Author Interview: Breanna Teintze

Today I am interviewing Breanna Teintze, author of the new fantasy novel, Lady of Shadows, second book in the The Empty Gods series.

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DJ: Hi Breanna! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview! 

For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?

Breanna Teintze: Hi there! I’m always having to wrack my brain to figure out what would be interesting about me–outwardly I have a fairly plain life. I’m a registered nurse, I live more or less in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by orchards and onion farms, and I was homeschooling my three kids before the entire world had to start emergency homeschooling. I’ve been writing since I was small, and last year Jo Fletcher Books published my debut novel, Lord of Secrets, about the extremely unlucky, bad-at-adulting wizard Corcoran Gray.

DJ: What is Lady of Shadows and then The Empty Gods series about?

Breanna: Mostly the book is about consequences: the after-effects of saving the world. Outlaw wizard Corcoran Gray and his partner, Brix Rivest, are trying to rebuild their lives and adapt to the weird challenges that happen when people who have done extraordinary things try to return to normal life. Of course, life doesn’t stay normal for long, and they wind up forced to work with the organization that Gray has been spending most of his life avoiding in order to stop a magical plague.

That’s right–a plague, which is a little difficult in this present day! But I wrote the book in 2018 specifically thinking about grit, recovery, and optimism. I hope that even right now–maybe especially right now–people will find the story both fun and cathartic.

DJ: What were some of your influences for the The Empty Gods series

Breanna: It’s difficult to narrow them down! I think both the action and the humor in my novels owe something to 1999’s The Mummy, as well as the great over-the-top, full-of-beasties, so-bad-they’re-good space fantasy epics of the 1980s like Krull. As for actual storylines, after seeing too many stories that didn’t know what to do with a relationship once the pair got together, I wanted to write about a couple kept having adventures.

DJ: Could you briefly tell us a little about your main characters? Do they have any cool quirks or habits, or any reason why readers with sympathize with them?  

Breanna: Gray, the main character, is a wizard who really wants to be cool and self-interested and snarky, but who only manages the snark bit. He’s impulsive and anxious and insists that he does not care what other people think (he cares so, so much what other people think). His partner, Brix, is much more grounded and less worried about constantly parsing out the ethics of a given situation. They’re two people who care very much about each other, and who want to stay together. It’s just that they have to develop their relationship and fight undead at the same time.

DJ: Aside from the main characters in the story, who is a favorite side character or a character with a smaller role in the story? Why? 

Breanna: I like Dace Craxen, who works for the organization Gray is trying to get away from. He’s an uptight wizard cop (with a secret) who would totally be the kind of person to insist that he be allowed to do the extra-credit assignments even though he’s already gota grade of 100% in the class. I wrote him that way because, to be honest, I am the same kind of person. Alas, my secrets are boring.

DJ: What is the world and setting of The Empty Gods series like? 

Breanna: Like our world, there are wars and conquests and multiple groups of people vying for power: The Mages’ Guild, which controls the practice of legal magic, Temples, which controls money and influence from religious sites around the country, and the throne, which controls the army. It’s a nice, balanced system. It would be a shame if someone woke up a few cranky, ancient gods with illegal magic and kicked the system over, wouldn’t it?

Lady of Shadows itself is set in a warm, corrupt riverside city that I built to be like some of the older trading cities of the southeastern USA. I wanted to give the sense of not just vice lurking behind the fancy facades of old buildings, but layers of history that visitors will never understand, secrets, and even a bit of occult menace.

DJ: How have the reviews been from readers, bloggers, and reviewers for the first book of The Empty Gods series? Is there anything that your audience seems to be particularly enjoying or is eager to find out more about?

Breanna: People have been very kind! There were two things that I wasn’t expecting about the response to the first book. One was that so many people said that it was funny. I grew up in an incredibly quick-witted family and, to be honest, I’m not even the funniest sibling! By the time we were ready for publication I had read Lord of Secrets so many times that I had almost forgotten that it contained humor. So it’s been really fun to hear people say it made them laugh out loud, or it helped them through a tough day.

