Hey y'all! In case you missed it, I hosted a cover reveal post for Kaitlyn Sage Patterson's The Diminished on Thursday. I was super honored and excited to host it. I love both Kaitlyn and her book so much, and it was my first ever cover reveal.
And today's post is just as exciting, imo. Check out my interview with Kaitlyn and then register in all the ways for your chance to win an ARC of The Diminished (plus some bookish goodies).
A little bit about The Diminished:
In the Alskad Empire, nearly all are born with a twin, two halves to form one whole…yet some face the world alone.
A rare few are singleborn in each generation, and therefore given the right to rule by the gods and goddesses. Bo Trousillion is one of these few, born into the royal line and destined to rule. Though he has been chosen to succeed his great-aunt, Queen Runa, as the leader of the Alskad Empire, Bo has never felt equal to the grand future before him.
When one twin dies, the other usually follows, unable to face the world without their other half. Those who survive are considered diminished, doomed to succumb to the violent grief that inevitably destroys everyone whose twin has died. Such is the fate of Vi Abernathy, whose twin sister died in infancy. Raised by the anchorites of the temple after her family cast her off, Vi has spent her whole life scheming for a way to escape and live out what's left of her life in peace.
As their sixteenth birthdays approach, Bo and Vi face very different futures—one a life of luxury as the heir to the throne, the other years of backbreaking work as a temple servant. But a long-held secret and the fate of the empire are destined to bring them together in a way they never could have imagined.
The Diminished will be published by HarlequinTEEN, expected April 10, 2018.
[I love love this aesthetic of Ilor, one of the major settings of the novel.]
What She's Read: I know you had to have done a lot of research for this novel! What did you have to learn about to bring this world to life?
KSP: TONS! I learned a lot of science stuff that I needed to make the world of The Diminished make sense. Because the events in the book take place about 500 years after their moon is split, I had to figure out A: how that could happen, B: what it would do to the tides/climate/environment, and C: how a split moon would look as it travels through the lunar cycle. To do that, I ended up having a long and fascinating conversation with an astrophysicist who helped me understand way more about the moon than I ever thought I’d need to know.
I also learned a lot about pearl farming, freediving, and solar technology. Did you know that the oysters used for pearl farming are entirely different than the ones we eat?
WSR: What was the hardest scene to write?
KSP: ALL OF THE KISSING SCENES. I hate writing kissing scenes so much. I have to get into a kind of thoughtless freewriting zone to make it work. I’m finishing up my revisions right now, and I came across a scene that my editor totally loved, like no notes at all, and I straight up do not remember writing it. It’s good too! I just have no recollection of putting those words on the page.
WSR: What did you listen to while you wrote this novel? Can you share a playlist?
KSP: When I’m drafting I tend to listen to a lot of movie soundtracks because lyrics can be really distracting for me. I listened to The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I score by James Newton Howard A LOT, and I kept the Gone Girl score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross on loop while I was writing the conclusion.
But, while I’m revising, I kind of like to have songs with lyrics, and I made a playlist that evokes, for me, the feeling of the book. [Check it out here.]
WSR: How much time do you set aside for writing?
KSP: Too much? I treat writing like a busy fully time job. Instead of taking lunch breaks most days, I write through my lunch at my day job. I sometimes write in the evenings or mornings, and I write every weekend, usually from around 9:30 to 6:00 or 7:00 at night. It’s a brutal schedule, and I definitely won’t always do this, but it’s also allowed me to draft 3 books in 2 years.
WSR: What do you do when writing gets hard?
KSP: I try to remember what I love about the story, and why I’m writing it. I recently got really stuck while I was drafting a project that I started out totally in love with. I was freaked out by the story, and I managed to convince myself that I wasn’t the right person to tell it, that my writing was terrible, the characters didn’t make sense… the whole miserable loop of self-loathing.
So I sent a couple of chapters to a friend of mine just to get her to take the temperature of the work. She read them and helped me remember all the reasons I had started writing that project in the first place. She also reminded me that first drafts are allowed to suck. They’re supposed to suck! And if I could manage to get to the end, I could fix the book. That pep talk helped me back into it, and I finished the draft a couple of weeks ago. Critique partners are literal gold y’all.
WSR: What's the best writerly thing you've ever spent money on?
KSP: Hands down, Scrivener. I love that program SOOOOO much. It’s made everything about writing novels easier for me.
WSR: What was the last book you couldn't put down?
KSP: I was just raving to you about this one, but I absolutely adored THE SCORPION RULES and THE SWAN RIDERS by Erin Bow. I think I read both books in one day. I also really loved Ashley Poston’s GEEKERELLA, and FALSE HEARTS by Laura Lam.
WSR: What are 5 books on your TBR you can't wait to get to?
KSP: A.M. Dellamonica’s THE NATURE OF A PIRATE is at the top of my TBR right now. It’s the third book in her Stormwrack series, and I LOVED the other two.
COURT OF FIVES by Kate Elliot keeps being recommended to me by people I really respect, so I’m planning on reading that soon.
I’m also really looking forward to reading THE LOST SUN by Tessa Gratton. I think she’s a complete genius, and the premise of this book is fascinating.
I also can’t wait to read Karuna Riazi’s THE GAUNTLET, but I keep giving my copies away to friends!! I need to hold onto one long enough to read it!
Finally, I’m on a real Roxane Gay kick, so I’m going to dig into DIFFICULT WOMEN just as soon as I finish reading HUNGER.
BONUS QUESTION AND SURPRISING FRUIT RANT: If you were a fruit, what would you be, and why?
A fig. No questions asked. They're one of the most delicious fruits available, but what's so cool about figs is that no single fig would exist if not for the death of a wasp. Figs are entirely pollinated with the help of wasps. The wasps need a place to lay their eggs, so female fig wasps crawl into figs, all covered in fig pollen, through a hole so narrow they lose their wings in the process, trapping them inside. If the wasp is lucky enough to crawl into a male fig, they lay their eggs, the eggs hatch and burrow out, covered in more fig pollen to make more figs. But if the fig wasp climbs into a female fig, she's unable to lay her eggs, and she dies alone in the fig, pollinating it in the process. The figs produce an enzyme that totally digests the fig corpses, so no worries about eating wasps with your figs, but what a complex and interesting story for a single piece of fruit, right? Science is cool.
Would you like to win an ARC of The Diminished? Check out the ways below that you can a copy of your own! One winner will receive an ARC plus some other top secret swag.
For a physical ARC, the winner must live in the United States. But don't worry if you live outside the US! You can still win swag and an eARC. Contest ends 8/26/17.