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Adam Interviews... Sierra Cross!

Welcome back!

I hope your Monday is progressing the way you planned and treating how you deserve!

If not - well, maybe it's a good time to pause and take a little break. Get to know another author. Whaddya say?

Sierra Cross’s Blue Moon Bay Witches series is a sweet magical elixir that’s been compared to hot chocolate. Delightfully cozy, craveworthy, and comforting.

When she’s not spinning mysterious stories, you can find her flying after her 5-year-old witchling or drinking coffee in bed with a book and her cat familiar.

You can keep up with her on Instagram, Facebook, Amazon, and Bookbub. For the inside scoop, join her newsletter list -- you’ll also get a FREE audiobook!

Star Trek or Star Wars?

Battlestar Galactica.


MCU, because it grabs the most people and we are sorely in need of more shared myths.

Coffee, tea, or cacao?

Obsessed with all three. Right now, Seattle’s Friday Teas is designing a special tea blend for the Blue Moon Bay Witches series, which we will package as if it’s from Sage’s Bakery, the magical bakery in the novels.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

Eons after everyone else did. My kindergarten teacher predicted it in her conference notes -- literally before I could write my name. This was a kind turn from the universe, as it taught me early that there was no point in trying to fool others or myself into believing I was normal!

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

I drop off my daughter at kindergarten, get coffee and work out, then start writing. I stop for the day at three p.m. when it’s time to pick her up. That’s about five hours a day to work, though on Fridays I can go longer because she’s at her dad’s. With this schedule I’m able to shoot for 3-4 books a year. Writing while mostly solo parenting a special needs child is challenging but wonderful.

Is there a trope you find yourself going back to in multiple works? Or one you avoid?

I’m drawn to found family, enemies to lovers, and claiming your own power/magic.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

That they don’t get any easier to write. As we gain more skills we tend to strive to create more complex book, juggling a larger cast of characters, weaving in more subplots, going deeper into POV, using theme more cohesively, etc. Still, feels unfair.

Do you have any suggestions to help someone become a better writer? If so, what are they?

Find an author community. Start a critique group. Join Discords and FB groups and local professional groups until you find your crew. You will travel forth together, and it will make every step of the journey both much pleasant and more meaningful.

What do you think makes a good story?

A tight structure + lots of butter. Butter is a literary concept made up by Theodora Taylor in her brilliant book 7 Figure Fiction. It refers to infusing your story with universal fantasies to capitvate readers. To grasp structure, I recommend Terry Brooks’ Story Engineering. I can’t overemphasize how handy it is to have the shape of Western three-act narrative down cold. That way, when you’re watching a film, out in the world, you can lean over and smugly tell your date, “Hey, guess what? The A and B plots just crossed at the Midpoint. This movie’s halfway over.” They’ll admire your eerie, incandescent genius.

What is the first book that made you cry?

I cry every day so it’s not some mystical feat, but Charlotte’s Web.

Does a big ego help or hurt writers?

A touch of grandiosity is preferable to being so wound up in self-hate that you can’t bear to have your work be seen or crumble at bad reviews, but a growth mindset is ideal. You have to know you’re worthy of a place at the table, but at the time time be able to question whether you’re really ready to sit down here at this particular table right now. To me that’s healthy self-confidence.

Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

It doesn’t matter what I try to do, it’ll end up skewing original anyway. This is called being a Forest or an Aquatic in the author ecosystems universe. This is also called my core wound in the author abundance world; one of my basic psyche issues, echoed in my main characters, is this angsty, ouchy idea that I’m too different and thus don’t belong. It is a juicy trope because, ironically, so many others feel the same way! Too bad you can’t heal wounds with pure logic.

Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?

Eh, nope. They’d be relegated to hard science fiction or bleeding-edge experimental lit fic and even then I don’t like their chances. People consume stories to feel. As a fiction writer you’re leading readers through an emotional experience, so if you yourself struggle to feel emotions at all then yeah that’s a significant disability.

What authors did you dislike at first but grew into?

When I first read 1984 as a teenager, I found it rather obvious and didactic. (Yeah, I was a dumb kid!) Then as an adult I read George Orwell’s essays and fell in love with his mind. Since then, I have realized that when I form an instant, strong dislike it means there’s an opportunity here for me to learn something.

What did you do with your first advance?

