Interview and Review with Natasha Slight

17 Oct

Guardians of the Grimoire

I’m squeezing in another interview this week because this one is just too good to wait for. I’m so pleased to have Natasha Slight with us today to talk about her YA fantasy novel, “Guardians of the Grimoire”. I love a good fantasy novel, so I was super excited to get my hands on it for review. And getting to know the lovely and talented Natasha was no small bonus.

A brief description: Rumors have spread among the immortals of a book that controls all the magic in both the human and spirit worlds. So what is the Spirit Mother to do when Kaël, a corrupt spirit, attempts to steal the Grimoire from her temple?

With no other option, she instructs Gaïa, a benevolent spirit, to hide the Grimoire in the human realm and to train three young girls in becoming the new guardians. Kerani, Tiluvia, and Cesca are awakened to their destinies, and thrust into a perilous journey as they race to Gaïa’s island. Accompanied by the Kal’rana sisters, the girls discover the magic that lies dormant within them. But fate plays a cruel twist on them, as their magical abilities are unleashed before they are ready, and disastrous consequences follow suit.

In a land shrouded in magic, and filled with as many friends as there are foes, will the girls be able to fulfill their destinies? Or will the balance of magic be thrown into chaos?

If that’s not enough to get you interested, here’s the trailer:

And now to the interview!

What was your favorite part of the book?

My favorite part of the book has to be the names. I spent days working on coming up with distinctive names not seen anywhere else. Sometimes I would not move forward with the story until I was completely satisfied with a name, whether it’d be for a place, person, or creature. Was the effort worthwhile? I would say yes, because many people have told me how they love the names. They are often described as unique and different.

What was the hardest part to write in the book?

The hardest part to write was when I had to kill off two of the characters. I’m not going to say who it is, so as not to spoil it for anyone, but yeah, tore my heart to do it, but it had to be done. My goal at first was to have them in book 2 and maybe book 3, but the story completely went in another direction. I simply followed where my characters were leading me.

What do you wish was different about the book?

Hmm, this would go with what I just said in the previous question. I wish I could’ve have had more time with the above-mentioned characters. I had so much planned for them and actually did try to change the story, but it just wasn’t working. I have to admit it was the toughest decision I had to make regarding the storyline.

Who are your favorite authors? Favorite books?

I have so many authors whose books I enjoy; I don’t know where to begin! But if I had to pick just a few, I’d say Dan Brown (The Lost Symbol), Diana Gabaldon (Outlander series), James Rollins (Sigma Force series), George R.R. Martin (A Song of Ice and Fire series), Guy Gavriel Kay (The Fionavar Tapestry), Ken Follett (Pillars of the Earth), and of course, Tolkien (Lord of the Ring series).

What sparked the idea for your novel?

Would you believe it if I said my novel came out of the blue? You have to understand that I’d never written a book before, hadn’t even thought about it. The funny thing is, one day I was reading The Lost Symbol, by Dan Brown and when I finished reading it, I was struck by a sudden thought. In Dan’s book, I discovered the notion that a person can have an effect on their physical world with just their thoughts. I began to ponder this and suddenly it made sense. To think positive is to attract positive things to you. So I asked myself, ‘Why not write a book?’ ‘What is stopping me?’ Absolutely nothing! So the next day I sat down to write. I didn’t plan what type of story I would like to write or if I would write in first person POV or third? It just came to me. The more I wrote, the bigger the story became, and after about 5 days, I’d written one major outline. That’s when I realized this is what I want to do…for the rest of my life. I’ve been having a blast ever since!

How personal is your writing?

I have to admit that my three main characters Kerani, Tiluvia, and Cesca all reflect a different side of my personality. I only discovered afterward how much of myself I had instilled in these characters and frankly, it came as a shock to me. My life experience has definitely helped me mold my characters. I want them to be strong women; confident in themselves, able to think out of the box, and not bend to everyone’s will without a choice. Basically, everything I wasn’t when I was a teen. Having confidence in who I am only came later in life. So, yeah, I guess my writing is very personal.

How strict are you with plotting? Do you outline or go where the story takes you?

I do both. In the beginning, I’ll have an outline to help guide me, but it’s not set in stone. As the story progresses and things divert from my initial outline, I’ll redline and add notes to it. I’m flexible with how I create the story, but there comes a point, when it’s the characters who lead the way. I follow along and listen to what they’re telling me. For example, in the beginning, Tiluvia was supposed to be the leader of the trio, but it turned out that everything I wrote for her was better suited for Kerani. So, I switched their roles and everything fell into place.

