Interview with Coreene Callahan, Author of The House of Starlight and Shadow

01 Nov 2023

What’s the story behind the story? What inspired you to write The House of Starlight and Shadow?

Actually, I never intended to write The House of Starlight and Shadow. I was trying to write a different book at the time, but I couldn’t get started. I felt blocked in a way I never had before, so I decided to try something new. Instead of sitting down in front of my computer, I bought an old typewriter – a beautifully restored 1959 Smith Corona Super Silent. Thus began my obsession with typewriters (I now own six and am always on the lookout for more), and from the clanking green keys of my Smith Corona came The House of Starlight and Shadow.

If you had to pick theme songs for the main characters of The House of Starlight and Shadow, what would they be?

I often listen to music while writing. My noise cancelling headphones where a godsend during the pandemic when I had a house full of teenage girls. Sometimes, I make a playlist for a book while I’m writing it, sometimes, I don’t. But with the House of Starlight and Shadow, I listened to a lot of vintage rock. Think Lou Gramm, The Rolling Stones and The Cult. Here are a few off the top of my head:

Rain – The Cult • Sympathy For The Devil – The Rolling Stones • Midnight Blue – Lou Gramm • Under Pressure – Queen • Redemption – Skrizzly Adams.

What’s your favorite genre to read? Is it the same as your favorite genre to write?

I read widely. I read everything. I love stories of all kinds, including non-fiction. Though, I will say I tend to listen to non-fiction on audiobook. In terms of fiction, though, I read books that have thriller-esque vibes, no matter the genre.

What books are on your TBR pile right now?

So many! Far too many! Fairytale by Stephen King; Girl, Forgotten by Karin Slaughter; Daring Greatly by Brené Brown are just a few. I’m currently reading a book that’s been sitting on my shelf for a while – The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang.

What scene in your book was your favorite to write?

Hmm…picking a favorite is difficult for me. I love every part of writing, but in The House of Starlight and Shadow I loved all the magical creatures that showed up. The complexity of the landscape and world was really fun to write. I also became really intrigued by the villain in the book. Sad to say, but I tend to fall in love with the villains in my books. They are never cut and dry and end up being just as complex as the main characters. Which, of course, makes me want to figure them out all the more!

Do you have any quirky writing habits? (lucky mugs, cats on laps, etc.)

I’m an early morning riser, so at 5AM, coffee is all important. Every morning I sit down in my writing lair with my favorite mug full of good coffee.

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

The one thing I’ve always said when talking about storytelling is: Story is KING, and I, as the writer, serve the story. No matter how much I prep and plan for a book, the characters lead me where the story wants to go without fail. My job is to listen and write it all down.

If you could choose one thing for readers to remember after reading your book, what would it be?

I would love if every person who reads my books has a fantastic time.

Giving a reader an excellent experience, a place to escape into with every book I write, is extremely important to me.


Coreene Callahan is the author of the new book The House of Starlight and Shadow (The Mirror Kingdom Chronicles #1)

Connect with Coreene Callahan

Author Site



Buy The Book

B0CBQXMJ3V cover image

Buy The Book

Sign up for our email and we’ll send you the best new books in your favorite genres weekly.