Creating Clean YA Fantasy: An Interview with Christine Marshall

Explore the world of Christine Marshall, author of clean YA fantasy books. Learn about her writing process, inspirations, and magical world-building techniques.

Have you ever struggled to find clean YA fantasy books for your young teens? Look no further than Christine Marshall’s captivating and magical stories! Inspired by her daughters’ love for the genre,

Marshall began writing her own fantasy novels that she could enjoy with her family. With a focus on world-building that blends real-world ecosystems with fantastical elements, Marshall’s books are perfect for readers of all ages who crave a little magic in their lives.

In this interview, we’ll delve deeper into Marshall’s writing process, her influences, and the themes she explores in her work. So grab a cup of tea, curl up with a warm blanket, and get ready to be transported to a world of wonder.

What inspired you to start writing in the fantasy genre?

When my daughters wanted to start reading fantasy books as young teens and I found it difficult to find clean YA fantasy. So… I wrote some myself! Now we get to read and share thoughts on our favorite books together!

How do you approach world-building in your stories?

I always start with research about ecosystems and environments from the real world and take too many notes! Then I tweak them and stretch them into something magical! Like the African dragons blood tree is real, but in my book Battle of the Giants they grow where a dragon dies and their sap is literal dragons blood with incredible magical properties!

Can you walk us through your writing process?

I make a brief outline that includes characters and some details. Then I write from beginning to end through the outline. If I’m at a part where I need more information then I stop writing, do research, take notes, then go back to the draft to fill in the details. When the first draft is finished, I read it out loud to my teens who are avid readers. They live to point out the flaws and inconsistencies, and they often have great ideas ti improve the story or add something funny or exciting!

Would you survive in your own fantasy world?

Yes I would survive. It’s a little medieval as far as lifestyle, but it’s not overly treacherous or anything. Besides, with pixies, Pegasus, and giant eagles, among other fantastical creatures, the simpler lifestyle would be totally worth the trade!

What themes do you explore in your work?

Destiny, choices, found family, friendship, self-worth, and classic good vs evil!

What do you consider to be your biggest influences as a writer?

Listening to my husband entertain children with stories and voices and laughter has definitely given me a good foundation for crafting a good story! And my kids being my first audience makes the results worth the effort to write a good one!

What’s the strangest thing you’ve had to research for your stories?

Does a centaur have a horse heart AND a human heart! Does he need both to survive? How does that even work! It’s quite fascinating to consider!

What do you hope readers take away from your stories?

Our choices can make a big impact not only in our own lives but the lives of others, too. And people are more important than things.

Would you rather have a pet dragon or a unicorn, why?

Unicorn! I’m a girly girl and they are so magical!! Plus, I was always obsessed with horses as a kid, and what’s better than a magical horse?!

If you could have any magical ability, what would it be?

Teleport. I want to be able to go anywhere in the blink of an eye!!

If you were stuck on a deserted island with one of your characters, who would it be and why?

Princess Juliette. She can talk to animals, is adept at living off the land, and is one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet!!

What would you name your pet dragon?

Blaze. Not very original, but I love it!

Where is the best place to start reading your work?

Start with Rise if the Giants. It’s perfect for families to read together, for kids, teens, and adults to read on their own, and you don’t have to worry about language or “spice.” All my books are totally clean!

About the author:

When Christine isn’t spinning tales on her laptop, she probably has a book and a chocolate chip cookie in hand. She loves all kinds of books: fantasy, sci-fi, historical fiction, non-fiction, and even text books.

She also loves to play her ukulele, stand in the rain, stay up late, and try new foods… but not all at the same time! Christine has moved over 20 times in the past 20 years, and firmly believes that people are more important than things.

Find Christine online:


TikTok: christinemarshallfantasy

FB: Christine K. Marshall- author

Instagram: christinemarshallfantasy