Mary E. Pearson is the award-winning author of The Jenna Fox Chronicles, The Miles Between, A Room on Lorelei, and Scribbler of Dreams. She writes full-time from her home office in California where she lives with her husband and two golden retrievers.
1. When you started THE KISS OF DECEPTION, did you know it was going to turn into a trilogy?
Yes! From the beginning I knew that Lia's story--and Rafe's and Kaden's stories--would span at least three books.
2. Was it difficult to find a starting point for HEART OF BETRAYAL after finishing KISS OF DECEPTION, or did you always know how it would begin?
Not really, because the first book ended at a pretty pivotal and dangerous moment and I didn't want to fast forward in the next book by much. I knew the reader would want to know just what happened next, and I was really excited to write it, so THE HEART OF BETRAYAL picks up right where THE KISS OF DECEPTION left off.
3. You write from different character’s points of view, was it difficult to develop a different voice for each character?
Each character had very different goals and motivations so that made writing distinct voices much easier, and early on I knew their "style," that is, how they approached life, and that also made their mannerisms and voices different. Luckily, they all came very different backgrounds and experiences which added to their own unique voices.
4. Who was your favorite character to write?
To be honest, whichever voice I was writing at the moment. It was exciting for me to see how one character reacted to the others, and I loved being able to offer their own unique perspectives. All that being said, Lia very often surprised me by the things she would say. I know technically it was me putting those words in her mouth, but at times it sure didn't feel like it, and she would make me laugh. A couple of times I literally said to Lia, "You can't say that!" But she did! That's Lia.
5. What different mythologies and folk lores did you pull from while researching KISS OF DECEPTION?
The world that Lia lives in has evolved from a vast and varied ancient civilization so it is a blend of cultures and traditions that have survived a great devastation, so really, I had to pull from the histories of this ancient civilization. In some ways, I played a game of "telephone" imagining how over thousands of years, the truths of this ancient world changed, giving birth to many beliefs and traditions. If that seems sufficiently vague, it's because I don't want to create spoilers! ; )
6. What are you go-to methods for getting over writer’s block?
Music. I have a playlist for every book and when I plug in to the tunes, it transports me back into the world of the characters. Walking is also a great way of working out scenes. A long walk never fails to produce some helpful narrative or dialogue. Deadlines are helpful too, as are self-imposed goals. I keep religious daily word counts too. Goals jumpstart the creative process and keep writer's block at bay.
7. Who has been your biggest inspiration throughout your writing career?
Other creatives--writers, artists, filmmakers, performers, musicians, dreamers--help me to tap into the vein of imagination that allows me to create too. In each of our own ways, we all tell stories.
8. If you could meet any author, who would it be?
I've been so fortunate to have met so many amazing authors already, but I've never met Megan Whalen Turner, author of The Thief series, whose writing leaves me in awe. I'd love to meet her one day--and then be all tongue-tied.
9. Are you a pantser or a plotter?
I'm a combination of both. I loosely write out scenes on post-its and place them on a large white board so I can see where I'm going, but as new turns or characters show up, the scenes change. So I guess you could say, I plot, but often my best-laid plans get overruled, which is how I like it. It keeps the mystery of writing alive for me.
10. After this, what will you start working on?
I'm working on Book 3 of the trilogy right now--still untitled--and after that, I don't have a clue. I've had a few ideas come knocking that excite me, but I pretty much shut them out so I can keep my head in the current story. I can only write one story at a time!
Held captive in the barbarian kingdom of Venda, Lia and Rafe have little chance of escape . . . and even less of being together.
Desperate to save her life, Lia's erstwhile assassin, Kaden, has told the Vendan Komisar that she has a magical gift, and the Komisar's interest in Lia is greater than either Kaden or Lia foresaw.
