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Author of the Month

Madeline Stanford, author of Vicious Depths

Vicious Depths is exclusive to Amazon, but 'A Door to Nowhere' is still available on Wattpad for free.

I'm very excited to announce my first author of the month will be the Wattpad sensation, Madeline Stanford. I've long since been a fan of her books, ever since she joined Wattpad back in 2014. She has since won the Hot Key Books & Wattpad Young Writer's prize, as well as collecting a following 10,000 people strong. Her fiction ranges from the Vicious Depths trilogy [also known as Like Hell on Wattpad] which is now available for purchase on Amazon, to her other Wattpad novel, A Door to Nowhere, a moving coming of age tale. I've been very lucky to get to chat with her, especially with how busy she is! Here's what she had to say.

Q: Hey Madeline! Let's start with something fun. Tell us your best comment or review you've had from a reader!

A: It's hard to pick out just one. I think my favourite comments are from the readers who tell me they're re-reading my book for the fourth or fifth time - that really makes me smile. It's lovely to know that people want to come back and visit a world I've created. Strangely, I also enjoy the reviews where people tell me I've made them cry! It's a wonderful feeling when readers are emotionally invested in my characters, and they really care what happens next.

Q: When you're not writing, what else do you get up to?

A: I'm glued to my laptop writing most of the time. When I do manage to tear myself away, I'm either reading (any and all YA fiction), obsessing over the world's best band, Brand New, or wandering around the nearest park trying to pet other people's dogs. I'm also heavily involved with snacks.

Q: If you could take one book to a desert island, which would it be?

A: That's a toughie. If you were forcing me to go to this island right now, I'd have to say A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas. It came out recently, and I'm obsessed. The series has been incredible. I have to know how it all ends.

If I could go to this island anytime though, it'd be a toss-up between The Bell Jar and One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. I'm not sure why books about mentality and madness appeal to me. They're just so interesting.

Q: You've been living in Liverpool for a while now! It's a very artistic place, there's plenty of inspiration to be found for artists. Do you feel it's inspired you, or is there someplace else where you find your muse?

A: Liverpool is really inspiring - there's always something creative going on, whether it's a festival, an exhibition or a performance. It's nice to just walk around and soak it up. If writer's block hits, and I feel really stuck, I'll usually go for a walk around Sefton Park. It's beautiful, and after a while, I find the ideas start to flow again.

Q: Tell us a little about your first book, and how you thought of the idea.

A: Vicious Depths (formerly 'Like Hell') is about a girl called Alex who dies in an accident she can't remember. But the afterlife isn't anything like she imagined. There are only the brutal caverns of the Depths, deep underground, and the tightly controlled gates of the Azure, protecting a paradise. In return for a life of safety in the Azure, she's sent into the Depths as a spy for the tyrannical Azure leader. But the Depths isn't quite the nightmare she anticipated. Among the memory-leeching monsters and decadent all-night parties, she manages to find friends. Friends that introduce her to a handsome high-ranking Depths official, Flynn. Her spy mission starts to derail, and devastating secrets are soon revealed. Alex has to pick a side - but she's no longer sure which one is right, or if a right side exists at all.

The idea was something I'd been thinking about for a while. I went to a Catholic school, and the idea of an afterlife was always something that intrigued me. In a lot of ways, religion can be very hypocritical and restrictive, and that's what I started to explore in the book. What happens if the good side turns out to be tainted? What happens if the bad side shows redeeming qualities? I imagined a whole new afterlife that examined these issues.

Q: What makes your main character special, and what is your favourite quality about her?

A: Alex is flawed. I think that's what a lot of readers have liked about her, and connected with. She wants to do the right thing, and she wants to be brave, but that doesn't always happen. She can be spiteful, and impulsive, and rushes headlong into things without thinking them through. My favourite thing about her is her unending determination. She never gives up, even when she makes bad calls and something goes wrong.

Q: What's next on the writing agenda?

A: I'm working on a brand new fantasy series. The working title at the moment is Blood & Blossom, and it's about secret birthmarks, dangerous magic, and a destructive romance. I can't wait to get this one out there - I'm hoping readers will like it as much as Vicious Depths.

Q: Where will your books be available, and when?

A: The first two books in the Vicious Depths series are available now in both paperback and ebook form. The third book published in June.

Vicious Depths (Book 1)