Author Of The Week: Chat with Cora Carmack (Rage), 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 Cora Carmack, YABC's Author of the Week!!
Cora Carmack is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. Since she was a teenager, her favorite genre to read has been fantasy, and now she’s thrilled to bring her usual compelling characters and swoon-worthy romance into worlds of magic and intrigue with her debut YA series. Her previous adult romance titles include the Losing It, Rusk University, and Muse series. Her books have been translated into more than a dozen languages around the world. Cora lives in Austin, TX, and on any given day you might find her typing away at her computer, flying to various cities around the world, or just watching Netflix with her kitty Katniss and her puppy Sherlock. But she can always be found on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and her website.
Princess or adventurer.
Duty or freedom.
Her Kingdom or the Stormhunter she loves.
If Aurora knows anything, it's that choices have consequences. To set things right, she joins a growing revolution on the streets of Pavan.
In disguise as the rebel Roar, she puts her knowledge of the palace to use to aid the rebellion. But the Rage season is at its peak and not a day passes without the skies raining down destruction. Yet these storms are different—they churn with darkness, and attack with a will that’s desperate and violent.
This feels like more than rage.
It feels like war.
~ Author Chat ~
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
Well, the inspiration for the Stormheart series as a whole was sort of two-fold. In part, I was inspired by climate change and the way storms just keep getting bigger and bigger and more and more intense, to the point that our old categories for their power no longer do justice. I’ve been interested in global warming and climate change since I was a young kid. But this story really came into existence one day when I was doing a radio interview for one of my previous books. The interview asked me what kinds of books I wanted to write but hadn’t yet. I told him that I was desperate to write YA fantasy as that was actually the genre I had originally started writing in originally in my pre-published days. I also said I’d always wanted to write a book about storm chasers, but had yet to find the time to sit down and do all the research required to get the meteorological facts right. Then I jokingly said, “Maybe I should combine the two, and write a fantasy book about magic storms, then I don’t have to worry as much about the science.” The interviewer laughed, and continued asking questions, but the whole time my mind was spinning like OMG, MAGIC STORMS. THAT’S FREAKING AMAZING. As soon as I hung up the phone, I sat down and started sketching out a world. One of the first things to pop into my mind was a black market where storm magic is bought and sold in jars. I was hooked from that moment on. For RAGE more specifically, I needed this book to serve several purposes. As all second books must do, it needed to be a steady bridge between the first book and the last, but more than that it also needed to light a fuse that would carry over the excitement into the third book. I also wanted to let the reader unravel a bit more of the character’s lives and personalities and see how they changed as the world around them changed.
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
I mean, it’s like picking a favorite child. And they do live in my head, so they WOULD know. I love them all in different ways, but I will say this—I loved getting to work on Novaya’s storyline in this book. I’ve known that was coming all along too. And it has been interesting to see people’s guesses and hopes for her character, all of which were wonderful, but none of which were what I had planned. When I would reread the book for edits or proof-reading, Nova’s chapters were always ones that I looked forward to. They’re not typically big or action-oriented or super dramatic. But they have a quiet intensity to them, much like Novaya herself.
YABC: Which came first, the title or the novel?
The title. I mapped out the titles for all three books when I was working on the first, and they haven’t changed.
YABC: Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
Oh, so many things. But I think the most important is that only you can define what success means to you. Writing is a dream career, but it’s also difficult. We’re pushed to really sell our books and ourselves in order to help gain readers, and it can be hard not to attach part of your worth to that. Moreover, when things are tough, we can’t go to work with our minds turned off or our hearts not in it and just go through to motions. Writing doesn’t work that way. And if you try, you’ll feel the consequences when the reviews come in. It is so intensely personal that it is difficult not to let the success of a book or the state of the market or the size (or lack there of) of your royalty check to affect your mood. But it helps if you change your perspective on what success means. I once heard Walter Dean Myers talk about his writing, and he said that for every book he imagines one reader that is his ideal reader—one person who needs to hear exactly what his book has to say. And if his book found that reader, he knew it was a success. I’ve done this with every book since, and I’ve never failed to find multiples of the “ideal reader” I had in mind. Sure, I still struggle with authorly anxieties on occasion. But ever since I stopped trying to please the masses, and I started trying to please that one imagined reader, I’ve found a sense of peace that I didn’t have before.
