Spotlight on Ignite The Sun (Hanna Howard), Guest Post, Plus Giveaway! ~ (US Only)
Today we're excited to spotlight Ignite The Sun by Hanna Howard.
Read on for more about Hanna and her book, an guest post, plus an giveaway!
Meet Hanna Howard!
Hanna C. Howard spent most of her childhood wondering how she might avoid growing up, and eventually solved the conundrum by becoming an artist and a writer. She considers tea an essential food group, has more books than shelf-space, and thinks the ultimate geek triumvirate is Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and Doctor Who. She lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma with her husband, their two Disreputable Dogs, and one cat skilled in the Martial Arts.
Meet Ignite The Sun!
Once upon a time, there was something called the sun... In a kingdom ruled by an evil witch, the sun is just part of a legend about light-filled days of old. Luckily for everybody in the kingdom, Siria Nightingale is headed to the heart of the darkness to try and restore the light--or she will lose everything trying.
Sixteen year-old Siria Nightingale has never seen the sun. The light is dangerous, according to Queen Iyzabel, an evil witch who has shrouded the kingdom in shadow.
Siria has always hated the darkness and revels in the stories of the light-filled old days that she hears from her best friend and his grandfather. Besides them, nobody else understands her fascination with the sun, especially not her strict and demanding parents. Siria's need to please them is greater even than her fear of the dark. So she heads to the royal city--the very center of the darkness--for a chance at a place in Queen Iyzabel's court.
But what Siria discovers at the Choosing Ball sends her on a quest toward the last vestiges of the sun with a ragtag group of rebels who could help her bring back the Light ... or doom the kingdom to shadow forever.
~ Guest Post ~
YA Books Central: Ideas and Worldbuilding
By Hanna C. Howard, author of IGNITE THE SUN
One of the most common questions authors hear when talking to people about their books is, “Where do you get your ideas?” And one of the most common things authors think when they hear this question is, Who knows!
Everyone has their own theory about ideas and where they come from, of course, and everyone has their own habits and practices of looking for them. Last summer I read Liz Gilbert’s Big Magic, in which she expands on her theory that ideas float in and out of people’s heads until someone takes hold of them and makes them real. Neil Gaiman, on the other hand, famously says that ideas come from paying attention to daydreams. Personally, I think ideas evolve out of the practice of being curious, and being willing to ask the question, “What if?”
My debut novel, IGNITE THE SUN, has been a long work in progress, but its earliest conception was the direct result of several moments of being curious. One of these was while I was walking my dog down a sunlit path, striped with the shadows of trees. It was a mild day, so every time I crossed into the sunlight and felt its warmth again, I experienced a surge of buoyant relief. Eventually I got to wondering what would happen if, when I walked into the sun, it lifted me up off the ground instead of just warming me up. Then I started to imagine a being who could only fly in direct sunlight. Could they ride their own airborne momentum from sunbeam to sunbeam? Would they crash to the ground in every patch of shadow? The second pivotal moment was at the plant nursery where I worked at the time, when I heard a snatch of conversation between a woman and her young son as they walked by. I thought he said something about “the Darkness,” but I heard it with a capital D, as if darkness was a living entity, or a place. And I started to imagine what that might be like. I think, when you leave space for curiosity, and make time for your mind to wander, ideas are not hard to find.
But of course, ideas are only part of the puzzle that is Novel Writing. And in fantasy especially, another critical piece is the one we call Worldbuilding. Once you have your idea, what do you do with it? How do you build, expand, and flesh-out on the page the world your characters live in?
Again, every author approaches this from a different angle, and every author has a different primary focus in the way they do it. For me, there are two things I try to keep in mind as I build a world on the page: I want to give my reader credit for being smart, and I always want to make sure I know more about my world than I include in the book.
To the first, when you assume your reader is slow-witted or needs to be spoon-fed, you can end up over-explaining to an extent that hinders the story itself. Good worldbuilding should enhance the story much like good eye-makeup enhances an eye. (When you start to pay more attention to the makeup than the color and expression of the eyes, there’s a good chance someone’s gone overboard with the false lashes.) If tidbits about the world are delivered with as natural and unassuming an air as a setting the reader already finds familiar, they can then focus on the narrative itself, and have the fun of piecing the world together as they go, which adds another level of intrigue to the unfolding plot.
And secondly, the world itself should always be far better known to you, the author, than it will ever be to the reader. I like to think about this as coloring-in the view instead of masking it in fog. Every time you reveal something about your world in the book, the reader should feel that there is more just ahead that they can’t quite make out details for yet, but that they can see, smell, hear, or sense. And this only happens when you know those things yourself. I think when the author’s knowledge ends at what they put on the page, it keeps the world feeling two-dimensional, as if by wandering past the borders of what’s described, the reader might stumble over the edge into nothingness instead of getting lost in the vastness of the world. And the more you know about your characters, their culture, history, and world, the fuller and more authentic the details you do choose to reveal will feel. Regardless of what you will actually use on the page, all your efforts to develop your own understanding of the world you’re building will go into the work, even if not explicitly. Just like when you read a book about science or history or psychology, you can sense that the expert author knows more than the relevant facts they’re sharing, being an expert in your own world will come through to the reader. And your story will benefit.
And just like in the search for ideas, I think the best creative worldbuilding happens when an author is willing to let their mind and imagination wander. Willing to explore and learn. Willing to ask, “What if?”
Ignite The Sun
By: Hanna Howard
Publisher: Blink Publishing
Release Date: August 18th, 2020
One winner will receive a copy of Ignite The Sun (Hanna Howard) ~ (US Only)
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