Author Interview With Swati Teerdhala {The Tiger At Midnight}

Swati_Headshot_SmallThe Tiger At Midnight is an upcoming YA Fantasy from debut author Swati Teerdhala that follows a cat-and-mouse chase between a soldier & rebel assassin! With the book releasing next week, I have Swati as a guest on the blog to talk more about Tiger! 😄🎉📚

The Tiger At Midnight is the first book in a trilogy, set to be released April 23, 2019!

Q1: For those who haven’t heard of The Tiger At Midnight can you tell us what it’s all about?

Swati: Of course! THE TIGER AT MIDNIGHT is the first book in a young adult trilogy inspired by ancient Indian history and Hindu mythology. It follows the story of Kunal, a dutiful soldier, and Esha, a legendary rebel spy. When their paths cross one night and Esha is accused of the murder of Kunal’s General, a dangerous cat and mouse game starts between them, one which throws everything they’ve known into question.

Q2: How did you come up with the idea for The Tiger At Midnight & has your original idea stayed the same? If not, what has changed?

Swati:I first got the idea for The Tiger at Midnight when I was traveling and visiting an old Fort. It was the first spark of an idea of what would become The Tiger at Midnight and the first time I heard the voice of Kunal, one of the two main characters. I looked out from one of the old window openings and wondered what would be the most odd or startling thing a soldier of old might have seen. A girl. And that’s the opening page of THE TIGER AT MIDNIGHT.

That initial image and my two main characters, Kunal and Esha, have stayed the same, but so much else has changed! Or not changed, but deepened. I always knew this story was going to be about two people on opposing sides of a conflict and how they find their way to reconciling their loyalties and their burgeoning relationship. And that hasn’t changed.

Q3: What books inspire you as a writer? Or any other writing inspirations?

Swati:I’ve always loved mythology and history, since I was a child, and they’re both huge inspirations to me as a writer. As for books, I loved everything Tamora Pierce wrote as a kid and started to read a lot of adult fantasy at a young age–everything from Mercedes Lackey to Jacqueline Carey and Terry Brooks.

The Tiger At Midnight by Swati TeerdhalaQ4: What is it you’re most excited for readers to see in The Tiger At Midnight?

Swati: I wanted to write a story that celebrated my Indian heritage and tackled the issue of finding your own path, even when there’s familial or community pressure, something that I think is really common for second-generation immigrant kids in America. That’s a huge part of what both Kunal and Esha deal with during this book—their duty to themselves vs. others. Esha and Kunal both struggle with this idea in very different ways. I hope that readers are able to read this book and understand that better.

Q5: The Tiger At Midnight also draws inspiration from ancient Indian History & Hindu Mythology! What elements did you find yourself most drawn to while creating your world?

Swati: I always loved the epic battles and delicate political maneuverings in both Hindu mythology and ancient Indian history and I incorporated a lot of those elements into the larger story for the trilogy (and for The Tiger at Midnight!). I also drew from specific stories I grew up with, like how the river Ganga was brought down to the earth, to craft the lore and magic of the world.

Q6: Between the two main characters Esha & Kunal, what part of their journeys did you enjoy writing the most & why?

Swati: I loved it all! But if I had to pick one part, it would be the discoveries they make about each other and how it affects how they view the world and their lives.

Q7: With your book releasing very soon (in about 1 week) how are you feeling as a YA Debut author? (Must be incredibly exciting!)

I’m so excited! It’s funny, on average, a book releases about 2 years after the deal is done, so I’ve been sitting on this news and this book for awhile! It’s definitely scary to have it be out in the world, but I’m so excited to share this story and I really hope people love Kunal and Esha.

Q8: Is there a particular quote from The Tiger At Midnight you enjoyed writing & why?

Swati: “Never greet a tiger at midnight, for they are the manifestations of your past misdeeds.”

This line is the basis for a lot of the story between Kunal and Esha and the relationship between them and it hints at the larger, magical world around them that they’re trying to save. It kind of came to me and I knew instantly how important it would be to the book.