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
Umm… can I say everything? Because EVERYTHING. I love the huge change from the first cover where we saw Aurora in princess mode, and now we really get to see her as Roar—as the hunter, the rebel, the girl brave enough to buck expectations and create her own future. And I love that even with this really intense Firestorm sort of blooming in the background there are tendrils of smoke that are almost are a grayish-lavendar in color, which references the rich purples of the first cover. I cannot WAIT to see what beauty Tor Teen and John Blumen (the amazing cover artist) deliver for book three!
YABC: Which was the most difficult or emotional scene to narrate?
The most difficult series of scenes for me comes when all of the character’s storylines first intersect in the same time and place (trying to keep it spoiler-free as possible). The scenes themselves were fun to write—emotional and suspenseful, but it was difficult simply logistically because I was juggling multiple POV’s who were all in different areas of the same place doing different things at exactly the same time. I think I rewrote and rearranged that section of the book half a dozen times or more. It’s one of those times when it would take like a couple minutes to show on screen, but takes like fifty pages in a book. But when I finally let my editor read it for the first time, she loved it, so I was like okay? I guess that means it’s not awful. Haha.
YABC: What would you say is your superpower?
It’s corny, but probably the most impressive thing about me is my imagination. Some authors have new book ideas every now and then. And when they finish one book, they have to really go searching out a new idea. My best friend and I joke that I have a new book idea every Tuesday. Because I have them practically weekly, and for a while they did happen to frequently fall on Tuesdays. I had once recently on a Wednesday, and she was like, “You’re late!” It’s not a bad problem to have. The notes section of my phone is like a library of books I want to write someday. Sometimes when I’m bored, I’ll go in and read them and add to them, or I’ll combine two ideas to make them even more interesting. Now if only I had the superpower of speed! It’s torture to have those ideas lurking in my brain, all shiny and fascinating, and knowing it may be years and years before I get to them.
YABC: Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?
I could name many that I adore and think deserve support, but particularly close to my heart is CURE (Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy).
If you have followed me since Roar’s release you might know I was diagnosed with epilepsy shortly after the release of the book in 2017. That’s why it’s been such a long wait for book two. I had been having a variety of health issues for a couple years that had been slowing my writing, but around the time I was editing Roar things became really difficult. I can remember opening up the document to work on edits and being so completely lost because my brain suddenly couldn’t quite comprehend the world I, myself, had created. When I had once been able to hold the entire plot in my head and think through it clearly, I suddenly had to make bulleted notes about plot points in order to keep them straight. I had to keep notes on what was in each chapter because I couldn’t remember, even though I’d just been through it. It was like my brain was only working at 30% capacity. I would find out a few months later that my cognitive issues were the result of multiple types of untreated seizures (both while I was awake and asleep). The possibility of having epilepsy never even occurred to me because I, like so many, had only ever seen the typical convulsive seizures that are shown on TV. I didn’t know that seizures could look like a muscle spasm or a staring spell or feel like a panic attack. I didn’t know that an auditory or olfactory hallucination could be a seizure, or that you could have a seizure and not remember it afterward. Even after my diagnosis, we experimented with different meds for over six months to try to control my seizures, all of which failed. I kept trying to convince myself that I could write, slowly but surely. But in truth, it would take me all day to craft a single paragraph, and then I would be so exhausted I would sleep for fifteen hours. It got bad enough that I was hospitalized because I was having 200+ seizures per day. I thought I might never write again. I thought I might never be able to be independent again. But luckily on my fourth day in the hospital, they found a combination of IV drugs that slowed my seizures, and I’ve been on the road to recovery ever since. In many ways, RAGE terrifies me. Because it is the first thing I’ve written with this slightly damaged and gently mended brain of mine. But as I said above, success is what you define it to be. So while I hope and pray that I have done this story justice, and that people will be excited to carry on the journey with me, RAGE was a success for me, the moment I wrote The End. Because it was a mountain I feared I might never successful climb again. But I did, and I’ll live to climb, er, write another day.
By: Cora Cormack
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: August 27th, 2019
One winner will each receive a hardcopy of Roar & an ARC of Rage (Cora Cormack) ~ (US Only)
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*
Really like the cover and title. The clouds and fire do seem to invoke a storm brewing as well as the rage of a fire. Love how Cora was inspired to write this book.