AUTHOR OF THE WEEK: Author Chat with Rebecca McLaughlin (Nameless Queen), Plus Giveaway! ~ (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 Rebecca McLaughlin, YABC's Author of the Week!!
Rebecca McLaughlin is a Michigan nerd who appreciates sweet coffee, kindness, and the scientific method. She got her degrees in chemistry and English creative writing in 2014. Since that time, she's worked as a technical writer in Michigan. When not working or crafting stories, Rebecca can be found practicing her knife-throwing skills or seeking out the perfect cup of coffee. She wrote Nameless Queen because she grew up lower class (which sucked), went to a private college (which was weird), and made good friends along the way (which was wonderful). She realized that exploring the social and economic divide is difficult, but magic makes it easier--or at least more entertaining. makawalli.wordpress.com @McRebecky
Meet Nameless Queen!
One girl must make a name for herself--or die trying --in this royal fantasy where an unknown peasant becomes the ultimate ruler. But how long can she keep the crown if everyone wants her dead? Perfect for fans of Furyborn, Red Queen, and Everless.
Everyone expected the king's daughter would inherit the throne. No one expected me.
It shouldn't even be possible. I'm Nameless, a class of citizens so disrespected, we don't even get names. Heck, dozens of us have been going missing for months and no one seems to care.
But there's no denying the tattoo emblazoned on my arm. I am queen. In a palace where the corridors are more dangerous the streets, though, how could I possibly rule? And what will become of the Nameless if I don't?
~ Author Chat ~
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
One aspect that inspired part of NAMELESS QUEEN was the question “what does it mean to be named queen?” This led to the notion of Nameless characters and a Nameless Queen. Coin was born of that idea: someone who literally isn’t supposed to be able to take power, and yet who does anyway.
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
My favorite character is probably Hat. She is a young Nameless girl who, despite everything, is filled with hope, optimism, and ambition. She’s a good contrast to main character Coin who, at a few years older, has lost that sense of hope and ambition. Coin is a reluctant caretaker who has to contend with responsibilities she doesn’t think she’s ready for. I think there’s a lot to admire in both of them, but Hat is who I strive to be.
YABC: Which came first, the title or the novel?
The title of the novel came first. First, I asked the question: “What does it mean to be named queen?” Then came the second question: “What happens if you *can’t* be named queen?” That created the idea of having Nameless characters and the title, NAMELESS QUEEN.
YABC: What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
I’m most proud of the last scene of the book. I can’t share much about it (spoilers!), but it was a culmination of a lot of the themes of the story. I still remember being at my sister’s house in late 2014, and the idea for the ending finally came to me. In a rush, I wrote notes about the ending in orange crayon on a scrap of paper. It’s not often that inspiration strikes in a way that creates a usable scene, so I’m really happy and lucky that it worked out!
YABC: Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
I’ve learned the importance of revision. I spent nearly two years on revisions with my editor, and so much changed from that first draft to the last draft. It really takes a lot of patience, intentional and careful thought, and letting in other voices at the right time. A harsh critique too early can dampen the creative flame. A soft voice too late won’t push you to make difficult choices.
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
I love the golden font they used for the title, it just SPARKS! And I love the fact that they used the city layout to create the cover. The city of Seriden, where the story takes place, is shaped like a hexagon. (Hexagons are my favorite shape.) I love that you can see that shape in the city design, which really creates a focal point for the cover!
YABC: What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2020?
To name just a few of the wonderful books coming out this year: I’m looking forward to GLITCH KINGDOM by Sheena Boekweg (teens trapped in a realistic video game!), WOVEN IN MOONLIGHT by Isabel Ibañez (a Bolivian-inspired fantasy with such a gorgeous magic system!), HAND ON THE WALL by Maureen Johnson (the conclusion to her mystery trilogy!).
YABC: What was your favorite book in 2019?
My favorite book in 2019 was THE EXACT OPPOSITE OF OKAY by Laura Steven. It’s a great and timely story. It’s poignant, relevant, hilarious, heartbreaking, real, and unapologetically feminist. It’s a book that takes a hard look at the climate of today’s online and unfair world and tells a wonderful, aching story about it that managed equal shares of heart and hilarity. Also, Laura herself is hilarious and kind.
YABC: What’s up next for you?
I’m currently working on my next book, which is another standalone YA Fantasy. That means it isn’t connected to NAMELESS QUEEN, so I’ll get to create and explore a whole new world and new set of characters. It’s going to feature a girl living in a midwestern, isolated town who makes a bit mistake out of anger and has to work quickly to fix it, or else risk losing her family and destroying her town’s way of life. I’m really excited to see this story come to life and can’t wait to share it!
YABC: Which was the most difficult or emotional scene to narrate?
There’s this scene at the end of Chapter 11 where Coin is trying to decide whether she should go back to the challenges that face her in the palace or return to her life on the streets. Often, it’s the slower scenes in books that take more care and can be difficult. They rely less on movement and action and more on reflection. For me, slower scenes are where I get to spend quality time in the character’s head, and get to the heart of their insecurities and hopes.
“What’s stopping me? Aside from this trembling ache inside my chest? Aside from fear? I stare up at the stars, trying desperately to feel their warmth, trying to understand how hope can fuel me instead of crush me.”
YABC: Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
I’ve changed over time. I used to be primarily focused on Drafting, but the farther I get in my writing career, the more I value revision and the pre-planning activities before drafting even starts.
YABC: What would you say is your superpower?
Patience! If there's one skill I can recommend in pairing with ambition and dedication, it's patience. You have control over what you do, but not how quickly the rest of the world moves.
By: Rebecca McLaughlin
Publisher: Crown BYR
Release Date: January 7th, 2020
One winner will receive a copy of Nameless Queen (Rebecca McLaughlin) ~ (US Only)
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*
The cover is beautiful and I think the synopsis sounds like a wonderful read. Thanks for sharing. Best wishes to the author on this one.
Such a haunting cover, and the story reminds me of Holly Black's newest Fae of the Air series. Looking forward to this one!