Author Of The Week: Chat with Andrew Shvarts (Royal Bastards), 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 Andrew Shvarts, YABC's Author of the Week!!
ANDREW SHVARTS is has a BA in English Literature and Russian from Vassar College. He works for Pixelberry Studios as a designer, making mobile games like High School Story, Choices, and more. Andrew lives in San Jose, California, with his wife, toddler, and two kittens.
Meet Royal Bastards!!
Being a bastard blows. Tilla would know. Her father, Lord Kent of the Western Province, loved her as a child, but cast her aside as soon as he had trueborn children.
At sixteen, Tilla spends her days exploring long-forgotten tunnels beneath the castle with her stablehand half brother, Jax, and her nights drinking with the servants, passing out on Jax’s floor while her castle bedroom collects dust. Tilla secretly longs to sit by her father’s side, enjoying feasts with the rest of the family. Instead, she sits with the other bastards, like Miles of House Hampstedt, an awkward scholar who’s been in love with Tilla since they were children.
Then, at a feast honoring the visiting princess Lyriana, the royal shocks everyone by choosing to sit at the Bastards’ Table. Before she knows it, Tilla is leading the sheltered princess on a late-night escapade. Along with Jax, Miles, and fellow bastard Zell, a Zitochi warrior from the north, they stumble upon a crime they were never meant to witness.
Rebellion is brewing in the west, and a brutal coup leaves Lyriana’s uncle, the Royal Archmagus, dead--with Lyriana next on the list. The group flees for their lives, relentlessly pursued by murderous mercenaries; their own parents have put a price on their heads to prevent the king and his powerful Royal Mages from discovering their treachery.
The bastards band together, realizing they alone have the power to prevent a civil war that will tear their kingdom apart—if they can warn the king in time. And if they can survive the journey . . .
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
Royal Bastards is actually the combination of two totally different ideas. For a long time, I’ve wanted to write a YA Game of Thrones, a fantasy story that’s full of politics and intrigues and violence, but specifically focusing on the teen characters. I also had another idea I couldn’t quite figure out, a contemp story about a group of teens from different cliques who get framed for murder and have to go on the run. The breakthrough came out of nowhere: these two ideas were the same story!
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
Ooooh, it’s so tough because I love all of them, but I think my favorite is Jax, Tilla’s stablehand half-brother. In a story where everyone else is struggling with their identities, torn between their families and their beliefs, Jax is a rock. A dirty-joke-loving, kind-hearted rock, who can talk tough but is a big softie inside. Jax has many of the best jokes in the book, and is, in a lot of ways, the emotional heart.
YABC: Which came first, the title or the novel?
The novel! When I wrote it, ROYAL BASTARDS was actually called THE BASTARD TABLE, which is a major plot-point but less evocative. Humorously enough, when I sold the book, I was sure I’d have to change the title because I didn’t think they’d publish a book with BASTARD in the title; turns out ‘BASTARD’ was fine, but ‘TABLE’ was the problem!
YABC: What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
There’s a scene towards the back of the book, when the main cast all hang out on a tower and play a drinking game, that I think is my absolute favorite. It’s one of the funniest in the book, but there’s also a ton of heart in it, and it’s the calm before the storm of the finale. I’m proudest I think because it feels like the moment when all the characters shine their brightest, where you can see the group at its most bonded and the young adults they’ve grown into.
YABC: Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
By far the most important lesson I’ve learned as a writer is to be versatile and avoid the genre trap. When I graduated college, all I wanted to do was write literary horror and scifi… and none of it even came close to selling. I only got a break when I landed a videogame-writing job that forced me to write light-hearted YA comedy. It forced me to unlearn everything I knew, to understand the basics of a story free from the tropes and clichés I’d sheltered myself in, and led me to discovering the joys of YA. I encourage all writers to write and read as broadly as possible.
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
Is it immature to say “the T is a sword”? Because… THE T IS A SWORD.
YABC: What’s up next for you?
I just wrapped up the rough draft of the sequel to ROYAL BASTARDS, so I’ll be diving deep into revising that. I’m so excited to share it with the world!
YABC: Which was the most difficult or emotional scene to narrate?
Avoiding spoilers, there’s a character death in this book that’s the hardest I’ve ever written. I’d really grown attached, and it’s such a painful sudden scene that it took me at least three tries to write. I don’t regret It, but It was not easy.
YABC: Which character gave you the most trouble when writing your latest book?
I had a hard time with Zell, actually. He’s so different from me: stoic, guarded, dedicated to his faith and his people. As a frequently-emotionally perpetually-questioning loudmouth, I struggled the most to capture his voice, his character.
YABC: What would you say is your superpower?
I never get cold and I roll really well in boardgames?
By: Andrew Shvarts
Release Date: May 30rd, 2017
Four winners will receive a copy of Royal Bastards (Andrew Shvarts) ~ (US Only)
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*
I have been excited for this book since last year! It sounds like it's high stakes and fast paced, and I can't wait to devour this book!
I love the cover, although I don't really like the title. It just sounds crass. The synopsis is very interesting, though, and I think it would get kids thinking about how much times have changed!
I love this cover. LOVE it. There's something so nice about it's simplicity and I think that really makes it interesting. Too many covers are glaring and overbright these days, but Royal Bastards certainly isn't and that's a nice change of pace (plus, the story sounds SO good!)