Jennifer L. Armentrout is a prolific writer, publishing nearly 70 titles since 2011. The West Virginia-based author has written a breadth of fantasy, romance and paranormal books. She had success in the young adult space, with work like her “Lux” series. More recently, she achieved major success from her adult series “From Blood and Ash,” which gained popularity after going viral on TikTok. She also is a “hybrid” author, publishing her work both independently and through traditional publishers. 

Armentrout’s latest release, “Fall of Ruin and Wrath,” is an adult fantasy romance set in a realm where long ago, the world was destroyed by gods. Only nine cities remained after the fallout. Living in a place teeming with monsters, royalty and danger, main character Calista (Lis) was born with the gift of intuition. This power has kept her alive through years of hardship — but also has drawn her to a dangerous prince, testing whether she can trust her heart. 

Ahead of her virtual event with Brookline Booksmith on Wednesday, Armentrout joined GBH News to discuss “Fall of Ruin and Wrath,” which is out now. Lightly edited excerpts from the interview are below, and you can listen to the full interview by clicking the player at the top of this page.

Haley Lerner: You’ve written so many different fantasy worlds. In terms of building these new worlds and balancing them in your mind, how did you choose to create this one, and how do you manage your different worlds?

Jennifer L. Armentrout: It's really hard. One of the ways I do it is if I'm working on one book set in one world, I don't really do much with the other world at that time. I try to keep them separate as best as possible.

I think the biggest part is to understand there are conventions to fantasy. There’s always going to be some level of similarity if you're dealing with a certain type of fantasy that has supernatural elements. I have to be aware that they're going to be similar tropes and do my best to kind of make it as different as possible.

Lerner: Writing this book, did you have any goals for a theme or message you wanted to get across?

Armentrout: In a lot of my books, even fantasy or paranormal or contemporary, I often mirror events that have happened in our real world or are currently happening. Some of it comes from my background in psychology and sociology. One of the classes that had the hugest impact on me in college was a class about social stratification.

That's something I explore in a lot of the fantasy books: When you have a situation of the haves and the have-nots. There definitely is a theme there of what happens when you stratify a society — inevitably, that society is going to fail.

With Lis, she is somebody who had to learn to survive by all means necessary, and that was something I really wanted to explore. Often in the real world, we look at what people do to provide food for themselves or to their family, and we often tend to judge their methods after having never been in their situation before. And I wanted to show that journey, as I grew up extremely poor in a very rural area. I didn't fully understand what my parents were having to do, but they were having to sacrifice.

That was one thing that I kind of wanted to show was that journey of someone who maybe isn't like my typical fantasy lead character, who is super physically strong and can fight and pick up a sword, but showing someone who's more like us, who has to survive by their wits.

Lerner: Fantasy historically has been a genre where violence against women is normalized and female characters don't get to take the lead. In your books, the women really have agency. Can you talk a bit about what having these strong characters in your books means to you?

Armentrout: It's hugely important to me because growing up, we did not have it, at all. Even now as an adult, especially when you watch fantasy, it’s a lot of violence against women. And if the woman has power, well, she's going to burn everything down, because you can't be rational or sane about anything.

One thing I wanted to show with my female characters is that they can be strong, whether it's physical or mental, and that they can have power. I want readers to be able to see that.

It's kind of the same thing when I work mental health issues into the characters. I want readers to see that you can have anxiety, you can have depression, and that is not the sum of who you are.

Lerner: You've written nearly 70 books. You release multiple books per year. How do you balance it all?

Armentrout: I don't take any of it for granted because I've been very lucky throughout my career. I've had books in my past that people would consider very successful. And I would think, ‘Oh my God, I made it. Everything's going to be smooth sailing from here.’ And then just nothing afterwards.

I feel so lucky because most of us, we don't even get that one time, we don't get it two times and we don't get it three times. And I feel like one of the reasons why it happened for me, this is going to sound cliché, but I didn't stop. I didn't give up. I just put my head down and I kept writing because I had to keep reminding myself that I'm writing because that's my dream. That's what I want to be doing. And even if this book doesn't sell all these copies or if this is not the book people are talking about, I'm still doing what I love.

You can be on the top at one minute and right back down to what is considered the bottom, so I try to always remember not to take it for granted.

Jennifer L. Armentrout will be in conversation with Holly Black on Sept. 13 at 8 p.m. for a virtual event hosted by Brookline Booksmith to celebrate the release of “Fall of Ruin and Wrath.” More information can be found here