Xanna Renae loves daydreaming about how to save her characters from the messes she puts them in. Currently, she is giving life to the ideas inside her head from rural Missouri where she lives with her husband, Noah, and cat, Maestro. She has a bachelor of arts in Creative Writing from Southern New Hampshire University, where she graduated with honors. Her previous works include Through the Violet Redwoods and The Willow Tree Swing. When she isn’t writing you can find her tucked away in her little bungalow reading, snuggling with her cat, or playing video games with her husband.
Do you have anything published?
Right now I have an anthology of short stories and poems of my work published, titled Through the Violet Redwoods, and I have a piece in Nightshade Publishing's first open anthology The Willow Tree Swing. We have three anthologies coming out this year, and I'm hoping for my debut novel to come out this fall.
Can you briefly summarize what you have published?
I write in a naturalist style, my subject matter usually delves into how people deal with emotions or romanticizing the little things. Through the Violet Redwoods goes through the heart’s dark side, or how things that may appear haunted aren’t.
Tell us about your debut!
My debut novel follows a flighty young magician who must use her once persecuted magic to save the Crowned Prince of the country that sought to destroy or enslave her people.
Tell us about Of Ink & Paper!
Releases May 25, 2023
The short description is: Of Ink & Paper is an anthology centered around the magic of words and writing.
The back copy blurb is: Of Ink and Paper is a meaningful collection of short stories and poems with themes surrounding the power and magic that words and writing have on an author and the world around them. Inside these pages, you will find characters who long to heal their pain with words from the heart, a witch struggling with the power her words hold, and stories about the pull to dive into new worlds and ideas. This anthology is best enjoyed with a hot beverage and a nice view.
Is there any personal backstory to your publication(s) that you want to share about?
My first publication came from my desire to prove to the people around me that I was serious about writing. I was querying a novel at the time and working on my degree. I was writing a ton for my creative writing classes and realized I wrote around the central theme of emotions a lot. So, I put them together and saw I could make an anthology of it. So I did.
My debut novel was one I started writing when it seemed like my other projects were too much for me. It was a lighthearted project amidst the querying process and drafting a slightly darker manuscript. And now it's going to be my debut! It's been the most challenging book to write, but I love that. It's forced me to grow in so many ways.
What first got you into writing?
When I realized I could write stories myself instead of just reading them. I wrote a lot of original fiction and I made up stories to tell my friends on the spot. I soon moved into the realm of fanfiction, and then back into original works.
Tell us about Nightshade Publishing.
Nightshade Publishing is a small press publishing company founded by myself. Recently Willow Whitehead joined the team. At the moment we're only publishing anthologies and select novels. We're hoping to open to general queries in the next few years.
The company itself focuses on stories with a magical feeling to them, not exclusive to fantasy. I started Nightshade so I’d have a place to publish my own poetry and short stories, at the time I wasn’t sure if I was going to publish my novels through it, or if I wanted to go trad. In the end, I decided I want to use my publishing house for my novels as well—and obviously, it’s opened up to others' writings as well!
What’s been the most rewarding part of running a small press?
It's been great being able to help authors share their stories with the world. It's also been so much fun meeting so many talented authors. I’m also in the process of designing some fun new things that I can’t wait to share more about.
What is your favorite genre to write?
High fantasy is where I live and breathe. Creating a world from scratch is a lot of fun, it’s like putting together a puzzle designed by me! I also add in a touch of romance everywhere I go, though that isn't the main focus of my stories.
What is your favorite genre to read?
I almost exclusively read fantasy as well, though I do love a good romance or thriller.
What do you enjoy doing other than writing?
My day job also involves me writing and video editing so my hobbies are a nice saving grace. I enjoy knitting, cooking/baking, and I also play a lot of video games with my husband (when Maestro lets us focus on the game).
What upcoming projects do you have?
Like I mentioned earlier my debut novel will be coming out soon, it'll be a duology set in a world where I'll have several series. Currently, this series has about 8 novels planned, then I have a second world in the works that'll have 5 or so novels in it. And a million other WIPs planned out. But, currently, I'm working one book at a time.
Again it’s a fun slightly cozy high fantasy novel where a magician has to figure out how to save the Crowned Prince, the last living royal, before the blame of his death falls on her, and her people’s, shoulders. It’s a heavy weight for her to bear, but she hides the stress well behind all the chaos she gets up to.
What's your least favorite trope?
My least favorite trope. . . I feel like my answer is pretty typical, miscommunication—over small things. I can understand it being used if it's done well, but it's pretty annoying when a majority of the plot rides on two characters suddenly refusing to talk to each other when they’ve had great communication before.
If you could be any plant, what would it be, and why?
I'd want to be some sort of flowering, creeping plant. Something that grows up the sides of buildings or arches and thrives. I have a wisteria arch in my back yard and I love it.
If you could give any author or poet one tip, what would it be?
Check your work for consistency. Consistent language, flow, rhythm. Stories have ups and downs, yes, but be sure that they aren't going sharply up or down to the point it feels jarring to the reader. Be sure everything fits into your story world.
Anything else you want to share about yourself?
I'm terrible at sharing things about myself, haha. One thing I want to do more of is talking about my disability and how to better include disabilities in writing without relying on specific stereotypes.
Oh, I also love hosting tea parties. Very different points haha. I love setting out all my tea cups and making snacks to share with my friends.
Where can people find out more information about you?
I can be found pretty much everywhere online as @XannasBooks or on
my website XannaRenae.com. One can learn more about Nightshade Publishing on our Instagram @NightshadePublishing or at Nightshadepubliahing.com. We've got some exciting news coming soon that I can't wait to share with everyone. Hint: It has to do with new merch and other fun things.