They say you should never judge a book by its cover, but sometimes that cover is so amazing it simply cannot be ignored. That is certainly the case with Ciannon Smart’s upcoming debut Witches Steeped in Gold. But the words inside are equally impressive.

Hailed by Kirkus as “a richly realized tale for patient readers who enjoy complex language and world-building” this April release is incredibly exciting. We sat down with Smart to discuss the book.

Can you please tell us about your upcoming book Witches Steeped in Gold 

Witches Steeped in Gold is a Jamaican-inspired YA Fantasy that follows two enemy witches from rival orders who are forced to unite in order to take down a mutual threat wreaking havoc across their island nation. There’s a little Black PantherGame of Thrones, and An Ember in the Ashes suffusing the tale.  

HarperTeen, my wonderful publisher, describe it as a thrilling journey where dangerous magic reigns supreme and betrayal lurks beneath every word. 

How do you feel debuting in 2021? 

Having watched the 2020 debuts do such a great job handling all the curve balls thrown their way last year, I have a better idea about what to expect. Digital events have also opened up a new way to connect with readers globally, so while I would have loved to throw a party somewhere in London, I’m happy having an international party from the comfort of my home. 

What is the first piece of fiction you ever remember writing? 

I’ll never forget a creative writing assignment I had to complete when I was twelve, it was a Lord of the Rings pastiche written in different formats. I loved it.   

If you could have a dinner party with three other authors, alive or dead, who would they be and why? 

Oscar Wilde for sure. I’ve heard he was a very good time. This next one is a bit of a cheat, but I’d love to have dinner with my writer friends. There’s a lot to celebrate, and we haven’t been able to for obvious reasons. And last, but not least, Maya Angelou. Is there anyone who wouldn’t jump at the chance to dine with her just one more time? 

Which novel (other than your own) do you think would make a great TV adaptation? 

The Year of the Witching, by Alexis Henderson, would make the perfect, eldritch movie. There’s still time. Halloween isn’t for a while yet. 

Which song would be the perfect soundtrack to Witches Steeped in Gold’s closing scene? 

Maybe something by Hans Zimmer, John Williams, or Ludwig Göransson. They could also go more modern with Kendrick Lamar, and I loved Daniel Pemberton’s selections for Into the Spiderverse too.  

Witches Steeped in Gold is out on 20 April. You can pre-order from Waterstones here, Bookshop.org here and from all other good bookshops and online retailers.