Today we're super excited to celebrate the cover reveal for DARK OF THE WEST by Joanna Hathaway, releasing on February 5, 2019 from Tor Teen. Before we get to the reveal, here's a note from Joanna:
Hi YABC! I'm so excited to share my shiny new cover for DARK OF THE WEST with you! This is truly my dream cover, capturing all of the elements in the book that loom so large in my imagination: airplanes, horses, foxes, crowns, and, of course, the darker undercurrents of war. Each piece in this beautiful design represents a key symbol from the lives of Aurelia and Athan, and I'm thrilled by the way the artist, Marisa Aragón Ware, brought it all to life. This story is in many ways a reflection of my own younger spirit—the dreamy little girl who grew up wanting to be both a princess and a pilot—and I think this is exactly the kind of cover she would have loved! I hope it will resonate with many other readers too, from the history buffs to the fantasy lovers to the hopeless romantics.
Ready to see?
Scroll, YABCers! Scroll!
Here it is!
DARK OF THE WEST
By: Joanna Hathaway
Release Date: February 5, 2019
Publisher: Tor Teen
A pilot raised in revolution. A princess raised in a palace. A world on the brink of war. Code Name Verity meets The Winner's Curse in Joanna Hathaway's Dark of the West, a breathtaking YA fantasy debut.
Aurelia Isendare is a princess of a small kingdom in the North, raised in privilege but shielded from politics as her brother prepares to step up to the throne. Halfway around the world, Athan Dakar, the youngest son of a ruthless general, is a fighter pilot longing for a life away from the front lines. When Athan’s mother is shot and killed, his father is convinced it’s the work of his old rival, the Queen of Etania―Aurelia’s mother. Determined to avenge his wife’s murder, he devises a plot to overthrow the Queen, a plot which sends Athan undercover to Etania to gain intel from her children.
Athan’s mission becomes complicated when he finds himself falling for the girl he’s been tasked with spying upon. Aurelia feels the same attraction, all the while desperately seeking to stop the war threatening to break between the Southern territory and the old Northern kingdoms that control it―a war in which Athan’s father is determined to play a role. As diplomatic ties manage to just barely hold, the two teens struggle to remain loyal to their families and each other as they learn that war is not as black and white as they’ve been raised to believe.
Joanna Hathaway was born in Montréal and is an avid storyteller who was inspired to write after reading her great-grandfather’s memoirs of the First World War. A lifelong history buff, she now has shelves filled with biographies and historical accounts, and perhaps one too many books about pilots. She can often be found reading, traveling, or riding horses. Dark of the West is her debut novel.
1. What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
There are so many answers to this question, but here is one: As a teen, I was addicted to history books—both fiction and non-fiction. I found the world, and the stories of the people in it, incredibly fascinating, and all I wanted was to learn the 'hows' and 'whys' of everything. I devoured books on everything from the Wars of the Roses to the Second World War. Once I realized that history has many blindspots as well—written by the victors, as they say—it only drove me to explore ever deeper, searching for perspectives from different angles, the stories pulsing beneath the official (largely Western) narrative. So, I think it was only natural that I would go on to write a story about two young people on opposite sides of a tangled conflict, trying to sort out the truth amidst the fog of war while confronting the great injustices around them. I wanted their inner-questions to resonate with readers: How do I do what's right in light of family and national ties? How do I justify action or inaction? How do I stand up for peace when it seems the whole world is marching the other direction? I don't want their answers to be easy—because the truth is, the answers rarely are.
The shorter response to this question, however, is that perhaps I simply wanted to write some airplane dogfight scenes!
2. Who is your favorite character in the book?
I feel like authors aren't supposed to pick their favourite characters, though I'm sure we all have them! But if you read closely enough, you can guess. It’s the boy with the heart of gold. But ssshh, don't tell the rest of them...
3. What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
I'd have to say the prologue is probably the scene I'm most proud of! As most authors know, deciding whether or not to use a prologue is a question of great debate. It has to be purposeful, engaging, and necessary. I went through quite a few different versions of the current prologue, and let's just the debate was a hot one! The scene is set in the future of the series, with a negotiation scene in war between the two ex-lovers now on opposite sides. Trying to encapsulate the "thesis" the series, so to speak, in just a few short pages took a lot of revising and discussion and editor magic. My brilliant agent was the last convert, and by the time I had him on board, I knew I had succeeded! So, love it or hate it, I'm very happy with how this prologue turned out—and it seems to be working well with early readers!
4. Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
One of the most important things I've learned is to follow my heart as a writer and storyteller. This doesn't mean I refuse to listen to critique or make adjustments based on outside advice—because I do all the time, and it has only made this story infinitely better—but as a rookie writer, I often felt like I had to listen to everyone, determined to please every audience. This, as it turns out, just isn't possible! I've learned to embrace critique and revision while also using it to drive me closer to the heart of my story. If it pushes me away, then I know it isn't for me.
5. What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2018?
Oh, too many! I can't wait for my finished copy of IGNITE THE STARS by Maura Milan to arrive—I think readers looking for a fun and thoughtful space adventure are going to absolutely love it! Another debut I'm excited about is Rebecca Schaeffer's NOT EVEN BONES, which comes out in September. I'm also itching for Pierce Brown's next installment in the Red Rising saga, DARK AGE! (Although I think that one might have been pushed back... like me! Now that I have something in common with Pierce Brown, I'm feeling much better.)
6. Which character gave you the most trouble when writing your latest book?
Most of my characters I know quite well after so many years together, but there is one sly and handsome fellow in particular who really loves to evade my internal interrogations: Ambassador Havis. You'll understand better when you read the book, but let's just say that out of my entire cast, he's the one who really keeps me on my toes! He holds his cards close and operates by his own agenda, and I like to say he is my Lord Stanley from the Wars of the Roses. (Check out this link and it will make more sense: http://historytimeshistory.blogspot.com/2012/03/lord-stanley-man-for-all-allegiances.html)
7. Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
I think I enjoy drafting and revising equally! They both have their perks. Drafting is very freeing, letting my imagination run wild while my fingers try desperately to keep up. But revising is also quite satisfying, the pleasure of tightening themes and cutting loose ends while enhancing and deepening what's already there. There's something special about the moment you start to see a real Story taking form!
8. Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?
Especially right now, I think it's very important to champion the experiences of refugees and other asylum seekers. I'm from Canada originally, and over the past few years my home country has been welcoming families from Syria and linking them up with sponsors such as mosques, churches, and synagogues who offer both friendship and support upon arrival in Canada. My parents' church sponsored one family—a mother and two daughters—and though I'm not nearby to help out often, I'm able to meet with them whenever I visit home, and honestly, these girls are my true heroes! Incredibly courageous, smart, kind, and ready to do great things! I could not have so bravely walked in their shoes. Now more than ever, especially here in the States where things are feeling quite dark, I'd really encourage us all to hear these stories, befriend those who are new in our neighbourhoods, and donate as we are able to organizations equipped to support those who are arriving.
Enter to win a review copy of DARK OF THE WEST when available. The giveaway is international!