Some Thoughts with ... H.C. Newell

16 Feb 2023

The Author/s

H.C. Newell

H.C. Newell

H.C. Newell is an American best-selling author of epic fantasy. She is best known for the Fallen Light fictional universe, in which her fantasy novel Curse of the Fallen, is set. Newell's works have been compared by readers to authors such as J. R. R. Tolkien, Brandon Sanderson, Andrejz Sapkowski, and Robert Jordan among others. Newell lives in Nashville, TN with her husband.

The Interview

Welcome to a new post on my favourite section of the web. Today we are accompanied by H.C. Newell, author of the Fallen Light series.

Let's dive in!

1.- What made you choose self-publishing?
I am very particular about my work, as I’m sure most creatives are. I didn’t want anyone changing anything, so the creative freedom was a huge factor. That, along with having the ability to interact personally with my readers and also not having to send query letters (This was the biggest reason I decided against trad publishing LOL!) made me choose to self-publish.

2.- How did the idea of the Fallen Light series appear?
It actually started out as a young adult trilogy about 11 years ago. Overtime I started to find my ‘voice’ and wanted much more depth to my world. Video games helped a lot with my inspiration. Witcher 3, Skyrim, and FFX are the biggest among them.

3.- Neer is a protagonist different from the classical heroes in fantasy. Why did you decide to take this approach?
I honestly haven’t read much of anything, including fantasy, so the fact that she’s different is a little surprising to me lol! I wanted a female character because we don’t often see that in high/dark fantasy, and above all I wanted her to be realistically strong, brave, and kind. She doesn’t know everything, she has flaws, her actions have serious consequences, and she can very easily die (which she comes close to a few times during the series), realism is very important to me because it makes the world feel very grounded and three-dimensional.

4.- Your elves are also kind of particular. Why did you decide to take a different approach to this race?
This one was intentional. We always see elves as very otherworldly, peaceful, calm, and magical. I wanted the opposite of that. I just thought it could bring something new and add another dimension to a very overused trope. There are 5 different races of elves in my series, each with their own beliefs, morals, culture, and language. Just like humans, they all have their strengths and weaknesses and I wanted to explore a grittier side to an otherwise pleasant race.

5.- What would you say inspired you to create the world of Fallen Light?
Witcher 3, Skyrim, Game of Thrones, and Final Fantasy X are huge inspirations. That doesn’t mean my book is like these stories, it just means I took inspiration from different aspects of each. A lot of people say my books remind them of the Witcher, though, which is pretty cool. I think it’s just the funny, handsome bard, though.

6.- How did you start writing? After publishing 3 books (2 novels and 1 novella), how has the process changed?
I’ve always been a writer. Started with screenplays in first grade and evolved into novels by high school. I’m just a storyteller at heart (luckily I love to talk, so it just comes naturally) As far as my process, it’s a lot easier now that I’ve more or less found my author ‘voice’ and have a better grasp of how to write correctly. Instead of having 10 first drafts, I only need one now, which is phenomenal. I’ve learned what works for me in terms of note-taking/brainstorming so it’s become a much easier, fun process than it was ten years ago when I started this series.

7.- I want to take a moment to talk about special editions. How did the idea of selling by yourself the special editions appear? One of the details I love is the Vellum inserts, could you talk about it?
I honestly didn’t consider special editions until book two when readers began asking about hardbacks. This just formulated the idea of having specialized hardbacks with custom art pages and all kinds of extras inside. I always like to give my appreciation to those who support me, because without you guys none of this would be possible. It’s a lot of work because I’m a perfectionist and always try to outdo myself, but it’s worth it to give back a bit of the love you’ve all given me.
As for the vellum inserts, I can’t take full credit for that idea. Someone in a book group made them and I loved the idea. I’m honestly surprised more people aren’t doing it… even though it’s a headache and very very time-consuming, I think it’s worth it. It just brings something unique and gives the reader a taste of the world they can’t otherwise get. I keep them fairly private so that those who purchase them can have something extra special that no one else gets.

8.- For a writer, you’ve said you don’t read a lot. Could you recommend a book for people that enjoy your books?
Since I don’t read much it’s hard for me to really say lol! A lot of people compare my books to The Witcher (unsure if it’s game or book, but the game was my inspiration) Tolkien (uh, hell yeah?!), and Game of Thrones. So maybe those 😅  

9.- What can we expect from H.C. Newell in the future?
Well, aside from pitching my idea to HBO 😏I have a lot of book tours lined up, have entered a few novel contests, and will have book 3 out later this year!