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Meet Angelique Iles



Photo Via - Canada-info.ca - Candice Vetter


A. Iles is from Ottawa, Canada. She works in an animal rescue shelter, enjoys gardening, and loves to read. Her love of nature and animals is on full display in her work, her writing often weaving her knowledge of plants into the tapestry of the setting.


What inspired you to become an author?


Working at the post office, sorting mail a few hours a day and putting up with irate customers (why are post office clientele so angry?) was an inspiring place to start. Most of the letter mail was bills or mass mailings, but occasionally a handwritten letter would pass through my hands. Some of these were in envelopes beautifully decorated with different paper and stickers.

 

It reminded me of when I was young, waiting for a magical letter to arrive and change my life. It made me think that I used to have dreams, ambitions, and I had largely given them up. That’s when I decided my dreams weren’t going to be delivered to me inside a beautiful envelope; I had to make them happen. I came up with the story of Kentree’s Stolen Souls while sorting mail.




Is there a reason you chose to write in the Fantasy genre?


It’s my favourite genre to read and I love the idea that a spell could repair something broken, make plants grow more quickly, or protect you from a falling building. I wanted to explore how life might be different if magic was part of the tapestry.

 

Please share a brief synopsis of Kentree's Stolen Souls. The first book in your planned trilogy.


Twenty-eight-year-old Eliza Paladin discovers she is a witch with the power to manipulate the elements. She and her talking cat, Pal, are invited to study witchcraft at Kentree Institute of Magic. Even as Eliza is struggling to master her studies, a dark force threatens to take away the very magic which has given her life meaning.


Why did you decide to make your protagonist, Eliza Paladin, twenty-eight as opposed to a younger age?

 

When you’re a fantasy reader, it’s hard to find a story about a female main character who isn’t turning sixteen in the first chapter. It’s an age when there are a lot of changes and when you begin to seek your independence and identity, but it has been over sixteen years since I was sixteen! I wanted to read a fantasy story that I could see myself as the main character. I decided to write it.


Initially Eliza was going to be in her late thirties, but she made so many references to how old she was it made me laugh to rewrite her in her twenties. We all know an annoying 25-year-old who makes a big deal about how old they are, meanwhile, all us thirty and above roll our eyes. It’s a privilege to age!




 

In Kentree’s Stolen Souls a fresh take on the world of magic is presented to a new generation of fantasy lovers and within this magical sphere comes options, for example to use a wand or not. Abandoning the norm works like magic in your story, no pun intended. Why did you decide to stray from conventional writing on this subject?

 

Kentree is located on the border between Canada and the United States, which makes it a school in two countries whose populations are made up primarily of recent immigrants. There are so many branches of magic to explore because it is unlikely people from cultures all around the world would have developed their magic in the same way. If Kentree was located somewhere with a deep history, I might have stuck to one branch of magic. The setting influenced the magic.





Eliza has a gift for summoning the elements of nature? Why was it important to you to assign her that magical talent and how do you think it impacts the plot?

 

Because Eliza is older, she had time to develop her own personal style of magic. She didn’t follow a script; she was out on her own in the world and had to feel her way toward magic. She was self-reliant for so long, it’ll be more difficult for Eliza to fit into the witching world. This will impact her story for the entirety of the trilogy. The relationship between nature and magic is explored further in Kentree’s Haunted Halls.





I love that you entwine your narrative with herbs and flowers from your garden. Was including these elements in your story decided before drafting your novel or did you get an epiphany while in the thick of things?

 

You’re supposed to write about what you know, and I know about plants and cats! Thus, there are gardens at Kentree and Eliza’s home, and her talking cat exhibits all the classic cat behaviours we know and love. What’s more magical than a garden and a cat?

 

The descriptions of Eliza’s garden truly come to life for the reader. I myself was transported there as I read. I preach to aspiring authors, through wordytips.com, the importance of research. Did you research herbs and plants to enhance your personal knowledge on the subject? If so, please share with our readers how your discoveries helped you create such realistic scenes.

 

My garden has been a seven year research project! I have a garden for tea where I harvest fresh leaves all summer, then in the fall I dry enough to make my own tea all winter. My flowers are all perennials that attract bees, and I try to find edible perennials so I can also enjoy the fruits of my labour. I’ve read a lot of books and encyclopedias about the subject, even before I decided to write this story.

 

Since it’s my first series, I’m glad the setting is familiar territory so I can focus on making my storytelling improve. I think my next series will involve more research as I want to dive into unfamiliar historical settings.




