Author Of The Week: Chat with Livia Blackburne (Umbertouched), 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 Livia Blackburne , YABC's Author of the Week!!
New York Times best-selling author Livia Blackburne has a PhD in neuroscience from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she conducted research on the neural correlates of reading. She still blogs on the intersection of writing and brain science (liviablackburne.com), and she now lives in Los Angeles with her family. Livia is also the author of Midnight Thief, an Indies Introduce New Voices selection, and its sequel, Daughter of Dusk.
The mission was a failure. Even though Zivah and Dineas discovered a secret that could bring down the empire, their information is useless without proof. Now, with their cover blown and their quest abandoned, their only remaining hope is to get home before Ampara brings the full might of its armies against their peoples.
As Shidadi and Dara alike prepare for war, Zivah and Dineas grapple with the toll of their time in the capital. After fighting alongside the Amparans against his own kin, can Dineas convince the Shidadi—and himself—where his loyalties lie? After betraying her healer’s vows in Sehmar City, can Zivah find a way to redeem herself—especially when the Dara ask her to do the unthinkable? And after reluctantly falling in love, what will the two do with their lingering feelings, now that the Dineas from Sehmar City is gone forever? Time is running out for all of them, but especially Zivah whose plague symptoms surface once again. Now, she must decide how she’ll define the life she has left.
Together, healer and warrior must find the courage to save their people, expose the truth, and face the devastating consequences headed their way.
~ Interview ~
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
Rosemarked was originally meant to be a standalone, but as I prepared my synopsis for my publisher, I realized that it was not all going to fit into one book. So I ended up ending Rosemarked two thirds of the way through the story. Of course, that meant that when the time to write Umbertouched came around, I had a really short book! So there was a lot of brainstorming about how to expand this into a story in its own right. I had to think about where Rosemarked left Zivah and Dineas, and how they would develop from there. What they needed to learn, and how they needed to grow.
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
I answered crows for Rosemarked and that’s still true. But for a favorite Umbertouched character, I grew quite fond of Barsine. She’s just so spunky and optimistic, yet still a badass with dual swords.
YABC: Which came first, the title or the novel?
Once I knew Rosemarked needed a sequel, it was pretty obvious what the title should be. So yeah, title first.
YABC: What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
Can I cheat a little and say a whole set of scenes? Zivah struggles this whole novel with trying to reconcile her calling as a healer with her reality. In other words, she’s been commanded by the Goddess to heal, but her disease doesn’t allow her to do so, and also she’s wondering why she should follow this Goddess who’s abandoned her to rose plague anyways. So there’s a stretch in Umbertouched where Zivah’s wandering the battlegrounds alone, and through a series of encounters really has to make decisions about who she is and who she will be in this war. She fights and she struggles and she cries, and she comes out stronger for it.
There’s this moment afterwards when Dineas sees her, and it’s one of my favorite lines of the book. ““And indeed, she does look like a goddess. Not the immaculate deities found in temples—even in the growing twilight I can tell that her clothes are old and torn. Hair has come out of her long braid, and if I go closer, I’ll likely find dirt on her face and arms. But there’s something about her, something that calls of blood and earth, and the sight of her sends shivers across my skin.”
YABC: Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
Keep writing, keep creating. That’s what makes you a writer. And in this industry, there will be ups and downs. The only thing that will keep you going is the knowledge that you have other projects in gestation that you’re excited about.
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
It’s just so gorgeous! It complements the Rosemarked cover so well, and the watercolor effect is so lovely. Also, I didn’t think much of the green foil title in the mockups, but they’re breathtaking in person. Even photos don’t do it justice.
YABC: What was your favorite book in 2018?
Picture Us in the Light by Kelly Loy Gilbert was a beautiful, heartbreaking, and powerful novel. She did such a good job of weaving together tons of disparate issues. I also really appreciated seeing Asian American teenagers depicted in such a real and raw way.
YABC: Which was the most difficult or emotional scene to narrate?
There’s a sequence of scenes where Dineas’s PTSD overwhelms him and he has a very serious intrusive episode. That was difficult to write not just because it was such an intense moment for him, but also because I personally had no experience with PTSD. Thankfully, I had a friend who was willing to spend a lot of time describing her experience to me and lending me her thoughts about Dineas’s storyline.
YABC: Which character gave you the most trouble when writing your latest book?
Diadem the snake was a challenge. I mean, you wouldn’t think that a snake would cause such problems, but there were all sorts of practical issues. Does she travel? Would she survive this adventure or that? Does having her on Zivah’s arm make her too strong? Would she get squished if Zivah fell over?
By: Livia Blackburne
Release Date: November 6th, 2018
One winner will receive a Paperback copy of Rosemarked and a Hardcover of Umbertouched!
~ (US Only) ~
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*
The cover is unique and matches the first book. The synopsis makes me want to read more. I am looking forward to this one.