Some mornings, it might feel like you’ve been cursed with frizzy hair forever, or maybe even a giant pimple that will never go away. But what if your family was stuck with a real curse — one that kind of ruined their lives in very inventive ways? That’s the situation Esther finds herself in, in the hilarious and swoony new YA novel, A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares. Esther’s plan to avoid her family’s curse of phobias gets wrecked when a (very cute) boy volunteers to help her work through each of her fears. Esther’s story will inspire giggles and the desire to take more risks — two things we definitely approve of! We caught up with author Krystal Sutherland, the brains behind your new favorite read. Scroll on to learn more from this brilliant writer!

Brit + Co: Describe your book in six words or less.

Krystal Sutherland: Girl cursed to suffer great fear.

B+C: Where/when do you do your best writing?

KS: When? I’m most productive in the very early morning, when the house is quiet and everyone else is asleep. All of my best words are written before 9am. Where? At my kitchen table if I’m drafting, or in a library if I’m editing (so I can’t emotionally eat everything in the fridge).

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever done for book research?

KS: For Nightmares, I considered facing some of the fears I force my main character, Esther, to face, like caving and heights. In the end, I was too much of a chicken to go through with it. I’ve heard of authors doing crazy stuff for research though, like digging a grave in their own backyard to see how hard it was.

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Happy #NaNoWriMo!

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B+C: What’s your go-to cure for when you’re stuck in a creativity rut?

KS: I’m in a rut now, trying to find my way out! I think you need to read a lot, to remind yourself what a good story feels like — nothing gets me more excited to write than reading someone’s else’s excellent words. I also like to go to the NaNoWriMo website and re-read the author pep talks there. It helps to know that other people have gone through exactly what I’m going through.

B+C: What two lady heroes do you turn to for inspiration, and why?

KS: Two badass lady heroes that have been giving me life recently are Agnieszka from Naomi Novik’s Uprooted and Wing Jones from Katherine Webber’s The Heartbeats of Wing Jones. Both fantastic characters from fantastic books.

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❤ @tortikannuchka

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B+C: What’s your latest Instagram obsession?

KS: Cake decorating/baking videos on Instagram are a deep, dark, bottomless pit that can suck up hours of your time. So addictive, but so good! I especially like @tortikannuchka, @thescranline, and @sweetsambs.

B+C: Can you name a book that you think deserves a little more love + recognition?

KS: Everyone needs to read The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden.

B+C: What’s next on your to-read pile?

KS: V. E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic series.

B+C: What advice do you have for aspiring creative ladies?

KS: Why not you? That was my mantra for myself whenever anyone told me that a career in a creative industry like writing was almost impossible. Books are going to continue to be published, films are going to continue to be made, songs are going to continue to be sung — so why shouldn’t it be you doing these things? It has to be someone, so why not you?

Got an author you’d love to see interviewed? Tweet us @BritandCo and let us know!

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(Featured photo via Lisa Fahey Photography)