Author Of The Week: Chat with Astrid Scholte (Four Dead Queens), 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 Astrid Scholte, YABC's Author of the Week!!
Astrid Scholte's fascination with all things fantasy began at the impressionable age of one while on a family vacation to Disneyland. Her desire to be surrounded by all things magical led her to a career in animation and visual effects. She received Honors in BA (Film, Media and Theater) and a Bachelor of Digital Media from the University of NSW. She's spent the last 10 years working in visual effects production as both an artist and an artist manager. Career highlights include working on James Cameron's AVATAR, Steven Spielberg's THE ADVENTURES OF TIN TIN and HAPPY FEET 2 by George Miller. She lives in Melbourne, Australia with her cats Lilo and Mickey. FOUR DEAD QUEENS is her debut novel.
Seventeen-year-old Keralie Corrington may seem harmless, but she’s, in fact, one of Quadara’s most skilled thieves and a liar. Varin, on the other hand, is an honest, upstanding citizen of Quadara’s most enlightened region, Eonia. He runs afoul of Keralie when she steals a package from him, putting his life in danger. When Varin attempts to retrieve the package, he and Keralie both find themselves entangled in a conspiracy that leaves all four of Quadara’s queens dead.
With no other choices and on the run from Keralie’s former employer, the two decide to join forces, endeavoring to discover who has killed the queens and save their own lives in the process. When their reluctant partnership blooms into a tenuous romance, they must overcome their own dark secrets in hopes of a future together that seemed impossible just days before. But first they have to stay alive and untangle the secrets behind the nation’s four dead queens.
An enthralling fast-paced murder mystery where competing agendas collide with deadly consequences, Four Dead Queens heralds the arrival of an exciting new YA talent.
~ Author Chat ~
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
This might sound a little cliché, but I had a dream where I was sitting in a horse-drawn carriage when a futuristic silver car flew past. When I woke, I wondered what kind of world would exist with such contrasting technologies and how this would impact the people who lived there. I also wanted to write a YA fantasy with a predominately female cast who are supportive of each other, rather than tearing each other down.
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
Mackiel! He’s so fun to write and you never know what game he’s playing. Keralie is a close second.
YABC: Which came first, the title or the novel?
The novel. 4DQ had a few working titles, and none of them were good! One of the working titles was The Murder Disk. My PitchWars mentor suggested Four Dead Queens, which is from a line in the novel. Thank you, Mara!
YABC: What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
There are a few scenes in the book where I’ve heard people have gasped in shock. Those are the ones I’m most proud of as I love surprising readers and taking the book in a direction you’re not expecting.
YABC: Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
While it’s not a new concept, the advice that a first draft is allowed to be bad is something I frequently remind myself of. My first drafts can often be like streams of consciousness as I write whatever comes into my head. From there, I piece the plot together and establish the world and backstories for the characters.
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
The crowns are to die for! Pun intended. I love the crisp realism and how they jump off the page with exquisite detail. I also love the color teal, so the cover is perfect!
YABC: What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2019?
Leigh Bardugo’s King of Scars, like many, many readers!
YABC: What was your favorite book in 2018?
Legendary by Stephanie Garber was magical, enthralling, swoon-worthy and a rare sequel which improves upon the original.
YABC: What’s up next for you?
I’m currently editing my second book, which is another YA sci fi/fantasy standalone, out early next year with Penguin Teen. I can’t wait to share this book with readers! It’s an action-packed novel that I hope reads like a movie. It also explores the impact of grief in a world very different from our own. That’s all I can say, for now!
YABC: Which was the most difficult or emotional scene to narrate?
It was difficult writing the death scenes of the queens, as they were characters I’d grown to love. One death scene in particular (no spoilers!) was very hard to write as I was saying goodbye to that character, and I really wanted a different outcome for her.
YABC: Which character gave you the most trouble when writing your latest book?
Queen Marguerite’s voice took a while to get right. I wasn’t sure what was driving her until a few drafts into the novel.
YABC: Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
Definitely revising. I’m a pantser so I don't know what’s happening, or even who my characters are, when I write the first draft. It’s in the revising that the story starts to come together, the characters’ voices become clear, and the world is fleshed out.
YABC: What would you say is your superpower?
Dedication. I’ve always wanted to be a published author and it took me 6 years of querying, over three manuscripts, until I got an agent. I read every blog and website on agencies and consumed everything I could about the publishing industry. I also attended every YA book launch, workshop and festival I could. The YA industry is now not only my occupation, but my life’s passion.
YABC: Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?
The RSCPA Australia. I love animals and the work they do is so important.
Four Dead Queens
By: Astrid Scholte
Publisher: Putnam BYR
Release Date: February 26th, 2019
5 winners - Each winner will receive finished copies of FOUR DEAD QUEENS and a set of character cards ~ (US/Canada Only)
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*
Dreaming about sitting in a horse-drawn carriage when a futuristic silver car flies past does sound cliche! So very cliche! But it must make for a good book!
I've heard so many good things about this book! The summary is interesting, but it's honestly the cover that draws me in.
The cover is powerful and magical. The story sounds like an original mystery. I like the idea of the four queendoms.