This Writer Wednesday, the spotlight shines on indie author B. L. Cagle!
It’s no wonder this author writes paranormal and fantasy stories... she grew up in a haunted house! A self-professed orange-blooded (Go Volunteers!) “daytime vampire,” B. L. Cagle is a writer of magic and mystery you want to invite into your home and onto your bookshelves again and again.
Cagle’s willingness to be honest and open about her writing practice and lessons learned made this interview a real joy to publish. She’s a true Southern peach who loves and appreciates her readers, so be sure to visit her website at www.blcagle.com and check out her work.
A quick note:
During this interview, you might note that many of the questions include the word “we” as if “we” asked them. Well, we did. This detail is meant to include you, my dear reader, and I do hope you enjoy each interview published to this blog!
Additionally, please note that each interview answer is the author's own words and the interviews in The Intuitive Storyteller blog are intended for informational and educational purposes only.
I am a reader. I am a writer. I am a creative. My characters are my art. They live in my mind, my heart, and they seem to float on my very breath. Putting pen to paper allows me to make them real and bring them to life.
I am from Lewisburg, Tennessee. I currently live in South Carolina with my husband, teenage daughter, and our rescued fur baby. I am also a proud Army Mom.
I am a huge Tennessee Volunteers fan, loves animals, and both dirt track and drag racing. When I’m not writing or reading, you can find me on the trails riding my RZR with my family, or at muscle car shows.
The love of writing began in the 4th grade after winning a short story contest, and I have continued writing short stories and poems for my family, and friends.
B. L. Cagle’s book Dreams of Darkness and Desire, Book One of the Dreams Series, is available now!
About Dreams of Darkness and Desire
Kira Lockwood has moved in with her best friend, developed a loving relationship with her boyfriend, and is excelling in her dance classes. Everything was perfect until she is suddenly plagued by unusual dreams and nightmares. And to make things more complicated, the man who haunts those very dreams has just moved in down the street. Their attraction is undeniable, but she struggles to understand why he torments her at night while she sleeps. Her dreams are erotic, shifting from seduction to drowning, burial, and abduction in the span of seconds.
But dreams aren’t real. Or are they?
Blake Michaelson is a handsome and powerful centuries-old warlock. He and his three brothers have moved to New Orleans in search of one thing—Kira Lockwood. Though she does not know it, she is a descendent of the first Supra Virtutem, a witch with the ability to harness the ultimate power. He and his brothers have spent a lifetime, hunting others like them, and claiming their magic as their own. To ensure their immortality, Blake must complete the Order of Three: claim her body, take her blood, and end her life.
Kira will not ascend and harness her power until her 21st birthday but her magic lives within her and her light recognizes the darkness. Will the power within her be enough to save her? Or will Blake complete his mission and steal her power before she steals his heart?
And now, the interview:
When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
When I was in the 4th grade, the 4-H Club had a short story contest open to the entire school, which included the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade and I won. Since then, I wrote poems for friends and family.
Tell us about the person(s) or event(s) that inspired you to write your latest work.
My grandmother wrote poems and songs. She was the “person” who got me into it. She always shared everything she had ever written with me, and I still have them put away. The “events” that inspired this book [were] the recurring dreams I was having and still have. They were happening so often that I started writing them down. At that time, I was working for a company with the opioid epidemic and traveling. I was in my hotel room and talking to my sister, and she said, “Why don’t you write that book you always wanted to?” So I did, and here we are. She was the one that convinced me to do it.
What is your favorite genre to write and why do these types of stories appeal to you?
I would have to say that fantasy and the supernatural world and anything with the paranormal is what I love. I grew up in a house where lots of strange things happened. We all agreed it was haunted, but nothing ever happened that made us leave, running and screaming. My mom, sister, and nephew still live there. But these types of stories fascinate me not only because of things I’ve personally experienced, but because writing them is a way to create an entirely different world, and you can make it any way you want. You can make up your own rules and characters. They can be good, bad, or even magical, from being human, Fae, vampires, werewolves, witches, and sexy warlocks like my own in my book. You can do whatever you want.
You can make up your own rules and characters. They can be good, bad, or even magical, from being human, Fae, vampires, werewolves, witches, and sexy warlocks like my own in my book. You can do whatever you want.
Do you have a furry familiar? Tell us about them!
I had a silver miniature schnauzer for 16 years. We lost her in 2012, and a few years later, we rescued a chocolate brown one, and she is just as rotten and loved as the first one. She has no idea she is a dog, and that is the way all animals should be.
Tell us about your writing schedule and/or a ritual that is necessary for establishing and sustaining your writing mood and endurance.
I work full-time as a lab assistant (daytime vampire) phlebotomist, but I try to get some writing done in the evenings. My husband has a side business he does on the weekends and my daughter works with him, so I usually get most of it done then. I can always get in the mood to write.
Why do you write? How does the act of storytelling affect you?
