Interview with Laura R. Hepworth, Author of From the Ashes

06 Dec 2023

What’s the story behind the story? What inspired you to write From the Ashes?

A few things honestly, I love fairy tales and retellings in general along with art which is a major theme for this book and the whole of the Guilded Kingdoms series, but the primary inspiration actually came from majorly misreading someone’s question on a Facebook group I’m in. Someone had asked in an artist group whether everyone thought it would be cheating for them to hire an artist assistant, but I instead of ‘assistant’ I read ‘assassin’ which sparked all kinds of ideas in my head.

A little while later, I decided to try an experiment with serializing my chapter drafts while I wrote, but wanted to do it with a new project rather than use one of my other work-in-progress stories. As an avid reader of fairy tale retellings, I thought this would be a perfect time to try my hand at writing one and the idea of combining art and magic in a fairy tale setting based on my misreading of that question sounded like a really fun and unique idea. And, as it turns out, I was right! It’s been so much fun writing this story and my mind is already running away with me for the rest of the series.

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

Oh, that’s hard! I love so many, all of which are some form of sci-fi or fantasy. My top favorites though would have to be fairy tale or classics retellings (bonus points if it’s both!) and steampunk. Oh, and library/book-themed fantasy! My background is in art, jewelry, and library so I always love reading a fantasy book with any of these as a major aspect of the story. And, yes, my favorite genres to read are the same ones that I love to write.

What books are on your TBR pile right now?

More than I will ever be able to finish! Right now though, I’m working through A.G. Marshall’s Fairy Tale Adventures series, but I also need to catch up on the rest of K.M. Shea’s Timeless Fairy Tales and Fairy Tale Enchantress series. Plus I’ve missed a few books by Brittany Fichter that I really want to read. Honestly though, pretty much every clean, indie author fairy tale retelling is on my TBR pile right now!

What scene in your book was your favorite to write?

Just about any scene with Lady Halishym or Ilysa. Both characters were so much fun to write! Also, scenes where I got to really let loose with the villains.

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

Fuzzy blankets and chai tea! I always have a blanket on me while I’m on the computer and, as often as possible, a mug of chai or cocoa (or combination of chai and cocoa).

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

Colossians 3:23 – “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;”

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

A very good and very hard question to answer as I didn’t have any specific thing in mind while writing this story. However, through the course of the book you see the importance of family to both Lael and Nathyn and of doing the right thing even in difficult circumstances. Lessons are also learned about being careful of who we give our trust to and of forgiveness.


Laura R. Hepworth is the author of the new book From the Ashes (Guilded Kingdoms Book 1)

Connect with Laura R. Hepworth

Author Site


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