Today is extremely exciting for me because I have the honor of hosting one of my favorite authors, Cassandra Rose Clarke for an interview and reviewing her upcoming novel, THE WIZARD'S PROMISE!
THE WIZARD'S PROMISE (The Hanna Duology #1)
by Cassandra Rose ClarkeGoodreads:
Release Date: May 6, 2014
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
All Hanna Euli wants is to become a proper witch – but unfortunately, she’s stuck as an apprentice to a grumpy fisherman. When their boat gets caught up in a mysterious storm and blown wildly off course, Hanna finds herself further away from home than she’s ever been before.
As she tries to get back, she learns there may be more to her apprentice master than she realized, especially when a mysterious, beautiful, and very non-human boy begins following her through the ocean, claiming that he needs Hanna’s help.
1) You have another duology written in the same world in which The Wizard's Promise takes place. What made you decide to write another series surrounding that world?
I was blown away by the reception that the first duology received, and by the time the second book was published, I realized I didn’t want to leave that world behind entirely. The story of Naji and Ananna was largely finished, and even though the two of them are certainly off having plenty of adventures (mostly together!), I wanted a chance to look at some of the other parts of the world and some of the other cultures that I had hinted at.
2) How did you come up with the idea for this story?
I knew I wanted to write something that took place after the first duology, and I knew I wanted the setting to be up in the northern part of the world, since there are a lot of references to the ice-islands throughout the first duology, although we never really get to see them. I also liked the idea of writing a story where the weather is cold, since so much of The Assassin’s Curse takes place where it’s hot (I know it sounds weird, but I’m really into weather and climate). The plot and characters pretty much grew out of those criteria. It was almost like writing fanfiction in a way, because I had the world, and here was a chance to fill in the gaps.
3) Can you share your favorite scene, or line from the book?
Some of my favorite scenes are the ones where Hanna first meets Isolfr, the boy in the water. Here’s a little snippet of one of those encounters:
“You never told me your name,” he said.
I hesitated. I got no sense of danger from him, it was true. He waited for me to answer, moving with the rhythm of the waves. In a way, he reminded me of the illuminated ice Frida had shown me that afternoon. He was that lovely, that unearthly.
“Hanna,” I finally said.
Nothing happened except that Isolfr smiled again.
4) Who is your favorite character from The Wizard's Promise? If you don't have a favorite character, who do relate to the most?
I actually really relate to Hanna, the main character. I based a lot of her experiences on my own experience growing up in a small town. However, I think my favorite character is probably Asbera. She gets introduced in the second half of the book, so I don’t want to say too much about her, but she’s another fisherwoman (one who’s happy to work as a fisherwoman!) and she befriends Hanna when Hanna needs it most.
5) How has your writing changed since the release of your first novel?
I’ve become a lot more wiling to branch out and try new things. Before I was published, I tended to stick to the type of writing I was most comfortable with--character-focused literary fiction. Now I find I enjoy moving beyond my comfort zone and bringing in elements that I would have found too difficult to include before. I’m not sure why getting published led to more risk-taking: maybe it’s a boost in confidence thing?
6) What do you find to be the most difficult part of writing a book?
External plotting. My favorite thing about writing is developing the characters and crafting beautiful sentences and passages (you can tell I come from a literary fiction background!). But you can’t just ignore external plot in a story--stuff has got to happen. The first duology was actually one of my big experiments in writing a plotty book, but I’m still learning how to really put plot threads together in a satisfying way.
7) What was your initial reaction to finding out you going to be published?
I actually found out I was going to be published when I was at work. I’m a college instructor, and I had a quick, ten-minute break between my classes. I was waiting in line to use the restroom when I checked the email on my phone and saw that Angry Robot had accepted my two manuscripts. So I was completely ecstatic, but I had to keep it to myself, since I didn’t want to start jumping around and shouting in joy in front of a bunch of students.
8) What kind of books do you read in your free time?
All kinds! I tend to jump around between genres. I get in moods where I’ll want to read a bunch of space opera, and then I’ll feel like reading mysteries, and then I’ll want to read literary fiction. Right now I’m reading an historical literary fiction novel called Evidence of Things Unseen, which is a love story set around the time that the first atomic bomb was developed. Up next I think I’m going to read Alif the Unseen, by G. Willow Wilson, which is a kind of literary fantasy novel. I’m definitely in a literary fiction phase right now.
9) What is in store for you next?
The sequel to The Wizard’s Promise, the Nobleman’s Revenge, will be out sometime next year. I’m also working on a couple of new projects--both YA and adult--but I don’t want to say too much about them yet!
10) Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
I’ve talked about this before, but I really do think it’s the best piece of advice I’ve ever received: learn to tell the difference between dreams and goals. A goal is something that is completely and one hundred percent under your control, whereas a dream is something that depends on other people to happen--it’s the difference between writing 1000 words a day (goal) and publishing a book (dream). Writing can be an incredibly frustrating career because so much of your success is dependent on other people, and focusing on those things that you can control--goals that will help you reach your dreams--can really alleviate some of that frustration.
Thank you to Cassandra for allowing me to participate in this tour, and for the wonderful interview. I will be posting my review this weekend, so look out for that! If you haven't already, please check out Cassandra's wonderful works and pick up a copy of The Wizard's Promise when it releases next month!