Q&A with Laura Sebastian, author of Lady Smoke

Fans of the instant New York Times bestselling young adult fantasy Lady Smoke, written by Laura Sebastian and read by Saskia Maarleveld, have been itching to find out what happens to feisty heroine Theo. Luckily, the wait is over! Ash Princess continues the court intrigue, romance, revolution, and adventure. Needless to say, it’s another epic listen!

We caught up with author Laura Sebastian to find out a little bit more about Lady Smoke and a few of the things Laura loves.

What elements of (or characters) in Lady Smoke did you especially love writing?
Theo’s voice has always been easy to slip into for me and I love getting to see the world through her eyes. She has a gift for reading people, specifically for understanding what they want from her, and so that was fun to play with while writing.

Since this is the second book in a trilogy, Saskia Maarleveld who narrated Ash Princess returns to read Lady Smoke. What about her narration did you love?
Saskia has a gorgeously lyrical voice that works so well for Theo. She sounds the way Theo does in my mind. Plus, I think it’s important for YA narrators to actually sound like teenagers and I think Saskia’s voice sounds very young. She’s also fantastic at accents and differentiating between the different cultures, which I think makes it easier to follow along with while listening.

Which book was your first book love and why?
Growing up, I loved Gail Carson Levine’s books, especially Ella Enchanted. She took a fairy tale I’d known my whole life and twisted it into something new and different.

Whose voice (audiobook narrator, singer, writer, or other) makes you swoon?
I could listen to Florence Welch sing the phone book at me and love every second of it.

What’s your favorite romantic or heart-happy movie? 
Penelope, with Christina Ricci and James McAvoy. It’s another story with a fairy tale feel that’s done like nothing I’ve ever seen. I could watch it a thousand times without getting tired of it.

What is your comfort food when you have a broken heart?
I love baking so for me, part of the process is making it myself. I find it so healing, for stress or anxiety or heartbreak. I always feel better after I’ve made something with my own hands. I have a recipe for spiced chocolate sandwich cookies from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Sweet cookbook, and those might be my favorites.


Learn more about Lady Smoke and listen to a clip:

Lady Smoke

The sequel to the instant New York Times bestseller Ash Princess! Plus, narrator Saskia Maarleveld (“Maarleveld does a masterful job with Theo.” —AudioFile) continues with the series.

Theo no longer wears a crown of ashes. She has taken back her rightful title, and a hostage–Prinz Soren. But her people remain enslaved under the Kaiser’s rule. To get them back, she will need an army and trust her aunt, the dreaded pirate Dragonsbane.


Looking for more fantastic listens? Take a look at our Sci-Fi and Fantasy Picks for Teens!