One winner will receive a copy of Lore (Alexandra Bracken) ~ (US Only)
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!!
Introducing Alexandra Bracken, YABC's Author of the Week!
Alexandra Bracken was born in Phoenix, Arizona. The daughter of a Star Wars collector, she grew up going to an endless string of Star Wars conventions and toy fairs, which helped spark her imagination and a deep love of reading. After graduating high school, she attended The College of William & Mary in Virginia, where she double majored in English and History. She sold her first book, Brightly Woven, as a senior in college, and later moved to New York City to work in children's book publishing, first as an editorial assistant, then in marketing. After six years, she took the plunge and decided to write full time. She now lives in Arizona with her tiny pup, Tennyson, in a house that's constantly overflowing with books.
Alex is a #1 New York Times bestselling and USA TODAY bestselling author. Her work is available across the world in over 15 languages.
From the #1 New York Times best-selling author of The Darkest Minds comes a sweepingly ambitious, high-octane tale of power, destiny, love and redemption.
Every seven years, the Agon begins. As punishment for a past rebellion, nine Greek gods are forced to walk the earth as mortals, hunted by the descendants of ancient bloodlines, all eager to kill a god and seize their divine power and immortality.
Long ago, Lore Perseous fled that brutal world in the wake of her family's sadistic murder by a rival line, turning her back on the hunt's promises of eternal glory. For years she's pushed away any thought of revenge against the man--now a god--responsible for their deaths.
Yet as the next hunt dawns over New York City, two participants seek out her help: Castor, a childhood friend of Lore believed long dead, and a gravely wounded Athena, among the last of the original gods.
The goddess offers an alliance against their mutual enemy and, at last, a way for Lore to leave the Agon behind forever. But Lore's decision to bind her fate to Athena's and rejoin the hunt will come at a deadly cost--and still may not be enough to stop the rise of a new god with the power to bring humanity to its knees.
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
Like most of my books, LORE is what I call an “idea stew,” meaning it has a little bit of this idea, and a little bit of that thing I’ve been thinking about, and hopefully the end result is a delicious read.
I keep a running author wish list of tropes and story types I want to eventually write and I had both a competition style book and a Greek mythology-rooted story on my list for years and years. I’m not sure why it took me so long to realize that those two things fit together perfectly, given the hunts and athletic competitions that were frequent in both the myths and Ancient Greek life. I thought it would be a fun challenge to bring that into our modern world, and New York City felt like the perfect setting, both because I’d lived there and was familiar with it, and because I was feeling a bit homesick for it.
Around that same time, I was doing a lot of reading centered on the big conversations we were having as a society around the #MeToo movement and it reminded me of the discomfort I’d had, even as a Greek mythology-loving kid, with the treatment of women in the ancient stories. In particular, the sexual violence, but also the way women were often outright punished for displaying any sort of ambition or anger. All of those thoughts and feelings I worked through came to form the heart of the story and went into the idea stew.
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
It’s absolutely 100% Lore herself. After riding out 2020 together, I feel very close to her, even though we’re almost nothing alike beyond our sense of humor. A part of it might be guilt, too, because she quite possibly has the saddest backstory I’ve ever given a character.
YABC: Which came first, the title or the novel?
The working title of the story was always LORE. I loved the idea of the book being named after its hero, especially since that’s often the case in epic Ancient Greek poetry. I had intentionally used the name for the double meaning, but I was sure my publisher would think it was too generic (and therefore hard to find in searches) and I’d have to change it. In the end, my editor and I became so attached to the working title that we couldn’t bring ourselves to change it—especially after we saw how well it worked with our cover concept.
YABC: What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
I really love the scenes around the climax of the book, and how the characters ultimately make their choices. It took a lot of careful planning to get them to that point!
YABC: Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
From the beginning of my career, or the beginning of writing this book? I definitely have two answers to this question!
One of the most important things I’ve learned over my career is that the feedback “raise the stakes” means to apply more pressure or deepen what’s at stake personally for the main character, rather than just, say, upping the threat of a bomb destroying a city to destroying the whole world. It seems like that should be obvious, but it took me a long time to wrap my head around it. Any time you can make the conflict of a story more personal for the main character, you increase a reader’s emotional investment in their fate.
I had a really interesting writing lesson while working on LORE, too. Without spoiling anything (hopefully!), there’s a BIG thing that happens toward the end of the book that sets up the third act and impacts the city and the characters’ ability to navigate through it. That event originally took place at the very beginning of the book and was used as set-up. My editor pointed out to me that by having that huge event happen early, it forced the reader to track too many story elements: what was happening to the city, the characters and their backstories, the different families, the rules of the Agon, etc. It also deflated a lot of tension very early on! So that’s something I’ve really taken to heart and now I ask myself, how hard is the reader having to work to understand and track everything in the story? How is that going to impact their overall enjoyment?
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
I love this cover so much—it’s simple but very clever in what it reveals about the story. We worked really hard to find the right eye to gaze out from the “O” because we wanted the overall impression to be fearless and unflinching. I also love the detail of Lore’s scar down the side of the statue’s face, which at first glance, looks like it’s just marble veining.
YABC: What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2021?
Oh my gosh, there are so many amazing books coming out next year I’m not sure where to even start with this list. A few I’m really looking forward to are: Courtney Summers’ THE PROJECT, WINGS OF EBONY by J. Elle, THE FOREST OF STOLEN GIRLS by June Hur, and Ciannon Smart’s WITCHES STEEPED IN GOLD.
YABC: What was your favorite book in 2020?
I have to confess that I absolutely sucked on the reading front this year, but I did read a number of fantastic books, including A SONG OF WRAITHS AND RUIN by Roseanne A. Brown and WOVEN IN MOONLIGHT by Isabel Ibañez, both of which utilized folklore and magic in gorgeous and spellbinding ways.
YABC: What’s up next for you?
I’m currently working on another contemporary fantasy that uses folklore and mythology that I hope will be a series! I’m also plotting another standalone that’s unrelated to LORE.
YABC: Is there anything that you would like to add?
YABC: Which was the most difficult or emotional scene to narrate?
Definitely the scenes at River House—for reasons that’ll be obvious when you read them!
YABC: Which character gave you the most trouble when writing your latest book?
The antagonist, Wrath! I needed a clearer understanding of his ultimate plan and motivations going in. It took a frustratingly long amount of time to work everything out on his end.
YABC: Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
While I’m drafting, I prefer revising, and while I’m revising, I prefer drafting. Though I will say that I’ve come to appreciate revising more and more as time has gone on!
YABC: What would you say is your superpower?
The ability to fall asleep anywhere, at any time. On an airplane, on the tile floor of my mom’s house, on a bench in the Père Lachaise Cemetery in the middle of the day… it’s a blessing and a curse.
YABC: Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?
I’ve been extremely concerned about hunger and food insecurity in America, which has only gotten worse as the pandemic has gone on. This year I’ve been donating to Feeding America (feedingamerica.org [nam04.safelinks.protection.outlook.com]) quite a bit, which supports a network of food banks across the country. Another organization I love is First Book (firstbook.org [nam04.safelinks.protection.outlook.com]), which brings books and educational materials to underserved and impoverished communities.
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Release Date: January 5th, 2021
One winner will receive a copy of Lore (Alexandra Bracken) ~ (US Only)
Can we just talk about that cover? That is an art on its own. I have been waiting to read this book for a long time. I love greek mythology!
I am a huge fan of Greek mythology, but I haven’t found many books that I really like that have Greek mythology. But this boook looks really good (amazing cover) & the summary definitely intrigued me!! I can’t wait to read it.