Finally heeding her then pre-teen daughters' book recommendations to read the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, Montpelier author Laurie Forest devoured and loved the books. And then she stepped into a writing realm that was entirely new to her: Fantasy fiction.
The author, who is a dentist with her own practice by day, has written the first in an epic fantasy series, titled The Black Witch, geared toward young adult and adult readers.
Forest recently spoke with VPR about the idea that sparked the first book in the series and about her writing process.
She said watching many friends fight for marriage equality in Vermont in 2009 left her thinking a lot of prejudice in more general terms. An idea moved her to write her first character sketch that revolved around a fantasy story where a group of people are rejected for no other reason than tradition. That character sketch eventually led to the finished book.
She said she was inspired to write a series that's entertaining to read but also one that illustrated what could happen when a society does not embrace diversity and differences.
Laurie Forest is scheduled to appear on Tuesday, May 2 at 7 p.m., at Phoenix Books on Bank Street in Burlington.