Author Of The Week: Chat with Claire LeGrand (Furyborn), 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 Claire LeGrand, YABC's Author of the Week!!
Claire Legrand used to be a musician until she realized she couldn't stop thinking about the stories in her head. Now she is a librarian who writes novels for children and teens. Legrand is the author of THE CAVENDISH HOME FOR BOYS AND GIRLS, THE YEAR OF SHADOWS, WINTERSPELL, SOME KIND OF HAPPINESS, and FOXHEART. She is also the author of the upcoming YA epic fantasy FURYBORN, the first book in The Empirium Trilogy (May 22, 2018), and SAWKILL GIRLS, a YA horror novel (October 2, 2018). She is one of the four authors behind THE CABINET OF CURIOSITIES, an anthology of dark middle grade fiction. She lives in New Jersey.
The stunningly original, must-read fantasy of 2018 follows two fiercely independent young women, centuries apart, who hold the power to save their world...or doom it.
When assassins ambush her best friend, Rielle Dardenne risks everything to save him, exposing herself as one of a pair of prophesied queens: a queen of light, and a queen of blood. To prove she is the Sun Queen, Rielle must endure seven elemental magic trials. If she fails, she will be executed...unless the trials kill her first.
One thousand years later, the legend of Queen Rielle is a fairy tale to Eliana Ferracora. A bounty hunter for the Undying Empire, Eliana believes herself untouchable―until her mother vanishes. To find her, Eliana joins a rebel captain and discovers that the evil at the empire's heart is more terrible than she ever imagined.
As Rielle and Eliana fight in a cosmic war that spans millennia, their stories intersect, and the shocking connections between them ultimately determine the fate of their world―and of each other.
~ Interview ~
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
Since I was a child, I’ve always come up with story ideas while listening to music. I vividly remember listening to Danny Elfman’s score for Black Beauty over and over again during road trips with my family. That score was a particular favorite of mine, and I highly recommend giving it a listen. It’s wistful and melancholy, joyful and tragic. A gorgeous score.
This tradition continued as I grew up. When I was eighteen years old, while flying home from a family vacation, I was listening to Howard Shore’s score for Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. One of my music-daydreams grabbed me: a woman, beautiful and powerful, but also incredibly sad, and surrounded by fire. She was about to make a choice that would change the world forever. I knew these details immediately. It was as though seeing her face branded my brain. I couldn’t shake her, and I didn’t want to.
I began asking myself questions about her. What kind of power does she have? Who does she love, and who does she hate? Why is she surrounded by fire? As I answered these questions, the character of Rielle was born, and the rest of the Empirium Trilogy grew up around her.
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
I deeply love all my characters, and they’re all dear to me for different reasons. If I had to pick one favorite, however, I would choose Rielle. She was the first character I knew, and she is the living, breathing heart of the trilogy. I am very protective of her—although you wouldn’t know it, considering all the torment she endures at my hands.
YABC: What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
There are a few huge action sequences near the end of Furyborn that were incredibly challenging to write, and I’m thrilled with how they turned out. Action sequences exhaust and intimidate me, so I’m always particularly proud of those once they’ve been written and polished.
YABC: Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
One thing I’ve learned is the importance of taking your time. Especially when I was writing those first drafts of Furyborn, and trying to find an agent, I lived with this terrible feeling of impatience burning in my gut. I felt like nothing I did was good enough, or fast enough, and that if I didn’t get an agent right now, if I didn’t get this book published right now, then it would never happen. Someone else would write the book before I could. Someone else would sign with the agent of my dreams, thereby taking my spot. I put so much pressure on myself to follow a certain timeline, which resulted in a lot of unnecessary stress, and also wasn’t good for my creativity.
