Yallwest 2018 ran from May 4-5 and I had the opportunity to interview 2 upcoming debut authors: Maura Milan for her upcoming YA Sci-Fi Ignite The Stars and Astrid Scholte for her YA Fantasy Four Dead Queens!
Four Dead Queens is set to be released February 26, 2019!
Thanks again to Astrid for taking the time to chat with me in line during a Yallwest giveaway and for being my first interview of the day! I can’t wait to read Four Dead Queens!
*The interview also includes qs. post-Yallwest*
Q1: How has your Yallwest experience been so far?
Astrid: This is my first time being here and its been fantastic! I went to the Keynote which was amazing, with Tomi Adeyemi & Tami Pierce!
I went to the Penguin Teen booth, now I’m here, and I have a lot more that I want to see and do!
1a: Would you return again in the future?
Astrid: Absolutely! It’s only been a few hours and already I’m blown away! Its so exciting!
Q3: Are there any authors, books, or panels, you’ve been looking forward to?
Astrid: The Keynote! I was really looking forward to it and anything that’s fantasy based (I love fantasy ^_^), & Sabaa’s PM keynote!
Q4: Have you managed to get any book swag or ARCs?
Astrid: I have! Shout out to fellow Penguin Teen authors, its called Always Never Yours, I also met the authors and they were super nice!
Four Dead Queens/Writing Qs.
Q5: For those who haven’t heard of Four Dead Queens, can you tell us what its about?
Astrid: Four Dead Queens is a murder-mystery set in a fantasy world. Its a nation divided into four very distinct cultures and they are each ruled by a queen.
These queens then start being killed off one by one, so its a murder-mystery as to why they are being killed and what secrets they could possibly be hiding!
So the main character, Keralie, is trying to solve the riddle before its too late.
Q6: What inspired Four Dead Queens and in general, do you have any other writing inspirations?
Astrid: What inspired me, was mostly that I wanted to write and murder-mystery. I’ve always loved them, ever since I was a kid and I love fantasy!
So, I thought it would be unique to blend the two genres together!
I actually had a dream about a futuristic car flying past a carriage and wondered what sort of world would exist where these two very different technologies would be in parallel, so that was also a starting point.
Q7: With Four Dead Queens being YA Fantasy, do you have any favorite YA Fantasy books or authors?
Astrid: Absolutely! YA Fantasy is my favorite genre, I read a lot of it! My favorite is probably Leigh Bardugo (Six Of Crows duology) and Laini Taylor!
Sci-Fi-wise, because I love the blend of fantasy and sci-fi, I love Amie Kaufman!
Any kind of blockbuster sci-f or fantasy is my jam!
Q8: Is there a character from Four Dead Queens your excited for readers to meet?
Astrid: Yeah! I’m excited for readers to meet all the characters, but one that stands out is the character of Mackiel, he is really fun to write and I think readers will love to hate him 😅😂!!
Q9: With the world of Four Dead Queens being separated by four distinct quadrants, which would you say was your favorite to write about or explore?
Astrid: I think my favorite would have to be Ludia which is the entertainment quadrant. They focus on the fun and lightness of life.
I’m a kid at heart, so that one was really great to explore and develop!
Q10: Do you listen to any music when you write? If so, any songs you listened to while writing Four Dead Queens?
Astrid: I wish I could write to music! I’m one of those people who can only write in silence.
However, when I revise I can definitely listen to music. Anything without lyrics though such as movie soundtracks! I like listening to Disney, anything that is just to keep in the background.
Q11: With Four Dead Queens being a 2019 release, can you share a couple 2019 YA releases your looking forward to?
Astrid: I really want to read King Of Scars by Leigh Bardugo! Really looking forward to that one, as well as Tomi Adeyemi’s sequel to Children Of Blood And Bone, Children Of Vengeance And Virtue!
Q12: As of June 1, Penguin Teen revealed the Four Dead Queens cover! What were your thoughts on the cover and overall, how did you feel when you first saw it?
Astrid: I absolutely LOVE the cover! I was blown away when I first saw it. You can see my
gobsmacked reaction when I first saw it on Instagram Here!
The cover is so beautiful, dramatic and also mysterious! It’s perfect for my book! I worked
with Penguin to make sure the crowns suited each of the queens and their regions and I
couldn’t be happier.
Q13: Four Dead Queens was also part of a galley drop during BEA/Book Con 2018 that the Penguin Teen booth was keep a secret throughout the day! How did you feel when you saw pictures of your ARC being featured & all the readers excited to get their hands on a copy?
Astrid: It was surreal! Penguin Teen told me about their idea when I visited New York a month earlier, and I thought it was genius! Of course, I wanted to tell everyone it was *my* book, but I had to stay silent.
When they finally revealed it as Four Dead Queens, I was able to share the news on Twitter and Instagram and watch the excitement unfold. I heard the ARC drop got a little intense as people tried to grab a copy, and that there was more security than Bill Clinton’s panel! I’m so lucky that people are excited to read my book and to have such a wonderful team at Penguin Teen supporting it!
Lightning Round Qs.
1.Can you describe your book in 3 words? Murder, Mystery, & Mayhem!
2.Go-to writing snack (or drink)? Peppermint Tea, its a must when I’m writing!
3.Current Read? The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw
5.Most anticipated 2018 YA Release? The sequel to Warcross, Wildcard!
6.Favorite YA Book of 2018 so far? Definitely Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone! I loved how cinematic it was and can’t wait to see the film adaptation! I’m also loving Legendary by Stephanie Garber, which I’m reading right now.
7.Can you describe your favorite kind of book in 3 words? I could say Four Dead Queens, as I put everything that I love about YA in it, but I won’t! 😉 If
I had to boil it down to three things, it would be fantasy, mystery and romance.
8.Plotter or Pantser? Pantser, 100%
Thanks again to Astrid for an awesome interview!
Are you looking forward to reading Four Dead Queens? ✨⚔👑