Second, a lot of people really appreciated that Gray begins the first book with a disability: he wears a brace on one leg. Disabled folk are part of my family and a normal part of society, so honestly it just seemed natural to me that Gray would both have a disability and go on adventures. I was happy when people said they were able to identify with that, and I’ve been grateful for the ways certain bloggers have educated me further about writing about disability. While his physical disability has changed in Lady of Shadows, Gray still very much is dealing with issues around PTSD and trauma in the course of this story. I hope that will offer solidarity to readers who have to deal with the same kind of thing in their own lives, as I have in mine.

And then, everybody loves Jaern, the glamorous necromancer/titular Lord of Secrets. I love him, too. I wouldn’t leave him alone with a box of matches, but I love him.

DJ: What was your favorite part about writing Lady of Shadows

Breanna: It’s a toss-up. It’s either Gray & Brix’s growing relationship or the research I did into honey mummification.

DJ: What do you think readers will be talking about most once they finish it?

Breanna: I have a terrible time predicting this! I like talking about the walking evil jewelry and the stress of meeting your partner’s weird magic drug-smuggling relatives, but readers always land on things that I wasn’t sure anyone would notice.

Maybe the exploding corpses?

DJ: Did you have a goal when you began writing The Empty Gods series? The series is not yet complete, but is there a particular message or meaning you are hoping to get across when readers finish it? Or is there perhaps a certain theme to the story?

Breanna: Empathy and kindness are often presented as weaknesses, ways that good characters are vulnerable. I wanted to show that empathy and kindness–even kindness toward people who don’t seem to deserve it, even kindness toward yourself– can actually be what saves the world.

DJ: When I read, I love to collect quotes – whether it be because they’re funny, foodie, or have a personal meaning to me. Do you have any favorite quotes from Lady of Shadows that you can share with us?

Breanna: I like very much one conversation where Gray is being interrogated, and his captor keeps saying “you’ll pardon me, but–” and asking insulting questions. Eventually Gray snaps “you’re very optimistic about me pardoning you for things”. I’ve always wanted to say that.

DJ: Now that Lady of Shadows is released, what is next for you?

Breanna:  Among other things, I’m working on a story right now about a desert city full of crime families, sentient rocks, angsty psychics, and murder. I’m pretty much up for any kind of writing as long as both I and the reader get to have a good time.

DJ: Where can readers find out more about you?  

Amazon Author Page:

Author Newsletter: 



Twitter: handle is @BreannaTeintze



DJ: Before we go, what is that one thing you’d like readers to know about Lady of Shadows and the The Empty Gods series that we haven’t talked about yet?

Breanna: These books are built to make unpleasant, boring, or anxious days less unpleasant, boring, or anxious. I try to write the kind of stuff that people use to distract themselves in waiting rooms and airports. If I can make you smile or make you feel better for a few hours, I’ll have achieved my goal.

DJ: Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to answer my questions! 

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***Lady of Shadows is published by Quercus Books and is available TODAY!!!***

Buy the Book: 

Amazon | Goodreads

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About the Book:

Death is simple. Dreams are dangerous. Life is . . . unexpected.

Outlaw wizard Corcoran Gray expected death to be final, but life, and his loved ones, had other plans. A year after being resurrected and flung into a new body, he’s still trying to come to terms with his situation – and his self – when the all-powerful Mages’ Guild demands his help to stop a deadly plague.

He’s inclined to refuse the organisation that still wants him dead, until his partner Brix starts showing symptoms – to save her, Gray will do anything, even if it means working with his greatest enemies.

But it quickly becomes clear that this is no normal plague. The situation is more complicated, and more lethal, than anyone has realised. Ancient dangers are stirring, and thousands of lives are at stake . . .

About the Author:

Breanna Teintze writes novels with magic and explosions (well) and gardens (badly). She lives in Idaho with her husband, where she homeschools her three kids, polishes swords, and perfects her eyeliner. Her debut novel, Lord of Secrets, is the first in the Empty Gods series from Jo Fletcher Books. She can be found at and is sarcastic when she’s nervous.

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