Today we're excited to chat with Emily McKay author of
Read on for more about Emily and her book, plus an giveaway.
Meet Emily McKay!
Emily McKay writes the kinds of books she wants to read—fast-paced with snarky heroines and swoony heroes who inhabit fascinating worlds you want to get lost in. She loves stories, pop culture, celebrity gossip, and baked goods. She’s a modern-day hippie and certified LEGO nerd.
Emily lives in the Texas Hill Country with her geeky husband and their two extremely geeky kids. They have dogs, chickens, cats, and more LEGOs than should be allowed by law. Oh, and she stress bakes. So if her characters talk about food a lot, that’s why. emilymckay.com [emilymckay.com]
Meet The Archer At Dawn!
The Sun Mela is many things: a call for peace, a cause for celebration, and, above all, a deadly competition. For Kunal and Esha, finally working together as rebel spies, it provides the perfect guise to infiltrate King Vardaan’s vicious court.
Kunal will return to his role as dedicated Senap soldier, at the Sun Mela to provide extra security for the palace during the peace summit for the divided nations of Jansa and Dharka. Meanwhile, Esha will use her new role as adviser to Prince Harun to keep a pulse on shifting political parties and seek out allies for their rebel cause. A radical plan is underfoot to rescue Jansa’s long-lost Princess Reha—the key to the stolen throne.
But amid the Mela games and glittering festivities, much more dangerous forces lie in wait. With the rebel Blades’ entry into Vardaan’s court, a match has been lit, and long-held secrets will force Kunal and Esha to reconsider their loyalties—to their country and to each other. Getting into the palace was the easy task; coming out together will be a battle for their lives.
~ Author Chat ~
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
I’m a huge fan of the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. It’s an urban fantasy series that’s set in Chicago. A few years ago, my friend, Tracy Wolff, and I were going to a writers’ conference in Chicago and as we were getting off the plane, I said, “Hey, wouldn’t it be cool if this wasn’t our Chicago, but instead, it’s Harry Dresden’s Chicago?”
We kind of looked at each other and were both like, “Wow, that’s a great idea.”
And that’s where the story was born.
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
Gosh … that’s such a hard question!
When you work with characters in a series like this, you end up loving all of them, even the bad guys (at least a little). But if I absolutely had to choose, I’d say my favorite character is the hero, Kane Travers. I loved writing in his POV. I love his story.
Sometimes, as a writer, this magical thing happens where you feel like the character isn’t “yours” … almost like he or she is being written by someone else. And Kane feels like that for me.
YABC: Which came first, the title or the novel?
Definitely the novel. For a very long time the drafts were called Untethered. The title, Storybound, came so late that you can even still find listings for Untethered on Goodreads and things.
YABC: Do you have a favorite writing snack?
I don’t usually eat as I’m writing. It always ends up making me sleepy. But I’m definitely a coffee and iced tea person. So I always have a drink of some kind.
But I do have favorite snacks! I love popcorn. So if I am feeling snacky while I write, I get a big bowl of popcorn and eat it with chopsticks to keep my fingers clean. Because no one wants butter on their keyboard!
YABC: Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
To trust my process.
Every writer’s creative process is unique. It’s interesting to learn how other writers work and it’s important to try new techniques. But at the end of the day, your process is your process is your process.
For example, I always over-write … I write really long drafts and then have to move around big chunks of the story and cut out big chunks of things. And cut out lots of little chunks of things too. That’s just part of it for me.
So when I’m getting lost in the weeds, I just have to remind myself that this is all part of my process.
Of course, the bad thing about this bit of advice is that when you’re a new writer, you have no idea yet what your process is going to be. So you just have to write. And write. And write. And eventually you will figure out your process. Which won’t make anything easier, but will (maybe) make things less frustrating.
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
Another hard question, because my cover is frickin’ amazing!!!!! It’s so pretty I want to gaze at it and write sonates to it.
If I have to pick one thing though … it’s how much that feels like them to me. Which is silly, because the couple is just silhouettes, but they just feel perfect.
YABC: What’s on your TBR pile?
I am a super slow reader. So there’s a lot in my TBR! Always!
I can’t wait to read The Aurora Cycle, by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, because I loved, loved, loved The Iluminae Files.
I’m also looking forward to Marlene Perez’s The Afterlife of the Party.
The 17th book in the Dresden Files is finally coming out in September and I preordered that just this morning. So I’m super excited about that!
And then, of course, Crush, the follow up to Tracy Wolff’s Crave which will also be out in September!
