Today, I am SO SO excited to present to y'all the amazingness that is Rae Carson.
Why is Rae Carson a Rockstar?
Rae is one of the most inspirational people I've ever "met". She has such a strong personality: both incredibly determined and incredibly reassured. She writes amazing books for sure, but I'll get to that in a second. I just want to say: Wow. If you ever read the stories about what Rae has gone through, and how she battled her way through misogyny and people who should reconsider their moral path--it's truly inspiring. Besides, Rae connects with her fans a lot and it's really awesome to see that she responds to your tweet, even when it's super embarrassing. And then of course, her books are among some of my all-time favorites. Just: dang. I bow down to this woman. SKILLZ.
And on a personal note... I do believe that The Girl of Fire and Thorns was one of the first--if not the first--ARC I ever received, so I owe a lot to Rae just for how much she helped me kickstart my blog. Love you, Rae! *she says with the most serious and solemn face possible, with a handful of tissues on the side*
Before I get to the interview, you should know what this series is about.
The Girl of Fire and Thorns
By: Rae Carson
Release Date: Already released
Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness.
Elisa is the chosen one.
But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can't see how she ever will.
Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.
And he's not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people's savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.
Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young.
Most of the chosen do.
-Summary from Goodreads
Purchase: Mrs. Nelson's (Help support my local indie store!)* || Barnes & Noble || Amazon || Book Depository
Here is my review of The Girl of Fire and Thorns ///// Here is my review of the sequel, The Crown of Embers (Find it on Goodreads here) ///// Lastly, find the last book, which just came out on August 27th, here on Goodreads!
Alright, without further ado... let's get to the INTERVIEW!
Hi Rae! Welcome to The Reviews News. *waves* Thanks!! *waves back*
1) Your books draw heavily from Spanish roots, which I think is incredibly cool. How much research did you have to do, if any at all, to make sure the period/cultural information was at least reflective of the Spanish culture?
I was pretty immersed in it at the time. I lived in California's Central Valley, in a place were non-Hispanic whites are a minority. My Latina friends were teaching me Spanish, and I was watching Spanish telenovelas religiously. So all the Spanish influences came pouring out in a very organic and natural way.
2) In Elisa's world, religion is as embroidered into their lives as breathing. Did you ever think that the religious aspect could be a turn-off to some readers?
The religion absolutely turns off some readers! But I feel strongly that teen experiences should be explored in literature—in all their incredible diversity—even if they make readers uncomfortable. In a country where more than 80% of people still claim to believe in a god, it's odd to me that more books don't explore religion. I'm not a religious person myself, but I'm determined to have empathy for the millions of teens who are.
*NOT REALLY A SPOILER, BUT CONSIDER YOURSELF WARNED ANYWAY*
3) I'll admit: when I first read The Girl of Fire and Thorns, what happened to Alejandro and Humberto completely shocked me. I think that was the first book where my naive expectations of "everyone's safe! Always!" was irreversibly knocked down. I love you for it, but man, that was brutal. Did you ever feel as though you couldn't carry through with a plot point because it was just too emotionally unbearable?
I'm not going to lie; it was reeeally hard to do what I did to Humberto. I liked him a lot. But I wanted Elisa to experience true loss, especially in regards to war. War sucks. People die. And it's dishonoring to all those who have risked their lives in service to their countries to pretend otherwise.
Also, while Humberto was generally a nice guy, he was Elisa's kidnapper, and she deserved better. No heroine of mine will ever end up with a man who abuses her.
4) Did you always set out to make Elisa an overweight heroine to begin with? What were your influences for her character?
Yes, I always intended for her to be overweight. Even later, when she is more fit because of her changed lifestyle, I hope readers continue to picture her as a larger girl. I chose to make her that way after dumping a guy who was obsessed with my weight—even though I could run 6 miles every day, I was never skinny enough for him. So writing about Elisa was my way of giving the finger to him and his douchey perception of beauty.
5) Your husband and you both write. Has this impacted your writing in any way? Do you both never sleep? (The second question is a joke. I think.)
My husband is my first reader for every single thing I write, and he has a great editorial eye. For example, after I drafted The Crown of Embers, I could tell that a few scenes weren't paced right. So he broke them out into an Excel spreadsheet!!! and showed me how I could re-order them for maximum impact. It's the sexiest thing he's ever done for me.
And what is this "sleep" you speak of?
6) You're writing a new series in the Gold Rush Era, which is AWESOME. What can we expect? :D
The first book is tentatively scheduled for early 2015. It will have some similarities to the Fire and Thorns series because epic journeys! And magic! And horrifying deaths! And KISSING! But it will be different because guns! And DYSENTERY! I'm very excited about it.
-Humberto or Hector?
HECTOR. Hands down. No question.
-How much will we die from The Bitter Kingdom's feelz?
A lot, I hope. "Am DED from FEELZ" is pretty much the best thing you can say to an author.
-Will you come to my funeral?
Of course! I'll bring Hector with me.
-How embarrassed were you by my absolutely facepalm-worthy fangirling video of The Crown of Embers that I sent you a link to on Twitter last year? (I hope you don’t remember it. And I’m not posting the link again, haha. Oh gosh. I swear I have no eloquence. T.T)
How could I forget something that epically awesome?!?
Thank you so much for stopping by! ^.^ We eagerly await the final part of Elisa's epic story.
Thanks for having me!
And finally... the GIVEAWAY!
-A signed hardcover copy of The Bitter Kingdom from Rae herself!
What are the rules?
-The prize can only be shipped to an address in the U.S. But that doesn't mean you can't get your friend in the states to enter for you, and then for them to mail it to you wherever you are if they win! *nudge nudge*
-The giveaway will run for one week, from August 29th, 2013 to September 5th, 2013. You must enter within that timeframe.
-The winner will be given 48 hours to respond following initial contact. If there is no response, another winner will be selected.
What do I do?
-Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below! Only leaving a comment is mandatory, but if you follow Rae on Twitter or tweet about the interview + giveaway, you get extra entries! Woot!
Thanks everyone for stopping by! Be sure to check out the rest of the tour stops today:
C.J. Redwine stops at A Life Bound By Books
Elizabeth Richards stops at Literary Exploration
Leigh Bardugo stops at Cuddlebuggery
Michelle Rowen/Morgan Rhodes stops at Tales of the Ravenous Reader
Vivi Barnes stops at Fiktshun
*The Mrs. Nelson's link is an affiliate link, which means I get a portion of the sale at no additional cost to you. I use my affiliate money for giveaways, so basically it's a no-extra-charges gift for you, really.