Author Chat with Cristin Bishara (Vial of Tears), Plus Giveaway! ~ (US Only)
Today we are chatting with Cristin Bishara, author of
Vial of Tears!
Read on for more about Cristin, her book, and a giveaway!
Meet Cristin Bishara!
Cristin grew up in a small Ohio town where she got her first library card at age three. She’s been reading and writing ever since. Before publishing Relativity, Cristin worked as a freelance business writer, authoring magazine articles, as well as copy for food catalogs, ads, websites, and tourist guides. She’s taught composition and creative writing, both at the college level and in community workshops. In her spare time, she loves to travel, attempt to learn Spanish and Arabic, and cook, especially her grandmother’s Lebanese recipes. Learn more about Cristin by following her on Instagram.
Meet Vial of Tears!
Two sisters become trapped in the underworld--and in the machinations of deities, shapeshifters, and ghouls--in this lush and dangerous Phoenician mythology-inspired fantasy.
Sixteen-year-old sisters Samira and Rima aren't exactly living the dream. Instead, they live with their maddeningly unreliable mother in a rundown trailer in Michigan. Dad's dead, money's tight, and Mom disappears for days at a time. So when Sam's grandfather wills her the family valuables--a cache of Lebanese antiquities--she's desperate enough to try pawning them before Mom can.
But she shouldn't. Because one is cursed, forbidden, the burial coin of a forgotten god. Disturbing it condemns her and Rima to the Phoenician underworld, a place of wicked cities, burning cedar forests, poisoned feasts of milk and lemons, and an endless, windless ocean.
Nothing is what it seems. No one is who they say. And down here, the night never ends.
To get home--and keep her sister safe--Sam will have to outwit beautiful shapeshifters, pose as a royal bride, sail the darkest sea... and maybe kill the god of death himself.
~ Author Chat ~
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
My great grandfather discovered a collection of ancient coins in his mountain village in Lebanon. I grew up hearing stories about these 2,000-year-old coins, as well as life in the village, which always felt somehow mythical to me. Those were the initial inspirations. Add to that my father’s interest in the Phoenicians, and grandmother’s amazing Lebanese recipes. (There’s lots of mouthwatering food in Vial of Tears.)
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
Oh no! It’s impossible to choose—I love them all, even the villains minus a few, like the horrible prison guards. But if I had to answer without overthinking the question, I admit I have a huge soft spot for Teth.
YABC: Which came first, the title or the novel?
The novel. The absolutely atrocious first working title was The Passage. (Yeah, I know, so bad.) Then it was Ship of Purple Sails. Then it was Coin of Feathers and Blood. At one point I wrote key words on individual index cards, then shuffled them all over my kitchen floor trying to come up with better ideas. That’s how I finally landed on Vial of Tears.
YABC: Do you have a favorite writing snack?
I’m a potato chips person. And I love dark chocolate with sea salt and almonds.
YABC: Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
There’s no right way to write a novel. I revise as I go, which admittedly isn’t the most efficient drafting strategy. I’ve beaten myself up for it. I’ve tried to change. I’ve compared myself to others who seem to know a better way. But I’ve finally just accepted that this is how my author brain works. I might as well embrace it.
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
The layers of rich color. The artist, Syd Mills, did a great job capturing the mood and setting. I also love how there are so many details woven in—the coins, the keyhole pupil, the vial of tears. The more you look, the more you find.
YABC: What’s on your TBR pile?
As usual, I’m currently reading an odd variety of books, including one about plant intelligence. (Yep, you read that right.) I’m finishing up both Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim and Wilder Girls by Rory Power, and I just started The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner. I always read a few poems per week. My TBR list includes The Suite Spot by Trish Doller, Nightrender by Jodi Meadows, and Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi. Confession: I often read 50-100 pages of a book, set it aside, and never look back. I used to feel guilty about my DNF habit, but I’ve learned to let that go too.
YABC: Are there any film adaptations, tv shows, audiobooks, or other adaptations in the works for this book?
Yes! Penguin Random House is producing the audio book, which is honestly a mind-blowing experience. For so long, this story has existed solely in my own head, in my own voice. The talented Aixa Kay is narrating, and to hear my characters come to life is just…wow…humbling and exhilarating. In other news, my literary agent was contacted by a Netflix scout who requested a copy of the manuscript, so we’ll keep our fingers crossed on that one!
YABC: Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
For me, they overlap, so it’s hard to say. Every time I write, no matter which stage, I’m constantly zooming in and out, trying to see the story with a wide-angle lens, and then zooming in with a microscopic eye for detail and word choice.
YABC: What would you say is your superpower?
YABC: What advice would you give to new writers?
Be persistent. Writing a novel, then getting an agent and a book deal can be a marathon process. If you’re open to learning from your mistakes, you can do it. I just know you can.
Vial of Tears
Author: Cristin Bishara
Publisher: Holiday House
Publish Date: October 5th, 2021
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*