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EXCLUSIVE! Crisanta Knight author Geanna Culbertson is here to talk fantasy fiction and future projects
Here at GL, we're *obsessed* with The Crisanta Knight Series by amaze author Geanna Culbertson. The nine book installment (which we've been following since Book One, btw) just came to a close with the grand finale, Eternity's End. Naturally, we had to sit down with Geanna to get all the deets and learn more about her writing process, future projects and love of fantasy fiction.
Girls' Life: So, tell us about yourself.
Geanna Culbertson: I'm an author of fantasy fiction, and I have 11 books out now. But what I'm mostly known for is my nine book series about the kids and siblings of fairy tale characters—The Crisanta Knight Series. The finale came out in the fall, but before that, I had just released the first book in my new guardian angels series, Heaven't You Heard? I love being an author. One of my passions is inspiring girls of all ages, and that's the thing about my work I'm most proud of: that so many girls of different age groups can connect with it.
GL: Can you tell us more about The Crisanta Knight Series?
Geanna: Ever since I was little, I always asked a lot of questions, and I *loved* fairy tales...but I also really loved superheroes. I tended to veer more towards books with male main characters, because a lot of the girl main character books were super romance-focused— and that can be fun, but I feel like it often takes the lead in girl-driven stories. I thought, Okay, how do I have a character that's like Iron Man and Spider-Man, but also like Cinderella and Belle? My main character is Crisanta Knight, the daughter of Cinderella. She's not ashamed to be a princess—she just wants more expected of her than the traditional roles that come with being Cinderella's daughter.
GL: What's your writing process like?
Geanna: When I was in school, I would get up at 3 a.m. on Fridays and walk to the cafe on campus to write before classes started. That time was just for me when the rest of the world was asleep. Now that I have a full-time job in marketing, I write from around 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. It really helps my concentration, to just be in the dark and quiet and have that brain space. Music is also very important to me. A lot of ideas can be triggered based on what you're listening to, and certain playlists can really enhance how you write.
GL: Has any part of the writing process changed for you now in Book Nine versus when you first started?
Geanna: Definitely. One of the important things about writing a series is remembering everything in the earlier books, which becomes more complicated as time goes on. It's been nine books, and some of my books are very large (like, you could stop a door with them or hurt a squirrel). But as you develop your worlds and storylines, you always have to ensure your bases are covered as your imagination expands. Holes aren't fun when you're driving, and holes aren't fun when you're reading either. As a writer, you have to take care when crafting your stories, more so the deeper you go. Also, the thing with writing is that practice makes perfect, and practice makes you faster. On average, a book may take writers a year to write. I started that way. I wrote the first three in school, but after that I started to pick up the pace and found myself feeling more familiar with the characters, worlds and creating in general. Now I can write a full book in a couple of months. It's just a matter of finding a rhythm that works in terms of when you write the best and how you plot ideas for yourself. Find your process and go full steam ahead.
GL: What is it like to leave the Crisanta Knight world after writing it for so long?
Geanna: Kind of weird, because those characters have been in my head for years. I have Crisanta Knight swag in most of the rooms in my house, whether it's little gifts or posters. Overall, I know that world is always going to be a part of my world. I love it, and I put my heart and soul into it, as I do with all my books. I'm still developing The Crisanta Knight Series audiobooks and other fun CK areas like my new Hero-Princess Book Club. I speak at schools about the books regularly and attend events, and I hope to keep spreading the wonder of that series to people around the world. At the same time, I am eager to grow and expand my literary universe, Culbertson Kingdom. That's one of the reasons I wanted to release the first book in my new series before I released the Crisanta Knight finale—partly for me, but also for the fans to be able to jump over to something else. That freedom is fun because I was fully locked into the Crisanta Knight world, and now I can explore new ones!
GL: What advice would you give to girls who want to write their own books?
Geanna: Just write it, girl! Attack it and write it. If you're passionate about any idea, you should pursue it, because no one's going to do it for you. You don't have to have a giant, grand plan of what you're going to do with it. When I started writing, I didn't know I was going to be published. I didn't even know Crisanta Knight was going to be nine books! I just knew I had an idea and that I needed to write it down. If it keeps your mind wandering at night and your daydreams going during the day, then there's something there. So chase after it, even if it's just for yourself. Your imagination is telling you something.
Geanna Culbertson's Heaven't You Heard? series follows Grace Cardiff, a 17-year-old assigned to be a teenage guardian angel in the afterlife. After assuming a new identity on Earth to protect the people who impact humankind, Grace uses her magic angel powers (and natural spunk, ofc) to protect her teenage boy assignment from danger and demons. Who knew Heaven would involve an identity crisis *and* going back to high school? The second book, Halo, My Name Is..., is currently in the works!
Check out Geanna's books at geannaculbertson.com!
Slider image via @the.magicalpages
Top image via Girls Scouts of Orange County of Geanna Culbertson