Welcome to our weekly special feature post, Author Of The Week!!
Each week we will be interviewing a different YA author and highlighting their upcoming release!
We will also be hosting a giveaway of the book we are highlighting!!
This week we will be featuring two authors from Tor Teen Publishing with two seperate giveaways to enter!
Introducing Cora Carmack, YABC's Author of the Week!!
Cora Carmack has done a multitude of things in her life–boring jobs (retail), fun jobs (theatre), stressful jobs (teaching), and dream jobs (writing). Raised in a small Texas town, she now lives in New York City and Texas, and spends her time writing, traveling, and marathoning various television shows on Netflix. Her first book, Losing It, was a New York Times and USA Today bestseller, and her subsequent books were also hits.
New York Times bestselling author Cora Carmack's young adult debut: the start of a captivating new YA fantasy/romance series perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and Victoria Aveyard
In a land ruled and shaped by violent magical storms, power lies with those who control them.
Aurora Pavan comes from one of the oldest Stormling families in existence. Long ago, the ungifted pledged fealty and service to her family in exchange for safe haven, and a kingdom was carved out from the wildlands and sustained by magic capable of repelling the world’s deadliest foes. As the sole heir of Pavan, Aurora's been groomed to be the perfect queen. But she’s yet to show any trace of the magic she’ll need to protect her people.
To keep her secret and save her crown, Aurora’s mother arranges for her to marry a dark and brooding Stormling prince from another kingdom. At first, the prince seems like the perfect solution to all her problems. He’ll guarantee her spot as the next queen and be the champion her people need to remain safe. But the more secrets Aurora uncovers about him, the more a future with him frightens her. When she dons a disguise and sneaks out of the palace one night to spy on him, she stumbles upon a black market dealing in the very thing she lacks—storm magic. And the people selling it? They’re not Stormlings. They’re storm hunters.
Legend says that her ancestors first gained their magic by facing a storm and stealing part of its essence. And when a handsome young storm hunter reveals he was born without magic, but possesses it now, Aurora realizes there’s a third option for her future besides ruin or marriage.
She might not have magic now, but she can steal it if she’s brave enough.
Challenge a tempest. Survive it. And you become its master.
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
I’ve loved YA speculative fiction for as long as I can remember, and writing YA fantasy has been a lifelong dream. I've loved writing contemporary romance for the past few years, but when Tor Teen offered a contract for writing a YA fantasy, it was like a dream come true.
When I had the idea for ROAR, I was doing a radio interview about one of my romance books, and the interviewer asked if there was something I really wanted to write but hadn’t yet. I mentioned how I’d always wanted to write a book about storm chasers, but hadn’t yet because it would require a lot of research and I was on tight deadlines. I remember thinking, ‘what if I wrote a fantasy book about MAGIC storms, where I could make up my own rules, invent my own scientific explanations.’ It was mostly a joke, but then my brain latched onto the idea of magic storms and wouldn’t let go. After the interview I sat down and wrote everything that came to mind - a black market that sold storm magic! A princess with a secret! Storm hunters that steal magic! Sentient storms with minds of their own! - and I absolutely could NOT think about anything else. I went to my editor and was like, “I know we talked about me writing this other fantasy book…but what about THIS: MAGIC STORMS??!” Thankfully, she was totally on board, and here we are!
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
I’m a very character-driven writer, which I think comes from my background in theater. I love really inhabiting and connecting my characters and letting them lead me through their story, but that only happens when I can identify with them. So a lot of my characters have a little bit of myself in them - a hope or a secret, a dream or a fear. Aurora has so much of my teenage self in her -- her restlessness, how she feels stifled by her surroundings and how deeply she longs to make a difference in the world. Growing up in a miniscule town in Texas, I felt all those same things. I also relate with Novaya, who suffers from intense anxiety (like me) but also has to deal with volatile magic (unlike me, thankfully).
One character that I didn’t expect to like as much as I do is Cassius. He started out as the cocky prince and he was really only supposed to be a catalyst for Aurora’s journey, but as I wrote his voice was so strong in my head, which made him incredibly fun to write.