I lived on it, for years. It was a six figure advance from one of the bigs, a pre-empt, and I was very lucky.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

Only my current WIP! I really like to get things out there in front of people’s eyes. I’m far more likely to err on the side of publishing too soon than not!

What does literary success look like to you?

In a recent interview with actor and producer Sarah Michelle Gellar, whom I adore, she defined her own success as having brought to life two characters little girls now dress up as for Halloween. I LOVE that bar for success. And I hope film and TV adaptations are in my future.

What do you have coming next?

Fruitcake and Familiars, the third book in my Blue Moon Bay Witches series. To save Gran, Hazel must face her fear of camping and nature-y stuff. Along the way, she’ll solve the mystery of why fuzzy familiar spirits are vanishing all over town … and she may or may not finally kiss her forever crush, the morally complex Deputy Elliot.

Fruitcake and Familiars (Blue Moon Bay Witches 3) by Sierra Cross

Release date: March 30

Granny Sage needs a winter miracle. Could Elliot’s secret save her...or will it kill his romance with Hazel?

Deputy Elliot James is a walking—and flying—contradiction.

A loner crow.

An outlaw cop.

A shifter who shows up to parties on time and dressed appropriately, more or less.

Hazel’s struggling to come to terms with Elliot’s complex double life. She’s got trust issues and who could blame her, after a magical upbringing more screwed up than Cinderella’s?

But now Hazel’s mentor lies helpless in a magical coma, and only one man can help.

With her basic witch relatives scheming to sell off Gran’s cozy cottage, Hazel doesn’t have the luxury of hugging her comfort zone.

Her only hope is to join Elliot on a dangerous, forest trek to find Gran’s cure.

The question is, can their quest withstand an onslaught of chaotic forces -- from a freak snowstorm, to Elliot’s fae ex, to the town’s sudden and disturbing epidemic of vanishing familiars?

Will Hazel A) end up with Elliot, B) become a cat lady, or C) both? Read on for the answers.

If you like snarky witches, cozy mysteries, and slow-burn paranormal romance, escape to the sea-swept village of Blue Moon Bay.

Excerpt One

Ordinary girls, non-witches that is, spend their high school years crushing on the hot star quarterback. The smooth-talking class president. Or the stoner dude with perfectly messed hair, who’s popular for reasons no one quite understands…till he starts losing said hair at twenty-seven, dons khakis, and becomes a grumpy insurance salesman.

Looking at you, Beau Batowstki.

Me, my crush was a tall, dark-eyed loner who turned out to be a supernatural thief.

Granted, almost no one in Blue Moon Bay knew the truth about Elliot James. Those who did were criminals themselves, longtime members of the shifter gang he ran with as a teenager. But even his old friends were convinced he’d left that life behind after his own crow elders—as punishment for his crimes—stripped Elliot of his shifter magic.

No one ever knew how he got it back.

Ironically, these days people knew Elliot as Deputy James. AKA the law. A hardworking young officer serving justice.

And burning up his tan uniform.

Oh yeah, the last ten years hadn’t just made Elliot better at hiding his criminal activities. They’d also made him hotter. Annoyingly hot.

To his credit, he never seemed to notice or care how many women checked out his “assets” when he stopped by my bakery each morning for his usual coffee order.

Grande drip as black as a crow’s wing, if you’re wondering.

I shivered in the 4 AM December cold, wishing I’d thought to bring him one of his stupid, gross-tasting, macho coffees out here.

It might not have kept our conversation from cratering, but the steaming cup could have saved me from frostbite while I waited in the dark for Elliot to reach the edge of Corvid Woods on his jogging route. In shorts.

We stood face to face in the false dawn. Elliot’s arms were crossed over his chest defensively, his gaze so close to a glower it wasn’t easy for me to meet his sharp brown eyes. Snow flurries confettied happily down all around us like they hadn’t got the message that the party was cancelled.

Things, like I said, weren’t unfolding in an ideal manner.

“You didn’t come all the way to the woods just to call me out.” His voice was controlled, a forced light tone, but his eyes smoldered with barely held-back rage. “So what are you really after, Hazel?”

Excerpt Two

The bare plum tree in Gran’s front yard pulsed with silvery green magical holiday lights. As I climbed her creaky front steps and slipped in through the unlocked door, a female voice barked out from the front bedroom.