Q9: What element of your world within The Tiger At Midnight did you enjoy developing the most?

Swati: I’m a huge history nerd so I really enjoyed creating the history of the world, a lot of which is revealed more throughout the rest of the trilogy.

Q10: Which character are you most excited for readers to meet in The Tiger At Midnight?

Swati: Ah, can I cheat? I can’t wait for everyone to meet Kunal and Esha! No way I’d be able to pick one or the other 😆

Lightning Round Qs.

1.Favorite YA Book? An Ember In The Ashes

2.Current read? Descendant Of The Crane by Joan He

3.Last YA Book that kept you turning the page? Girls Of Paper And Fire by Natasha Ngan 

4.Most anticipated 2019 YA Release? So many! Spin The Dawn by Elizabeth Lim, Wicked Fox by Kat Cho, and There Will Be A Darkness by Katy Pool!

5.Favorite shows and songs your enjoying right now? Game Of Thrones (season 8!!) and i’m so tired… by Troye Sivan & Lauv (there’s something about this song that makes me literally unable to stop listening to it)

6. Go-to writing snack or drink? Tea

7. Can you describe your book in 3 words? Honor. Revenge. Love

8.Favorite YA Character? Nina Zenik

9.If characters from TTAM could meet any other YA characters who would they be & why? I think Kunal and Elias Veturius would have a lot to talk and brood about. As for Esha, she’d probably kill to meet Zoya Nazyalensky (literally haha).

10. When writing TTAM how did you picture it? (As a Movie, Tv Show, etc.) A TV miniseries

The Tiger At Midnight is available to add on Goodreads:

The Tiger at Midnight (The Tiger at Midnight Trilogy, #1)


And you can pre-order TTAM (library requests as well!) to receive Preorder goodies, more info on the bookish swag you can receive
Here! There’s also a book trailer for The Tiger At Midnight!

Thanks again to Swati for this wonderful interview!

Are you looking forward to The Tiger At Midnight? ✨🏹🐅

Advertisements

Author Interview With Janelle Milanes {Analee, In Real Life}

Its been almost a month since Analee, In Real Life by Janelle Milanes has been released! Janelle MilanesSo, I have her as a guest on the blog today to talk about her latest YA Contemporary, writing, YA Books, and so much more!

Analee, In Real Life is Janelle Milanes’s second YA Contemporary with her first novel + debut being, The Victoria In My Head which released last fall!

Thanks again to Janelle for the opportunity to interview you! (´▽`ʃƪ)

And if your interested, you can check out my ARC review of Analee, In Real Life Here!

Q1: For those who haven’t heard of your latest book Analee, In Real Life, can you tell us what its all about?

Janelle: Sure! The book follows Analee Echevarria, a girl who prefers to live her life online rather than deal with the complications of reality. Since the death of her mother, she spends all of her free time playing as Kiri, her night elf alter-ego at the center of her favorite game, and chatting with the love of her life, Harris (whom she’s never actually met). In the meantime, her father is getting remarried to a yogi named Harlow and her best friend has abandoned her to embrace life with the popular crowd. Things change for Analee when she’s paired with the popular Sebastian Matias as lab partners. The two strike an unlikely friendship, and Analee finds herself venturing out of her comfort zone to deal with real life problems.

Q2: How did you come up with the idea for Analee, In Real Life? + What was the writing process like?

Janelle: I loved the idea of someone with social anxiety living a double life online as a kick-ass warrior. I went through a short but intense World Of Warcraft phase years ago, and it was fun to devise a new persona I could live through-someone tough and fearless and powerful. Role playing online can provide such a unique way to connect with people especially if you have difficulty doing it in person. From there, I got to thinking about a girl like Analee and what a relief an alter-ego could provide her. Throw in some fake dating and family drama, and it was my kind of book.

The writing process came together very easily compared to my first novel. With Analee, I had a better idea of how I wanted her story to end and what needed to happen in her emotional journey. I usually wrote a set number of words every day and followed a vague outline, letting the story take me to different places if it felt right.