What is your writing routine?

I’m a stay-at-home mom and both my kids are in school, so I get to write during the daylight hours. I’m usually up at 6am and I write from 8am to 4pm, Monday to Friday. Depending on my goals, sometimes I’ll even work on weekends. I have a very supportive family, and I am grateful that they allow me to write when I need to. During the summer, though, my writing schedule is cut down by half, as I’ll write from 7am until noon. By then, the kids are up and want to go swimming!

Which comes first? The character’s story or the idea for the novel?

Definitely the idea for the novel.

How did you choose the genre you write in?

I didn’t choose the genre it chose me! I guess I’m writing fantasy, because it’s one of my favorite genres to read. Although, I do plan to expand into other genres after I’m done with this trilogy.

How did you come up with the title?

In my sleep. I’m serious! Many times that’s when I come up with major ideas, because my mind is constantly working. I have a notepad by my bed to keep track of all the ideas.

What project are you working on now?

I am working on book 2 of the Grimoire Trilogy, called Defenders of the Grimoire.

Are there certain themes you like to address in your writing?

I especially like teen issues and this goes back to what I was saying before. With the issues that teenagers are facing today, I like to think that I can maybe help by giving them positive characters they can relate to. I guess the fact that I have a teenage girl and a second one about to become a teenager helps shine a light on what they are facing today.

What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?

Sign out of all the social media sites! Gosh, I have heard this from authors so many times: I can’t write I’m always on Facebook. The solution is simple: sign off! LOL To become a published writer you must be dedicated to your craft. It takes dedication to be able to sit down and write for hours, whether you’re in the mood or not. Personally, I’m very strict on myself when it comes to my writing schedule. I treat it like a real job; the only difference is that I’m the boss. I’ve discovered I’m one tough boss and there’s no diddling around when it’s time to write. And you can bet that there are no media sites in the vicinity!

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

I wouldn’t say it was tough criticism, but it was something that kept coming back. I had already published Guardians of the Grimoire, but on Wattpad, the prologue kept getting comments of readers being a little confused. Although, they enjoyed the story, this niggling little thing kept coming back. What did I decide to do? I listened to my readers and rewrote the beginning. The storyline is the same, but I ‘simplified’ things in the beginning. Then I had to republish it with the changes. Truth be told, I was a little embarrassed and some have told me I should have kept it as it was, since I’m the author. But I believe in my readers, and so far, they have not led me astray.

As for the best compliment, it has to be when an adult tells me they couldn’t put the book down. Guardians of the Grimoire is written for young adults, but as time progresses it is demonstrating tremendous crossover appeal. That was my ultimate goal when I began writing. I wanted the trilogy to be something that could be shared between a parent and their child.

If you could have dinner with three people, dead or alive, who would they be and why?

Sherlock Holmes: Love, love, love the way he analyzes things, especially when it comes to a person.

Queen Victoria: A young queen who stood her ground for what she believed in. Born in 1840, she died in 1901. I can only imagine how she saw the world as technology developed.

Cleopatra: She’s the last Pharaoh to have ruled in Egypt. I’d love to have a peek into that mind of hers!

Now the fun questions:

Favorite junk food?

I don’t eat junk food. Yeah, right! I’m a chips gal.

Tea or coffee?

Both. Coffee in the morning and tea in the afternoon.

Favorite superhero(ine)? Why?

Iron Man: He can fly which I’ve always wanted to do, plus Robert Downey Jr. is really sexy! Can I say that? LOL

Favorite color?

Opal…sea foam green mixed with different hues of blue. It has a calming effect on me. Forget diamonds! If I get married, that’s what I want on my ring.

Favorite place you’ve visited?

Ah, this one is easy! Germany! The family and I spent 10 glorious weeks there in 2007. We visited so many castles that we lost count in the end. We we’re also able to visit Paris in France and Masstricht in the Netherlands, which by the way, is home to my favorite violinist, André Rieu.

What’s one quirky or fun fact about you?

If you ask my kids, they’ll tell you that I’m a prankster. I’m always trying to sneak up on them and scaring them out of their wits. Usually works too! Or when we’re watching a scary movie and I’ve already seen it, then I’ll jump in and scream like a maniac during a suspenseful scene. My youngest always gets mad at first, but in the end, she always ends up laughing! But now as they grow up, the sneaky little buggers are getting back at me, especially when I’m standing in front of the washing/drying machines. I can’t hear a thing with all the noise and they get me every time!

