Ashley Bustamante has created stories from the moment she could scribble and staple sheets of paper together. She simply cannot recall a time when writing was not a force in her life. When not running through lines of dialogue in her mind, she enjoys taking photographs and spending time with her husband, three children, and any furry, feathered, or scaly creature she can find.
In this interview, Ashley shares some of her thoughts behind her newest book, Radiant, book 2 in her Color Theory Series.
FF: What inspired the story in your book?
Radiant is the follow-up to Vivid. I really wanted to explore what it looks like when the ideas of a world start to shift. What happens when something previously thought of as common knowledge is challenged?
FF: What can you tell us about the main characters in your book?
While Ava and Elm are still the main characters, we introduce several more students from Prism. They’re a fun bunch and it’s been interesting to see Ava and Elm handle interacting with a bigger group. Neither of them are really used to that.
FF: Which character surprised you the most?
Samantha. I can’t say a whole lot without spoiling but her character arc turned out very different from what I originally had planned for her.
FF: Why do you think storytelling is such a powerful way to share truth?
I think it enables people to insert themselves into specific scenarios and makes it more personal. Often the first step to helping someone discover truth is to create something that resonates with them.
FF: What can readers expect from the rest of this series?
The third book is the final book in the trilogy (which feels unreal!). It’s going to be a bit of a bumpy ride for our characters as all the events come to a head, but I promise it will be ok.
FF: What kind of research did you do for this book?
Research is always a bit different for fantasy because you’re not operating under exactly the same rules as our world. But because Magus still technically takes place in our world (just in the future and with magic!) there are some things I wanted to make sure had a basis in reality. I researched tropical plants a little bit and foods from tropical regions. I also wanted to see what varieties of red butterfly exist! I did a lot of research on egg yolks and what changes their color for a scene that ended up being cut!
FF: What do you want readers to take away after reading your book?
That there is joy in unity and we’re more alike than we think.
FF: What are the biggest challenges for you as an author writing in your specific genre?
I want to make sure these stories are relatable for young people. Obviously I want adults to be able to read and enjoy my books, too, but since teens are the target audience, I want a story that is meaningful to them. Sometimes it’s hard to step outside of what’s important as an adult to think about what’s important to teens.
FF: What authors or books have inspired you as an author?
I dread this question because I can never choose! Jane Eyre has long been an inspiration to me because I find the character of Jane so admirable. She never loses sight of her worth, even when other people try to tell her she’s not a good person. She knows who she is and she sticks to her values, even when it brings her pain.
FF: How has your faith or world view impacted the way you tell stories?
It might be easier to ask how it HASN’T impacted the way I tell stories. It really means a lot to me to write stories that inspire hope. Faith gives hope in a world that sometimes feels hopeless, and I want to convey that in my books.
Color Theory Series #2
Genres: YA/Teen Fantasy, SciFi
Release Date: May 9, 2023
After the introduction of Yellow magic in a society accustomed to only Red and Blue magic, the world inside the barrier has become more complicated than anyone imagined. Ava, Elm, and the former students of Prism navigate life in hiding. They face discord, secrets, betrayal, and danger that looms ever closer as the Benefactors narrow in on their hideaway.
Ava is determined to keep everyone protected, even at the cost of her own safety. She explores dangerous aspects of her new Mentalist abilities—against Elm’s dire warnings.
Tensions escalate when a new visitor arrives claiming to know a way out of the barrier. While this may be the only way to escape the Benefactors, what awaits them on the outside? Will they gain allies or make an entirely new set of enemies?
Buy Radiant from the FF Store HERE!
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