'Cast in Firelight' - Exploring Themes of Identity

"Cast in Firelight" by Dana Swift.

Dana Swift wanted to explore themes of identity, self-discovery, and what to do in the face of failure, so she wrote "Cast in Firelight."

What was your inspiration behind your most recent books?

The inspiration behind my debut series mainly came from wanting a book with all my favorite tropes. You’ve Got Mail mistaken identities, superhero movie vigilantism, and arranged marriage rivals-to-lovers romance. Together, these three elements were the basis for “Cast in Firelight’s” premise.

What does Reading Rainbow mean to you? Do you feel like reading connects different communities through stories?

I have always found reading is one of the best ways for people to connect to one another. One, by readers literally sharing love for a story and finding community in fandom. Two, by books being a vehicle for empathy and compassion, letting us understand ourselves as well as understand others. I’m always an advocate for people to read beyond themselves.

Why do you feel representation of a variety of people is so important when it comes to writing books?

Yes, wholeheartedly yes! Very much like my answer above, varied representation helps people connect and learn from each other. It also showcases the diverse world we live in. There are many times in our lives, we can get stuck in the echo-chambers of our communities, all thinking the same way. Books are a safe and enjoyable avenue to think about other people’s perspectives, especially for children.

Tell us a little more about the books in your series and why you decided to write them.

My books are superhero action adventure novels with additional rom-com plot elements and romance. Stories with secret identities have always fascinated me, and I didn’t realize why until I was older. But I love the exploration of identity.

With my debut series, I wanted to explore what it means to be multifaceted to the point it feels like you are wearing a mask or that you have two or three different sides of your personality. As a teen, I sometimes felt like I was putting on a façade. Over time though, I embraced all parts of my personality and I wanted to write a book that talked about that process as a young adult. Not just finding yourself but discovering and embracing all aspects.

What can fans expect from your books?

Above all else, I want my readers to have fun! But I also want my books to be thought-provoking. Underneath the romantic adventure, “Cast in Firelight” and “Bound by Firelight” both explore themes of identity, self-discovery, and what to do in the face of failure. Overall, I want my books to be hopeful, inspiring and showcasing how anyone can be a hero.

You are a children's book buyer at Miami's indie bookstore, “Books & Books.” How do you feel these type of places help bring readers together and have them discover new reads and authors?

Indie bookstores have always been a touchstone of discovery for many readers. Here in Miami, we are lucky enough to have an amazing community that Books & Books helps cultivate. The stores host a myriad of different events in which readers can meet their favorite author as well as people who love the same types of stories. Of course, a bookstore is the perfect place to also find your next great read!

Since I’m the Children’s Book Buyer, I help bring in all the books for young readers. I’m proud to say we have a diverse collection and there is always sometime new to find at Books & Books!


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