So now, here’s my review of Guardians of the Grimoire!

Epic fantasy, high fantasy, dark fantasy: I love everything about this genre. And I love everything about this book.Guardians of the Grimoire is deserved of space on my bookshelf next to the tomes of Robert Jordan and David Eddings. If you’re looking for a rehash of the plot, go elsewhere. This review is to tell you WHY you need to read this book.

Ms. Slight contacted me via my blog and requested a review of her work. I took a look at her website, peeked a little at Guardians on Amazon and decided instantly that this was a must read. Best. Decision. Ever. FYI, I don’t do paid reviews, and a copy was furnished to me by the author. This is a keeper that I want my daughter to read when she’s old enough. It’s targeted for YA, but any reader of fantasy will enjoy this. Reading this took me back to the first time I picked up a copy of Pawn of Prophecy by Eddings. I was hooked. Utterly. Completely. Pawn of Prophecy still sits on my shelf today. I’m dusting off a spot next to it for Guardians.

The world-building is just amazing. Everything is drawn out in rich detail with vivid imagery, making it so easy for my mind’s eye to conjure. Complex, yet not complicated, there are layers here: everyday life, magic, sorcery, politics. And all of them woven together intricately and seamlessly. There is a lot of information; there has to be in a story this size. It is inevitable. However, at no time did I feel like there was information just being dumped on me for the sake of plot exposition. There is a story to be told, not facts to be given.

From the beginning it was Kerani that caught my attention, and even though there are multiple points of view throughout the book, it was Kerani’s that spoke to me the most. In a book this size with this much plot, multiple points of view can become bulky and unwieldy for the reader, as there isn’t enough for them to really get to know each character. Not here. Ms. Slight does an amazing job at characterization through dialogue and exposition. At the end, I felt I knew these people and had a personal investment in their stories.

Speaking of characterization: *insert slow 80’s clap here* Brilliant. Marvelous. Archetypal, but not hackneyed. They are good, solid fantasy incarnations. Even the villains (Kael, Merazar, and Nox) are fleshed out in detail. And as the saying goes, “Character builds plot.” The characters and their wants and needs drive this story, so much so that as the journey unfolds, you find yourself alongside them. You know it’s a good book when you want to crawl inside and tag along. I was ready to take up arms to protect the Grimoire and kick some serious butt.

The dialogue is easy. I don’t mean simple, I mean effortless, natural. The interactions between the characters flow like water. There is nothing awkward or stilted. It’s a difficult pace to maintain in a book this long, but Ms. Slight does it with a deft hand.

I mention the length, because if you are not familiar with the genre, books here tend to be longer. It’s the scale of the story that requires it. Fantasy novels tend to work several angles and plot threads, all the while introducing new characters, places, creatures, and concepts. Guardians of the Grimoire is no exception. This is a sweeping story that pulls you in from the very beginning and keeps you at a breakneck pace until the end. And when you get there you realize with a clench of the heart that the end of this story is only the beginning. That is a hallmark of good fantasy. I eagerly await the next book in this series.

Five out of five stars, all of them epic.

Our thanks to Natasha for being here today with us. Let’s find out a little more about her.

Natasha Slight

Bio: NATASHA SLIGHT has been an avid reader and collector of books for many years. As a stay-at-home mom she one day set out to write a story her children could read. The result of that trial is her debut novel GUARDIANS OF THE GRIMOIRE. Armed with a quirky sense of humor, Natasha writes to inspire, tap into the mind, and unleash the imagination within.
A seasoned traveler, Natasha is always attempting to learn new languages and discover various cultures. She grew up in a bilingual home where she spoke something called Frenglish, which made switching between French and English the norm. In high school, Natasha attempted Mandarin and still remembers a few lines her teacher taught her. College was where she tackled Spanish. In her early twenties, Natasha lived in Haiti for two years where she learned Creole and was made fun of for her accent. In 1999, she moved to Puerto Rico where her backyard was the sandy beaches of Old San Juan. This was followed by fourteen months in Jamaica and a short trip to the Cayman Islands. In 2007, she spent a memorable summer in Aachen, Germany where she learned a little German. Her weekends were filled with visits to nearby cities and countries. Paris (France), Maastricht (Netherlands), and every single castle that can be found along the Rhine River (Germany) are just a few of the places she visited. 2012 was the year her dream came true. After spending a blissful week in Provence (South of France), Natasha was able to discover the beautiful countryside, friendly people, and wonderful food.