 

How did the idea to set your novel in a magical school evolve?

 

I’m a millennial who grew up on Harry Potter. I’m not embarrassed when people say my book is like “Harry Potter meets X”. It’s very much written for all of us who wished we had received an acceptance letter when we were eleven, and never did. I’m in my thirties and still waiting. That said, the story and characters are all very different from J.K.’s world and the direction I’m going with the series is thematically different. She explored death in her seven books, meanwhile Kentree is exploring the idea of right and wrong, and the uncomfortable grey area in between.





Please share a brief synopsis from book 2 in the Kentree series, Kentree’s Haunted Halls - Return to Magic. 


In a school where students are taught to raise the dead, twenty-nine-year-old Eliza Paladin finds no place to hide from her own ghosts and ghastly origins. With the help of her talking cat, Pal, Eliza must discover what the witching world has been hiding, and whether she can be complicit in the deception herself.


What can readers of book 2, Kentree’s Haunted Halls, expect from Eliza and are there any new magical discoveries?

 

There is a HUGE magical discovery which will shake the core of the witching world! I think it will be very satisfying to readers and will set in motion the events of the third and final book in the series. What separates witching folk from Mundunces? We’ll find out.





What role does Pal, Eliza’s talking cat, play in book 2?

 

Pal is Eliza’s best friend, confidant, and conscience. His advice is always good and Eliza would be better off if she always asked Pal’s opinion before doing anything. Pal deserves to have a bigger role, and he’s going to get it.





Did you design the covers of your books, or did you work with an illustrator?

 

The illustrations are my own. I thought having a rough hand-drawn doodle would show straight away it’s not a book that takes itself too seriously. There’s not high level politics and gore like the Witcher or Game of Thrones, and I think a doodle of a girl with a cat shows that pretty well. I also didn’t want it to look too polished, AI makes everything look so perfect now. I left my illustration a little rough so people would know straight away a real, flawed human made them.





Who are some of your favorite authors and what influence, if any, do you think they may have had in leading you to write a novel?

 

Suzanne Collins is one of my favourite writers. I love how matter-of-fact Katniss is and that romance did not become the main story line when our main characters are all fighting for their lives. It definitely influenced me to keep romance out of Kentree’s main story.

 

Michael Pollan has long been a favourite; he taught me that even a subject as benign as gardening could make delicious reading.

 

Jane Austen, Eoin Colfer, Helen Fielding, J.K. Rowling, and A.L. Knorr all deserve to be mentioned as influences for different reasons.





Debut authors often struggle with how to reach an audience and get their book out there. Becoming a successful indie author is a daunting process, but it also comes with many rewards and freedoms. What made you decide to take the indie author path as opposed to the traditional publishing route?

 

When I was twenty-one I wrote a chic-lit and submitted to every publisher I could find and heard nothing back. It probably wasn’t a very good book, but this time around I didn’t want to slow my progress by submitting to a bunch of publishers. I thought I’d write my first series on my own, grow my audience and when I write the second series I’ll be able to show that I have a good track record and an established fan base.

 

No one becomes a successful author overnight and I’ve decided to take the realistic route and chip away at this slowly. When my second series comes out I’ll be a better writer and I’ll have people around me to back that up.

 

Please share your experience with publishing on Amazon and would you recommend this route to aspiring authors?

 

The problem with self publishing is that you might be tempted to cut corners. You need to have other people read your book before you publish. You need to take feedback. Every time I take feedback, the story gets better. Don’t skip that step. We’re not just talking about typos, you don’t want gaping holes in your story to ruin what was otherwise a fun adventure.

 

I think Amazon is great for indie authors. Their prices for printing are reasonable and the online ordering process for readers is very convenient. The only downside is how difficult it is to get into physical book stores but even a traditional publisher can’t guarantee that.


What advice do you have for aspiring authors?

 

Write, write, write. It’s easier to edit a bad page than a blank one.





Can you share a little tidbit from book 3 in the Kentree series, and do you have a title?

 

Kentree’s Wicked Witch will pick up where Kentree’s Haunted Halls left off. It’s going to be the best of the three!


To purchase Angelique Iles books:

Kentree's Stolen Souls Amazon

Kentree's Haunted Halls Amazon


To learn more about Angelique Iles follow her on Instagram:




1 Comment


What a wonderful interview! These books are marvelous and I can't wait for book three!

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Hi. I'm Liz Ambrico, freelance proofreader and aspiring author. I too am querying agents, editors, and publishers in hopes of becoming a published author.

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