Author Of The Week: Chat with Mindee Arnett (Onyx & Ivory), 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 Mindee Arnett, YABC's Author of the Week!!
Mindee Arnett is the author of the critically acclaimed sci-fi thriller Avalon as well the Arkwell Academy series. An avid eventer, she lives on a farm near Dayton, Ohio with her husband, two kids, and assorted animals. When not telling tales of magic, the supernatural, or outer space, she can be found on a horse, trying to jump anything that will stand still. Onyx and Ivory is her first foray into high fantasy.
Meet Onyx & Ivory!
They call her Traitor Kate. It’s a title Kate Brighton inherited from her father after he tried to assassinate the high king of Rime. Cast out of the noble class, she now works for the royal courier service. Only those most skilled ride for the Relay and only the fastest survive, for when night falls, the nightdrakes—deadly flightless dragons—come out to hunt. Fortunately, Kate has a secret edge: she is a wilder, born with forbidden magic that allows her to influence the minds of animals.
And it’s this magic that leads her to a caravan mysteriously massacred by drakes in broad daylight—the only survivor Corwin Tormane, the son of the king. Her first love, the boy she swore to forget, after he condemned her father to death. With their paths once more entangled, Kate and Corwin uncover secrets, both past and present, to face this new threat of drakes who attack in the daylight and the darker menace behind them.
Acclaimed author Mindee Arnett’s stunning new novel thrusts readers into a beautiful, expansive, and dangerous new world—one where trust is rare, magic is commonplace, and little is as it seems.
~ Interview ~
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
The idea for Onyx & Ivory came out of workshop I did back in 2012 as part of WriteOnCon, I was asked to present a blogpost on world-building, and as part of that, I decided to create a new a world as an exercise. I imagined this world as the “Pony Express” meets “Pitch Black.” I wasn’t planning at the time to actually write a story set there, but the appeal of the world proved irresistible.
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
I adore both of my main characters, Kate and Corwin, but my favorite character to write is Signe Leth. This is Kate’s best friend. She’s brassy and bold and completely sure of herself at every step. She never doubts, never fears. That’s probably why she’s so much fun for me to write—I worry and fret about pretty much everything, but how I would love to be like Signe instead.
YABC: Which came first, the title or the novel?
Oh this question…it burns. The novel definitely came first, and the official title came much, much later (emphasis on the much). My original title for the book was Traitor Kate, based on one of the main characters, Kate Brighton. I decided to change it for two reasons, the first being that as we started editing the novel, Corwin’s character became just as strong and prominent as Kate’s. The story is equally his, and the title need to reflect that. The second reason is that whenever I talked about the book at events, people would mishear “Traitor” as “Trader,” which in turn made me think Trader Joe and that just wasn’t right at all. It took us a long time to decide on Onyx & Ivory, but I love the title now, although to tell the truth, I still refer to it as Traitor Kate sometimes.
YABC: Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
By far the most important thing I’ve learned is that you need to study the craft of story itself and you need to have an understanding of story structure. Well, let me qualify that—it behooves you to understand story structure. My first few books were written with no true understanding on my part about story structure. I wrote on instinct, one honed from years of reading and practice writing, but still one blissfully ignorant about the underlying values and mechanics at work in my stories. As a beginning writer, I took Stephen King’s advice in On Writing to heart—that you can and should just sit down and write your story. That it’ll magically flow out of you and be wonderful. I’ve since learned that I write better, faster, and more solidly by having an understanding of structure in my writer’s “toolbox.”
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
All of it. Seriously. It’s gorgeous, and easily my favorite of all my covers so far. But if I had to choose one element, I would go with the tree itself. I have an ongoing love affair with trees. I think they’re one of the best examples of the divine in our human, oridinary world. When you consider how long they live, how big they grow, they’re like these silent, ever-observing guardians.
YABC: What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2017-2018?
I absolutely can’t wait to read Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik. I adored Uprooted. I love the sort of fairy tale fantasy. By the time this interview appears, I will have already read my other most anticipated read—Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. It’s the conclusion of the Illuminae Files. These books are a visceral and emotional experience both and not to be missed.
YABC: What’s up next for you?
Up next for me is the sequel and conclusion to Onyx & Ivory, and after that I’m working on my own fairy tale fantasy in the vein of Uprooted.
YABC: Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
For me, it’s actually both since I revise as I go. I definitely feel like drafting is harder though, which is probably why I start off each writing session revising instead. This helps me get warmed up for the drafting part.
YABC: Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?
Friends of Ferdinand (https://friendsofferdinand.com/). It’s a Thoroughbred race horse rescue program, named after the 1986 winner of the Kentucky Derby, who was sold overseas and then eventually sent to slaughter. FFI rescues these horses, retrains them, and offers them up for adoptions. My riding coach is the primary trainer for FFI. It’s a great organization that gives these horses a chance at a second career with loving owners.
Onyx & Ivory
By: Mindee Arnett
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: May 15th, 2018
There will be three winners and the First winner will receive a copy of the book (signed hard cover + swag pack).
The 2 follow ups will receive a swag pack. ~ (US Only)
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*
I added Onyx and Ivory to my tbr/wish list months ago as soon as I saw the cover and read the synopsis but somehow the author interviews on YABC always get me waaaaay more excited for books that are coming out even if I already wanted to read them. This sounds so amazing and after reading Minder's answers in the interview I can't wait to read her book. I just know it's going to be amazing!
I agree with Mindee about the tree. It catches the eye. So full of life and also not at the same time. This book sounds pretty intense. Looking forward to reading it!