meet the author header USE THIS

Meet the Author of FLINT FLARE FLAME, Sam Taylor!

Meet the fourth of four brilliant authors joining the Swoon Reads family, Sam Taylor! We were completely blown away by her dark fantasy world where two magically fire-powered teens are forced to serve a tyrannical empire as soldiers. Learn more about Flint Flare Flame!

What inspired you to write Flint Flare Flame?

This story came out of a tough time in my life. My day job had me working among some people who were making very damaging decisions. And I was pretty powerless to do anything to change that. It was discouraging, and sometimes soul-crushing. I turned to writing to vent my emotions and create a space of my own. I wanted a story with fire magic because, let's face it, I wanted to watch some things burn. I wanted a story with characters who faced seemingly insurmountable odds but were able to make a difference, so I could have hope. I wanted a story where the right choices weren't always clear—because sometimes they're not! They weren't for me at that time. I wanted a story where the right choices came with consequences, because often they do. I wanted a story where in the end, the characters grasped their lives with both hands, because that's what everyone deserves.

I wrote about Pran's struggles with chronic pain because I dealt with pains in my abdomen during this same time. I wasn't getting much help from doctors—the pain was difficult to diagnose, and often the doctors didn't take me seriously. I wrote Pran struggling with his own pain so I wouldn't be alone. And I wrote him still scheming and achieving great things, because the pain is not the whole of his story, as it's not the whole of anyone else's.

What is your favorite moment in the book?

I really love the scenes where Oksana creates a smoke bomb to cause a diversion. It's such a revealing part of her character, and it was fun to research and write. I also enjoy the scene where Oksana teaches her best friend Anu how to work fire magic. I love moments of strong female friendship, when girls have each others' backs.

If you had fire powers (and for the purposes of this question, let's pretend you got them in some sort of fun, cool way and not in the scary, painful way your characters did :P), how would you use them?

Make s'mores. I love s'mores. And light our dang grill because my husband and I can't do that for all the lighter fluid and matches in the world. I'd also try some tricks and stunts, like the soldiers do at a festival—if you can work fire, why not show off? Wood-burning art would be awesome as well, like Anu does to practice getting her fire magic under control.

Who would play your characters in a movie?

When I first started drafting this story, I always pictured Suraj Sharma (from Life of Pi) as Pran. And whenever I see photos of Ellie Bamber, I feel like I'm looking at Oksana herself. I think Cillian Murphy has enough of the grim and creepy factor to play unhinged alchemist Rootare (he's a bit older than Rootare, but I'm sticking with it). And this is a bit random, but during a GBBO marathon, Paul Hollywood reminded me so much of evil Commander Lepik, that I've pictured him as Lepik ever since.

What makes you swoon?

Cake. Bright red fall leaves. Waterfalls. Ocean waves. Sunset skies. Orange cats. My baby's smiles. Laughing with my husband. BOOKS. Especially books with covers so gorgeous you could cry and prose so beautiful it makes your heart swell.

Author spotlight

Swoon Reads Staff

For more information, check out the "Meet the Team" section of our About page (

See More