Author Of The Week: Chat with Rhiannon Thomas (Long May She Reign), 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 Rhiannon Thomas, YABC's Author of the Week!!
Rhiannon Thomas is the author of A Wicked Thing, Kingdom of Ashes and Long May She Reign. She currently lives in York, England, in the shadow of a 13th century Gothic cathedral.
When she isn’t lost in YA fantasy, she writes about feminism and the media on her blog, Feminist Fiction.
Meet Long May She Reign!!
The Girl of Fire and Thorns meets The Queen of the Tearling in this thrilling fantasy standalone about one girl’s unexpected rise to power.
Freya was never meant to be queen. Twenty-third in line to the throne, she never dreamed of a life in the palace, and would much rather research in her laboratory than participate in the intrigues of the court. However, when an extravagant banquet turns deadly and the king and those closest to him are poisoned, Freya suddenly finds herself on the throne.
She may have escaped the massacre, but she is far from safe. The nobles don’t respect her, her councillors want to control her, and with the mystery of who killed the king still unsolved, she knows that a single mistake could cost her the kingdom—and her life.
Freya is determined to survive, and that means uncovering the murderers herself. Until then, she can’t trust anyone. Not her advisers. Not the king’s dashing and enigmatic illegitimate son. Not even her own father, who always wanted the best for her but also wanted more power for himself.
As Freya’s enemies close in and her loyalties are tested, she must decide if she is ready to rule and, if so, how far she is willing to go to keep the crown.
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
A weird mix of history, science, and Disney! I’ve always loved Tudor history, and I was originally thinking of writing a story about Lady Jane Grey, the teenage girl who kind of got thrown at the throne to prevent Mary Tudor from taking it, and lasted nine days before Mary stormed London, locked her up in the Tower, and eventually had her beheaded. I was thinking about what it would be like to be at the center of all that drama, and also started thinking about what might have happened in an alternate world where Jane survived for more than nine days. Obviously, the story morphed a lot from there before it became a fantasy novel about a scientist girl becoming queen after mass murder! But that’s where it began.
The other side of things happened after a trip to Disneyland, where I went to the Haunted Mansion and saw the amazing ballroom of dancing ghosts, which is actually a Victorian stage trick that only needs light and some glass to pull off. That sent me down a long path learning about phantasmagoria, like 18th century séances where conmen brought “ghosts” into the room, and one French showman who “summoned spirits” into Parisian tombs and was shut down by the government because they were afraid he’d bring the recently beheaded king back to life. A lot of fantasy stories have real spirits, but I was suddenly interested in the idea of how someone might use science in a fantasy setting to just make others believe in magic.
And somewhere along the way, scientist Queen Freya was born!
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
Definitely the protagonist, Freya. She’s so shy and awkward, and such a nerd, but I think she was real strength of character too, and a desire to do the best that she can, even if she doesn’t always believe that her best is worth very much at all.
YABC: Which came first, the title or the novel?
The title came first, which is unusual for me. It just jumped into my head as I was writing a two sentence pitch of the idea for my agent, and it hasn’t changed since.
YABC: What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
I don’t want to say anything too spoilery, but I’m pretty proud of the coronation scene near the beginning of the novel, when an overwhelmed Freya faces the remnants of the court and things don’t exactly go to plan. That was the first scene that I really thought “there’s a story to tell here.”
YABC: Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
Books are found in the editing. I already kind of knew that before, but I really know that now. I felt a lot of pressure to get this book right from the beginning, because I sold it just based on a proposal and three chapters, so I was constantly worried that people would be disappointed with what I eventually produced. And that meant that I looked at my rough first draft and felt terrible that it wasn’t all shiny and perfect. But first drafts don’t need to be shiny and perfect. The real story only emerges after you chip and polish away at it for a while.
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
I love the cover that HarperTeen created, but I think my favorite detail is the purple-ish smoke coming out of the bottle. It’s only a small detail, but it’s really relevant to the plot, so I love that they got that in there.
YABC: What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2017?
Oh my god, so many. Sara Zarr has a new book out in March, Gem + Dixie, that I am soooo excited to read. She’s one of my favourite contemporary writers.
I’m also excited to read Betsy Cornwell’s Venturess, which is a sequel to her book Mechanica. Mechanica is an amazing feminist retelling of Cinderella, and I can’t wait to see where the story goes!
YABC: Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
Can I say I hate them both? :P I think I like revising better, because drafting has this terrifying feeling of writing into the abyss, where you feel like you don’t know where you’re going (even if you have an outline) and don’t know if you’ll ever finish. But revising often comes with more pressure to write well… I think the part I like best is revising BEFORE I send it to my agent or editor, when I have a book to work with, but no tight deadlines or outside concerns adding on the pressure.
YABC: What would you say is your superpower?
YABC: Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?
I run the YA section at my local Oxfam bookshop, which is lots of fun, and they do really important work. Oxfam is a UK charity that fights world poverty in many different ways, including promoting education for girls around the globe. The shop only sells donated second-hand books, so if you’re in the York area and have anything to donate, YA or otherwise, please consider sending them our way! And if you’re near any other Oxfam bookshops, please consider donating to them as well!
Long May She Reign
By: Rhiannon Thomas
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: February 21st, 2017
Three winners will receive a SIGNED copy of Long May She Reign (Rhiannon Thomas) ~ (International)
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*
I love the cover and the synopsis is really intriguing! Can't wait for this book, as I've seen a lot of hype about it already
Was the TV show "Reign" an inspiration? I can't say the title without hearing it in the voice of the narrator from the original opening of that show! (Nostradamus)