Interview with Byrd Nash, Author of A Study in Spirits

05 May 2020

What can you tell us about your new release, A Study in Spirits?

Accused of cheating and vandalizing the library, Brigit must clear her name. The only problem is what prowls the stacks doesn’t play nicely with others.

Brigit, a dryad, and Logan, a human bard, return in this second book in the College Fae series. With them is a computer hacker-gamer and a flying squirrel that can transform into a key. It’s a story of ghosts, friendships, and a battle over the truth.

This is a contemporary YA fantasy taking place at a European university where the fae and humans attend classes together. It is suitable for 14+ readers.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

Once I started reading (which I distinctly remember making the connection that lines made words), I wanted to duplicate that magic. Even when I played make-believe it was all couched into stories – who did what and why.

What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?

These are some of my favorites that I return to often for a re-read, probably because they trigger a deep emotional reaction when I read them:

Paladin of Souls by Lois Bujold
Song of the Beast by Carol Berg
The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia A. McKillip
The Serpent Garden by Judith M. Riley
The Far Pavilions by M.M. Kaye

Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?

I actually would prefer to be the host of a history talk show. If you would allow me that change, I would be interviewing Queen Elizabeth I (because I want her secrets on how she maintained power), Jane Austen (as I want to know what was in the letters her sister destroyed), and Nathaniel Hawthorne (to reassure him that no one blames him for his relative burning witches).

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

Laughing about some embarrassing and ridiculous situation that I’ve written that my characters have to survive.

What is a typical day like for you?

Up by 7 a.m. to take care of my pets (foster puppy, cats, and horses), and immediately to writing or researching. I try to write/research a bit every day.

Each day I do try to get a nature walk in or get outside to just absorb the energy from trees and animals.

What scene in A Study in Spirits was your favorite to write?

There are 2 scenes I especially like:

Early on there is a confrontation between the main character, Logan, who is a human bard and the father of his roommate. It shows very clearly not only the dangerous interrelationships between human and the fae, but also the dynamics of a father who doesn’t like his daughter’s suitor.

Another scene I enjoyed writing deals with a powerful character, Paul, who is a Doppelganger. Through a series of events he ends up hiding in a trash dumpster. That is one of those embarrassing scenes I mentioned earlier that I like to write about because it lends itself to comedy.

I really like to see what my characters do/react when faced with the unpredictable.

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

Be true to yourself first.

It’s probably why I identify so much with my main character, Brigit, as she is also rather stubborn about holding to her principles.

Byrd Nash is the author of the new book A Study in Spirits.

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