Today I'm hugely excited to welcome author Sara B. Larson to the blog to answer a few questions about her young adult fantasy debut, Defy (released yesterday from Scholastic). Defy was a book I picked up not knowing much about it, and I found myself madly in love after pretty much the first chapter. As soon as I finished, I sprinted to the computer and sent a dubiously coherent fangirl email to Sara requesting an interview, and she oh-so graciously waded through my ramblings and agreed. I'll be posting my full review on the blog tomorrow!
It’s your first day of training with Alexa and the rest of the guard. How many bruises would you estimate you’ll be sporting tomorrow? Will there be more or less than are decorating the bodies of your opponents?
Oh man, if I had to spar against Alexa, she’d totally kick my trash. I mean, I work out and I do kick boxing, so I think I could hold my own in a fight. But we’re talking about sword fighting with Alexa. Yeah, I’d be a mess of bruises the next day. But I’m stubborn, so I’d keep practicing in hopes that I could try to hold my own against her eventually.
If you found yourself in Alexa’s shoes, having to maintain the guise of being male, what do you think you would have to work hardest at to keep from giving yourself away?
Hmmm, that’s a very interesting question! Well, for one, if someone were to scare me in the dark (did I mention I’m afraid of the dark?), I tend to scream and either drop to the ground, or lash out. Pretty sure that would give me away in a hurry since Antion can be a very scary place, especially at night.
What was the very first piece of Defy to pop into your head? Do you remember where you were when it came to you?
I do, it actually came from a very difficult period in my life, when someone I loved had just passed away from cancer. He was just 24. I was so upset by his loss that I couldn’t write anything. But a friend of mine told me to stop trying to write a book and just write was I was feeling. So that’s what I did, and what I wrote was the very first scene of what later became DEFY. (Hint: it is not the first chronological scene in the book.) From there, the story took on its own life, though. It became a story of survival, a story of what true courage and strength is, and a story about love and hope (even in the most desperate of situations) and risking everything for the chance of a better future.
If you suddenly woke up tomorrow in Antion, which modern amenity would you miss most? What aspect of this fantasy world would make life without that amenity worth it?
Oh boy, that’s a tough one! I do love my modern conveniences. Probably my computer, because I can’t keep up with my thoughts otherwise. I’d have claw fingers all the time from hand cramps if I had to write all my stories on parchment with a quill and ink. When I try to use pen and paper, I write as hard and furious as I can, but I just can’t do it. But Damian and Rylan would DEFINITELY make up for it. Oh, wait. I’m happily married (do I get to take my husband with me?), and there’s Alexa to compete with…so, uh, let’s go with the sorcery. If I could be a sorcerer, I’d totally be willing to give up my computer.
Alexa and her brother Marcel are extraordinarily close. What’s one small thing about her that makes Marcel proud to call himself her brother?
Though he gives her a hard time about it, he admires her stubbornness. Once she has a goal, nothing can stop her, and that not only makes him proud—it’s saved her life more than once.
What tip or trick would Alexa give to anyone like her who needed to hide in plain sight?
If you act like you know what you’re doing, everyone goes along with it. People only question something if you act like there’s something to question.
Alexa is proficient with a variety of weapons and is the best fighter on the prince’s guard. If she were to face a character from another young adult novel in a battle for position on the guard, who do you think might give her a good run for her money?
I think Katsa from Graceling would definitely be an amazing match-up in a fight. Can you imagine? *stares off into space imagining the epicness of that battle*
It’s fair to say that both Rylan and Damian see something special in Alexa. What one word might each of them use to best describe her?
Oooh, that’s tricky, making me limit it to one word, since she’s a very complex person. Hmmm….Rylan might describe her as fierce and I could imagine Damian describing her as indomitable.
*Jenny leaves to go Google "indomitable"* ;-)
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Alexa Hollen is a fighter. Forced to disguise herself as a boy and serve in the king's army, Alex uses her quick wit and fierce sword-fighting skills to earn a spot on the elite prince's guard. But when a powerful sorcerer sneaks into the palace in the dead of night, even Alex, who is virtually unbeatable, can't prevent him from abducting her, her fellow guard and friend Rylan, and Prince Damian, taking them through the treacherous wilds of the jungle and deep into enemy territory.
The longer Alex is held captive with both Rylan and the prince, the more she realizes that she is not the only one who has been keeping dangerous secrets. And suddenly, after her own secret is revealed, Alex finds herself confronted with two men vying for her heart: the safe and steady Rylan, who has always cared for her, and the dark, intriguing Damian. With hidden foes lurking around every corner, is Alex strong enough to save herself and the kingdom she's sworn to protect?
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SARA B. LARSON
I love writing, reading, and dessert--but the order varies by the day. I wrote my first book in second grade about a woman who had a premature baby, complete with a "to scale" drawing of the baby's size--while my mom was pregnant. To say I was a bit precocious is putting it lightly. Now that I'm an adult, I write books for teens that have magic and romance and kick-butt girls (and very few premature babies). I live in Utah with my husband, two young sons and baby girl. I write during naptime and the hours when most people are sleeping. My husband claims I should have a degree in "the art of multitasking." On occasion you will find me hiding in a bubble bath with a book and some Swedish Fish. I am represented by Josh Adams of Adams Literary and my YA debut DEFY is coming January '14 from Scholastic!