Today, she lives in Montreal with her husband and two daughters, where she dreams of her next trip.

Connect with Natasha:

Where to purchase Guardians of the Grimoire:





16 Responses to “Interview and Review with Natasha Slight”

  1. Bud Connell October 18, 2012 at 7:01 am #

    Well done, Natasha!


  2. Massimo Marino October 18, 2012 at 7:04 am #

    Very nice interview and very nice author, too. I found so many similarities with Natasha that it is almost scary…:

    “the story completely went in another direction. I simply followed where my characters were leading me. I simply followed where my characters were leading me.” Happens to me often, I am a story “gardener”.

    “The more I wrote, the bigger the story became…” The plot grows, it is already there, it only needs to be fleshed out by putting black symbols on a white screen.

    “Many times that’s when I come up with major ideas, because my mind is constantly working. I have a notepad by my bed to keep track of all the ideas.” Heck, I need to do that so I will stop getting up to go to the home office and write down what has just bursted and awaken me.

    Well done, Natasha.



    • tarawood21 October 18, 2012 at 8:28 am #

      Wow…what a comment! Thank you so much taking the time to leave such a lovely sentiment. Much appreciated. I hope you pick up a copy and check out her writing in detail!! Stop back anytime!


  3. writermirandastork October 18, 2012 at 7:04 am #

    Fabulous interview, and wonderful review! You really went into the details of the book without giving the plot away-and the book sounds really interesting! Another one to add to my growing pile. And it was great finding out more about you, Natasha, and I loved your dinner choices! 😀


    • tarawood21 October 18, 2012 at 8:29 am #

      MIrry…..this is a must read. I suggest you shuffle it to somewhere at the top of your TBR. I thoroughly enjoyed this one. And Natasha is super fun!!! So nice getting to know her. You know we’ll see her around and drag her into some fun times on FB!!!


  4. Ross October 18, 2012 at 7:12 am #

    Tara, what a superb interview and an incredible sounding book. Just played the trailer on my phone at work and everyone looked over! Really impressive.
    The Grimoire sounds a fantastic story for my kids (and me) as they are reading books in the 14+ age catogory and they love fantasy.


    • tarawood21 October 18, 2012 at 8:22 am #

      Ross…I actually thought about you when I read this. I figured this would be right up your alley. Definitely one to pick up for the kids…and then snatch it from them when they’re done.


  5. Richard Higley October 18, 2012 at 7:30 am #

    I’ve been following the story from nearly the beginning and could not agree with you more, The style and content is amazing. O by the way I am a 60 year old man who has read Eddings and MaCaffery. I believe Ms Slight is their equal. Great review and interview.


    • tarawood21 October 18, 2012 at 8:25 am #

      Thank you so much for coming by and commenting!! I completely agree with you about Natasha being a contemporary with Eddings and MacCaffery. When I started reading, I immediately thought of Garion in Pawn of Prophecy, a boy on a journey to becoming such an incredible man. Those girls have so much in store, I can feel it!!


  6. Natasha Slight October 18, 2012 at 7:38 am #

    Thank you, Tara, for hosting me. 🙂


    • tarawood21 October 18, 2012 at 8:25 am #

      Natasha – you are welcome here anytime!! Thanks for putting up with my craziness.


  7. Sandra Valente (@BookWormSans) October 18, 2012 at 8:17 am #

    Awesome interview, but any interview with Natasha is bound to be interesting. Very well done. GOTG was one of my favourite books of 2011 and still is. I just can’t believe I read it a year ago this very month. I look forward to DOTG. Goes without saying that I continue to wish you the best of luck with this trilogy.


    • tarawood21 October 18, 2012 at 8:26 am #

      Thanks for stopping by. GOTG is by far one of the best fantasy books I have read this year. And there might be a feature in the future when the sequel is released….so stay tuned!!!


  8. Natasha Slight October 18, 2012 at 9:39 am #

    I just want to say thank you to one and all for taking a moment out of your day to comment. I am deeply touched by your kind words.


  9. Neo October 18, 2012 at 8:22 pm #

    Good and very interesting interview Tara! 🙂
    Good luck for your trilogy, Natasha! 🙂


  10. danniehill October 23, 2012 at 10:47 pm #

    Tara, great choice of people for your interview. Natasha. I loved your book! It’s a fantasy that has something for everyone. I wish you great success. I always enjoy learning more from authors I admire.


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