Analee, In Real Life by Janelle MilanesQ3: There’s so many different elements and to this story, from the Online RPGs, fake relationship, Analee finding her inner strength, to the grief she continues to struggle with after her mother’s death. You tackled so many topics, themes, and plot threads so organically! Were these elements already in your mind as you started drafting or did they develop as you continued writing? Why do you think its important that Analee face all of these in different ways?

Janelle: I definitely threw a lot at poor Analee. Most of these elements were in my mind when I started drafting. Analee’s father’s wedding served as a catalyst for the story and from there, everything begins to unravel. Analee isolates herself to cope with her grief and the only way she’s truly able to pull herself out of it is by connecting with other people. I wasn’t sure how all these pieces would fit together until I started writing!

Q4: Similar to The Victoria In My Head, Analee, In Real Life features a memorable and diverse cast of characters! (With the MC’s Victoria & Analee identifying as Cuban-American). Another one of my favorite aspects to your books is how inclusive the cast is! How exactly did you go about developing the main cast? Who was your favorite character to write about and were there any moments when writing Analee, that characters surprised you?

Janelle: Thank you! I like diversity to be present in my books without taking center stage. Every character’s cultural experience helps form who they are, but their identities don’t revolve around it. When creating the cast of characters, I wanted Analee to be thrown together with people with which she appears to have nothing in common.

The characters went from stereotypes–the zen yogi, the popular friend, the obnoxious jock–to fully-formed characters who make mistakes and have their own ssues underneath the collected exteriors they project.

I think Harlow surprised me the most in terms of how much I grew to love her. I was a little wary of her when I started writing, much like Analee. She’s the person you love to mock because she seems to be so perfect and unshakable. As the story goes on, though, Harlow becomes more open with her vulnerability and you see her trying to fit into a family with their own set of traditions that she doesn’t quite understand.

She is also very much living in Analee’s mother’s shadow. As I got to know Harlow through writing the story, I started to feel sorry for her in a way I didn’t expect!

Q5: Analee is very opinionated in her head, but can’t exactly find the words to say what she means out loud most of the time! I found her to be such a relatable and inspiring characters as she slowly begins to unlock her her inner strength to say what’s on her mind, while also opening herself up to new experiences! Why do you think its important for readers to read about a character like Analee?

Janelle: I needed character like Analee when I was growing up. I had a small, close group of friends, but I could be timid when it came to expressing myself to other people ad getting to know them. found it was easy to get drowned out by louder voices. Speaking your truth and opening yourself up to new experiences involves stepping out of your comfort-zone that was, and sometimes still is difficult for me. I hope those who read this book realize they aren’t alone in those feelings.

Q6: Seb and Analee don’t exactly get along at first, but soon after they find themselves hatching up a plan for a fake relationship to win back really important people in their lives (Seb’s ex, Chloe & Analee’s former friend, Lily). What can you tell us about their dynamic/relationship and what did you love most about developing it?

Janelle: Seb and Analee are total opposites in many ways and that’s always a fun dynamic to explore. He loves being the center of attention, she desperately avoids it. I loved that Seb nudged her into doing things that took courage, but he was never forceful about it. Their relationship begins as a sham but turns into a deeply meaningful friendship. Seb is there for her when nobody else is, and he reminds her what it feels like to connect to someone in a genuine way. I loved writing every scene with them–he brings out a more confident side of Analee, and she brings out a gentleness in him.

Q7: Were there any scenes in particular that you had a lot of fun writing or any memorable moments that come to mind when you were developing the story?

Janelle: I had a lot of fun writing the first kiss between Seb and Analee when they go to the movies. When you really think about it, the mechanics of kissing are so strange, and I love how Analee over-analyzes everything about it. Her character approaches it like a game, with levels and rules, so she thinks she is maintaining some kind of control in the situation. It was interesting to see her go from that to then getting swept up in her emotions and throwing the rulebook out the window. The scene with Harlow and Analee in McDonald’s was another moment I loved to explore. It was nice to see Harlow lose control a bit.