Sometimes the most important thing a writer can do for their work, or their career, is to take a breath and step back from it for a while. Obviously this isn’t always financially possible, especially if you depend on writing paychecks for your income, but even on a small scale, it’s important. Taking a day off now and then. Putting a project aside to rest that part of your brain. Refilling the creative well with books, films, television shows. These are all essential parts of the creative process, and just as important as actually writing the words.
It’s taken me a long time to learn this—and to learn that someone else’s timeline doesn’t have to match mine. I’m operating on my own timeline; I’m walking my own path. Some days I feel at peace with this reality; other days, not so much. On those days, I chastise myself for not working “fast enough.” I think this is an ongoing internal struggle all artists face to some degree.
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
I’m obsessed with the Furyborn cover. It’s bold, clean, and iconic. It’s stark and simple but still ornate and rich. To me, that richness feels like a nod to the various elements of Catholicism that inspired me while crafting the world and religion of the trilogy. I love the symbolism of the two crowns—one gold, one red—and the sword that connects them. Basically, Nicole Hower (art director at Sourcebooks) and illustrator David Curtis created the cover of my dreams.
YABC: What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2018?
I’m excited about so many! The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas. The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee. Blanca & Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore (spoiler alert: I’ve read it already, and it was incredible). Damsel by Elana K. Arnold (ditto; also incredible). Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik. The Boneless Mercies by April Genevieve Tucholke. Mirage by Somaiya Daud. Sadie by Courtney Summers. A Room Away From the Wolves by Nova Ren Suma. One 2018 release that’s already out, but that I haven’t read yet and am very excited about, is Madeline Miller’s Circe.
YABC: What’s up next for you?
My next book is Sawkill Girls, a queer feminist horror novel for young adults that releases October 2, 2018 from Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins. It’s about three girls who live on the island of Sawkill Rock, where girls have been mysteriously vanishing for decades. One of the three main characters is the shy new girl on the island. One is a rebellious outcast. One is Sawkill royalty, beautiful and feared. As girls start disappearing more quickly, the stories of the three girls intertwine. Is there a supernatural force behind the disappearances? Who controls it? Who knows about it? Who’s keeping quiet? This book is scary, sexy, suspenseful, and strange, and I can’t wait to share it with readers this fall.
YABC: Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
Revising! For me, the blank page is terrifying. That blinking cursor taunts me as cruelly as any bully. During the drafting process, when I’m still figuring out what story I’m trying to tell, there are so many opportunities for me to talk myself out of what I’m doing. The self-doubt is loud and inescapable. Once I’ve written the two most beautiful words in the English language—“The End”—my whole self lets out a massive sigh of relief. Revisions are tough, don’t get me wrong. But I like knowing that at least I’ve written a book. At least the pages aren’t blank, and the words are there. Then, during revisions, I get to focus on making those words sing. To me, that is a much less daunting task!
By: Claire LeGrand
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: May 22nd, 2018
One winner will receive a copy of Furyborn (Claire LeGrand) ~ (US Only)
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*
I'm so excited for Furyborn! I received an eARC and I just started it. I love what I've read so far! The cover is so gorgeous! I'm hoping to make it to the signing in New Orleans as it's only a few minutes away from me. Congrats to Claire on the release. I own Winterspell but haven't gotten to read it yet though it sounds amazing! And I can't wait for Sawmill Girls! Queer Feminist Horror? Sign me up!!
I think the central vignette of the cover is thrilling! I think a must-read fantasy about assassins and prophesied queens sounds terrific!
So excited for this book release! I already preordered my copy and now that it's released, I can't wait to have it in hand! Happy book birthday today!!!
I've read so many great reviews of this so I am honestly excited to read this, the cover is eye catching and the synopsis is intriguing!
TBH the cover is so gorgeous that I'd read it without knowing a single thing about it. But to then throw in assassins, queens, wars? I gotta read it. I just gotta.
The cover has that look that says "Read me -- I am going to be one of the best YA reads of the year!" It makes me want to read, but it does set high expectations (not a bad thing if met)! Thanks, Kara S