Kelly S. Marsden grew up in Yorkshire, and there were two constants in her life – books and horses.
Graduating with an equine degree from Aberystwyth University, she has spent most of her life since trying to experience everything the horse world has to offer. She is currently settled into a Nutritionist role for a horse feed company in Doncaster, South Yorkshire.
Her first book, The Shadow Rises, was published in January 2013. The entire Witch-Hunter trilogy is now available as paperback and download.
TDBW: When did you start writing?
Kelly: I have always been creating stories and writing them down; but I was eighteen when I decided that I would aim to write a book.
I had been in a bit of a reading funk – all the books available in my local bookshop all seemed so generic and uninteresting. I decided that, if I wanted to read a book that I truly enjoyed, I would have to write it first.
TDBW: What was the first story you remember writing?
Kelly: The first story I wrote, was an early draft for The Lost Soul (Enchena #1).
It was my take on the whole Narnian, other-world adventure. Except with good monsters and evil unicorns.
When I came to rewrite it for publishing, ten years later it got a bit of an overhaul. The biggest question was whether or not to keep the unicorns in, as they do have a bit of a cheesy reputation. In the end I thought, screw it (or, insert stronger adjective here), this is my world, there are going to be unicorns in it.
TDBW: What genre is your most preferred?
Kelly: Although I like most genres, Fantasy is my go-to genre, whether I’m reading or writing. I like the element of escapism, and how your only limit is your imagination.
TDBW: What challenges you the most in your writing?
Kelly: As a writer, I really struggle finding time to write.
I have a full-time job, as an equine nutritionist; and a horse to train; and a hundred little, boring, grown-up things to do.
I always try to write during my dinner break, or when I get up at 6am; but there’s always the risk that I won’t feel particularly inspired to write.
TDBW: What is your favorite thing about being an author?
Kelly: Oh wow, everything. Even the horrible bits.
I like to be on my own, writing about some fantastical place, completely lost in my own world. I love the twists and turns that arise – the best ones are always the ones you don’t plan.
Equally, I like spending time with the wider community of writers, readers, editors, cover designers, etc.
It’s great to chat with people that are in the same place as you, and able to give advice.
Or talk with readers who enjoyed your book, and suddenly these fictional characters that existed solely in my head, become a little more real.
TDBW: What do you like least about being an author?
Kelly: I don’t think there is anything I don’t like. Even when you’re feeling scared or apprehensive, because you have a new release, and you don’t know if anyone will like it – I’m nervoulsy excited.
I guess the thing I wish I didn’t have to spend as much time on, would be marketing. When I fantasised about being a published author, I never imagined that I would have to market the books.
TDBW: How many books do you currently have available?
Kelly: I currently have 7 books available:
The Witch-Hunter Trilogy;
James (a prequel to the Witch-Hunter trilogy);
The Enchena Duology;
Winter Trials (Northern Witch #1).
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Visit Kelly S. Marsden’s Amazon author page for more exciting books!
TDBW: What projects are you currently working on?
Kelly: I’m currently focusing on 3 projects.
The first is an unnamed sequel (Northern Witch #2).
This is following up on the unexpected success of Winter Trials – this was written for an anthology with some other YA writers. It follows a Yorkshire-based witch-in-training, Mark, and his new boyfriend Damian. I’ve got the first draft almost finished, I just need to work out a few kinks.
The other two projects are both Witch-Hunter prequels.
Kristen was previously released as a novella, but will be getting re-released as a full novel.
Sophie will be getting a shiny new story of her own (which I have been promising for about 5 years).
TDBW: Do you have any books coming out soon?
Kelly: I’ve recently released James: Witch-Hunter, which has been well-received.
The Northern Witch book will be the first for release, later this year.
TDBW: Which book, or series, is your favorite?
Kelly: I can’t pick favorites! They all have their special scenes or characters that I’m fond of.
My most recent book, James: Witch-Hunter was an awful lot of fun to write.
It’s a prequel to the main Witch-Hunter trilogy (but can be read as a stand-alone) and it was great to revisit the characters from that series. James was the best friend/sidekick/comedic element in the main series, writing his story was very entertaining. Whenever I wondered if something was far-fetched, I realised that this is James’ story, there’s no such thing!
