Serene Conneeley is the Australian author of the Into the Mists Trilogy – Into the Mists, Into the Dark and Into the Light – and the Into the Storm Trilogy – Into the Storm, Into the Fire and 2019’s Into the Air – and has also written five non-fiction books. She loves working out, lifting weights, drinking tea, travelling, dancing in stone circles and celebrating the phases of the moon…
DL: Firstly, since this is a coffee chat, how do you take your coffee (or not as has been the case), and what is your favourite time of the day to partake?
Serene: I’m a #fuelledbytea kinda girl. Strong earl grey with soy milk and honey – just like the main character in my Into the Mists series. (I didn’t realise just how many pots of tea she brews a day until I was editing it for the hardcover trilogy omnibus.) I drink tea all day, possibly more than I should and later than is wise. But if I’m at a cafe, I’ll sometimes have a latte...
DL: Purple features heavily on your branding. Is there a magical or spiritual meaning behind the colour purple?
Serene: Ha ha, yes, there is a lot of purple – which is making my new book Into the Fire a little tough to meld with the others, since it's all red. Purple is a magical colour, representing creativity, mystery, peace and magic, but mostly I just like it :-) And in the Mists books there is a purple-clad Otherworldly being, so that ties in well too – she’s on the cover of Into the Dark.
DL: Your novels are magical realism. Firstly can you explain what magical realism is. And is there any particular influence such as TV show or books that inspired you to write about magical realism?
Serene: Magical realism is a genre somewhere between fantasy and contemporary – the stories are set in the real world, but there is magic in it. Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman and Chocolat by Joanne Harris are examples. They’re my favourite books to read, and I do believe there is magic in our world (just perhaps not quite as well defined as in my books), so I guess it was inevitable that’s how I would write novels. Also, the Mists series grew out of my writing and research for the non-fiction book Witchy Magic, and a lot of the rituals and spells are my own. My favourite magical realism authors are Sarah Addison Allen, Menna Van Praag and Philip Pullman, and TV-wise, I’m re-watching Charmed at the moment – real-life modern San Francisco, with witches added – magical realism at its best :-)
DL: You're a regular at the Australian pop culture cons. What are some highlights and lowlights to these conventions?
Serene: I have done a few Supanovas and Oz Comic-Cons now! I love dressing up, meeting other authors (like you!), and chatting to readers. It’s amazing when someone will come back to buy the next book in the series the following year because they loved it so much. When I’m doubting myself and wondering what the point is, it’s those things that keep me going. They are exhausting, especially because I’m an introvert who spends most of my time hiding out in my little purple office on my own, but I love them…
DL: And lastly, are you a biscuit or cake kind of person? And what is your favourite biscuit/cake?
Serene: I try to be good – I work out too hard to wipe it all out with too much naughtiness :-) – but I am partial to scones (reminds me of England) and ginger biscuits...
Into the Mists series has expanded from a single little stand-alone novel to a planned ten books and counting. Check out the full series.
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Thanks Serene for dropping by. It was lovely to chat with you.
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