Elements of Power
by Kate Stoessel
Published by Rhodes & Co.
Releasing on April 5, 2021
YOUNG ADULT FICTION–Fantasy
The Council of the Harvest Moon was established to maintain peace among the witches, fairies, vampires, and mermaids of the United States. However, old feuds die hard and as the powers of fairies wane with the destruction of natural environments, the witches rise with a rigid societal structure designed to assert their supremacy as the most powerful supernatural beings in the modern world.
As the descendant of two prominent New England witching families, Khlorie Lethestone’s life was destined to fit into the neat, color-coded boxes established by the American Continental Coven (ACC). When it is discovered that Khlorie has powers beyond that of a typical witch, she is sent to Spindlewick College, a secret institution designed to help witches develop non-conforming gifts into tools for the greater good of witching society. Once there, she meets the attractive, but distant Perry Prentice, who is assigned to help her understand her gifts. But becoming one of the most powerful witches in the world means that you are watched closely, and Khlorie learns that there are secrets she must keep hidden to survive.
Kate Stoessel is a Middle Grades and Young Adult author specializing in Fantasy. She wrote her first novel, Erine Pershings and the Golden Lyre, because she could not find interesting and informative historical fiction that explored the daily lives of women and children in Ancient Athens. The Council of the Harvest moon series represents Kate’s first foray into Young Adult Fantasy, her favorite genre as a reader. She knows how transportive a fantasy story can be, and hopes to give her readers the same experience of wonder and escape. Whether Middle Grades or YA, Kate is committed to creating characters that feel as authentic and real as the students she works with everyday as a classroom teacher.
She has a B.A. degree in Classical Civilizations from Colby College and a M.S.Ed in Museum Education and Childhood Education from the Bank Street School of Education. Kate lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband, Jack, son, Augie, and two dogs, Artemis and Apollo.
Congrats on your young adult book! What was your inspiration for Elements of Power?
Thank you so much! I have always been an avid reader of Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance, particularly in the YA category. I love the feeling that magic doesn’t just exist in some far off world, but that it is all around us in our everyday lives. The idea for Elements of Power came to me when I was teaching a Fantasy writing unit to my students. I began wondering how different supernatural beings would live together on the fringes of our human world. What would their society look like? What governmental structures would be in place? Would they get along? How would geographical, historical, and environmental factors affect these groups. As I was mulling these thoughts over, Khlorie’s character began to form. I wanted to start the story with someone who is very much in a position of privilege and power in witching society and then let her world view expand and change over the course of the book.
What was your favorite part of writing Elements of Power?
I love revision. I always tell my students that revision is where the magic happens and that was certainly true of my process for this story. I had some AMAZING beta readers who gave me such thoughtful feedback and helped me really develop the characters and the story. Writing is so often like a puzzle. The first draft is like laying out all of the pieces and getting them organized and revision is where you really start putting those pieces together.
If you could spend one day with Khlorie, what would you do? Are there any places you both would visit?
If I had one day with Khlorie, I would want to become completely immersed in the magic of her everyday life. I would start with breakfast on the dock behind her house. Hopefully, we would get to see some mermaids messing with the tourists out in the water. Then, I would want to go on a tour of her mother’s potion lab to see what breakthroughs Morrigan is developing. Afterwards, I would have her spell travel me to Spindlewick College for a trip to their incredible library. Then, I am off to Orpheus’ midday meditation session. (How can you beat a meditation session led by someone who can send calm energy into the room?). Next, I am hoping that we can just hang out with Itzel, Perry, and Orpheus. Itzel has a wine that pairs with any kind of food magically. So, I want to try that.
Did you have to do any research for Elements of Power? If you did, what was your favorite piece of information you came across for your book?
The preparation for this book was really about setting up a cohesive magical world that exists within the modern one that we all know. The American Continental Coven, the witching government, is highly structured. So, before I ever started writing, I set up the 14 specialties (magical areas of expertise) that all witches must choose from and join. Each specialty has its own color and college. So, I spent a lot of time researching the culture of different areas of the United States to see how they would pair up with the specialties. For instance, Alder & Sage College (Gardening specialty) is in Walla Walla, Washington because of the area’s agriculture and vineyards. I learned about the magical lore of New Orleans and decided that the most elite specialty, Spell Writing, would be located there. While this book takes place in New England, I am really looking forward to exploring the magical identities of more areas of the USA in the upcoming books in the series.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
I think that the most important thing is to read. Read lots of books in the genres that you are most interested in writing. I also think it is so important to embrace feedback from as many places as you can get it. Every person I showed my story to made it better in some way. Collaboration is so essential to creativity!
Is there anything else you would like to let the readers know about your book?
Elements of Power is a fast paced, YA Urban fantasy story with a strong female protagonist and a healthy romantic element. I look forward to hearing what you think of the story. You can share your thoughts with me on Goodreads, Instagram (@kate.e.stoessel), Twitter (@edukatemuseums), or my website (www.katestoessel.com)!
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Enter to win a signed finished copy of Elements of Power by Kate Stoessel! This giveaway is open to USA residents only. As of right now, there will be 1 winner.
Giveaway starts: Monday, April 5, 2021
Giveaway ends: Monday, April 12, 2021 at 12:00 a.m. CST