I would say that the fascination of the supernatural and paranormal world and all it entails is a key factor of my writing, and telling the story in my perspective. Once I started writing “seriously” to put out a book for the whole world, I wanted to add and show bits and pieces of my personal life within the story, and I did, from things I did with my family, down to my own hobbies. The characters and the story they are in may not be real, but a lot of the things in their lives and memories are mine and what I remember and enjoyed.
Think about yourself back when you first started writing. If you could travel back in time, what would you say to that version of you (about the writing process, publishing, the world, etc.) that might help prepare them for today?
If I could start this over, I would definitely have not waited so long to do it. I also would have done better research into editors and self-publishing companies. I say this because the lessons from it I did learn was very expensive. I hired a “professional” editor and she never once told me I had some POV issues. The publisher didn’t even look at it; they were going to put it out as is. But thankfully I shared this with my sister, and she was the one who caught it. Long story short, I didn’t get my money back from either and would have put out the worst work ever if I hadn’t shared it with her.
What are your recommendations for fueling your writing energy and promoting inspiration?
My inspiration not only comes from my own mind and imagination, but also from my dreams. Some are even from my own past encounters, but they also come from music: just the words alone from the songs can give me ideas. I want to give recognition to the bands/artists and their music that I have listened to continuously over and over for inspiration. Some may also show my age, but that’s okay.
How intuitive are you and does your intuition affect your writing?
I am very intuitive and even show that through my MC in my current book with what she is experiencing in the story.
Tell us about your long-term writing and publishing goals.
Book 1 of the Dreams series: Dreams of Darkness and Desire released 10/26/21 and the Audible version released 12/8/21. My plan is to have Book 2: Dreams of Shadows and Seduction out no later than June 2022, and book 3: Dreams of Terror and Temptation out no later than December 2022. I would like the Audible versions to be released the same dates, but if not, I will release them separately like I did with Book 1, because I want to keep the same narrator, Stina Nielsen. But to be able to write and make this my full time job would be a dream come true. That is my long-term goal.
For what or whom are you most grateful right now and why?
I must say I am grateful to my family for allowing me to be able to do this. I am also grateful to my sister for all her help, becoming my editor, and her and her husband both for becoming my business partners.
I am grateful to Sonder Press for getting me out of my contract with FyreSyde (who didn’t do anything they promised and then closed their doors) and taking a chance on me and for getting my book into so many readers’ hands. I couldn’t have done all of this alone. They also gave me the opportunity to have it narrated. I want to also thank Stina Nielsen for replying to my email asking her if she would narrate my book. I never expected her to take this on, and she absolutely nailed it. It got as high as #31 on Amazon’s Best Seller list in the Paranormal Romance category and #8 on the Hot New Releases. But mostly, I want to thank the readers and all the love I am getting from them. Some have made video book trailers on IG and TikTok. I can’t express how much I enjoy getting messages on Goodreads, Instagram, and Facebook from readers and connecting with them on a personal level and making new friends.
It is an amazing feeling how they have made me, a nobody, feel like Anne Rice or Sarah J. Maas. But so far, I think the best part is having my book chosen for a book club and me getting to be a part of it. Actually getting to see and talk to these ladies was so awesome. I can’t wait for the next one.
Besides writing, what activities bring you joy?
I love muscle cars and going to the car shows. I love dirt track and drag racing. My husband and I both have Polaris RZRs and we ride the trails and rock climb. This is my favorite past time if not writing. I also love my hard rock/metal music and concerts. I love college football. I am from Tennessee and my Daddy raised me to be a diehard Tennessee Volunteers fan. I always say my blood is orange. I love going to the movies and of course, reading or listening to Audible books while traveling.
Which book are you reading right now?
I am listening to A Shadow in the Ember and reading Shadow Stained in between working on Book 2.
What’s the best book you’ve read in the past year?
The Stray Witch series, the From Blood and Ash series, and A Court of Silver Flames on Audible.
Fill in the blank: Magic is...
Magic is whatever I make it.
Stay connected with B. L. Cagle! Here’s where you can find her:
On Monday, I will continue my new series, Tarotcatures: A Five-Part Examination of the Courts as Characters, with Part Four: The Kings. Stay tuned!
In her more than thirty years as a storyteller and visual designer, Amanda “Mandy” Hughes has written and designed over a dozen works of upmarket, literary, and women’s fiction under pen names A. Lee Hughes and Mandy Lee.
Mandy is the founder of Haint Blue Creative, a space for readers and storytellers to explore, learn, and create. Although she earned a Bachelor and Master of Science in Psychology, she has yet to figure out her family, much less herself.
When she’s not writing, Mandy loves going to the movies, theater, traveling, nature walks, birdwatching, margarita-making, and binge-watching The Office. She is a tarot enthusiast who uses the cards to promote wellness and enhance creativity. She lives in Georgia with her husband and four boys, two of whom are furrier than the others (but not by much). Visit her website at haintbluecreative.com and follow her on Instagram @haintbluecreative.