Author Of The Week: Chat with Joanna Hathaway (Dark Of The West), 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 Joanna Hathaway, YABC's Author of the Week!!
JOANNA HATHAWAY is an avid storyteller and history buff. She loves traveling the globe, flying in airplanes, and is forever a “horse girl.” Born in Montréal, Hathaway now resides in Minnesota. Dark of the West is her debut novel.
Aurelia Isendare is a princess of a small kingdom in the North, raised in privilege but shielded from politics as her brother prepares to step up to the throne. Halfway around the world, Athan Dakar, the youngest son of a ruthless general, is a fighter pilot longing for a life away from the front lines. When Athan’s mother is shot and killed, his father is convinced it’s the work of his old rival, the Queen of Etania—Aurelia’s mother. Determined to avenge his wife’s murder, he devises a plot to overthrow the Queen, a plot which sends Athan undercover to Etania to gain intel from her children.
Athan’s mission becomes complicated when he finds himself falling for the girl he’s been tasked with spying upon. Aurelia feels the same attraction, all the while desperately seeking to stop the war threatening to break between the Southern territory and the old Northern kingdoms that control it—a war in which Athan’s father is determined to play a role. As diplomatic ties manage to just barely hold, the two teens struggle to remain loyal to their families and each other as they learn that war is not as black and white as they’ve been raised to believe.
~ Author Chat ~
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
When I was a teen, all I read were history books! I loved history and I wanted to learn the stories of real people, across the world, so I devoured memoirs and biographies and historical accounts from as many different perspectives as I could get my hands on. I think it was only natural, then, that the seed for a story like Dark of the West emerged while I was in my first year of university. I wanted to tell the story of two young people caught on opposite sides of a tangled conflict, forced to choose between one another and family/national loyalty. Who is right? Who is wrong? History is written by the victors, a centuries-long march of militarism and exceptionalism and backstabbing, and ultimately, I wanted the story to be an exploration of those ageless themes as seen through the eyes of two youthful and idealistic narrators who still believe in (and hope for) the best.
YABC: Which came first, the title or the novel?
For me, the novel definitely came first; however, once I settled on the title, it worked itself into my heart. We thought about changing it (meaning my editor, my publisher, myself), and I was open to the idea, but in the end this one managed to stick around. I like that it could mean a few different things, and readers can infer their own theories from it.
YABC: What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
There is a love letter in the book that I’m quite proud of. I don’t want to say which one it is, but I will say that I’m not naturally very gifted at writing romance, but when I found a way to mix the love letter with my actual favourite thing to write—airplane scenes in the sky—it all came together in a really wonderful way.
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
I love all of the various elements reflecting both sides of the story. We have a horse and a crown for Aurelia (along with the sacred orchids of her kingdom). And for Athan, we have the fox and the fighter plane and the national flower of his homeland, the chamomile. There’s also a skull for the war brewing on the horizon…
YABC: What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2019?
I’m excited to read so many, but in particular Blood Heir by Amélie Wen Zhao, Dark Age by Pierce Brown, and Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson.
YABC: What was your favorite book in 2018?
I finally read Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro and it haunted me for a few weeks afterwards. That’s always a good sign! My last read of the year was City of Thieves by David Benioff and I highly recommend it as well. (You can see I tend to read a lot of older books, trying to catch up!) As far as YA books go, I read and adored Enchanteé by Gita Trelease, Ignite the Stars by Maura Milan, and The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw.
YABC: What’s up next for you?
Currently, I’m working on the sequel to Dark of the West, and I’m very excited to share more about that soon! It’s quite a ride. More airplane duels, more love letters, more tough decisions for Athan and Aurelia. They’re really coming into their own in the next book, and it’s both exciting and heartbreaking to watch.
YABC: Which was the most difficult or emotional scene to narrate?
There’s a scene in Dark of the West where a character must navigate the repercussions of achieving their first “kill” in war, and that was an important moment for me to write, but also very challenging. It wasn’t an event that could simply happen and then we move on. It needed to be dwelt upon, because I don’t believe death, even in wartime, should ever be celebrated or glossed over. It’s always a tragedy.
YABC: Is there anything that you would like to add?
Well, needless to say I’m thrilled the Glass Alliance series is about to be kicked-off and out in the world! It’s a story that’s been close to my heart for many years, and it’s been quite the process of mapping out how Aurelia and Athan get from the idealistic kids they are in Dark of the West to the battle-scarred souls they become in the prologue. But it’s also a really engaging process for me, as a writer, and I truly hope it will be the same for readers. I’m always happy to respond to questions in my Instagram messages, so please feel free to reach out there or via my website contact form! J
Dark Of The West
By: Joanna Hathaway
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: February 5th, 2019
One winner will receive a copy of Dark Of The West (Joanna Hathaway) ~ US Only
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*
The cover is unique and regal. The synopsis makes me want to read more. I really liked the Winner's Curse series and I am looking forward to this book.
The cover is interesting, and the synopsis sounds very exciting. I can't wait for this particular book. Sounds like it has it all.
I didn't realize that this was YA when I first saw this because the cover is so sophisticated! It sounds like the complex fantasy novel that I have been craving for a while!