Friday Favourites: Austin Chant


Friday Favourites are back in full swing and today my guest is Austin Chant, author of queer fiction. His trans retelling of Peter Darling released earlier this year and I only got to read it last month and it completely blew me away! His latest book is the trans pnr Caroline's Heart which I somehow loved even more. You can learn more about it and read an excerpt from it in the end of this post. First, though you get to learn what some of Austin's favourite things in the world are.

Austin's Friday Favourites

1. Favourite place
Everyone who's ever heard me talk about Austin, Texas, is groaning and covering their ears right now. But seriously: did you know there are swan boats (and also literal swans) sailing around the city every night? Did you know there's a 400-acre park with natural hot springs right across from downtown Austin? Did you know that the margaritas are cheap and delicious? Did you know that a colony of 1.5 million precious little bats lives in the city during the summer and that they eat all the mosquitoes? I once saw a Disney villain-themed drag show there with the world's most beautiful Captain Hook. Last time I visited I had cactus tacos for breakfast. Austin is perfect.

Yes, my name has made this relationship awkward, but I don't care. I'm in love with the city of Austin and nothing will stand between us.

2. Favourite food and drink
I'll take a blended jalapeno margarita or a strong cup of Earl Grey any day of the week, and I'll take either with a good burger or pulled pork sandwich.

3. Favourite music/genre/artist/song
I tend to change up my playlists depending on what I'm writing, so I listen to most genres, but if I'm just keeping myself entertained it's a mix of southern rock/alternative and pop. My favorite band at the moment is The Revivalists and I've been jamming to their song Wish I Knew You all year. 

4. Favourite movie/TV series
Jurassic Park is my all-time favorite movie, and Over the Garden Wall is probably my favorite TV series, although that might just be the Halloween spirit talking.

5. Favourite hobby besides writing, if you consider writing a hobby
Video games! I've been a big gamer since I was a kid, and gaming is still my favorite way to relax; it's a total change of pace from writing, but it's still creative and engaging. I love how much storytelling potential the interactive form has. Also, I've put more hours into Overwatch this year than I want to talk about. 

6. Favourite books 
Not that this could ever be a complete list, but my all-time favorites include Howl's Moving Castle (and many others) by Diana Wynne Jones, Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton, The Book of Salt by Monique Truong, the Captive Prince series by CS Pacat, and The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal by KJ Charles. Recently, I've really enjoyed The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell, Nevada by Imogen Binnie, and Illegal Contact by Santino Hassell.

Austin Chant's latest release is Caroline's Heart, Western trans romance with cowboys and witches and spells and magic and HFN! Buy link: 

Cecily lost her soulmate years ago, leaving her with nothing but the clockwork heart that once beat in Caroline's chest. They say it's impossible to bring back the dead, yet Cecily's resurrection spell is nearly complete and grows more powerful by the day.
But when a cowboy she barely knows is fatally injured, the only way to save him is by sacrificing an essential piece of the resurrection spell—and all possibility of seeing her lover again.
Purchase link: Amazon 

Author Bio and Links

Austin Chant is a bitter millennial, a decent chef, and a queer, trans writer of romance and speculative fiction. His fiction includes Peter Darling, Coffee Boy, and Caroline's Heart. He co-hosts The Hopeless Romantic, a podcast dedicated to exploring LGBTQIA+ love stories and the art of writing romance. He currently lives in a household of creative freelancers who all spend too much time playing video games.


Roy puts the horses out to pasture under the watchful gaze of the witch candles, his nose itching every time the wind carries the pale smoke in his direction. He keeps an eye out for the witch, but there's no sign of her; he overhears John talking about how witches only travel under cover of darkness, because the light of day will burn their blighted skin. Roy's curiosity starts to fade to resignation. Maybe he won't see her at all. Maybe Weber will keep her away from the men entirely; maybe he fears that a hex on one of them would be a hex on the whole ranch.

Around midday, he retreats into the stables to repair a stall door that one of the mares kicked down. It's unpleasant work, downwind of the house so the air reeks of smoke as well as manure and straw dust. He sneezes till his eyes are running and his throat is raw. It seems like it's getting hotter every minute, feverish almost. Soon his chest aches with each breath.

He stops to wipe his brow on his sleeve and notices that the straw is stirring around his feet as if picked up by a breeze, but there's no wind, just a strange agitation in the air.

A coil of soft heat, like a cat's tail, brushes the back of his neck.

Roy startles and glances over his shoulder. There's nothing out of the ordinary, just saddles and tack and a bare wall, but the air pushes around him like a hot bath. He takes a thick breath, his head swimming, and moves toward the stable door. Better sit down, he thinks, before you fall down—

But then he sees it: a seam of light cutting its way across the bare wall like a shooting star.

Roy stands stock still, staring at the light. He's filled with a giddy fear like the kind he used to get from his pa's candlelight stories. The heat is dizzying, past intolerable, the air swelling urgently around him. Roy blinks sweat out of his eyes, watching the light's progress as it traces a rectangle the size of a door.

Then the door cracks inward, and the pressure goes all at once. The air left behind is cold and thin and smells of flowers.

Roy sags against the wall, shivering and staring, as the witch steps through.

She moves like a deer, dainty and aloof, turning to press the glowing door closed behind her. She's dressed like Mr. Weber's young wife, in gray and white, with a bow around the high collar of her dress and a straw bonnet trimmed with silk. Roy hadn't expected her to be so pretty. She's the kind of lady who would make him stumble over his tongue if he met her in the street. Her lips are rosy, her cheekbones striking; her hair is dark and tame, pulled back into a shiny braid, loose ringlets curling over her brow and along her cheeks.

He realizes he's exposing his soul for her taking a moment too late when she turns and catches his eye. She looks straight at him, not in the forthright way that some people do, but like a cat watching an insect. Her eyes are black, languid—her eyelashes so thick and dark they seem to pull her eyelids down for each dispassionate blink. Roy, flushed and now freezing, finds himself unable to move.

"Do you need something, cowboy?" she asks, a cool voice with a distinct Texan drawl.

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