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Interview with Denica McCall: Twenty Hills Anthologies

Updated: Apr 30, 2023

Denica McCall is a young adult fantasy writer, poet, dreamer, and deep thinker who grew up in the Pacific Northwest and now resides in Kansas City where she enjoys working as a nanny, attending dance classes, drinking coffee, and planning her next travel adventure. She is currently working on her third YA novel which features fairies, a pegasus, and cave-stars.

Do you have anything published?

Yes. Currently, I have pieces published in three Twenty Hills anthologies, and I will also have poetry in an upcoming anthology organized by Alex Silvius.

Can you briefly summarize what you have published?

I have three poems in What Darkness Fears, six in Wither and Bloom, and a short children’s story in Tales of Many Volume 1. My poetry explores the conflicting emotions of my inner world and my relationship with Jesus. My children’s story, Sandcastle Summer, is about how prioritizing relationships is more important than the things we seek to accomplish in life.

Is there any personal backstory to your publication(s) that you want to share about?

Sandcastle Summer was actually sparked by author Ted Dekker. Several years back, I had the opportunity to hear him speak at a writers’ conference. He brought up this analogy of how we are like children building sandcastles with God. Sandcastles aren’t necessarily built to last, but they can be darn fun to make. The analogy illustrated the point that even when it seems like our efforts and hard work are getting us nowhere, we are building something with ultimate meaning—a strong, loving relationship with our Heavenly Father. It’s about spending time with Him, creating with Him, and enjoying Him. If what we make inspires one person and then gets “washed away,” it’s still worth it. If no one ever sees what we create, it’s still worth it to know that our Father has delighted in us as we’ve shared the process with him. This analogy touched me deeply, and I wanted to write a story to express that.

What first got you into writing?

I think the art of story and a fascination with words have always lived inside me, and my life has been a gradual discovery of how I’m meant to wield this passion. I started writing poetry probably as soon as I learned how to write. I’ve always been a dreamer—thinking up big ideas for my life and the world. Eventually, that dreamer tendency turned into writing fiction. I started writing longer stories during my last couple summers as a high schooler, and then at nineteen, I officially began writing my first novel. I’ve been writing fiction ever since. Writing helps me process life and provides a great creative outlet, and my hope is that my readers will find themselves in my stories and know that they’re not alone. I hope they will find healing and see their own dreams reawakened.

What is your favorite genre to write?

Young adult fantasy is my primary genre. I love the symbolic nature of fantasy and the endless possibilities and creative settings that such a genre provides.

What is your favorite genre to read?

I read a lot of YA fantasy, for the same reasons as stated above. But I also enjoy a good thriller every now and then.

What do you enjoy doing other than writing?

I love to dance—ballet and contemporary. I find it to be a fantastic way of combining exercise with art, and moving my body in such an expressive manner is its own form of release that writing can’t quite provide. I’m newly into archery as well, and I like to chill at home watching a good show with my housemate or reading. I love traveling, finding new coffee shops, and being in nature. I am also a nanny, which is a job I truly enjoy.

What upcoming projects do you have?

My current project is a fantasy trilogy. I have one book written so far and, after chats with my amazing editor, I’m now the midst of re-configuring the story a bit. The book I have written features a young girl who is kidnapped and told that she is destined to help unite the three races of her world, which have been at odds for ages. Her kidnapper informs her that the dark fairy is out to kill her and steal her destiny. The young girl must determine what she believes and embrace her role in the bigger story. Right now, I am taking some original scenes I had written from the girl’s father’s point of view and attempting to turn those into book one, since his character is essential to the overall story. These books feature a pegasus, magical stars that appear in caves, red wolves who are seers, and a race of people who can turn themselves into dust.

If you could be any plant, what would it be?

An evergreen.

If you could give any author or poet one tip, what would it be?

Don’t compare your journey to other writers. Give yourself grace and keep learning however you can.

Anything else you want to share about yourself?

Yes! I am excited to soon be offering copyediting services to fellow writers, so sign up for my newsletter or follow me on Instagram for more info on that!

Where can people find out more information about you?

My bi-monthly newsletter is a great place to connect and stay up to date on the goings-on of my writing world. You can sign up here:

You’ll receive a free short story just for signing up!

You can read more about me and my projects on my website:

Also, I post a lot of fun bookish-themed material on my Instagram: denicamcauthor

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