Interview With Author Violet Lumani

# Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!

My name is Violet Lumani, and my debut work Foretold is the first book in a young adult fantasy/sci-fi trilogy.

# What is/are the real-life story(ies) behind your book(s)?

Foretold is a book about grief and mental illness wrapped in a candy-coated fantasy shell. While my main character and her struggles are not in any way autobiographical, they were informed by my own losses and experiences with OCD and anxiety, and my own “what if?” thoughts.

The mythological aspects of the book/series come from my love of mythology—Greek, Norse, Non-Western myths, and in particular the Albanian mythology and superstitions I grew up with. Passing around Turkish coffee cups to tease out the future in the grounds was a common occurrence in my family, as was sharing dreams with one another in the hopes someone might know what the dream portended. Evil eyes, crows, all of it was stuff that came from my family, and though I always prided myself on being analytical, I wasn’t above getting sucked into it all from time to time.

# What inspires/inspired your creativity?

I read voraciously, and my tastes span a whole host of genres. Escaping away into someone else’s world was always so magical to me, that it made me want to create my own worlds for others to maybe enjoy or see themselves in.

I also love reading and listening to writers talk about craft. The Masterclass app series is incredible. Amy Tan, Neil Gaiman, R.L. Stine, Roxanne Gay…so many greats. There’s nothing more inspiring to me than hearing people passionate about their art talking about their process.

# How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?

Reviews aren’t for me, they’re for other readers. But bad reviews used to sting, and OCD didn’t help that situation. Now my skin is little thicker, and I’ve largely disconnected me, the person, from my work. I think sometimes there’s an inclination to define yourself by what you do, and when someone criticizes what you’ve put out there, it feels like an attack on who you are. But that’s not the case. I am not my book. I have self-worth outside of my writing, and that worth is not based on third party validation.

I also remind myself I didn’t write a book for every reader, so the ones who don’t like it clearly weren’t the ones it was intended for. And I’m early in my (hopefully) long career, and my writing and storytelling will get stronger. It’s a skillset I hope to exercise and grow. As for the undoubtedly valuable feedback some reviews provide, my agent and publisher are reading them all and will incorporate anything pertinent into my future works.

And if all else fails I try and laugh about it. I create these gorgeous Canva-designed ads for some my negative reviews. It’s kind of hilarious to me to see a beautifully made ad shouting, “DNF at 50%. Hated it.”

# How has your creation process improved over time?

I’ve realized I’m very much a plotter, and without an outline I’ll meander for ages. I may get to where I want to go eventually, but I can get there a lot quicker with a map.

# What role do emotions play in creativity?

I find that I write best when I’m feeling what is on the page. If I’m grieving, and I can capture that in my writing, there is an honesty that shines through, I think. Same with happiness, or fear, etc. I like to use music or revisit old thoughts or situations to try and conjure up whatever I need to feel for a scene.

# What are your plans for future books?

I am contracted for Book 2 and Book 3 of The Scryers series, so I’m busy at work on those. I also wrote a book during the pandemic that is completely outside the fantasy genre, just for kicks. In addition, there are a ton of other ideas I’m champing at the bit to tackle, but I’ve told myself the reward for completing Books 2 and 3 is that I get to work on them.

# Tell us some quirky facts about yourself

Here are two things that I don’t know are necessarily quirky, but I’ll share anyway:

1) I have collected comic books since I was ten years old – mostly X titles like X-Men, Uncanny X-Men, X-Factor, Excalibur, X-Force, etc. I was obsessed with Jean Grey, and used to draw and paint pictures of her all the time.

2) I was in Cosmo Girl for some post-college makeover feature, and the magazine’s makeover team gave me a mullet that took me three years to grow out to some semblance of normal. My mother’s horrified look when I entered her house still makes me laugh.