To celebrate the release of Charlie N. Holmberg's new book Smoke & Summons, we asked the author to open up and let readers in on 10 things they should all know about her!

1. My real name is Charlie

I get asked all the time what my name is short for. It’s just Charlie! I was named after the perfume. My family and several of my friends call me Chuck, and in high school I had a Ford Ranger that said “Chuck’s Truck” on the license plate.

2. I am a woman

With a name like Charlie, it’s a given that readers mistake me for a man. Not everyone checks the picture on that back page. But it’s always a relief when reviewers congratulate me for writing women well!

3. I am a feminist

I stand against the objectification of women in media and in society. It is a real problem, one that I didn’t even notice until my twenties. I’m a huge proponent of I believe in supporting the rights and dignities of all people, regardless of gender.

4. I am a musical person

My mom made me take piano lessons when I was five years old and told me I could quit when I was 16. She’d stick me in the corner when I didn’t want to practice. Some may see this as harsh, but I’m really glad she did it.

I picked up the saxophone when I was 12, but after getting braces that included a plastic plate against the roof of my mouth, I switched to the flute. I eventually learned to play the French and elk horns as well.

In high school, I was enrolled in four different bands (jazz, symphonic, concert, and pep). I considered majoring in musical composition at university, but I knew learning theory would make me hate music, so I chose English instead. I’ve since taught myself to play the ukulele and am taking singing lessons!

5. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

I’m an active Christian and strive to live the way Christ teaches (though admittedly, it’s not always easy!). I believe in acceptance and love. But yes, we’re quirky—no coffee, tea, or booze for us!

6. I adore Studio Ghibli

I’ve been a huge fan of Hayao and Goro Miyazaki for years, and they’ve inspired MANY of my books. My all-time favourite movie is Howl’s Moving Castle. My children are more familiar with Totoro than they are with Cinderella. I aspire to reach the same level of creative genius Studio Ghibli infuses into their films.

7. I'm a wife and a mom

I got married in 2010 to the boy I’d had a crush on since I was 15 (it only took him six years to ask me out). I have two children, a girl and boy, ages five and two. I love my family more than anything, and they always come first.

8. I taught myself how to bake when I was 10

We didn’t have a ton of money growing up, so my parents never bought snacks. No junk food in the house, save for special occasions (let me tell you, mornings when I woke up and realized we had Poptarts were the best mornings of my life). I have a massive sweet tooth, so when I was 10 years old, I taught myself how to bake so I could have treats! No joke, I made brownies three times a week. I worked my way through the entire cookie section of my mother’s Betty Crocker cookbooks.

9. I'm going to Europe for the first time this year

And I am SO EXCITED. The history alone floors me. I can’t wait to stand in a building older than my country! I’m most excited to see a real-life castle. We’re starting off in Paris (my husband used to live there), and I’ve been taking French lessons for the last six months in preparation. J’ai hâte d’y aller!

10. I got my start in fanfiction

I was a huge anime buff as a teenager, ever since watching The Vision of Escaflowne when I was 13. I started writing a lot of anime-based fan fiction, including an enormous Mary Sue (aka a story starring a character thinly veiled as myself) that’s half a million words long! But I will never reveal my pen name... those stories are better left in the dark.

Charlie N. Holmberg is the author of the Paper Magician book series. New novel Smoke & Summons is the first in a thrilling new series, and is available now.

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