Author Of The Week: Chat with Lyra Selene (Amber & Dusk), 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 Lyra Selene, YABC's Author of the Week!!
Lyra Selene was born under a full moon and has never quite managed to wipe the moonlight out of her eyes. When she isn’t dreaming up fantastical cities
and brooding landscapes, Lyra enjoys hiking, rainstorms, autumn, and pretending she’s any good at painting.
She lives in New England with her husband, in an antique farmhouse that’s probably not haunted. AMBER & DUSK is her debut novel.
Meet Amber & Dusk!
Sylvie has always known she deserves more. Out in the permanent twilight of the Dusklands, her guardians called her power to create illusions a curse. But Sylvie knows it gives her a place in Coeur d'Or, the palais of the Amber Empress and her highborn legacies.
So Sylvie sets off toward the Amber City, a glittering jewel under a sun that never sets, to take what is hers.
But her hope for a better life is quickly dimmed. The empress invites her in only as part of a wicked wager among her powerful courtiers. Sylvie must assume a new name, Mirage, and begin to navigate secretive social circles and deadly games of intrigue in order to claim her spot. Soon it becomes apparent that nothing is as it appears and no one, including her cruel yet captivating sponsor, Sunder, will answer her questions. As Mirage strives to assume what should be her rightful place, she'll have to consider whether it is worth the price she must pay.
~ Author Chat ~
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
I wrote this book at a time when I was feeling insecure about my writing career. I'd previously written, queried, and submitted three full length novels and many stories, without much luck. All the rejection had started to sap the joy out of writing for me, and I knew that to keep going I needed to find a way to rekindle that passion that had inspired me to pursue writing in the first place. So I decided to write a book just for me--a book that I would love writing AND love reading. I filled it with all the things I love in YA fantasy: prose like sugared secrets; ball gowns and banter; lacquered lips hiding sharp teeth; intrigue and treachery and forbidden love and scheming royals.
I decided to set it in a luminous sun-scorched world I'd dreamed up long ago but never had a story for. From there, many inspirations fit together like broken shards of mirror glass: a fascinating novel about Versailles, the court of the Sun King; a line from Shakespeare--"Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon 'em;" Inigo Jones' fantastic drawings of masque costumes from the 17th century. And then I met my heroine, waiting impatiently in the dusk--a girl with dreams in her eyes and strange colors in her heart. And I knew whose story I had to tell.
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
I love them all--even my villains! But I definitely love my protagonist, Sylvie, with a different kind of intensity. She was a challenge to write--she's a complicated young woman who wears her ambition like armor and her want like perfume. But in writing her, I had to spend so much time in her head and in her shoes, and I came to not only understand her, but to love how fiercely she fought for all the things she desired. And ultimately, she wants what we all want--a place where we belong and a world just a little brighter than the one we live in.
YABC: Which came first, the title or the novel?
Definitely the book! Titles don't come naturally to me--I usually agonize over them and change them a thousand times before they feel right. Some of the working titles for this book were DUSKLANDS and MIRAGE, but I finally settled on AMBER & DUSK
YABC: What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
I think I'm most proud of the last scene in the final chapter. I'm really bad at endings--I always want to end with a cliffhanger! But for this story, I knew I had to find a way to give the book a satisfying sense of finality, while also keeping a door open for possible future chapters of Sylvie's journey. It took me MANY rewrites to get it right, but I think the final image is a beautiful apotheosis of Sylvie's development as a character and manages to capture the hope, anguish, and soaring possibility of finally achieving your dreams.
YABC: Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
Perseverance! The only way to fail at your dreams is to give up on them. Stay the course, put in the work, and try not to compare your journey to anybody else's.
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
Can I say all of it? The designers did such an amazing job reflecting the ambiance and aesthetic of the book, while also hinting at the fantasy world and it's unique mythology.
YABC: What was your favorite book in 2018?
There were so many amazing reads this year! But a particular favorite of mine was CRUEL PRINCE, by Holly Black. I've been a huge fan of Ms. Black's since high school, and it was such a pleasure to revisit the world of TITHE and VALIANT with a whole cast of new characters (plus a few familiar faces). Jude is flawed and fierce, Cardan is deliciously wicked, and I adored all the courtly machinations of the Fae!
YABC: Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
For me, drafting and revising are two sides of the same coin, and I love and loathe them equally. I cherish the creative alchemy of drafting--there is joy and magic in crafting stories out of nothing more than fickle words and flights of fancy. But once a first draft is complete, it's usually an utter mess. During revision I have the opportunity to be more intentional and precise in order to transform a story I've just told myself into a story I want to tell other people. They're both fulfilling in their own way!
YABC: What would you say is your superpower?
Is hunching behind a laptop in pajamas while drinking cold coffee, furiously typing, and quietly weeping considered a superpower? No?
Then I would have to go with illusion, just like Sylvie. Because what is a book if not a daydream made manifest?
Amber & Dusk
By: Lyra Selene
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: November 27th, 2018
One winner will receive a copy of Amber & Dusk (Lyra Selene) ~ (US Only)
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*