Author Interview – C.F.E. Black

Author C.F.E. Black’s first novel in the Scepter and Crown series, titled Blade of Ash, released this past week!

I’m so pleased to host my friend C.F.E. Black for my next author interview on this blog! C is the author of the Scepter and Crown series of clean, epic Young Adult fantasy books. Book one, Blade of Ash, released this past week! You can find it here on Amazon. Welcome, C!

Q: C, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m a mom to two boys, a one-month-old and a three-year-old, and they keep me busy! I also teach Spanish part time at a local homeschool co-op. If there’s any free time left over, I love to run. 

Q: For your “day job”, you’re both a mom and a teacher. What drew you to writing?

I’ve always wanted to be a writer. In fifth grade, I decided I was going to a writer one day, and that’s when I started writing nonstop. My best friend and I would write stories together, and it was really those stories we wrote together that showed me how much I loved to write. 

Q: What should our audience know about the Scepter and Crown series?

The series explores the power of truth and the deceptiveness of lies, and each book individually shows this on a more granular level. Also, the books are on the milder side of PG-13, with no sexual content, language, or overt gore. That’s important to me as a reader (and mom of future readers). 

Q: The fantasy magic system in the world of Scepter and Crown is a unique one. You also write from a Christian perspective. Can you tell us about the development process and nature of your world’s magic, and how your Christian faith informed that development?

Writing the magic system for this was so fun. As a Christian, I wanted to show that truth has power but truth can be corrupted or lost when we believe lies. So I crafted a world where truth literally fuels magic, and lies have their own dark magic. I knew this would be tricky, but it was neat to explore, delving into the way lies weaken us and even warp our sense of reality. 

I had to tread carefully, though, as I did not want to create a system where truth became a genie-like force that could grant our every wish. The truth is not malleable, and the sorcerers in the book can’t alter the truth. Instead, in the book the people capable of magic have to study to become masters of Truthpulling, or conducting magic. I wanted to create a magic system that supports a Christian worldview while at the same time touches on something universal: the importance of truth and the danger of lies. 

Q: Blade of Ash focuses on Alyana, the royal sorceress, a covert and secretive figure, and Red, the newly crowned king trying to unravel the circumstances of his father’s death. Can you tell us more about the story? Avoiding spoilers, did you have a favorite scene or moment to write?

This story had a huge series of progressive changes. I imagine most authors can say the same about their early books. I didn’t even have Aly’s POV in the book until a very late draft. The death curse wasn’t in the first draft, either! But the big thing Red and Aly do at the end was always the direction the story was headed, even from draft one. 

As to my favorite part, the romance is definitely my favorite. A scene I really like is the one when he sees her at the ball (I know some early readers love this scene too!). Fight scenes are the best to write, aside from romantic scenes, and the final battle scene is one of my favorites, as is the Canyon scene. 

If it’s not too much, I’ll add something small here: the Canyon scene was my most emotional scene to write. In 2014, I almost died in the Grand Canyon, and this story was always moving toward a moment where the characters would face death in a Canyon. This scene is part of me in more ways than I can express. 

Q: Blade of Ash is written from both Aly and Red’s perspectives. Did you find it challenging writing from a male point of view?

From the inception of the story, I wanted to write from a man’s POV. I think we need more of this in YA books. I wanted to show the romance from the man’s eyes, but I realized eventually that to make the story work, we had to have the woman’s POV too. I enlisted some early male beta readers to see if I was way off track—which I was in some areas! They helped tremendously. It was challenging to craft a male character with flaws and failings that feels genuine and comes across as likable. But I adore Red, and I hope readers do too (especially after the Canyon scene!). 

Q: It’s been so great to have you, C! Before we go, can you tell us a little bit about what else we can expect from later books in the Scepter and Crown series?

Book two has probably my favorite title of the whole series: Crown of Dust. If you like romance, book two is for you! It’s still clean, but Red and Aly move from tentative to dedicated, and it’s so tender and fun. But, of course, with that increased dedication comes increased obstacles to actually being together! As the series progresses, the characters will continue to discover lies they’ve been believing, and the repercussions of these lies are bigger and broader than they imagined. Some lies are woven into the very fabric of their world, and Red and Aly will have to try to root them out.


C. F. E. Black loves to get swept away in books, both reading and writing them. When she’s not writing or chasing her sons, she’s teaching high schoolers and trying her best to be a light in their lives. She lives in beautiful north Alabama with her superhero husband, sons, and fur-family. Connect with her and find free stories at www.cfeblack.com.

Published by headdeskliz

Elizabeth Jacobson is the author of Not by Sight: a novel of the patriarchs. She lives and teaches in sunny California and loves fantasy, science fiction, and historically-based Christian fiction. She has multiple other titles in the works.

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