Author Of The Week: Chat with Amanda Foody (Ace Of Shades), Plus Giveaway!!
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 Amanda Foody, YABC's Author of the Week!!
Amanda Foody has always considered imagination to be our best attempt at magic. After spending her childhood longing to attend Hogwarts, she now loves to write about immersive settings and characters grappling with insurmountable destinies. She holds a Masters in Accountancy from Villanova University, and a Bachelors of Arts in English Literature from the College of William and Mary. Currently, she works as a tax accountant in Philadelphia, PA, surrounded by her many siblings and many books.
ACE OF SHADES is the first novel of THE SHADOW GAME series, releasing April 10, 2018. Her debut, DAUGHTER OF THE BURNING CITY, released in July 2017.
Meet Ace Of Shades!
Welcome to the City of Sin, where casino families reign, gangs infest the streets…
and secrets hide in every shadow.
Enne Salta was raised as a proper young lady, and no lady would willingly visit New Reynes, the so-called City of Sin. But when her mother goes missing, Enne must leave her finishing school—and her reputation—behind to follow her mother’s trail to the city where no one survives uncorrupted.
Frightened and alone, her only lead is a name: Levi Glaisyer. Unfortunately, Levi is not the gentleman she expected—he’s a street lord and a con man. Levi is also only one payment away from cleaning up a rapidly unraveling investment scam, so he doesn't have time to investigate a woman leading a dangerous double life. Enne's offer of compensation, however, could be the solution to all his problems.
Their search for clues leads them through glamorous casinos, illicit cabarets and into the clutches of a ruthless mafia donna. As Enne unearths an impossible secret about her past, Levi's enemies catch up to them, ensnaring him in a vicious execution game where the players always lose. To save him, Enne will need to surrender herself to the city…
And she’ll need to play.
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
I've always been a huge fan of the movie Spirited Away, and I loosely based three of the core characters of Ace of Shades on characters from the movie, namely Chihiro, Haku, and Yubaba. Though Enne, Levi, and Vianca don't necessarily match them in personalities, the dynamic between all the characters is similar. I've also always been fascinated by crime history, particularly organized and white collar crime. I used a lot of historical research, as well as my professional background as an accountant (eventually--I was still in high school when I first wrote the book and had yet to know anything about accounting), to set up the criminal influence of New Reynes and the details of Levi's Ponzi scheme.
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
I love all my characters for different reasons. If forced to choose, I'd say Enne. I really wanted to write a female lead who could be traditionally "feminine" and vulnerable without anyone doubting her strength, and it's always been a pleasure watching her develop over the course of the drafts and seeing readers' reactions to her arc. I faced a lot of rejections about her character, in part because, at the time, the majority of heroines in YA fantasy were the warrior types (whom I also love whole-heartedly!). But it means a lot to me that I've gotten to write her. I've always been sort of uncomfortable categorizing females as either badass or not. Those words have no correlation. Girls can be active characters without needing a sword to validate them.
YABC: Which came first, the title or the novel?
The title came about halfway through writing the first draft. However, that first draft was drastically different--almost unrecognizable--from the novel's current form, so it's rather difficult to say.
YABC: What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
The female masturbation scene. It's such a small scene, but I love its impact on the character's arc, and I felt strongly about including some female sex positivity in the book (and the whole series!).
YABC: Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
This novel was far from the first I'd ever written, but it was the one that got me my first agent, critique partners...the whole journey. So I've learned a LOT over the course of working on it. I think the most important thing is to write only what you're passionate about. There were a lot of topics I was scared to write at first. I thought some of my ideas were too silly, too immature; that Enne wouldn't be accepted as a "strong female lead"; that aspects of the book would veer too dark; etc. I've realized that if I am excited about an idea enough to feel strongly about it, and I'm the right person to write about it, then I should fight for it. Readers can sense that passion.
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
That's hard because I love the cover SO much. Maybe the background? I know it's just card suits, but I find it extremely cool. The red really matches the vibe of the book, as well. If you asked me tomorrow, I'd probably pick something else because I love every piece of the cover so much.
YABC: What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2018?
Furyborn by Claire Legrand. I love her writing so much, and I already feel so invested in this project after following her journey on it for so long. I'm prepared for the book to destroy me.
YABC: What was your favorite book in 2017?
It would have to be a tie. The first is Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor. The second is The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton. I'm okay with a tie because The Belles is technically a 2018 book, and I was simply fortunate to read it early.
YABC: What’s up next for you?
There are two more books of the Ace of Shades trilogy releasing, one in 2019 and one in 2020. I'm also working on two more projects, an adult fantasy and another YA fantasy that I'm incredibly excited about.
YABC: Which was the most difficult or emotional scene to narrate?
Endings! I loathe endings. I feel like there are a thousand and one things to reflect on, and in Ace of Shades, all the resolutions had to lead up to the sequel but still conclude the first book. It was a lot to juggle.
YABC: Which character gave you the most trouble when writing your latest book?
In Ace of Shades, probably Lola. She has changed a lot over the course of revising the story. In the sequel, definitely the added third POV character. It's hard to balance a third party when the "Envi" dynamic already commands so much plot and attention.
YABC: Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
Revising x 100. It's not that I hate drafting, but I find it very exhausting. Revising lets me dig deeper and figure out how to make words shine. I very rarely get it right the first time, and I like to dig deep for creative solutions to make scenes shine.
YABC: What would you say is your superpower?
Hm, maybe problem-solving? That's more of a skill than a superpower. But I do really like puzzles and working my way through problems. Give me a giant whiteboard, and in a few days, I might not have showered, but I'll have solved it!
YABC: Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?
I should probably do further research on this topic. Right now, the main cause I donate to is Planned Parenthood.
Ace Of Shades
By: Amanda Foody
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: April 10th, 2018
One winner will receive a SIGNED copy of Ace Of Shades (Amanda Foody) ~ (US Only)
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*
I find the setting of the city of sin coupled with casino operator-types very intriguing, and the cover represents the story well. Moreover the particularly attractive details of the design are suggestive of the book possessing strength in the details, too, for whatever cover impressions are worth. ;-) Thanks!
The cover is very cool with the colors and images. The synopsis draws you in for more. Can't wait to read this one.
I adore the cover! And the synopsis sounds awesome too- and I have already read so many rave reviews, I am super excited to read it!!
I am definitely a fan of this book cover! It kinda gives me some Crooked Kingdom meets the movie Now You See Me vibes and it makes me want to read it more. The synopsis sounds right up my alley. I can already tell that I'm going to like Levi as a character.