Stephanie Garber鈥檚 debut novel, Caraval ($19), has been on our to-read list for what feels like ages. A YA book full of magic, sisters, an eerie carnival and twisted games? Yes, please! As if that wasn鈥檛 enough, she has the blessings of some of our fave authors, including Sabaa Tahir, Marie Rutkoski and Roshani Chokshi. It turns out Stephanie鈥檚 novel deserves all the praise. Trust us when we say that just a few pages of Caraval will whisk you away from your cozy armchair for the adventure of a lifetime. This week, we鈥檙e chatting with Stephanie Garber about her creative process, her newest Insta obsession and the books she can鈥檛 stop gushing about. Scroll on to hear more from this brilliant writer.

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

Stephanie Garber: Magical. Sisters. Legend. Games. Lies. Fantasy.

Stephanie Garber Photo 1_credit Protege Production Co (1) (1)

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

SG: I write all day long. When I鈥檓 not at my computer I鈥檒l jot down things in a composition book, on Post-its, in my phone or on the back of envelopes. When I sit back down in front of my computer I like to be able to spread all my notes out. So I have an office, but I tend to do most of my writing at the kitchen table.

B+C: What鈥檚 your go-to cure for a creativity rut?

SG: I usually get stuck either because I need a break or I need a fresh perspective. If I鈥檓 stuck because I need a break, I might pick up a new book I鈥檝e been excited to read or relax with some television. If I鈥檝e hit a wall with a project, then I usually call up a friend or someone from my family to bounce my ideas off of and get a fresh perspective. This week I hit a lot of walls, so I made a lot of phone calls.

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

1999 Sarah Michelle Gellar stars in the hit tv series "Buffy The Vampire Slayer."

SG: I think Buffy of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Sydney Bristow of Alias will always be my favorite heroines. I first watched Buffy after my heart had been broken by a boy. So I think I related to Buffy because her heart was always breaking as well, yet, despite the heartbreak, she was still strong. Same for Sydney Bristow.

I love both these heroines because they鈥檙e fantastic examples of strength and vulnerability. They鈥檙e also always trying to protect their friends and family with the same intensity they put into saving the world. (Photo via Getty/Hulton Archive)

B+C: What鈥檚 your latest Instagram obsession?

Credit @goldenbaloo 馃惗 -- Shop Apparel for Dog Lovers 馃惗馃憠@puptee

A post shared by Puppy Dogs (@puppystagrams) on

SG: I love @puppystagrams on Instagram. It is pure adorableness. Lots of cuddly, fluffy, smiling, funny little puppies. It tempts me to go out and buy a puppy of my own on a regular basis.

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


SG: Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee. It鈥檚 one of my favorite books. Beautiful and intense, full of friendship and love and perseverance and hate, it鈥檚 a deeply moving story about a Chinese girl and a runaway slave who dress up like boys and team up with a group of cowboys to cross the Oregon trail.

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


SG: Frostblood by Elly Blake. Fantasy. Romance. Elemental Magic. I love all of these things, so I鈥檝e been really eager to devour this book. I also just received an advance copy of The Sandcastle Empire by Kayla Olson. It鈥檚 a thriller that takes place on our Earth after it鈥檚 been wrecked by climate change. It鈥檚 also been compared to the TV show Lost, which makes me even more excited to dive in.

YA-Authors-Hightlight-Stephanie Garber

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

SG: Don鈥檛 be ashamed of what you want. When I first started writing, I was embarrassed to tell people that I wanted to try to get my work published. I was afraid of what they might think of me. I was afraid I would fail and then look ridiculous. I was afraid people would think I thought I was a better writer than I actually was.

But finally, when I began admitting that I love writing young adult fantasy, rather than people laughing at me, I started to meet other people who had the same passion 鈥 or who just had passions in general that they wanted to share. Suddenly sharing my love became something that gave other people the opportunity to share theirs. It also freed me to stop judging myself.

Got an author you鈥檇 like to see interviewed? Tweet us @BritandCo and let us know!

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(Featured photo via Stephanie Garber)