YABC: Which came first, the title or the novel?
The title came before I actually started working on the novel. When I was jotting down ideas, I sort of naturally started writing a pitch for the book. The end of that pitch went like this:
Now in order to be the queen she was always meant to be, Rora slips away in the night and becomes Roar. A storm chaser’s apprentice. She’s determined to look death in the eye and escape with enough magic to control her own future. But life, like the weather, is unpredictable. And she soon faces an impossible choice.
Queen or adventurer.
Duty or freedom.
Her Kingdom or the storm chaser she loves.
Rora or Roar.
And after writing that, ROAR felt like the perfect title. We toyed with changing it a few times, but in the end we always came back to ROAR.
YABC: What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
There’s a scene toward the end that involves a lightning storm that I worried about through the entire drafting process. I have to work chronologically, so the entire time I was writing that seen loomed in the back of my mind. I was both excited and terrified to write it. It’s complicated to write a storm as a sentient being. It sounds cool in theory, but I wasn’t sure if I could actually pull it off. But I love how that scene turned out. And so many people who have read it pinpointed that scene as one of their favorites.
YABC: Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
Write the story that only you can tell. Don’t focus on the market or compare yourself to others. The best books are the ones that are uniquely you.
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
Is it a cop out to say EVERYTHING?! Seriously though, I am so pleased with the cover of Roar. My publisher Tor Teen really went above and beyond and commissioned an artist to create the cover art, and I was able to give feedback and suggestions through the process. The finished product is stunning and really fits the feel of the book. (Can I also give a shout out to the cover of the German edition of Roar, Stormheart? It’s gorgeous too. I really hit the jackpot on covers with this book!)
YABC: What’s up next for you?
I’m already working on the sequel to Roar and having a blast - the intensity of the storms kicks up a notch in this book and that’s been a lot of fun to write. The fourth book in the Rusk University series, All Closed Off, releases on July 18, and I am equal parts excited, nervous, and terrified. I’ve known that Stella’s story is one that needs to be told for a long time, and it’s been so important to me that I tell it correctly. I just finished traveling around Europe for both fun and signings. And I just attended Book Expo America and BookCon in New York, which was awesome, and I’ll be attending Books in Bourbon Country in Louisville, Kentucky in August.
YABC: What would you say is your superpower?
Does procrastination count as a super power? Because I am an EXCELLENT procrastinator. :D But it would probably be something like ‘finding inspiration for a new book in any place or situation but almost always on a Tuesday.’ Haha. I’m one of those authors that is constantly having new ideas for books (and weirdly it does often fall on a Tuesday). I could probably never have another book idea, and I’d still be set for life. I have that many ideas waiting in the wings.
YABC: Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?
Gah. So many. I have what you might call a bleeding heart. One of my favorite things about being an author is the opportunity it has given me to give back and support the things I’m passionate about. Of which there are a lot. As a former high school teacher, I’m passionate about education, especially arts education. I also care deeply about human rights both in the US and abroad. And if you’re my friend on facebook, you’ll probably see me post about environmentalism and climate change at least once a week. One particular charity that hits a lot of things I care about is called PLANTING PEACE. You might know them as the non-profit who painted a rainbow house next to Westboro Baptist Church as a place of support and welcome for LGBT youth. They also plant trees around the world, run orphanages, buy up tracts of the rainforest to prevent it from being used for logging or mining. And one of my favorite things about them is that they can do a lot with a little amount of money. For about $5, you can deworm an entire school of children in impoverished areas. Intestinal worms steal much of the nutrition from children who are already struggling with hunger. If you’ve ever seen one of those sad commercials with children with distended bellies, that’s what you’re seeing. So Planting Peace is definitely a charity I appreciate and admire. But I’m not share about supporting and championing the things I consider important on my social media. Of course, every author has been told at some point or another not to get political or talk about troubling current events on social media. But I don’t stand by that. My readers have given me a voice, and I’m failing if I don’t use that voice for good in every way I can.
By: Cora Carmack
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: June 13th, 2017
Three winners will receive a hardback copy of Roar and swag pouch ~ (US Only)
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*