What’s your name and what genre would you consider your books to be?

I’m Claire Luana, and I write young adult fantasy!

Tell me about your book. How did you come up with the premise?

My first novel is called Moonburner. My inspiration for Moonburner was loosely based on China’ One Child Policy, which led to generations of Chinese families choosing to have boys over girls. It made me think: what would happen in a world where families didn’t want girls because those girls had some magical ability that was forbidden?

This led to the premise of Moonburner, where Kai, the main character, is born into a land where magic is forbidden to women, and she is forced to masquerade as a boy to hide her powers.

How did you get interested in writing this particular genre?

I’ve always loved to read fantasy. There is something about being taken away to another magical world that provides just the right escape I am looking for with a novel. My goal with Moonburner was to write a novel that I would enjoy reading, so fantasy was the natural choice! I also know the genre well, since I’ve read so much fantasy, so I think it’s easier for me to know what a reader is looking for/expecting from that type of book.

Did you have to do research to write the book?

One of the fun parts of fantasy is that you’re making up everything! But, I based my world on medieval Japan, so I did a fair amount of research into architecture, weapons, clothing, food, etc in order to incorporate that into my world. I also based most of the place and people names in the series on Japanese words that I tweaked to make my own.


Tell me about the series!

Moonburner is the first in a trilogy called the Moonburner Cycle. The second book, Sunburner, launched September 26th, and I hope to publish the final book, Starburner, next May. I just have to write it first! There is also a prequel novella called Burning Fate that features some of the Moonburner characters when they were younger. One of the things that is a bit unique about the Moonburner cycle (and that readers have said they really appreciate!) is that there are no cliff hangers. Each book stands alone, and could be read separately. But, they do build on each other, so I would recommend reading them in order if you can!

What’s a typical working day like for you? Where and when do you write?

My writing habits have changed over time, but currently, I write every morning. My day job is pretty mentally taxing (I’m a lawyer) so I found I didn’t have much brainpower left at the end of the day. Now I get up at 5 am to write, which is painful, but it means it’s done first thing. It feels really good!

What’s the hardest part of writing for you?

Making time for it amongst a busy schedule! But beyond that, I find characterization to be hardest for me. I want to create detailed character sketches so I know exactly who the characters are when I sit down to write, but I find it often changes throughout the course of writing the book, and I have to go back and change a bit. I have settled on a system where I do a loose sketch of the character before the first draft, then a more detailed sketch before I go back and edit. But characters feel like the most mysterious part of the process to me…and the most important to get right.

What advice do you have for aspiring authors?

First: write. Make it a habit. Do a little bit every day. Make writer friends and read craft books. And get over your fear. You wouldn’t step onto a tennis court and expect to be a pro, yet people somehow sit down to write a book and get discouraged when it’s not Harry Potter. Writing, like everything else in life, takes practice! I saw a saying somewhere online that I really take to heart: A first draft’s only job is to exist. It’s so true, and it helps me stop overthinking my first drafts. Just get some words down, and fix it later, haha!

What’s the best thing about being an author?

Probably that moment when you see your book in print for the first time. Each project represents so many hours, emotions, tears, agonizing moments, and to have come through that with a beautiful book to show for it…goosebumps. If I had to pick a second thing, it’s when you get an email or a review from a reader saying how much they loved the book. It’s pretty powerful to know your book affected someone’s life in a positive way!

Do you have a new book or series in the making?

Yes! I’m writing a new trilogy about magical food. I’m halfway through book 2. The first book, The Confectioner’s Guild, is a fantasy mystery. I’m really excited to share them, but I’m going to wait until I finish all three so I can release them within a few months of each other. Turns out readers don’t like to wait to read the next book.

Give us a tidbit from your work in progress!

Here is what I wrote just a few hours ago. It’s the end of a chapter from the middle of the second book in my Confectioner’s Guild trilogy. The main character, Wren, and her friend Hale, took a boat out to investigate a house where they think their kidnapped friend might be being held. They don’t find him. Also, the city where they live is currently under siege from a hostile country, Aprica. Ok, go!

Hale offered his hand to help Wren into the boat before shoving it across the sand back into the waves. He hopped over the side in one lithe motion, and resumed his position at the oars. “In other news, we successfully infiltrated the king’s vacation home, and it turns out he never comes here. I think I’ll bring Sable next summer.”
“She’d love that,” Wren said. “Make sure not to tell her who it belongs to. It will be such a special surprise when the Grayguard wake you with blades at your throats.”
“Always so negative, my little swallow.” Hale tisked.
“Shut up,” Wren dipped her fingers in the water and flicked it at Hale.
He cocked his head at her, mouth open in warning. “That is a dangerous game. If I didn’t think you’d die of cold, I’d let this oar slip and you’d be completely drenched.”
“Your reserve is noted,” she said with a laugh. The mirth died on her lips as she caught sight of a vessel rounding the island, cutting through the waters, its sails full.
“Hale,” Wren said, her eyes wide. “What does the Aprican flag look like?”
“Golden sunburst on a field of pale blue. Why?”
She held out a numb finger. “Because there’s an Aprican ship headed our way.”