Q&A: Rochelle Hassan, Author of ‘The Buried and the Bound’

Q&A: Rochelle Hassan, Author of 'The Buried and the Bound'

We chat with author Rochelle Hassan about her contemporary fantasy YA debut The Buried and the Boundwhich follows monsters, magic, and wicked fae, perfect for fans of The Darkest Part of the Forest and The Hazel Wood.

Hi Rochelle! Can you tell our readers a bit about yourself?

Hello! I’m an author of middle grade and young adult fantasy, including The Prince of Nowhere, which was my debut novel. I spend my free time wandering around New York City, watching anime, hunting down new songs for my writing playlists, and—of course—reading.

When did you first discover your love for writing and stories?

The love for stories came first—the characters that felt like friends, the worlds I found comfort in escaping to. I remember drawing my own Sailor Moon comics at eight or nine years old, before I’d picked up much of a reading habit. But once I discovered how much I loved books as a medium for storytelling, that led me naturally to writing. I started making up original characters in middle school, envisioning all kinds of adventures for them. And then I just never stopped.

Quick lightning round! Tell us the first book you ever remember reading, the one that made you want to become an author, and one that you can’t stop thinking about!

The first one I can remember would be a Little Golden Book—those picture books with the gold foil spines, which my mom would read with me. Sleeping Beauty, maybe.

A book I can’t stop thinking about is Gideon the Ninth.

Every one of the magical, adventurous middle grade fantasies that turned me into an avid and lifelong reader had a hand in my becoming an author. The best representative of these is probably Emily Rodda’s Deltora Quest series.

Your new novel, The Buried and the Bound, is out now! If you could only describe it in five words, what would they be?

Chaotic coven battles magical monsters!

What can readers expect?

It’s a contemporary fantasy told from three POVs: Aziza, a grumpy hedgewitch determined to protect her hometown from the dangers that tend to stray across fairyland’s boundary; Leo, who lost all his memories of his true love due to a dormant curse that took effect on his sixteenth birthday; and Tristan, a necromancer bound in unwilling servitude to a terrible creature. There’s action, romance, fae mischief, family secrets, and evil things that lurk in the woods. It’s also the beginning of a trilogy.

Where did the inspiration for The Buried and the Bound come from?

I wanted to write the kind of fantasy where magic is woven into the real world, hidden just out of sight, and I took a lot of inspiration from fairytales and folklore. I’m also a big fan of stories where the power of friendship saves the day; at heart The Buried and the Bound is about three isolated teenagers who band together to overcome their figurative and literal monsters.

Were there any moments or characters you really enjoyed writing or exploring?

Any scene that involves a magical creature, a fight, a chase, or intense pining was probably a lot of fun for me!

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Do you have any advice for those who may have set some writing resolutions for the new year?

It’s more important to build a writing habit that’s sustainable for you than it is to set hard rules for yourself, like meeting a daily word goal, when that approach might not be a fit for your lifestyle and creative process. Don’t worry about what other people are doing. Focus on your own work.

What’s next for you?

I’m working on the sequels to it The Buried and the Boundas well as a spooky middle grade project I hope to be able to talk about more in the near future.

Finally, are there any 2023 releases our readers should look out for?

An upcoming book I was lucky enough to read in advance is Kalyn Josephson’s This Dark Descent, which is an amazing YA dark fantasy involving a deadly magical competition and cunning characters with hidden agendas, which are some of my favorite things. I’m also excited for Monster by Jessica Lewis, which is about a girl seeking revenge on the town that tried to sacrifice her to an ancient monster, and the latest installment in The Murderbot Diaries.

You can find Rochelle on Instagram and her website.

Will you be picking up The Buried and the Bound? Tell us in the comments below!

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