So last week I wrote about the enchanting book subscription box Once Upon a Book Club. I told you all of the behind the scene details on how this incredible reading experience came to be and how you can get it delivered to your doorstep. This week I was lucky enough to interview the author of the YA September box book, Amanda Foody.
I myself am about 100 pages into this bewitching tale. Here’s the run down on Amanda’s debut novel.
Sixteen-year-old Sorina has spent most of her life within the smoldering borders of the Gomorrah Festival. Yet even among the many unusual members of the traveling circus-city, Sorina stands apart as the only illusion-worker born in hundreds of years. This rare talent allows her to create illusions that others can see, feel and touch, with personalities all their own. Her creations are her family, and together they make up the cast of the Festival's Freak Show.
But no matter how lifelike they may seem, her illusions are still just that—illusions, and not truly real. Or so she always believed…until one of them is murdered.
Desperate to protect her family, Sorina must track down the culprit and determine how they killed a person who doesn't actually exist. Her search for answers leads her to the self-proclaimed gossip-worker Luca. Their investigation sends them through a haze of political turmoil and forbidden romance, and into the most sinister corners of the Festival. But as the killer continues murdering Sorina's illusions one by one, she must unravel the horrifying truth before all her loved ones disappear.
Here’s what the author had to say!
How do you balance your writing and a second full time career? (I also do this, and would love to glean any new tips, tricks and techniques in maintaining this super power!)
Keeping myself busy keeps me productive! If I have too much free time, I definitely get lazy, so even though I fantasize about open schedules, I tend to work better in "crunch times." I think my main tip is being ok with writing really terrible drafts. Sometimes you're not inspired, but if you don't have time to wait for inspiration, just...write bad stuff! At least it's writing! My first drafts are almost always entirely rewritten, inspiration or not, so this works well for me.
After glancing at your website, I quickly spotted FanGirl, Pillars of the Earth, Maggie Stiefvater and Game of Thrones. (Seriously, if I had to make a top 5 list... these and Harry Potter would make up the coveted spots... we might be literary soul mates!) So many people say, write the book you want to read. Is that what you have done? How do your favorite authors inspire you?
I have definitely written the books I want to read. As a fantasy reader, I've seen it all--dragons, wizards, waterbenders, etc. Sometimes I love the familiar; sometimes I love a good twist on a classic. But for me, I always think of magic as the unexpected. By definition, magic is to explain the unexplainable, to search for the more hidden within the cracks of our world and manage to grasp it. If I am writing magic, I want it to be unexpected. I want something the reader has never seen before.
My favorite authors usually inspire me in tangential ways. I typically take stylistic elements from their writing rather than actual ideas (which I find in duller, more ordinary places, like finding a world of magic in my financial accounting book. I love fantasy born out of mundane). For instance, Game of Thrones opened my eyes to creating morally gray characters. Naruto made me realize how broad I could make the scope of my projects. A Darker Shade of Magic taught me how many layers I could create over a world. J.K. Rowling taught me that the thrill is in the details.
What is your favorite Harry Potter book?
Order of the Phoenix! Angst-y Harry is the best Harry. Also how could you not love Dumbledore's Army?
What are your thoughts on being included in Once Upon a Book Club, Young Adult edition?
I'm thrilled! I always thought Daughter was a good discussion book. There are a lot of open-ended questions and development remaining--not necessarily for a sequel, but as talking points. Especially about the characters and unreliable narrators.
What advice would you give to teen writers?
Read craft books! They were my teachers. Once I devoured them, I got so much more knowledge out of the books I read, and I was able to develop my own opinions and style.
Your next book is called Ace of Shades, and will be released in April 2018. Any hints you can give us?
If you enjoyed the atmospheric setting of the Gomorrah Festival, you'll love the City of Sin. It isn't as whimsical, and the magic is less showy, but the neon lights and raunchy cabarets make up for it in the performance department. Daughter is dark, but Ace is greater. Daughter is endearing where Ace is sexy. Plus, Ace has two narrators, and who doesn't love the dynamics of those forced into an unlikely companionship?
Thank you so much to Amanda for her time and amazing answers. If you didn’t get the September box, including Amanda’s book Daughter of the Burning City, you can click here. I will leave you with one last piece of advice from our featured author. Until next time word nerds, happy reading!