YABC: What’s a book you’ve recently read and loved?
Right now I’m reading Tracy Wolff’s Crave and loving it!
And I mentioned that I’m a slow reader, right?
Other things I’ve read recently and loved are The Flatshare (which is a charming romance novel).
I’ve also been on a non-fiction kick, which is unusual for me. But two nonfiction books that felt very “important” that I’ve read recently are Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow, about his investigation into the crimes of Harvey Weinstein. That was fascinating, but also challenging and disturbing.
The other book is Factfulness by Hans Rosling, which is amazing and hopeful and something everyone should read, particularly now, because it’s so easy to see all the despair in the world and lose hope that we will be able to sort this mess out. But Factfulness breaks down the statistics of how life has improved for a lot of people in the world and how we can make sure those improvements continue.
Both of those books are so good.
YABC: What’s up next for you?
Right now I’m working on Stormbound, the sequel to Storybound.
I feel so lucky to get to play in that world again! And I can’t wait to share all the amazing things these characters are going to go through.
YABC: Are there any film adaptations, tv shows, audiobooks, or other adaptations in the works for this book?
Not yet, but I’m hoping for an audiobook really soon, because I love audiobooks!
YABC: Which was the most difficult or emotional scene to narrate?
For me--this is true of this book and several others I’ve written--the transition scene is always very hard. What I mean by “transition scene” is the scene where the main character transitions from her world into the “special” world of the story. Sometimes that world is magical (like in Storybound), other times it’s just a world where the character has more information. But those scenes are always hard for me. There is always a “learning curve” for the character. Deciding how much information is right amount of information for the character and the reader … that’s challenging.
YABC: Which character gave you the most trouble when writing your latest book?
In Storybound, the character who was hardest to write was probably Ro. She’s a minor character, but she still needed to be fully fleshed out. I don’t think I really understood her until several drafts into the story.
YABC: Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
Revising, for sure! That’s the point the story starts to feel like a real book.
Of course, revisions are hard. I always compare doing revisions to juggling balls of yarn. Because at first, your juggling, and the balls are pretty intact, and it feels like you’ve got it all under control. You think you’ve got it. Then, the balls of yarn start to unroll as you’re juggling. But you can’t stop juggling. You can’t reroll the balls of yarn. It’s just more and more of disaster. And then, you look up and realize, “Oh crap, this isn’t yarn I’m juggling at all! It’s pasta! I’m juggling spaghetti! This will never work!”
Somehow, magically, if you can keep it all in the air long enough, the spaghetti turns back into yarn. And all of sudden, you’re not juggling anymore, you’re knitting. Before you know it, the unfixable mess is suddenly a beautiful sweater.
Needless to say, I don’t like the spaghetti stage of revision, but I love the sweater stage.
YABC: What would you say is your superpower?
Simply put, I am too stubborn to give up. On anything really, but especially on a story. I will hate it. I will despair. I will tell myself I’m giving up. And then I’ll get up the next day, ready to figure out how to make the story work.
YABC: Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?
I have a lot of friends and family who identify as Queer, so I’ve supported The Trevor Project for a long time. One of my best friends from college runs the LGTBQ student center at UCLA Riverside and one of my favorite things ever is to send them books or Girl Scout cookies or whatever they need. I love being the anonymous straight woman from Texas who sends them care packages. I think everyone needs to know they are important to people who don’t even know them … if that makes sense? And, it works both ways … like, I want them to know I care for them, even though I don’t know them personally. And I feel useful when I can do that for them. I get so much out of it that I suppose it’s very selfish of me. It just makes me happy to imagine some kid I don’t know who’s day might be a little better because they needed a new book or a cookie or whatever. And it was there when they needed it.
And then also … I personally volunteer a lot for FIRST robotics, which is an organization that supports STEM education around the world. I coach several FIRST LEGO League robotics teams and I volunteer at their competitions and that kind of thing. It’s so much. I love being surrounded by some many people who are determined to solve the problems our society faces.
One of the things about being a writer … we are all worst-case-scenario thinkers. That is--literally--our job. Writing a book is taking characters you love and messing things up for them, over and over. It is thinking, “What can go wrong here?” again and again.
So volunteering for FIRST is like taking a vacation, because it’s always, “How do we solve this problem?” And that’s fun for me.
By: Emily McKay
Publisher: Entangled Publishgin
Release Date: May 5th, 2020
One winner will receive a copy of Storybound (Emily McKay) ~ (US Only)
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