I’m happy to start off the new year with a fabulous spotlight interview with Cinda Williams Chima! I’ve long been a fan of her incredible YA fantasy novels, starting with The Warrior Heir (from the Heir series) and most recently The Gray Wolf Throne from her newest series, Seven Realms. I am so hooked! If you want to get completely lost in other worlds with characters you have to love and hate, then you definitely want to pick up her books! Keep reading to find out how you can enter a drawing to win a copy of this book!
In book 3 of “A Seven Realms Novel,” the princess heir Raisa having escaped her kidnappers, finds herself on her own trying to return home to The Fells without being killed. When she is ambushed and on the brink of dying, Han Allister (someone she’s had a history with) who happens to be crossing the pass at the same time, rescues her. He nearly dies trying to use his magic to save her – and both survive after he gets her safely to camp. During recovery, Han learns that the girl he though was “just another wealthy spoiled girl” (and someone he’s come to care about) is actually the Princess Heir and he feels betrayed. Not only because she lied to him, but because it’s long been forbidden for royalty to marry wizards. There are further attempts on Raisa’s life as she prepares to take the throne in the wake of her mother’s death (possibly murder). With Han and her childhood best friend Amon, by her side Raisa’s story continues to unfold along with new mysteries. It’s challenging to summarize this novel with justice because the story is so intricate (and fascinating) and this being book 3, I don’t want to give away too much. I highly recommend this series! There will be a book four (thank goodness)! It’s such a fabulous story – with characters I love and intrigue that keeps me mesmerized. Watching a young, strong, and caring queen come to power is fascinating!
Spotlight on Cinda Williams Chima:
What was the initial spark behind the Seven Realms series?
The Seven Realms series takes place in a world that I created for an adult high fantasy series that I began years ago but never finished. That series was called The Star-Marked Warder, and I was greatly influenced by George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series. I loved that it was a sprawling high fantasy series that focused on people more than splashy magic. And all of the characters were complex, three-dimensional, and flawed, the protagonists and the antagonists. When I decided to write high fantasy for teens, I realized that I had a world I loved, a magical system, and characters that I enjoyed spending time with. So I took some of them back to when they were teenagers–and that was the start of it all.
I’m am awed by your ability to build worlds that feel so complete, so real that I’m disappointed when I stop reading and realize the places don’t truly exist. How do you so successfully build worlds for your series? What are the challenges?
I usually engage in just-in-time worldbuilding, e.g. I create as I go along and then kind of clean up afterward. When I began to write the Seven Realms series, I’d already spent considerable time in that world, and it was totally real to me. I remember my editor said, I can’t believe how textured this world is, and I said, well, yeah, I’ve already written 500,000 words in this world. I think it’s important to remember that a world is more than a landscape and a magical system. For example, consider: How would people make a living in a mountainous region? Probably not by farming. Maybe mining or trading or crafts. Who has power in your world? What kinds of social/cultural/racial/religious differences might drive conflict in your story? Don’t miss opportunities to build conflict into setting. The challenge in fantasy world-building is delivering information on a need-to-know basis. The reader will never need to know everything the writer knows about that world. TMI is one of the reasons many people liken reading fantasy to hacking through a thicket.
I’m in love with both Han Allister and Amon Byrne from the series (so I can relate to the Princess Heir’s feelings). Han has a special amulet that gives him a lot of power as a wizard. What items do you draw your power (as a Writer) from? Do you have good luck pieces that help you write?
Not really! I think I need me some! I do love beautiful stones like turquoise and opal and tanzanite and agate–maybe I have a little dragon in me! And this is going to sound nerdy, but I love my computer. I’m a slow and painful hand-writer, and it’s ugly no matter what. I’m a very fast and accurate keyboarder, through, and I can finally keep up with the ideas flowing through my mind. It gives me the freedom to take chances, switch things around, and tell the editor in my head to shut up!
Win a copy of Cinda’s book! The winner will receive The Gray Wolf Throne. While this is the third book in the series, both books 1 and 2 (The Demon King and The Exiled Queen) are available so it would be easy to get started, especially if you already own book 3! Please read the rules to enter carefully, because I made some small changes (due to my inability to contact the winner of the previous contest).
1. Comment on this post by Wednesday, January 11, midnight EST (9 PM PST) to get your name entered in a drawing. If you are reading this via a feed, click here to post a comment.
2. Leave your name and an email address so I can notify you if you win.
3. You must have a US mailing address. The reason for this is that I use my own funds to pay for both the book and shipping.
4. The winner will be announced on this blog on Thursday, January 12.
Good luck and thanks for stopping by!