Today’s interview is with the author of the newly published Bloodlaced, Courtney Maguire!
Ahhh, I am so excited about today’s post! I am bringing you an interview with one of my new favourite authors. I got the chance to read Courtney’s book, and I did not expect to adore Bloodlaced so much! The author was kind enough to agree on doing a little interview with me, and in this post, you can learn more about Courtney Maguire’s process of writing, more insight about her latest novel and future projects!
Hope you enjoy it!
Without further ado, here are the questions I asked Courtney:
Can you give a brief summary of what Bloodlaced is about for those who haven’t come across it yet?
Courtney: Bloodlaced is the story of Asagi, a servant in a noble house in feudal Japan, who finds themselves the target of abuse due to their gender expression. Asagi meets Tsukito, a bright, joyful young boy who they grow to love as a son. Asagi is determined to protect Tsukito’s fragile innocence but they are ultimately separated when their cruel master decides to send Asagi away. Now Asagi is in a new home with a new master, one that couldn’t be more different. Mahiro is kind and generous, his house welcoming in a way Asagi has never experienced. Asagi quickly comes to trust, even love Mahiro until his strange behavior hints at something hidden. Mahiro reveals himself to be youkai, a monster who feeds on blood. When Asagi is poisoned out of jealousy, Mahiro must turn Asagi to save their life. Asagi is now a monster, eternally youthful with a deadly appetite, and has made an unsteady peace with this new reality when Tsukito, now a man, reappears in his life. Determined to save him the way they failed to before, Asagi must face their own monster and decide what it means to be human.
Honestly, I had no idea this book would slap me so hard. My question is; what made you write Bloodlaced?
Coutney: Bloodlaced is the product of so many things. In the beginning, I really just wanted to write about vampires. I also have a deep love for Japanese history and culture and was studying it pretty extensively at the time and decided to build my vampire world there. Asagi actually started as a secondary character in one of the early experimentations, but the more I fell in love with them, the more their role in the story grew. Bloodlaced started as an exploration of backstory which turned into the foundation of the whole series.
Before being a writer, you were a reader. What are your top three books? Did they inspire you to write Bloodlaced?
Courtney: I can’t underestimate the influence of Anne Rice and the Vampire Chronicles. They have the duel distinction of being both the first real vampire fiction and the first explicitly queer fiction I read as a young person. Whenever I think of vampires, I think of the Coven of the Articulate and how they are both monstrous and keenly human. I’m also a big fan of Chuck Palahniuk. His style is simple but fearless. Invisible Monsters blew my mind. On the lighter side, I absolutely swooned over both Red White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston and Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall. Top tier romantic banter and MCs you love even when you want to ring their necks.
A bit of a basic question, but have you always wanted to be a writer?
Courtney: I’ve always enjoyed stories and writing but I only started pursuing it as a business relatively recently. It was always something I did for fun to share with friends or a way to express my love of fandom. I wrote my share of fanfiction back in the Livejournal days and also wrote for an online music magazine. In that sense, I always was a writer, I guess.
A writer is somebody who writes, but I know it can be hard to label yourself. When did you feel comfortable calling yourself as such?
Courtney: Probably when I started pursuing it as a business. I used to always just say, “I write,” never, “I am a writer.”
As an aspiring writer myself, I usually struggle with the writer’s block. How do you deal with it?
Courtney: I consume story from as many places as I can. I read, watch movies, listen to music, play video games, all of it. I also find other creative outlets to focus on that keep the juices flowing. Recently, I’ve started painting board game miniatures. It gives me something to hyperfocus on while leaving just enough of my brain free to wander.
Let’s get to know you a bit more; who is your favourite character from Bloodlaced?
Courtney: Asagi has such a big piece of my heart, I have to say them. There is a Japanese practice called ‘kintsugi’ which is mending broken ceramics with gold. That’s always how I think of Asagi. They’ve been broken over and over but always manage to pull themselves back together, more beautiful for the cracks.
Now, who was the most challenging character to write?
Courtney: The most challenging is probably Mahiro. He is the most morally gray of the characters introduced so far. His intentions with Asagi, as with the others in his house, are good at their heart, but his actions are far from selfless. His love for Asagi is genuine, but his position of privilege makes him blind to a lot of the pain and trauma Asagi suffers with. He may treat them kindly, but he still keeps people as property and that power imbalance is evident in his relationship with Asagi. It’s a delicate line to walk. I want him to be likeable to the reader of course, but also want them to understand that he’s not necessarily the romantic ideal that even Asagi thinks he is at first.
The book started as heartbreaking, but towards the end, there were times when I laughed out loud. What part of the book did you have the hardest time writing? What was the funniest?
Courtney: There are a lot of difficult scenes in this book. Probably one that stands out the most for me is the one where Yutaka really sees what their master is doing to Asagi and knows there’s nothing he can do about it. There’s something really tragic about Yutaka as a character and being in a position where he is forced to watch, and sometimes participate in, the abuse of someone he cares about.
Courtney: As for the funniest, Tsukito is always a good source of laughs. His unbreakable optimism brings joy to every scene he’s in and I will never get tired of him startling Asagi.
Are there any future projects we should look forward to seeing (especially the second book)?
Courtney: I wish I could give you something more concrete here, but I can tell you the second book is written and I am hammering away at a third. In the meantime, keep an eye on my social media accounts (I’m most active on Twitter) for announcements, scheduled promotions, etc. I hope to have news for you soon!
Special thanks to the author for agreeing to do this interview with me!