Q8: What I love about your books so much is the focus on family and the growth of the main characters! It’s always great to see those elements explored in YA Contemporary! Why do you think it’s important that your books feature both of those elements & are at the center of the story?

Janelle: I think the focus on family is inevitable, particularly in young adult books! Nobody lives in a bubble and for me, personally, I could never relate to books in which characters live their lives without much family interaction. As a Latina, my family was (and still is) constantly in my business! Part of growing up is finding your own identity and often seeing the world from a different perspective than your family might. It’s such an integral source of conflict and growth that it would be almost impossible not to explore it.

Q9: Are there any elements of Analee, In Real Life that changed while writing it or any interesting facts about some of the main characters that didn’t make it into the book?

Janelle: Yes! Analee was originally names Anais, but my publishing team worried that too many people wouldn’t be able to pronounce it. The end was something that I tinkered with a bit too.

*SPOILER ALERT* I knew I wanted the story to be less of a romance and more of Analee coming to love herself. Initially, I struggled over whether I wanted Seb to initiate the break up, but after giving it some thought, I think it turned out much stronger that Analee made the decision to stop seeing him. I’m glad I allowed her to make that choice for herself. *END OF SPOILER*

Q10: What can readers expect next after Analee, In Real Life?

Janelle: I am working on a few different projects but am currently focused on another YA contemporary about a small town girl fighting off big life changes–the worst of which are her growing feelings for her best friend’s girlfriend.

Lightning Round Qs.

1. Current Read? Nice Try, Jane Sinner by Lianne Oelke

2. Describe your book in the 3 words? Growth, family, love

3. If your main characters Analee & Victoria could meet any other YA character, who would it be and why? I would want Victoria to meet Jessica Darling from Megan McCafferty’s Sloppy First series. Both of them are itching to experience life and escape the mundane, and I think they would appreciate each other’s snark. For Analee, I think Lara Jean from To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before would be exactly the kind of caring friend she needs. They can both recount their fake dating experiences. Oh, and Dimple from When Dimple Met Rishi since they share a similar cynicism and love of computers.

4. Favorite YA Book (Or Books) of 2018 so far? Leah And The Offbeat by Becky Albertalli

5. Favorite YA Contemporary Book? For pure gooey light romance, Anna And The French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. I swooned so hard.

6.Any upcoming YA Books Your Looking Forward To? So many! At the top of my TBR pile right now is Don’t Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno.

7. YA Book you recommend to everyone? I’m not sure I would be writing YA if not for Judy Blume. Just As Long as We’re Together was a huge influence on me, but it’s never talked about as much as Blume’s other books!

8. Other than the Harry Potter Series (which Analee loves) what other books or book series would Analee love to read? I think she’d be into classic fantasy. Maybe His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman? I can also see her getting sucked into the Song of Ice and Fire series eventually! (Analee would never call it Game of Thrones because she would think the books are superior to the show, obviously.)

9. If Analee could play any other video game or RPG, which would she play? Elder Scrolls, Final Fantasy, and some obscure games I’m not cool enough to know.

10. Between both of your books, which character is your favorite? I could never choose! Victoria is my young, sheltered self. Analee is my anxiety x1,000.

Thanks again to Janelle for the awesome interview! 

Analee, In Real Life is out now & its available to add on Goodreads:

Analee, In Real Life

Have you read Analee, In Real Life? If you haven’t yet, do you plan to? ✨🕹📚

Author Interview With Astrid Scholte {Four Dead Queens}

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!

Astrid ScholteFour 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!

Four Dead Queens by Astrid ScholteQ12: 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? ✨⚔👑

Author Interview with Maura Milan {Ignite The Stars}

Maura Milan
Maura Milan at Yallwest 2018, with an ARC of her upcoming debut Ignite The Stars

At Yallwest 2018, which ran from May 4-5, I had the chance to chat with upcoming 2018 debut author Maura Milan about her novel, Ignite The Stars!

Her novel is a YA sci-fi debut which releases September 4, 2018!

