My Books

Introducing a New Series

Those of you who subscribe to my newsletter have already seen this news, but I’m about to launch a new book that I hope will be the start of a totally new series.

It’s something I’m calling cottagecore cozy romantic fantasy, and it’s a story I wrote largely to amuse myself, as it was the sort of thing I wanted to read, and like Enchanted, Inc. was a mashup of chick lit and fantasy, this book is a mash-up of women’s fiction and fantasy.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve been less interested in the old-school chick lit books of the sort I was reading when I first came up with the idea for Enchanted, Inc. Instead, I find myself reading the sort of women’s fiction books in which a woman’s life has fallen apart — she’s lost her job and/or her relationship — and she ends up in some village, where she works in or runs a coffee shop/bakery/candy shop/bookstore. Of course, I want to add magic. But I didn’t want to do it in a more straightforward way, just adding magic to these contemporary books. I wanted to be in a fantasy world. I find that I’m not too interested in the real world these days. I want to escape to a magical world in a simpler time, a place where I don’t have to deal with real-world problems and current events.

Fortunately, this time around I don’t feel like I’m essentially inventing a new subgenre. “Cozy fantasy” has become a huge trend, with books set in traditional fantasy worlds but without the traditional fantasy stakes. Thers are books about the kinds of characters you’d find in a fantasy world, but instead of saving the world from a great evil, they’re opening coffee shops, working in bookstores, or running inns. The stakes are more personal than global. My story idea fits right in with this. I’m actually on-trend, for once!

And so, I present Tea and Empathy, which will be available next week (and is ready for pre-order from a lot of the online booksellers). This is the story of a healer with a magical empathic talent who’s on the run after she lost a patient and was accused of murder. She stumbles into a hidden village, where she takes refuge in a cottage that turned out to once belong to a magical healer. She uses her knowledge of herbs and her gift for reading what people want to open a tea shop. Everything’s going well until she finds a wounded man unconscious in her garden. Although she doesn’t trust herself as a healer, she has no choice but to help him. She doesn’t know who he is or how he got there — but neither does he. He doesn’t remember his past and she’s running from hers.

I threw in a lot of tropes I happen to love in a book. I guess you could say this one is both genre Fantasy and personal fantasy. For one thing, there’s the perfect little village. There’s a house that does the housework for itself (I want one of those). Why not have the perfect guy just land in your garden? I’ve always been fascinated by amnesia stories and the idea of figuring out what you’d be if you didn’t know who you were. All of that is in this book.

There is a little peril, but the stakes aren’t really life-or-death. If you’re looking for a page turner with lots of excitement, this isn’t that book, but if you just want to spend time in a fantasy world, soak up the vibes, and have some feelings without being too stressed about it, this may be what you want.

I’m planning for this to be a series, as there are a lot of people in the village who could have their stories told. There’s a mystery behind the village itself, and that will gradually unfold. But more books will depend on sales. My threshold for that is lower than it would be for a traditional publisher, but I can’t afford to spend the time it takes to write a book and only make what amounts to minimum wage. So, if you like this book and want more, please tell people about it, write reviews, post on Goodreads or social media, etc. Every little bit helps. Just ten more readers finding me can make a big difference.

7 Responses to “Introducing a New Series”

  1. Angie

    This time of year I try to read books that have a Halloween feel and cozy witch stories is often what comes up. I hope you get to continue this series and include a Halloween-adjacent book!

    • Shanna Swendson

      Oddly enough for me, this book isn’t set in the fall. It’s mostly in the spring and early summer, but I guess it has some fall vibes, like lots of tea drinking. I hope this book does well enough for me to justify writing more because I want to write a fall book in this setting.

  2. Renske

    Just pre-ordered it, looking forward to read it. I like the idea of more cozy books, a well written book doesn’t need high stakes.

    • Shanna Swendson

      I’m just so tired of saving the world. Sometimes you just want to focus on the people around you, and that’s more what this book is about, protecting a community.

  3. Angelika

    It just showed up on my Kobo, and I can’t wait to read it. I’m excited whenever you have a new book out, but then having it be Cozy Fantasy, to boot! Cozy Fantasy is my thing – it’s what I write myself, and I thought I’d made up the term (because my books didn’t fit any of the existing genres). I was stoked when I heard you saying that it’s on trend right now. So, I really, really hope this book does well, too, because I want you to write more!

    • Shanna Swendson

      I think the genre started getting hot when Legends and Lattes became a big hit. I’d heard some mentions of the concept of cozy fantasy, but then it seems to have grown, though I’m not sure it’s yet been truly defined. It seems to be more a vibe than any particular kind of story.

  4. Tineke

    Today is a public holiday where I live, so ideal reading time. Thank you for this cosy fantasy. I really hope that you’ll be able to write more books in this series!

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