Skip to main content

Our SPFBOX interviews continue with Vanessa Ricci-Thode, author of The Young Necromancer’s Guide to Ghosts.

SPFBO (the Self-Published Fantasy Blog Off) is a free online contest run by author Mark Lawrence. 300 authors compete across ten judging teams to see who will be the winner! You can read more about the contest here.


Cover of The Young Necromancer's Guide to Ghosts by Vanessa Ricci-Thode. The cover isllustrated in an appealing cartoon style. Three children (a white blond ghost girl in a flowing blue dress, a girl with long curly brown hair dressed in patched brown pants and wearing a green belted tunic and green cape, and a tall brown boy with straight black hair and gold greeves who is wearing a red cape and a belted beige tunic with brown boots) stand in the lower centre. The boy is in a fighting stance and the brunette is holding a whisp of glowing yellow magic in her palm. Two black dragon silhouette's hover to either side of the trio. A skull hovers in the sky above and behind the title, its empty eye sockets filled with glowing white ghosts.


Tell us a little about yourself and let our readers know which blog you’ve been assigned to for SPFBOX!


I’m a fantasy author, with one trad published romantasy and a self-published series of queer dragon riders. I’ve been assigned to Captured in Words.

What inspired you to write this book?

My kid is an avid reader and in the middle-grade age range, and I’ve long wanted to write something she can read and enjoy. Primarily I wrote this book for her. She was even my first reader, giving me feedback on each chapter as I finished them. I also do a lot of in person events where middle graders are attracted to the covers of my shiny dragon books and then disappointed they’re for adults. So this book is for kids who love to read and ones maybe just getting started.





The most fun for me is the drafting stage and watching the characters and world come to life.


Can you tell us a little bit about your writing or editing process? What’s most exciting to you about writing or editing?

My entire process has hit a wall at the moment because I have burnout, leaving me completely unable to write, plot or edit. Normally, I love the entire process from start to finish, with vast sprawling outlines before I begin drafting. Even with extensive outlines, the most fun for me is the drafting stage and watching the characters and world come to life.

Who or what have been your major literary influences?

Patricia C. Wrede and Stephen King were early influences, but lately I’m more influenced by Martha Wells and C.L. Polk.


Do you have a favourite character from your SPFBOX entry? Tell us about them!

The mentor character, Tollar, is one of my favourite characters I’ve ever written. She’s a powerful wizard with unique talents, but also a big heart and a clear sense of justice. She treads the line between competence porn and disaster queer and I love her.


My kid is an avid reader and in the middle-grade age range, and I’ve long wanted to write something she can read and enjoy.

How does your work fit into (or challenge) its genre?
It fits in as a fun kid’s adventure with ghosts and talking dragons, but it also challenges with its queer normative message.

What are you currently working on?

Rest! I’m being very gentle with myself as I navigate burnout. I do hope to finish the 6th and final book in my queer dragon riding series (Fireborn) by the end of this year.

The Young Necromancer’s Guide to Ghosts


Lusi can see ghosts. And that’s only the beginning of her problems. Lusi is a perfectly normal 12-year-old wizard except for the part where she can talk to ghosts. But everyone knows ghosts aren’t real, so at best they think Lusi is lying and at worst that she’s lost her mind. Her big sister Marsi is the only one who believes her, but Marsi is running away to escape Uncle’s terrible plan to make her marry his creepy nephew. Lusi can’t imagine being separated from her sister and leaves behind the rest of their family to flee with Marsi via merchant caravan to the Wizards Guild for help. All their plans are dashed to pieces when Uncle catches up to them in a matter of days.

Uncle’s connections to powerful wizards make him far more dangerous than Lusi initially realized. But Lusi isn’t crazy or a freak for talking to ghosts: she’s a necromancer! Marsi is worried—they’ve always been told that necromancers are monsters. Lusi needs to learn more to set both their minds at ease. She must enlist the help of a ghost girl, a dragon, and a strange wizard from the other side of the world if she wants to control her unusual talents and keep her family safe.



Add The Young Necromancer’s Guide to Ghosts on Goodreads.

Purchase The Young Necromancer’s Guide to Ghosts on Amazon.

Vanessa Ricci-Thode
Vanessa is a word sorceress who loves a good story. She’s a Halloween enthusiast and a bookish geek who loves dragons, dogs, astronomy, and travel. If she’s not hibernating, she can be found in her butterfly garden, achieving her final form as a garden witch. She lives in Waterloo (no, the other one) with her spouse, daughter and very good dogs. To learn more, visit her website or follow her on social media @VRicciThode

Steve Hugh Westenra

Steve is a trans author of fantasy, science fiction, and horror (basically, if it’s weird he writes it). He grew up on the eldritch shores of Newfoundland, Canada, and currently lives and works in (the slightly less eldritch) Montreal. He holds advanced degrees in Russian Literature, Medieval Studies, and Religious Studies. As a reader, Steve’s tastes are eclectic. He enjoys anything that could be called speculative, including fantasy, sci-fi, and horror, but has been known to enjoy a good mystery as well as literary fiction. He’s always excited to try something new or that pushes boundaries, particularly from marginalized authors. Steve is passionate about queer representation, Late Antiquity, and spiders.

Leave a Reply