Thank you again to Maura Milan for giving me the chance to interview you! It was such an incredible interview experience and I can’t wait to read your book!

Q1: How has your Yallwest experience been so far?

Maura: It’s been a lot of fun! I met a lot of great writers, ones I’ve been following for a while and a lot of great debut authors that are coming out in 2018. Our debut group has been so supportive in this whole publishing process, so it’s been great finally meeting a lot of them face to face.

And also, I loved seeing all the readers in the crowd! It always blows my mind seeing how many readers there are and who love the same books that I love and that’s awesome to me!

1a.: Any books you’ve been excited to hear more about or have gotten a chance to get ARCs of here at the festival?

Maura: I sadly didn’t get any ARCs at the festival. But, one book that I’m excited about is Dark Of The West which is Joanna Hathaway’s book!

She was a 2018 debut, but her book is now coming out in 2019 now. 

I’ve had a chance to talk to her about her book and it seems like there’s a lot of really cool parallels between our books!

I’m really excited that her characters are morally grey like my characters in Ignite the Stars. I’m can’t wait to get my hands on a Dark of the West ARC and see how the story pans out. Crossing my fingers that they all survive!! 😭✨♥♥

Ignite The Stars/Writing Qs.

Q2: For those who may not know about your upcoming novel, can you tell us what it’s all about?

Maura: Ignite The Stars is basically about the most notorious criminal in the galaxy who has been hunted for several years. No one knows how he looks like!

But, when the government finally captures him, they realize he is not a he at all, but actually a 17-year old girl.

With the government realizing they can use her as an asset, they decide not to execute her. Instead, they throw her into one of their Star Force academies.

In order to survive, Ia forms unlikely alliances with Brinn Tarver, a cadet with her own set of guarded secrets, and Knives Adams, an arrogant young flight master, and through her interactions with them, she finds herself questioning her own loyalties and everything she was fighting for. 

24hr.YABookBlog: The concept reminds me a lot of Rogue One! ^_^

Maura: Yeah! It’s similar in that the characters in Ignite the Stars shouldn’t be working together and now they are. The big question is can they work as a team? And also do they even want to work as a team?

Q2: What inspired your novel?

Maura: I had a friend who edited this movie called A Faster Horse which is all about the creation of the Ford Mustang and the film had this section all about Lee Iacocca, who had a huge part in Mustang’s history. I always thought that was a cool name!

So, I took that name, and it became Ia Cōcha, the most notorious criminal in the known galaxies!

On the ride home I just ended up brainstorming the whole thing and wrote about maybe 5 chapters that night and it just kept going! Ia became a character who was in my head and I just had to tell her story!

It took on a life of its own.

Q3: Is Ignite The Stars going to be a series, standalone, etc.?

Maura: Its going to be a duology, with Book 2 coming out next year. It’ll wrap up everything that’s developed in Book 1!

Q4: With Ignite The Stars being YA Sci-Fi, is Sci-Fi a genre you’ve always wanted to write in?

Maura: Yeah, I really love science fiction/fantasy and am very influenced by anime! A lot of what I write is like: ‘Wow! This would an awesome anime, so let me write it as a YA Book..’ 

There’s also a lot of easter eggs to a lot of my favorite shows (similar names to characters, etc.). 

Shows like Cowboy Bebop have always been really important to me and is still one of my favorite series. 

Q5: Ia is said to be a “criminal mastermind and unrivaled pilot!”
She sounds like such a fierce and brilliant main character! I ca’t wait to read more about her! What would you say was your favorite part about creating and developing her character?

Maura: Ia is my complete opposite. She will say whatever she wants to say, do whatever she wants to do, and I’m the kind of person who likes to think about what I say before I say it, and I’m very conscious of how I’m perceived.

But, Ia doesn’t care at all! I think it was fun to write a character like that because there’s a part of me that wishes I could be more like her.

Q6: Are there any YA authors that have inspired you?

Maura: Sarah J. Maas! I loved Throne Of Glass and my book was actually pitched as ‘Throne Of Glass is space’ so that was cool to see. 

