Author Of The Week: Chat with Lexa Hillyer (Spindle Fire), 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 Lexa Hillyer, YABC's Author of the Week!!
Lexa Hillyer is the author of Spindle Fire and Proof of Forever, both published by HarperCollins. She is also the author of Acquainted with the Cold (Bona Fide Books), the 2012 gold prize winner of the Foreword Book of the Year Award for Poetry and recipient of the Melissa Lanitis Gregory Poetry Prize. Her work was featured in Best New Poets 2012 and she has received various prizes and honors for poetry. Lexa earned her BA in English from Vassar College and her MFA in Poetry from Stonecoast at the University of Southern Maine. She worked as an editor at both HarperCollins and Penguin, before co-founding creative development company Paper Lantern Lit with New York Times Bestselling author Lauren Oliver. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and daughter and their very skinny orange tree.
Meet Spindle Fire!
Half sisters Isabelle and Aurora are polar opposites: Isabelle is the king's headstrong illegitimate daughter, whose sight was tithed by faeries; Aurora, beautiful and sheltered, was tithed her sense of touch and her voice on the same day. Despite their differences, the sisters have always been extremely close.
And then everything changes, with a single drop of Aurora's blood--and a sleep so deep it cannot be broken.
As the faerie queen and her army of Vultures prepare to march, Isabelle must race to find a prince who can awaken her sister with the kiss of true love and seal their two kingdoms in an alliance against the queen.
Isabelle crosses land and sea; unearthly, thorny vines rise up the palace walls; and whispers of revolt travel in the ashes on the wind. The kingdom falls to ruin under layers of snow. Meanwhile, Aurora wakes up in a strange and enchanted world, where a mysterious hunter may be the secret to her escape . . . or the reason for her to stay.
Spindle Fire is the first book in a lush fantasy duology set in the dwindling, deliciously corrupt world of the fae and featuring two truly unforgettable heroines.
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
I wanted to take a more feminist slant on Sleeping Beauty, in which Aurora is given an opportunity to grow and save herself, and to gain perspective on her world and the narrative of “true love.” I also really loved the idea of the untold story of her half-sister, who strives to rescue her sister and in the process defines a new kind of hero’s journey. I figured there’d be a lot of opportunity to use my poetry background when it came to world-building.
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
I really love Malfleur (the villain.) I’m quite fond of Prince William, too. I have a favorite sister but I don’t want to say which one!
YABC: Which came first, the title or the novel?
I wrote about a third of the book and then came up with the title—titles are so hard!
YABC: What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
The narwhal scene was incredibly challenging to write; I’m proud of how that came out—I think it’s one of the most memorable sequences in the book. I really enjoyed writing some of the memories of the faerie queens Belcoeur and Malfleur, as well.
YABC: Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
Well one thing I know I’m still working on is how to say more with fewer words. You’d think as a poet, I’d have this skill down, but I think my experience with poetry makes me want to sometimes linger in the sound of words or in the feeling of a particular moment, when often in a novel the moment needs to be tightened or even removed in order to service the flow of the larger story and emotional trajectory. In other words, a great novel is much more than the sum of its parts.
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
I love that it is soft and pretty, evoking a fairytale, but with more ominous notes like the fog and the burning castle that suggest things will be darker than they at first appear.
YABC: What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2017?
Young Adult novelist Leigh Bardugo is working on her first book for adults, which I’m very excited to read when it comes out.
YABC: What was your favorite book in 2016?
I loved Winner’s Kiss, which completed a trilogy by Marie Rutkoski. She’s an author who achieves lush prose without succumbing to overwriting—a skill I deeply admire!
YABC: What’s up next for you?
I’m just finishing up tweaks to the sequel to Spindle Fire, which will follow in spring 2018! I think it’s even more exciting and fulfilling than the first book—a lot of new threads are introduced but everything culminates in an ending that I’m very proud of.
YABC: Which was the most difficult or emotional scene to narrate?
It was more challenging for me to write Aurora’s perspective because for the majority of the book she is trapped in a dream-world created by a mad faerie—it’s almost like a fantasy within a fantasy, that has its own distinct rules which nonetheless corresponded to the larger world of the book.
YABC: Which character gave you the most trouble when writing your latest book?
In the sequel, Isabelle became the greater challenge to write because I wanted to show her strength but also explore her vulnerability and find her low point. That was hard to do—I resisted it and struggled to figure out what I wanted for her. I think I finally figured it out, though!
YABC: Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
DEFINITELY drafting! The drafting part is free and exploratory. Revising is much more merciless and exacting—it feels like surgery.
YABC: What would you say is your superpower?
YABC: Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?
Planned Parenthood and other organizations that provide access and support to women.
By: Lexa Hillyer
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: April 11th, 2017
Two winners will receive a SIGNED copy of Spindle Fire (Lexa Hillyer) ~ International
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*
The cover is really pretty, perfect for fantasy! The story sounds great, too; often retellings and new versions are better than the originals. Thanks!