Across the Broken Tide by LaKase Cousino – Author Interview

The Fox is back with news of an exciting new release coming out soon! Across the Broken Tide is a fantasy by a Black author and features own-voices representation. It comes out June 1st!

Political fantasy, Black representation, magical creatures, pirates, and vikings. This read promises to have everything you could wish for in a fantasy indie book like this. Look forward to a review for this one, because we’re excited!

Born in the sands, unmade in the seas.

In a world where the politics of court determines the future of every person in the kingdom, Dima has maneuvered her way not only into the good graces of the caliph as a tutor for his daughters, but into the heart of his son. However, when a prank goes a step too far, the childhood friends are separated in an effort to force them to grow into the people they are expected to become.

When a simple journey turns into a kidnapping, Dima is thrust into a strange land and must rely on a dark magical power that had been long buried in the sands of her home. But as her magic grows stronger and the tides of her new home rise, so do her darker temptations. 

Caught between her heart and her magic, she finds herself struggling to choose who she will become. Through interactions with vikings, pirates, magical creatures who only speak in riddles, and forces hellbent on controlling everything she holds dear, Dima must discover who she is beyond the politics of the royal court.

We had so much fun interviewing LaKase for her new book, and we hope you’re as stoked for the release as we are.

What inspired you to write Across the Broken Tide?

LaKase: I have always been a fan of Fantasy novels and dreamed of writing my own some day.

I’m pretty sure I have some unfinished vampire and wizard stories laying around my parents’ house! I spent a great deal of my youth reading and trying to write in my own voice. I sort of stumbled into writing this book after an idea popped into my head. I saw a young woman running through a palace, smiling, after pulling a prank and the rest of the story unfolded from there.

What made you decide to go through with indie publishing?

LaKase: I didn’t know a lot about indie publishing when I started writing. In fact, I thought you were still supposed to mail in hard copies of your manuscript! Thankfully, social media introduced me to the concept of indie publishing. I really liked that I could work with a smaller press and get more hands-on assistance through the process. I never liked the idea of getting lost in the shuffle at a big publisher. This has been a great fit for me.

Across the Broken Tide is such an original name! How did you come across it?

LaKase: Thank you! I’m actually really bad at names, so it took me a while to land on this one.

Without spoiling anything in the book, the name is in reference to a place where there is a tidal island, which is an island that you can walk to when the tide goes out. The sea recedes, leaving land to walk on when the tide “breaks”. In the course of researching for the book I learned about them and find them so magical!

Be honest. Do you have a favorite character?

LaKase: I definitely do! I have reasoned that because they aren’t flesh and blood children it’s totally OK for me to show a little favoritism. I really do love my lead, Dima. She’s nothing like me, so writing her helped me to feel a little stronger, a little more confident. Dima’s a musician, like myself, but she is so much more. She’s loving, brave, headstrong, kind, and willing to fail until she gets things right. I’m trying to be more like her in my everyday life, but I’m a work in progress. I think my second favorite character is Eulie, her best friend. I’m a little more like her, in that I would rather get things done and be left alone!

Who are some authors that have inspired your writing?

LaKase: My two absolute favorite books as a kid were Stuart Little by E.B. White and The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. Adventure is my thing! I remember reading those books over and over again after finding them in the library. I bought them at book fairs (oh, how I miss those!) at school so that I wouldn’t have to keep annoying the librarian. Then, I started reading Toni Morrison, which is truly the gold standard for writing. From there, I went on to The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and recently discovered the work of Historical Fantasy author Juliet Marillier. She’s currently my favorite. I’m greatly inspired by current Fantasy writers who are pushing marginalized voices to the foreground. It’s a great time to be an author.

What made you want to be a writer?

LaKase: Honestly? Nothing else worked for me. I’ve tried just about every career you can think of, but I had this thing, a brain needle almost, that wouldn’t let me abandon storytelling. I’d be at work and slip off to write something down in my notebook. An idea would strike and I would completely forget about work. I think that’s how we know what our passions are – they exist and you can’t ignore them. So, I’ve always wanted to be a writer. It’s in my bones.

What are some of your favorite genres to write?

LaKase: I love Fantasy, but I would also love to write Romance! I’ve got a few ideas rolling around that I hope to tackle in the coming years. The genre offers so much flexibility and invention, just like Fantasy. Plus, who doesn’t love love?

What’s something you hope readers take away from Across the Broken Tide?

LaKase: I hope readers walk away from completing my book feeling a little braver in their own lives and curious about history. I know history makes some people fall asleep faster than a benadryl pill, but there are so many exciting stories just waiting to inspire you to live your life a little more boldly! Dima isn’t just someone I made up, she was inspired by real women who made careers for themselves centuries ago. I just added a little more magic to the pot. So, I hope more than anything that my book makes people wonder.

Do you have any words of advice to fellow writers looking to get into the indie publishing business, or just any writers across the pond?

LaKase: I would encourage my fellow writers to not lock yourself onto what you think you’re supposed to do. There used to be a time when all roads led one way, which to me is pretty boring.

I’m all about side quests. These days we can take any route to get to where we truly want to go.

Indie publishing is a road that more of us should consider, because it honors the author in a way I haven’t really seen elsewhere. To learn more, I would reach out to fellow authors, myself included, and do as much reading on how it works as possible. There are loads of indie publishers, so you still have to be picky, but never forget that there are many avenues to getting your book out there.

Where can readers find you?

LaKase: You can find me on Instagram and Twitter @lakasecousino or on my site! I’m always happy to talk, help, or share a Baby Yoda meme!

LaKase Marie Cousino is an author and artist hailing from the Midwest whose love of history and adventure shapes each story she tells. Born and raised in Kansas, she spent her early years studying history with her father and music under the guidance of her mother. From both, she learned the undeniable rhythm that shapes our internal lives as well as the stories we tell. When not writing, she is an avid musician and traveler.

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