- a historical fiction and fantasy author who spends most of her time with her nose stuck in a book
Readers! Let’s give a good, hearty welcome to Scarlet Ingstad!
Scarlet Ingstad is a writer who is as obsessed with 18th-century history as she is creating worlds that never existed. When not writing, she can most likely be found on the piazza of Mount Vernon studying the American Revolution and the Golden Age of Piracy.
Scarlet is working on her second master’s degree and teaches online history classes to a group of teens. Scarlet was born in North Carolina but was raised along the coast of Virginia. She now lives right outside Washington D.C., exploring coffee shops, bookstores, and historical sites.
Scarlet, thanks for agreeing to be here today. Most interviews start off with bios and such, and while I’ll get to that as always, let’s start with the important stuff!
If you could have any pet (real/fantasy/no-allergies/no worries about feeding it) what would it be?
Growing up we had cats, fish, hamsters, and a turtle. But I would have to say, if I could have any pet, it would be a dragon. I am a pretty big Daenerys Targaryen fan, and the thought of having a massive dragon to ride around sounds pretty amazing. Although, I think instead of Drogon, I would probably prefer Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon…he seems like a safer bet. Dragons play a big role in my next fantasy book, so my head is always wrapped around what it would be like to actually “own” one.
You can’t go wrong with Toothless! Once he warms to you. 🙂
What do you write?
I have always written fantasy since I was a child, so for my first novel that’s the genre I selected. It’s the realm I know the most and am the most comfortable with. However, as I started working through this master’s program, I became more confident in the historical fiction genre. I now reside there primarily and am really enjoying the experience.
I started writing when I was very little (about eight years old) and wrote a story about my favorite hockey team, the Washington Capitals. After that, I started dabbling in the world of fanfiction just for fun and to share some of the things I constantly scrawled in my journals. A little over two years ago, I finally felt confident enough to try out the self-publishing route. It’s challenging, but also very rewarding.
I completely understand the childhood draw to fantasy. I’m fascinated by people who love the research and historical fiction as much as you seem to and am thrilled that you’ve found a home there.
What do you like to read?
I read mostly historical texts with some historical fiction and fantasy sprinkled in. Between school and my history interests, I usually have 3 to 4 books going at a time that I switch between for various research purposes. 18th-century revolutions are my favorite subject matter, and I am typically reading about pirates during that era, and the American Revolution. I have started dabbling in the French, Haitian, and Brazilian revolutions as well.
Oh wow, I’ve always been impressed by people who can switch between books, but I’m afraid I’m a serial monogamist when it comes to my reading habits.
Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that doesn’t work for you.
Take a break.
I am probably the absolute worst at taking breaks. I have never, in any aspect of my life, known when to put the pen down and breathe.
During the first month of quarantine, I wrote out 75,000 words for my next historical fiction book centered around the Marquis de Lafayette, Benjamin Tallmadge, and Alexander Hamilton. Right after that, I went through two months of intense editing to complete and publish my Anne Bonny novel much earlier than anticipated.
I understand the importance of breaks and how they are needed, but getting me to actually take a break is quite the challenge. Ask any one of my friends or family members. They have stories.
Oh wow! You’re a writing power-house! I waffle between understanding how to take breaks and frustration/eagerness to get to the next stage with whatever project I have on the backburner.
If you can’t get yourself to take a full break, do what I do and hit your to-read pile while your beta-readers or critique partners are sitting on your manuscript.
Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that they can pry out of your cold, dead hands.
Stop worrying about being a good writer, just WRITE!
It took me quite some time to accept this piece of advice, but now that I have, I am never letting it go. If there is a story in my head, I need to get it down on paper as fast as possible so as to not lose any details. The formatting, wording, style, flow, and grammar can all be revisited another time. Getting that story from your head onto a page is the most important part. After all, that’s why they make editors, right?
Even if the story is not perfect, even if the plot has holes or frayed edges, it doesn’t matter. That first draft is just about you getting that story out of your head. Furthermore, even when you are ready to publish, don’t stress about who will or will not like your story. Not every book is meant for every person. Getting beyond the “what if they don’t like me” thought process is absolutely vital.
That’s my philosophy as well! You can only get better at writing stories by… writing stories. At some point, you’ve gotta just sit down and write.
Shameless Self-Promotion time!
Debuting this month is: The She-Wolf, based on the true story of the sea-faring pirate, Anne Bonny.
Born as the result of a torrid affair, Anne Cormac is raised by a father who doesn’t want her, and in a world that won’t accept her. Rebellious and angry, Anne flees her father’s home and runs into the arms of James Bonny, a small-time pirate. But James proves to be as problematic as Anne’s father.
Stuck, yet again, by a man who refuses to accept who she is, Anne stumbles across the path of the notorious pirate captain, Jack Rackham: a man who will change her life forever. As Anne struggles to figure out who she truly is, one of Britain’s most successful privateers, Woodes Rogers, begins his quest to rid Nassau of the pirates for good.
Soon, Anne finds herself facing the British Empire head-on in a battle, not only for freedom for the pirates of Nassau but for her very life.
My first book I published is the YA fantasy Krekania.
Lydall Barron is stuck in a marriage pact between her kingdom and the neighboring kingdom of Westland. For decades the tradition of marrying a lord or lady of Westland maintained a peace treaty between the lands and aided in avoiding another catastrophic war. But for Lydall, it feels like a prison order. Desperate to escape her fate, Lydall flees Histair on the back of her stallion and races off into the highlands. Lost and confused, they stumble upon an unusual looking stone in the center of a clearing.
Curious, she reaches out a hand and touches the stone…and instantly Lydall is transported to a land much unlike her own: Krekania, the last land of magic. A world full of creatures like winged-wolves, unicorns, elves, firefoxes, and even mermaids, Krekania is a flourishing oasis for all who possess magic. Lydall is swept away by the glowing plants and beautiful landscape, but soon learns that something else also calls Krekania home…and that not all magic is good.
To save the last land of magic, Lydall must become what Krekania needs most: The Woman of Fire. Five elves, one Queen, and one human must fight together and overcome their past, or all will be lost. The Woman of Fire Shall Rise.
I plan to write a sequel to Krekania down the road as well!
My current project is a 2-part historical fiction series about the Marquis de Lafayette, Alexander Hamilton, and Benjamin Tallmadge. The first book will be called We the Sons and the second We the Fathers. A young French aristocrat, poor Caribbean immigrant, and the son of a pastor — follow their journeys from when they first join the American Revolution through to the formation of America’s government.
Check Scarlet Ingstad out across the web!