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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at NYU chapter.

Welcome back to my Author Spotlight series! I’m really really excited to announce my interview with New York Times bestselling author F.T. Lukens about their new novel “Spell Bound.”  

F.T. Lukens is a New York Times bestselling author of YA speculative fiction including the novels “So This Is Ever After,” In Deeper Waters” and other science-fiction and fantasy works. Their contemporary fantasy novel “The Rules and Regulations for Mediating Myths & Magic” was a 2017 Cybils Award finalist in YA Speculative Fiction, the Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Gold Winner for YA fiction and won the Bisexual Book Award for Speculative Fiction. F.T. resides in North Carolina with their spouse, three kids, three dogs and three cats.

“Spell Bound” follows two young apprentice sorcerers who team up to save their teachers and protect their own magic in this lovely young adult romance adventure. 

Edison Rooker isn’t sure what to expect when he enters the office of Antonia Hex, the powerful sorceress who runs a call center for magical emergencies. He doesn’t have much experience with hexes or curses. Heck, he doesn’t even have magic. But he does have a plan—to regain the access to the magical world he lost when his grandmother passed. 

Antonia is…intimidating, but she gives him a job and a new name—Rook—both of which he’s happy to accept. Now all Rook has to do is keep his Spell Binder, an illegal magical detection device, hidden from the Magical Consortium. And contend with Sun, the grumpy and annoyingly cute apprentice to Antonia’s rival colleague, Fable. But dealing with competition isn’t so bad; as Sun seems to pop up more and more, Rook minds less and less.

But when the Consortium gets wind of Rook’s Spell Binder, they come for Antonia. All alone, Rook runs to the only other magical person he knows: Sun. Except Fable has also been attacked, and now Rook and Sun have no choice but to work together to get their mentors back…or face losing their magic forever.

What was the hardest part about writing dual POVS for the first time? Would you want to try this writing style again in future novels?

The most difficult aspect of writing dual POV was deciding whose POV to utilize for certain scenes. And also balancing the scenes out enough to give the reader a good sense of each character, their thought processes, and how they interact with their world and with the other characters. I had read “Give the Dark My Love” which is beautifully written by Beth Revis who utilizes dual POVs in that novel and it really helped me with understanding how to use it effectively. Also, I couldn’t not give either Rook or Sun a chance to shine through their own voice. I love both characters so much and they’re so different from each other that I wanted readers to hear from them both. And yes, the novel that is coming in 2024 is also a dual POV.

What made you strive to write a personal book dealing with characters whose personalities are characterized by your own anxieties and fears?

I think this was just where I was in my writing journey. I’m at a place now where I feel confident enough in myself and in my abilities as a writer where I could put these anxieties and fears on paper in a thoughtful, truthful and respectful way. I’ve also become more open with my family and friends about certain facets of myself and that has allowed me to be more open about that in my writing.

“In Deeper Waters” has a “Pirates of the Caribbean” feel to it while “So This is Ever After” is described as an Arthurian legend. “Spell Bound”, however, doesn’t have this inclusion of blending other works of literature since its foundation seems to be something entirely new. What made you decide to break this trend?

There are still several aspects in “Spell Bound” that are fairly common in fantasy media. They’re just reimagined or presented in a way that might not feel as familiar as my previous works. And there are definite nods to certain lore and mythology. But “Spell Bound” really is a product of thinking about things I wanted to try (like dual POV as mentioned above) and tropes I hadn’t written before and themes I wanted to address.

What is something about your fan base that you didn’t know was going to happen when you initially began as an author, and how has it expanded now that the “Spell Bound” fandom is starting?

I actually never imagined having a fanbase that was more than my family and friends. And now I receive messages from all over the world from people who have read my books and enjoyed them. I hope that readers who liked “In Deeper Waters” and “So This is Ever After” also enjoy “Spell Bound” even though it is a departure from my previous fantasy works to a contemporary fantasy.

Both love interests are complete opposites of each other. What did you have in mind when writing the escalating romance between Rook and Sun?

I really wanted to write the rivals to more trope but also wanted to incorporate a sunshine/grump dynamic. But I didn’t want the characters to be one-note either. Rook has an optimistic outlook because that is how he is coping with his loss. Sun is hyper focused on magic and withdrawn from others because they have had bad experiences in the past with trying to make friends. They’re both lonely in their own ways and as they get to know each other, they both begin to see the person beneath these exteriors. Their friendship comes from a place of understanding and their relationship slowly evolves from there. I also wanted to show that for some individuals romance can be as simple as holding hands and having fun together.

If you had to turn into one of your three dogs or three cats as a magical transformation fail-safe, who would it be and why?

We adopted a kitten during the pandemic that we named Gizmo. He’s grown into a large, long-haired spoiled cat. He’s very vocal when he wants something and is not above using his claws when he’s upset. But he’s usually very sweet. And he gets along well with all the other pets, even our big, clumsy hound dog who he likes to play with. So, if I ever needed to be magically transformed – I’d pick a cat, and of my pets, Gizmo would be the choice.

I just wanted to mention to our readers that F.T. is going on an in-person book tour from April 1 to April 7. Feel free to check out their Instagram for more details. Their first stop is at the Barnes and Noble in Union Square, and tickets can be purchased here

Thank you so much for answering my questions! I’d like to also thank Alex Kelleher-Nargorski from Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing for giving me this amazing chance to read one of F.T. ‘s works and interviewing them. 

I LOVED reading “Spell Bound” and seeing the romance between Sun and Rook build. I will definitely be checking out their other works sometime soon! 

Sabrina Blandon is an English major at NYU with a minor in creative writing. Avid reader herself and literary advocate, she has interviewed over 60 authors from New York Times bestselling ones to debut authors for Her Author Spotlight blog series for Her Campus NYU and Her Campus Hofstra. She loves exploring everything New York City has to offer and is a major foodie.