes a reason to spend time together. But the longer I spent thinking about the characters’ shared wounds and how to connect the magic system to the themes I was interested in exploring–like the dangers of ethnonationalism–the more meaning it accrued.
I was also very inspired by my surroundings! I currently live in the California Bay Area and spend a good amount of time walking through redwood forests and beside the ocean. I feel peace and wonder in the nature around here; it’s wild and ancient in a way I hadn’t experienced before moving here. I very much wanted to capture that vibe in the book, so I often imagined Margaret and Wes walking along the same hiking trails I did.
Introduce your main characters from Down Comes the Night and A Far Wilder Magic using 4 words each.
Ooo, I love this!
Down Comes the Night:
- Wren: compassionate, impulsive, wry, curious
- Hal: remorseful, brooding, gentle, tired
A Far Wilder Magic:
- Margaret: no-nonsense, reserved, tenacious, independent
- Wes: idealistic, hot-headed, gregarious, stubborn
Wren from Down Comes the Night feels a lot, and some people throughout her life told her that it was bad— and a weakness. Do you have any book recommendations with protagonists like Wren who feel a lot? (P.S: Wren was such an amazing character I love her so much!)
If you’re looking for the specific vibe of protagonists who are determined to be kind and gentle in a harsh world, I’d highly recommend Audrey Coulthurst’s second book, Inkmistress! Asra, the protagonist, is a demigod who can change the future by writing with her blood. To keep her power secret, she makes a quiet life for herself on a remote mountain with the mortal girl she loves. Things go horribly wrong from there!
It’s a beautiful book–and an underrated one. I would love to see more people fall in love with it as I have. Audrey is a dear friend of mine, and hilariously, after she had read Down Comes the Night and I had read Inkmistress, we realised our books had some similarities. Both of them feature bi protagonists who fall in love with a guy named Hal. Her Hal is much sunnier than mine, though!
Do you make playlists for your books while drafting? If so, do you have any songs or playlists you would like to share with us!?
I’m mostly incapable of making a good book playlist because all I listen to is classic rock and The 1975… Thankfully, I do have loved ones who are excellent playlist curators, though! Ava Reid, one of my critique partners, made this one for A Far Wilder Magic: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/48yemVGEZor7hYtn6EMU8I
The whole playlist is impeccable, but my favourite tracks are Shooting the Moon (a Wes song), Shoot and Run (a Margaret song, of course), and Like Real People Do (their song). I may have cried once or twice listening to this through…
Can you share with us how you would describe both your books’ aesthetic or plot line in emojis! (hehe taking inspiration for this question from many bloggers who have asked this in interviews <3)
Down Comes the Night
🖤 ❄️ 🕯️ 💉 💀🗻 🥀
A Far Wilder Magic
🌿 🌊 🦊 ⚗️ 🔑 🌲 ✨
What do you hope readers take away from your upcoming novel, A Far Wilder Magic?
I dedicated this book to those whose dreams feel impossible and to those who feel dreaming is impossible. So I hope to leave readers with, well… hope. No matter what you’re struggling with, happiness is possible for you. I promise you that.
Can you tell us more about your upcoming projects? I’m literally dying to know 😭
I have a short story coming out in The Gathering Dark: An Anthology of Folk Horror in fall 2022! It’s a reimagining of Dallas, Texas’s Lady of the Lake legend by way of Stephen King’s Pet Sematary. I’m also hard at work on an adult fantasy right now. I don’t want to jinx it by sharing too many details, but I can say that it has an f/f academic rivals-to-lovers romance–and another sunshine/grump dynamic!
That was it! Thank you so much for your time, Allison. Is there anything you would like to add?
Thank you so much again for having me!!
Allison Saft is the author of eerie and critically acclaimed romantic fantasies, Down Comes the Night and A Far Wilder Magic. After receiving her MA in English Literature from Tulane University, she moved from the Gulf Coast to the West Coast, where she spends her time hiking the redwoods and practicing aerial silks. Allison is represented by Claire Friedman and Jessica Mileo at InkWell Management.
Are you excited for A Far Wilder Magic? What are you excited for in AFWM? Drop them in the comments below!
Thank you so much Allison for taking your time to do this interview for Misty Realms, I had a wonderful time chatting about AFWM and DCTN!!