Enter the Dark Forest
ara C. Snider

On the lookout for great books

If I were to describe you as a reader, I'd say that you'll read just about anything you can get your hands on, but that fantasy fiction remains your favorite. 

Yet at the same time, you're having a hard time finding fantasy books that feel unique and special. Books that aren't just another retelling of The Chosen One Saving The World.

Maybe you enjoy the themes in Young Adult novels, but as an adult yourself, you sometimes find the characters too juvenile. 

Or maybe you're just looking for a book with a vivid, otherworldly feel that will transport you from your surroundings to someplace wild and new. 

If any of that sounds familiar, then you've come to the right place.

Fairy tale-like stories for grownups

Among my books, you'll meet characters like an orphaned girl trying to find her place in the world. Delve into a wild, mysterious forest to overcome its dangers. You'll be there as my characters discover the power and darkness that lies within themselves. Find friendship and love in unlikely places. Experience bittersweet endings and new beginnings.

These are the kinds of stories I write, undoubtedly because these are the kinds of stories I love to read. Stories inspired by fairy tales and folklore, Neil Gaiman and Jane Austen. Stories that explore what it means to be human set in a world filled with magic and mysticism. Stories that are special and hard to find, like jewels under fallen leaves. 

My writer's journey

I'm originally from northern California, but have lived in Sweden since the winter of 2001. Prior to my move here, I had harbored deep, secretive thoughts of becoming a writer, but nothing I seriously considered acting upon. Writers know that they are writers, right? They've been writing for as long as they've been holding a pen. They write because otherwise they'll go mad. Well, that wasn't me, and so I drew the conclusion that I must not be a writer. Best to save myself the embarrassment and not even try.

And then I moved to Sweden.

It wasn't an instant change. I didn't wake up one day and say, "To hell with it, I'll start writing!" I think it was the steady, years-long persistence of two things: Anders and the forest.

Anders is my partner and my reason for moving here. I don't remember telling him about my secret desire to write, but I must have because he bought me a book about how to become a published author. I devoured that thing, and then got so overwhelmed by it all that it actually made me feel sick.

But I still didn't write. I didn't write because I didn't have a story. More proof, I thought, that I'm not really a writer. Writers have more stories than they know what to do with, and I didn't have one

Yet the seed had been planted, and I started thinking about what my story would be, if I were to write one. I thought about it while walking through the forest, and during the ​long twilit hours of the Swedish winter. I started to find fragments, and eventually I was able to put some of those fragments together and form ​the bones of a story.

I was studying at the time, pursuing a bachelor's degree in Archives and Information Science. Once I graduated, I had planned on finding a job as an archivist. Until Anders approached me with an idea: What if I didn't look for an archivist job? What if I started writing full-time instead? What if I tried to make a living out of it? What would happen?

The idea of it was both terrifying and exhilarating. But ​I went for it, knowing I'd be foolish to pass up such a unique opportunity. Three years later, I had taken the bones of my one story and turned it into my first novel, The Thirteenth Tower.​ ​That one story laid the foundation for my second novel, ​A Shadowed Spirit.

​​​​I’ve learned since then that creativity isn’t a personality trait, but rather a resource that needs to be nourished and cared for in order for it to thrive. It took roughly those two novels for my dormant creativity to be fully revived, and I no longer struggle for ideas.

I sometimes still feel awkward when I tell people I’m a writer. But I no longer doubt I am one. Would I go mad if I stopped writing? No, I don’t think so. I think rather it would be like missing a piece of my heart. I would still live, but the world would be a little bit bleaker. A little less magical.

​And because you stuck with me through that long, rambling story, let me leave you with three pieces of advice that I think apply to everyone, not just struggling writers.

  1. Don't let preconceived notions (either from yourself or others) decide what you are or aren't. There is no one size fits all. Your story doesn't need to match anyone else's story. 
  2. Don't be afraid to admit you have a dream, even if it's big and foolish. ​Especially ​if it's big and foolish.
  3. Get out of your own damn way.​​​

Meet the Double Beast Publishing Team


Overlord and destroyer of catnip


Minion and destroyer of Christmas mats


Minion and word monkey

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