Double double, toil and trouble (lolz, couldn’t resist). Today we’ve got a two-fer: Twin authors Sarena and Sasha Nanua are here to talk about the difference between magic and realism. If you haven’t put these two gems (HAH I’M FULL OF IT TODAY) on your TBR, you really should!


Hey, all! We’re Sarena and Sasha, book bloggers @ The Writing Duo and authors of The Pendant Trilogy, a lower YA fantasy series. First off, we want to thank S. Usher Evans for letting us guest post on her blog—and about magic, no less! Today we want to talk all about our writing process when it comes to writing magic vs. contemporary fiction!

We’re primarily fantasy writers, but we’ve been working on a new project that’s heavily mystery—and, shockingly, contemporary focused. Which means writing this book has been—to say the least—definitely different. Our characters can’t just wave their wands (or, well, hands, because #SorcererProblems), or whisper a spell under their breaths. They’re real-life characters, with real-life problems.

In The Pendant Trilogy, we truly had no limits. And that’s the great thing about fantasy—you could really explore anything, things that aren’t real except in your imagination. But at the core of everything, we feel that all of our characters still, always, remain human. We don’t necessarily write high-fantasy (we’re just *slightly* delving into that in our newest WIP), so our characters spend a lot of time in the mortal world (at least in book one *cough*) and face their own troubles. Family troubles, friendships, you name it! And in our newest completed novel (that we’re currently ready to furiously revise as #PitchWars mentees), we had a lot of struggle with genre. That is to say … the novel started out as paranormal. Then became mystery with light fantasy. Then we became confused, and began googling magical realism. And then we were like, nope! Scratch EVERYTHING magical about this novel, and make it contemporary. And STILL, because of the tone and nature of the novel, there’s a slight whimsy that leans toward the speculative amidst the contemporary mystery.

So I guess fantasy really does follow us around everywhere, huh? (Curse you, Harry Potter! But not really, because, I mean, Harry Potter.) We’re still trying to make our newest novel shine in the contemp/mystery realm, but we’ll see where the revisions take us! As for our previous series, it’s magic galore, especially in books two and three when the characters begin to hone in their powers—and well, perhaps superpowers…

So it looks like writing magic-y novels and regular ol’ contemps might not be so different after all (at least for us!). There’s a definite distinction, but our passions for fantasy and mystery definitely seem to seep into our writings nonetheless!

Are you a fantasy writer? Mystery? We like a good mix of both.

Thanks, again, S. Usher Evans for having us! We hope y’all enjoyed this post!

  • Sarena and Sasha Nanua


Twitter links: @PendantTrilogy/@sarenananua/@sashananua

Instagram: sarenasashabooks