Toni Cabell - A Tapestry of Fantasy, Romance, and Political Intrigue

Toni Cabell - A Tapestry of Fantasy, Romance, and Political Intrigue
Toni Cabell Book Cover

Toni Cabell is a closed-door fantasy romance author who has published two complete YA romantic fantasy series. Soon to be released is her sweet, humorous, paranormal romance series. Her books reflect her Christian values, meaning they contain no swearing, no excess violence, and maintain low intimacy levels. Her novels have won multiple awards, including six B.R.A.G. Medallions, Silver and Bronze Medals in The Wishing Shelf Book Awards, a Gold Medal in the Global Book Awards, and 1st Place in the Incipere Awards for Clean YA Fantasy. All of her books are appropriate for teens and adults.  As our Author of the Day, she tells us all about her book, The Way of Water.

Please give us a short introduction to what The Way of Water is about.

The Way of Water is the sequel to The Lightness of Water and completes my Water Witch duology.

The Way of Water can be read as a standalone book, however it’s a richer experience if read in order because I wrote these two novels as one continuous Young Adult Romantasy. While The Lightness of Water ends on a “happy for now” trajectory for our two main characters, The Way of Water puts them through the wringer before they reach their “happily ever after!”

What inspired you to write this story? Was there anything in particular that made you want to tackle this?

I started with a simple idea (in The Lightness of Water) of water shortages. I asked myself, what if a young woman has the ability to divine for water… and she lives in a desert region where water is not only scarce, it’s often the difference between life and death? After asking a lot more “what if” questions, I found plenty of rich content for a two-book series!

The novel explores themes of loss, redemption, and forgiveness. How did you approach tackling these themes in your writing?

The themes of loss, forgiveness, and redemption are transformative in real life, and they were a great foundation for creating complex characters—Solace and Rhees—who undergo profound development in my books.

How did you use worldbuilding to enhance the overall atmosphere and mood of the book?

I spent some time visiting the southwestern US, where water is far scarcer than in my native Midwest, to help me gain an emotional connection to the world I wanted to build. I also did a fair amount of research on desert regions. I wanted the mood to be angsty but not dark—so I also infused some humor at times into the plot.

Tell us more about Solace. What aspects of her character did you find most compelling to develop?

I love Solace Blu. She’s such a spunky lass, one hundred percent loyal, and honest even when it hurts. The most challenging aspect of her character was balancing her tender heart with her warrior instincts.

What drew you to fantasy adventure as a genre?

It’s a wonderful genre for an author, with almost limitless possibilities for worldbuilding and plot twists. I love it!

Water is a recurring motif in the book's title and throughout the story. What significance does water hold for the characters and the narrative as a whole?

Water is the difference between life and death in the kingdom of Toresz—so the stakes are set extremely high throughout both books.

The novel incorporates elements of mystery and suspense. How did you balance these elements with the more emotional aspects of the story?

The mystery and suspense add urgency to Solace and Rhees’s story, enhancing their emotional connection. While their lives are often in jeopardy, their love endures through battles, intrigue, betrayals, and loss.

The first book in the series has received praise for its lyrical prose and vivid descriptions. How did you approach crafting the language and imagery to evoke a sense of place and emotion?

I wanted to be a poet at one point, and I read and studied a great deal of poetry. When I became a novelist, I applied those early lessons in crafting word-images and evoking emotional connections through language.

What is it about Rhees that draws Solace to him?

Solace can see beneath Rhees’s gruff exterior; he’s a man of secrets, to be sure, but also someone with a deep connection to the kingdom and its people. He is also a man of action who can’t sit idly by while his friends and neighbors can barely scrape by.

This is Book 1 of the Water Witch series. Can it be read as a standalone?

How do the other books in the series tie in with this one? (SEE MY ANSWER IN #1)

Do you have any interesting writing habits? What is an average writing day like for you?

My one enduring writing habit is to write every day. I generally write first thing in the morning for several hours minimum. If I’m up against a deadline, I’ll write all day and in the middle of the night too.

What are you working on right now?

I’m writing a sweet, whimsical paranormal romance series called Faeries of Door County. The first book, Half a Faerie, is available for preorder and will be released in September 2024.

Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?

I’m active on Instagram, @tonicabellwrites and Facebook, @tonicabellauthor. Readers can also follow me on Amazon, Bookbub, and Goodreads!

The Way of Water
Toni Cabell

Toresz is a dangerous place if you're a woman with a witchy skill—or a man in love with the wrong kind of woman. An unexpected guest arrives with an old legal claim, and Solace and Rhees part on bitter terms. As she travels homeward, everyone hails Solace as the Water Witch Queen. But when tragedy strikes, and Rhees needs her one last time, will Solace fight for the land—and man—she still loves?

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