TDBW: Who are some of your favorite authors?
Kelly: I’m trying to read as many indie authors as I can at the moment, so my favourite keeps changing.
I’ve enjoyed catching up with Sharon Lipman’s House Blackwood vampire books; and CL Schneider’s new urban fantasy, Nite Fire: Flash Point.
One of my go-to authors that I can always pick up and read, or re-read, is Lindsay Buroker. I especially love her Emperor’s Edge series.
TDBW: Which book(s) inspire you the most?
Kelly: I recently did a post on my Northern Witch’s Book Blog, looking back at a few books that made me the fantasy reader/writer I am today.
To put it briefly, The Chronicles of Narnia (C.S. Lewis) is set in a wonderful, fantasy world, that completely swept me away.
The Silver Brumby (Elyne Mitchell) had fantastic characters that weren’t human, but still caught you and pulled you along in the making of a legend.
Fire Bringer (David Clement-Davies) created a prophecy, and threads a strong sense of fate throughout the book.
Moon Riders (Theresa Tomlinson) used an established history, and twisted it into something new.
TDBW: Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what band(s) do you play?
Kelly: I love having music on in the background. I prefer rock and indie.
Some of my favourite bands include Foo Fighters, Stereophonics, Muse and Royal Blood.
TDBW: Any hobbies?
Kelly: I’ve been horse-riding most my life, and have worked professionally with horses for over ten years.
Now, I’ve got one of my own. I’d like to say it’s a hobby – it is enjoyable – but it’s still a lot of work.
TDBW: Tell us some more about yourself including your website and where we can find you on social media sites:
My website: www.ksmarsden.com
TDBW: Care to share a bit of one of your books with us?
James went outside; the cool air a refreshing experience beneath his skirt. Ignoring the wolf whistles of some guys dressed as zombies, he headed over to Hunter, who stood, scrolling through his phone.
“Y’know, when you moved in, I thought you were being an arse to me ‘cos you were some sort of snob, an’ I wasn’t good enough to share the same air as you.” James called out, “Now I realise you’re just a dick to everyone, it’s a miracle you’ve got any friends.”
Hunter’s head shot up from his phone screen, and he glared at James. “I don’t remember asking your opinion. And I’m not going to take the advice of a guy in a sunflower dress.”
“Oh, sunflowers… I was tryin’ to work out what-” James broke off, looking back at Hunter. “Never mind that, are you gonna come in and make an effort to be human?”
Hunter snorted at his question, and glanced at his phone again. “It’s nearly midnight, I’ve got somewhere to go. And James, if you value your sanity, you’ll mind your own bloody business.”
Hunter tucked his phone into his pocket and glanced away down the dimly-lit city street. “Can you tell Johnny that… ah, just tell him I went home. Not that he’ll ask.”
“Sure.” James said, as Hunter disappeared in the opposite direction of their dorms.
James stood, not sure what to do. Loud music and student voices were coming out of the pub, as everyone continued to enjoy the Hallowe’en party; but outside, the cool air was quickly sobering him up.
Party with all the relatively-normal students; or find out what Hunter was hiding? In the end, it was an easy choice.
James pulled his phone out of the surprisingly handy little floral handbag. With a few taps, he logged into his tracking app, quickly bringing up Hunter’s location.
With a final glance back towards normality, James jogged down the dark street, his yellow dress billowing behind him.
James kept jogging, away from the busy hub of the city, and away from the streets of architectural beauty. He found himself in a small bundle of warehouses, all dark and silent, apart from one. James tucked his phone back in the girly handbag, and moved towards the source of light.
The main door was ajar and, checking there was no one nearby, James slipped inside.
The warehouse was a neatly-ordered affair, with pallets and boxes stacked high in straight rows. James could hear voices ahead, he kicked off his noisy flip-flops and padded barefoot towards them. What he saw didn’t make sense. Someone wearing a cloak and hood stood at the head of a makeshift table, and numerous candles highlighted a young woman lying on the table. Another cloaked figure moved in front of James, blocking his view.
Somewhere, the distant church bells chimed midnight, and the two cloaked figures started to chant.