I love the way she writes very bold, bad-ass, independent, women who can hold their own and I think that’s great!

I’m inspired by her and Maggie Stiefvater. I think everything she writes is beautiful.

Those 2 have been big inspirations in my book!

Q7: What are you most excited to share with readers about Ignite The Stars?

Maura: I’m really excited for people to see the different friendships that occur.

So, there’s a character name Brinn! Brinn & Ia get thrown together early on in the book and they’re not supposed to be friends, but things happen within the book that allows them to reexamine what their relationship is to each other and I think that was really fun for me write!

Female friendship is a very unique and complicated thing and with any friendship you have to work through it and both Brinn + Ia do a lot of that in this book.

So, I can’t wait to for people to see and read more about them.

Q8: As with Ignite The Stars, its always great to see more #OwnVoices in Young Adult and diverse representation as new books are getting released!

Ignite The Stars by Maura MilanAnd of course we also get to see Ia Cōcha on the cover!! What were your thoughts on the cover and overall the importance of having #OwnVoices rep. within your novel, Ignite The Stars?

Maura: I love that there’s an Asian girl on the cover because, I feel I never got to see that. 

I was really into superheroes back then, like Buffy. I wanted to be Buffy, but I never thought I could be, because I didn’t look like her.

The people who looked like me, usually in film & TV were usually the side-kick characters who didn’t really say much.

So, I think its important to have books like these with people on the cover so kids can find themselves, characters, and role models to look up to!

Its something I’ve always wanted to see ad I’m so happy that the next generation of readers will possibly be able to go to a bookstore and see Ia on the cover and go ‘Yes! This is a story that I could see myself in! I can imagine myself in space and be the hero of the story!’

9.Can you share anything else about Ignite The Stars? Maybe a quote or character you can’t wait for readers to meet?

Maura: I am really excited for people to meet Knives, the flight master of the academy! Because he is my book boyfriend ^_^ & his backstory is so tragic, from the reasons he stays at the academy to the things that have happened in his past that have held him back, and all the stuff he needs to work through.

With Ia there, it forces him to re-analyze what he thinks about the system in which he’s grown up in and how he can decide what to do from there!

Its so fun to see Knives & Ia together and I hope people enjoy their dynamic!

10.Best writing tips or advice for those looking to also write YA Sci-Fi?

Maura: Do your research, but don’t get bogged down by the research! Your not going to get everything right or know every physical law that’s out there.

Know what you can and let the story speak for itself, you know?

People are there for the story and not for ‘Am I getting all these facts accurate about this fictional planet?’

And to conclude the interview I also had some lightning round questions! ⚡📚

1.Current Read?

The Dream Thieves

2.Favorite YA Book (or Books) of 2018 so far?

There’s so many I’ve read & loved, especially YA Contemporary! Like Ship It by Britta Lundin & Farah Penn’s Twelve Steps To Normal

3.Most anticipated 2018 YA Release?

I cannot wait for Hullmetal Girls by Emily Skrutskie, its gonna be so AMAZING! And Light Years by Kass Morgan. It’s such a great year for YA Science Fiction. I’m also really excited for Bree Barton’s feminist fantasy, Heart of Thorns.

4.Describe your book in 3 words?

Friendship in space!

5.Favorite YA Character?

Celaena from Throne Of Glass

6.YA Book you wish more people would read?

Fangirl and with that, Carry On by Rainbow Rowell! 

7.Last YA Book that kept your turning the page?

Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian

8.YA Book you would recommend to everyone?

Warcross!!

9.Favorite YA Sci-Fi book?

Cinder

10.If your characters from Ignite The Stars could meet any other YA characters who would you pick?

I would love for them to meet the characters from Dark Of The West! Joanna and I are already planning our crossover fanfiction haha.

Thanks again to Maura for such a fun interview!

You can check out more about Ignite The Stars on its official site: Ignite The Stars.com 
& if you pre-order, there’s a limited edition enamel pin you can receive!

Are you looking forward to Ignite The Stars? 🚀🌌💫📚