I'm extremely excited today to welcome young adult author Sarah Fine to the blog to answer a few questions about her Guards of the Shadowlands series. I first heard about Sanctum from fellow bloggers who all had outstanding things to say, but I didn't have the opportunity to pick it up until I went on vacation recently and I kind of want to punch myself in the face as a result. It was amazing. Fractured, book two, is even better (full review coming soon), and I'm one-hundred percent in love with Lela and Malachi. As you may have guessed, I can't recommend this series enough and having Sarah on the blog completely makes my day. I hope you all enjoy the interview!
The human Guards of the dark city, given they died in different time periods, all bring varied skills and knowledge with them when they begin training. If you found yourself in Guard training with Malachi, what skills or information would you bring to the table that might be useful to them?
I’m told that I have a disapproving stare that sends chills down the spine, though I doubt that would deter a Mazikin. Apart from that, I have a sick imagination and the ability to assess and diagnose mental disorders. Again, probably not that useful, unless we want to have a Mazikin admitted to the hospital on a 72-hour involuntary hold.
Lela’s story is a brutal and highly emotional one. What’s the last book you read that tied you up in emotional knots?
SECRET by Brigid Kemmerer (it comes out in January 2014). Brigid has a talent for creating tense, emotionally charged family dynamics and romantic relationships, but in Secret, she outdoes herself. Her main character, Nick, is so anguished. His need to understand and accept himself, his intense desire to connect with the guy he’s falling for, his fear of losing control, as well as his anxiety about revealing his true self to his family was palpable and raw. It’s a phenomenal book.
What is one quality Lela possesses that you wish you did? One quality you have that Lela would benefit from?
Lela is incredibly resilient and fierce, and I’m not sure I could endure what she has and still be as functional as she is. As for a quality I have … I’m much less prone to shooting off my mouth. Most of the time.
As a reward for all their hard work, the Judge (in a magnanimous mood) grants Lela and Malachi a single day in the world of another piece of YA fiction. In what worlds might each of them choose to spend their time?
This is such an interesting question because I tend to read such dark YA fiction with bleak, scary worlds, and really, all Lela and Malachi want is rest (and each other). I think both would choose a contemporary, less urban setting, like Mercy Falls from Maggie Stiefvater’s Shiver/Linger/Forever, where they’re likely to have a bit more peace and quiet.
If Malachi were to ask you to rewrite one small thing about his character, what do you think he would want to change?
I think he might ask to be as brutal and emotionless as he sometimes tries to act. Malachi, in his soul, craves peace and gentleness. He doesn’t seek or want greatness; he never asked to be part of this epic story. But since he has to be, I think he’d want to be a little tougher internally, because he also has a deep sense of duty and doesn’t avoid doing what he thinks is right, even if it causes him great pain.
What aspect/element of the dark city was the first to take shape in your mind when crafting the Shadowlands?
The fact that people could have whatever they wanted, that they could grow whatever they desired, but that it just wouldn’t be that great or satisfying. That was inspired by one of C.S. Lewis’s books, and I built the whole city around it.
You’re in a group interview setting with all the characters from Sanctum and Fractured. Who is the first to speak and what question do they ask?
Wait—are they interviewing me? If so, Michael would dominate the rest through the sheer volume of his voice and demand to know why he doesn’t have more page time. Then he’d probably curse at me in Farsi.
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I’m the author of the Guards of the Shadowlands urban fantasy series (Skyscape/Amazon Children’s Publishing), including Sanctum (October 2012) and Fractured (October 2013). My gothic young adult novel Of Metal and Wishes will be published by McElderry/Simon & Schuster in August 2014. In May 2014, Putnam/Penguin will publish Scan, the first of two thrillers I co-authored with Walter Jury under the name S. E. Fine. When I’m not writing, I’m psychologizing. Sometimes I do both at the same time. The results are unpredictable.
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(releases October 29th)
In the week since Lela returned to Rhode Island as Captain of the Guard with Malachi as her second in command, local news has been dominated by chilling sightings of human-like creatures running on all fours. Lela knows there’s only one explanation: the Mazikin have arrived in the land of the living.
Needing to maintain the appearance of a normal life for her foster mother, her probation officer, and her classmates, Lela returns to Warwick High along with Malachi. At night they secretly hunt for the Mazikin nest. To assist, two new Guards from very different parts of the Shadowlands are assigned to Lela’s unit, including the bad boy Jim, who repeatedly challenges Lela's authority. Lela struggles to keep all her Guards on the right side of the law, but their mistakes come at a terrible cost.
As one painful revelation follows another and the Mazikin start targeting those closest to her, Lela finds herself more vulnerable than she’s ever been, wanting a future more than she ever has. With an enemy determined to separate soul from body, one question remains: how much is she willing to sacrifice to protect those she loves?
*Fractured (or Sanctum if you've yet to read it) is one of the books I'm giving away as part of the Something Wicked Returns Giveaway Hop, so be sure and enter HERE if you haven't yet!