Spotlight: The Last Huntress
Monday, October 10, 2022

Today I'm spotlighting Lenore Borja and her debut novel, The Last Huntress!
I was lucky enough to get to read an advance copy of this book, so here's my personal take on it: The Last Huntress spins a fantastic tale of found family and fated love. The story is a blend of modern and mythic, fleshed out with distinct characters, vivid details, and an original spin on the idea of what lies behind the looking glass. Fans of YA paranormal romance won't want to miss this modern day Greek myth set in a familiar yet uniquely realized world.

The book will be released on November 1, 2022, but you can preorder your copy now!
About the book:

Alice Daniels has a problem. Her reflection keeps misbehaving when she looks in the mirror—and the longer she ignores it, the harder it tries to get her attention. On her eighteenth birthday, she learns why: she is a huntress, someone gifted with the power to enter mirrors and the magical world that exists beyond. But with this power comes immense responsibility, for in the Mirror Realm lurks an evil that has infected the human race for centuries: demons. It is up to her and her three huntress sisters—with the help of one handsome and overbearing protector—to hunt and banish this evil one demon at a time, thereby keeping the chaos in check. But when an ancient god pays Alice a visit that turns deadly, it is clear the Mirror Realm is more than it seems, and she soon finds herself in a race against time to save the life—and soul—of the one man the gods are determined to never let her have.

The Last Huntress is a story of redemption and sacrifice, the bonds of true sisterhood, and the impossible, sometimes frightening, things we’ll do for love.

You can find purchase links at:

Q&A with the author:

What inspired you to write this book? Where did the story/theme originate?
When we were living in San Francisco, my husband accidentally bumped into a mirror in our apartment, and it popped open. We’d lived there for over a year and never knew the gold-framed mirror in our bedroom was a door. It wasn’t hiding anything nefarious—just an empty linen closet. But it made me wonder what it would be like if every mirror in the world had something to hide. This inspired the Mirror Realm I created in The Last Huntress. However, I was equally focused on writing a book that celebrated female friendships and the unique bonds of sisterhood.
Once you began writing, did the story take you in any unexpected directions?
Absolutely. I’m admittedly more of a pantser than a plotter. When I dive into a story, I have a general idea of the plot, but as most writers know, our characters don’t always behave. They say and do things we aren’t expecting, and it can take the story in an entirely different direction. Sometimes, it’s better than I planned, so I go with it. But other times, it gets messy, and I find myself backtracking to find the fork in the road where I took a wrong turn. But I still see the exercise as valuable. I have many pages that didn’t make the final cut, but that extra time with my world and characters was not in vain. It helped inform the parts of my story that DID make it to print.
What did you edit out of this book?
My first manuscript was 160,000 words. The final book is just over 102,000. When cutting that much from a book, you’re not only editing; you’re restructuring the story. What was originally a four-part book became a three-part book, and a large portion had to be rewritten. I also had to say goodbye to scenes and characters I’d come to love. But they no longer served the story, so they had to go. Looking back, I don’t know how I did it. It sounds like too daunting of a task. But I believed in the story, so I did the hard work to make it more marketable.
What were the biggest challenges you faced or surprises you encountered in completing this book?
I defer to question #3. Word count! I pay more attention to word count now. I’m currently in edits for book two (sequel to The Last Huntress), and it’s just over 120,000 words. I feel less intimidated by that number. Had I not been keeping an eye on it, it could quickly have crept up.
How did you come up with the title?
The original 160K manuscript title was A Mirror Darkly. After I cut it down and began querying, I changed it to Wayward Soul. It wasn’t until earlier this year that my publisher suggested we change it to The Last Huntress (Mirror Realm Series Book I). It’s a fantasy that involves Greek gods and magical mirrors, but it’s also about friendship and fated love. There were different directions we could go regarding the title, but I’m happy with where we ended up.
How did you choose the genre you write in?
I think it chose me! I love reading fantasy and paranormal, as long as there is an element of romance. I like a little love in all my books, even sci-fi and horror (though I don’t read much horror, other than Stephen King’s The Stand. I devoured that book when I was 15, and it never left my brain.) As far as YA is concerned, I think I’ll always be a teenager at heart, so it makes sense that I would find myself writing for that audience!
What is your writing process? Where and how do you write?
I have an office that I’ve tried to decorate in a way that inspires me. My husband works from home, and his office is right across the hall. I aim to spend the same time in my office as he does in his. If I treat my writing as a 9-5 job, that gets my butt in the seat. Some days are better than others, and the cat is a huge distraction. Occasionally I’ll set up in a coffee shop or on the backyard deck, weather permitting. But I’m most productive in my dedicated office space.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
She’s not that young. But I’d tell her to watch her word count, don’t worry too much about editing as she goes, and just get the story written. Whatever she’s working on, see it through. Finish it!
What books have influenced your life the most?
This is going to sound like a real hodge-podge of books, but here you go: The Stand (Stephen King), Jane Eyre (Charlotte Brontë), Persuasion (Jane Austen), Outlander (Diana Gabaldon), and a book called Extinction Point (Paul Antony Jones).
The classics (Jane Eyre and Persuasion) because they are timeless love stories I’ll forever adore. Outlander because it inspired my honeymoon in Scotland. The Stand because, as I said earlier, it never left me. I still wander into grocery stores picturing the shelves dusty and empty or full of rotting fruit and swarming flies. And then Extinction Point, because it’s one of the few books I’ve read more than once. Like The Stand, it’s post-apocalyptic and pulls you into a desolate future world. Yet I felt compelled to live it again and consistently recommend it to people looking for a dark and adventurous read.
What projects are you working on now?
I’m editing book two of The Mirror Realm series and plan to get started on book three soon. But I promise book one does NOT end on a cliffhanger! It’s a standalone novel, and books 2-4 will focus on different characters. I’m also in final edits on a paranormal romance novel. I hope to have more updates on that one soon.

About Lenore

I love a good love story. From slow burn to first sight, it doesn’t matter. Add in paranormal, fantasy, or dystopian elements, and I’m all in. These are the stories I crave, so naturally, they are the stories I write!
My love for writing started in the 8th grade when I wrote a short story about a girl on the Titanic. I loved imagining who she was, her hopes and dreams, and how she ended up on that ship. Of course, it wasn’t Rose and Jack (by a long shot), but it planted the seed that would eventually lead to my career as an author.
Oh, I took a few detours along the way. I was an actor. A bartender. A financial recruiter. A human resources professional. I was a lot of things. But one thing I never stopped being was a lover of books. While I might gravitate toward a specific genre, I’ll read anything that engages and captivates me. Historical, Thrillers, Rom-Coms, Post-Apocalyptic, Sci-Fi, Memoirs, Young Adult, I’ll devour them all! (Okay, maybe not cookbooks. I’m useless in the kitchen – ask my husband)
The point is, I love reading. I love immersing myself in another world for a while. Writing takes this one step further; it gives me the privilege of creating that world. And to be able to SHARE that world with you, the reader? That might be my favorite love story of all.
To learn more about Lenore and her books, visit her author website.