Meanwhile, the foundations of Lia's deeply-held beliefs are crumbling beneath her. Nothing is straightforward: there's Rafe, who lied to her, but has sacrificed his freedom to protect her; Kaden, who meant to assassinate her but has now saved her life; and the Vendans, whom she always believed to be barbarians but whom she now realizes are people who have been terribly brutalized by the kingdoms of Dalbreck and Morrighan. Wrestling with her upbringing, her gift, and her very sense of self, Lia will have to make powerful choices that affect her country, her people . . . and her own destiny.
Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman
Expected Publication Date: August 18th, 2015
Page Count: 432 pages
Imagine a time when the gods turn a blind eye to the agony of men, when the last of the hellions roam the plains, and evil stirs beyond the edges of the map. A time when cities burn, and in their ashes, empires rise.
Alexander, Macedon's sixteen-year-old heir, is on the brink of discovering his fated role in conquering the known world, but finds himself drawn to a newcomer...
Katerina must navigate the dark secrets of court life while keeping hidden her own mission: kill the queen. But she doesn't account for her first love...
Jacob will go to unthinkable lengths to win Katerina, even if it means having to compete with Hephaestion, a murderer sheltered by the prince.
And far across the sea, Zofia, a Persian princess and Alexander's unmet betrothed, wants to alter her destiny by seeking the famed and deadly Spirit Eaters.
Weaving fantasy with the shocking details of real history, "New York Times" bestselling author of "Sex with Kings" Eleanor Herman reimagines the greatest emperor the world has ever known, Alexander the Great, in the first book of the Blood of Gods and Royals series.
Why We Can't Wait: Look at that cover. Read that description. This book looks freakin amazing. YES WE NEED IT.
Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray
Expected Publication Date: August 25th, 2015
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Page Count: 624 pages
After a supernatural showdown with a serial killer, Evie O'Neill has outed herself as a Diviner. Now that the world knows of her ability to "read" objects, and therefore, read the past, she has become a media darling, earning the title, "America's Sweetheart Seer." But not everyone is so accepting of the Diviners' abilities...
Meanwhile, mysterious deaths have been turning up in the city, victims of an unknown sleeping sickness. Can the Diviners descend into the dreamworld and catch a killer?
Why we can't wait: NEW LIBBA BRAY WE WANTS IT NOW!
Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley
Publication Date: April 28th, 2015
Genre: Fantasy and Magic
Maria Dahvana Headley's soaring YA debut is a fiercely intelligent, multilayered fantasy where Neil Gaiman's Stardust meets John Green's The Fault in Our Stars in a story about a girl caught between two worlds . . . two races . . . and two destinies.
Aza Ray Boyle is drowning in thin air. Since she was a baby, Aza has suffered from a mysterious lung disease that makes it ever harder for her to breathe, to speak to live. So when Aza catches a glimpse of a ship in the sky, her family chalks it up to a cruel side effect of her medication. But Aza doesn't think this is a hallucination. She can hear someone on the ship calling her name.
Only her best friend, Jason, listens. Jason, who's always been there. Jason, for whom she might have more-than-friendly feelings. But before Aza can consider that thrilling idea, something goes terribly wrong. Aza is lost to our world and found, by another. Magonia.
Above the clouds, in a land of trading ships, Aza is not the weak and dying thing she was. In Magonia, she can breathe for the first time. Better, she has immense power but as she navigates her new life, she discovers that war between Magonia and Earth is coming. In Aza's hands lies fate of the whole of humanity including the boy who loves her. Where do her loyalties lie?
Magonia is perfectly weird in all the right ways. Reminiscent of Neil Gaiman’s Stardust, this is the perfect book for fans of weird science fiction. Turns out, Aza Ray’s mysterious lung disease isn’t a disease at all. Aza Ray isn’t from this world. She’s from a world in the sky. A world that’s approaching war, a war in which Aza Ray is the strongest weapon Magonia has. Magonia is a fast-paced adventure about embracing yourself and finding power hidden deep within. A masterfully told tale set in the clouds amongst a world that humans will never see. Brilliant, breathtaking, and utterly magical, Magonia is the kind of story you immerse yourself in and never forget.
Anna, Not Your Mother's Book Club Coordinator