“….Unacceptable. No bog-standard, cookie cutter facility is going to cut it, do you hear me?” My mother was scolding my sister Bea, a rare event. “We must go high end. It’s a matter of pride.”

My angry pulse swirled in my ears. She’d mentioned putting Gran in a nursing home, but I’d shut it down hard. Not hard enough, I guess.

At least she wanted it to be a super luxe nursing home?

“Of course, Mother,” Bea said, in her smooth, diplomatic suck up voice. “I just thought maybe a budget option for venues would be smart—since we’re already splurging on wardrobe, catering, and florist.”

Wait, catering and florist? Good heavens, they weren’t talking about a nursing home. They were planning their annual solstice party. The Beige Witches Ball, as I’d always thought of it.

In Gran’s bedroom, while the woman lay unconscious.

“I’m not stressing cashflow this year,” Mother said ominously. “Did you download those comps from the real estate agent like I asked you to?”

“I … had a Zoom call with her, actually.” Bea sounded hesitant. Was she capable of feeling shame? She’d been the closest thing to an ally I’d had back home, but that wasn’t saying much.

“What did the realtor say?” Mother pressed her. “Too dated, too ‘Grandma?’ Did she use the word ‘teardown?’”

My pulse thumped in my ears. So Bea and Mother were at Gran’s very sickbed plotting how they were going to sell her place out from under her and take a wrecking ball to it.

Gee, I wonder from whence my trust issues sprang.

“Mother, she didn’t say any of that.” Again with Bea’s gentling voice. “Coastal Grandma beach houses are trending. Kaila thinks this place would go, like, tomorrow – as is, and not for a flip. It’s ‘darling cottagecore.’” She named an impressive sum, and my stomach felt sour.

Livid, I marched right up to the old white twin sleigh bed in the corner where Gran lay under a quilt and patted her listless hand.

“The two of you monsters aren’t going to be selling Gran’s house,” I fumed. “In case you haven’t noticed, she’s still in it!”

Excerpt Three (long)

The nearly-full moon was a golden peach, reflecting blurred and broken in the glassy lake two hundred feet below my left shoulder. Beetles buzzed in the redwoods hundreds of feet above my head.

It was all super beautiful, but who cared?

With every step I grew more uncomfortable, in that icy outdoor adventure-y way that other people managed to edit from their vacation memories, but I never could.

There was a reason I rarely left Blue Moon Bay. I liked my cushy loft with its feather bed. My warm, cozy bakery. Hot showers. Hairdryers. Central heating.

“Hey, could you stop for a sec?” I called up ahead to Elliot, who immediately turned to face me with a question in his eyes. I was grateful the shifter made a point of staying within ten steps of me, though he must have felt like he was moving at a snail’s pace. “How much longer until we set up camp for the night?”

“We, huh?” He sounded pleasantly surprised.

“You,” I amended. His painstaking explanation in the car hadn’t instilled in me the least amount of confidence that I could wrangle tentpoles and stakes and rainflies . . . whatever rainflies were. “I meant how long till I can stop hiking!”

He laughed. “You still doing okay back there?”

“Who, me?” Literally there was no one else he could be asking. I just hadn’t been expecting the note of tenderness in his voice. It threw me off, made me toss out dumb reflexive answers. “I’m fine.”

His eyes narrowed. “I don’t believe that any more than you do.”

Hex him for noticing me sometimes. I leaned forward and pretended to be adjusting my right glove. “Well, okay, maybe I’m just a little bit exhausted.” I admitted with an offhand shrug. “Sore. Freezing. Overwhelmed by all the variables that must go right for us to save Gran.” Uh oh, I was starting to ramble. “Standing here feeling stupid for thinking I could pull this off —”

“And I’m standing here thinking you’re pretty brave.”

Whoa. How had he gotten so much closer to me in the two seconds I was looking down?

His tall, muscular frame was suddenly mere inches away, and I felt grateful my curtain bangs were shielding my face and whatever goofy expression it was doing. This close to me, his peppery presence was spellbinding, making me feel dizzy in the nicest way.

And then he said it again. “You’re a brave witch, Hazel.” He leaned down and gently pushed my hair out of my eyes. “How did I not know that about you?”

I bit my lower lip, staring back at him in wonder. No one had ever called me brave before.

“It wasn’t always true,” I said and it dawned on me that if I was in fact courageous I’d kiss him right now.

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