Interview with Mary Pearson Author of The Remnant Chronicles + Giveaway

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I’m so excited to be hosting The Remnant Chronicles Read Along with these amazing bloggers- Bridget from Dark Faerie Tales, Christina from The Book Hook Up, Stacee from Adventures of a Book Junkie, and Jamie from Two Chicks on Books.

Interview

The Kiss of Deception stands out from your other books since it is set in a different world than our own. Can you describe some of the difficulties or advantages writing outside of our reality?
This is a tricky question to answer, because even though the Remnant world doesn’t look like our world, it is based very much on our world, really, in the same way so much of fantasy is. Often fantasy worlds are metaphors for our own, and let us see our reality in a new light.

In Remnant’s case, it was like our world in a very real sense too, because it grew out of the ashes of our present one, along with whatever snips of memory and tradition the few survivors of the “Devastation” had to pass on, and with the scrabbling to survive for generations, much was lost—except story. But in the Remnant world, as in our own, the story changed as it was passed along, or sometimes it was purposely twisted to serve another purpose, and what started as a hazy memory told in story, became the history and belief system of many nations.

As with our own histories, trying to parse out the truth thousands of years later can be an impossible task. Until we can master the trick of time travel, some truths are lost forever. (Ah, time travel! Maybe that will be the next story . . .)

So yes, the Remnant world looked and operated differently in so many ways and writing that part was a fun challenge, but in so many other ways—especially in the ways in which we love and hate each other—it was still very much the same. Some things are timeless.

This August the last of The Remnant Chronicles, The Beauty of Darkness, releases. How does it feel to be saying goodbye to this series (*sniff*)?
It is hard to say goodbye.  I’m still not sure I have.  A few characters keep whirling in my head, voices, snips of dialogue, story beginnings.  Just because you write “the end” it doesn’t mean that a world vanishes overnight or the gears in your brain stop turning.

On the other hand, it is enormously satisfying to see the stories come to completion, the full arc realized. Even when you think you know how a story will end, you are never entirely certain it is all going to come together how you hoped, not so much from a plot standpoint but from an emotional point of view. And of course I was juggling three main characters arcs—not just one. It was a challenge but I was happy with the outcome for each of the characters. It felt true and complete, and typing “The End” was satisfying, even if it was bittersweet to say goodbye.

Did the story and characters go as you had planned or did they surprise you as you wrote?
Oh, there were always surprises. Secondary characters came on the scene who threw me curve balls. In the last book, both the Komizar and Aster grew into much more full-bodied characters than I expected. Aster hadn’t even been planned. She first appeared in my head when she dropped boots off at Lia’s doorstep. I had no idea she would steal my heart. That is what I love about writing. If I had every detail planned it would feel robotic. The world and the characters have to inject their own life into the story, and I follow their leads.

In The Beauty of Darkness there were some surprises too—a character who appeared in the first book, Natiya, returned, and I saw a young Lia in the making. It was interesting for me to see Natiya’s transformation. Her experiences had made her stubborn and fierce which we got a glimpse of in the first book. It exasperated Lia to deal with someone so much like herself.

Also, the demise of a certain character, and the way this character died had not been planned, but it almost fell into my lap as the most perfect way for this person to die. (Yes, I revel in certain deaths. Scary, huh?)

And finally, in The Heart of Betrayal, Aster stole a book from the piles in the caverns. In The Beauty of Darkness, I had to find a “description” for this book and I brainstormed tons of them with both my editor and agent and it seemed nothing was quite right and finally one came to mind that was not only perfect for the story, but perfect for Aster too.

So some surprises are always part of the writing process, even when you think you know the direction you are going and how everything will play out.

What do you have coming next?
Ideas are simmering. A few have taken hold. I’m waiting to see which one rises to the top and wins my undying attention.

Are you as excited as I am about The Beauty of Darkness? It releases NEXT MONTH. I can’t wait.

Check out these other posts I’ve done about this series

Giveaway

To enter to win these two prizes you just need to join the read along and fill out the rafflecopter from below! (FYI, these won’t be the only prizes we’ll be giving away. There will be great prizes up for grabs during the twitter chats and for the Instagram challenges, so make sure to participate in those to get a chance to win some other goodies!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Revisiting The Kiss of Deception Review for the The Remnant Chronicles Readalong

I’m so excited to be hosting The Remnant Chronicles Read Along with these amazing bloggers- Bridget from Dark Faerie Tales, Christina from The Book Hook Up, Stacee from Adventures of a Book Junkie, and Jamie from Two Chicks on Books.

I recently reread The Kiss of Deception so I thought it would be fun to revisit my old review and see if I agree with my first thoughts on the book.

My Old Review

TheKissofDeceptionThe Kiss of Deception
By: Mary E. Pearson
Release Date: July 15th 2014
Publisher: Henry Holt
Source: ARC

A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating:
star

Summary:
In this timeless new trilogy about love and sacrifice, a princess must find her place in a reborn world.

In a society steeped in tradition, Princess Lia’s life follows a preordained course. As First Daughter, she is expected to have the revered gift of sight—but she doesn’t—and she knows her parents are perpetrating a sham when they arrange her marriage to secure an alliance with a neighboring kingdom—to a prince she has never met.

On the morning of her wedding, Lia flees to a distant village. She settles into a new life, hopeful when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deception abounds, and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—even as she finds herself falling in love

My Thoughts:
Upon receiving this book I immediately put aside my current reads to dive into this one. Even when first hearing about this I felt a pull towards it and obsessed about reading it. Do you do that? Why yes, I still do that often. Become completely enraptured with an idea of a book? YES. I’m sure you do, and like me you know this is very dangerous. The expectations begin to raise, especially if you see positive early ratings (like I did with this one). It was with great eagerness and a dash of hesitation that I started. Even from the first line of the book you can see the writing is beautiful and lyrical. My fears of possibly being disappointed started to diminish. I was again so impressed with the start of TKOD. What an amazing first line and start to a book.

When reading the summary I’m sure there will be those that see the words “prince” and “assassin” and think…oh no, here it is, the dreaded triangle. Rest assured that this is not a true triangle and there is nothing to worry about. Our main character is not wishy-washy nor does she waver in her beliefs. She is a strong willed, head strong character. So much yes. Pearson was able to create a likeable, if not a tad selfish and naïve, princess that you immediately root for. My heart was on her side from the first chapter.

I really enjoyed the romantic aspects of this book; there was a slow burn but wasn’t frustratingly slow. What I loved most was that the romance was very important but less because it was a driving force for the book but because the main character is a young woman and like most young women dreams of falling in love. We journey with her on this and the best part is that we watch her grow and realize that some things might be more important than what you personally want. I loved her self discovery and growth. Pearson has really done an exquisite job in writing this character. And after reading the sequel going back and seeing how far Lia has come was really fun.

The settings are all vivid and I was easily able to visualize each location. I am so enamored with the world that Pearson has created. There is quite a bit of travel which often times is very boring to read about but not so in this book. I enjoyed reading the small amount of descriptions and the writing was really beautiful to read.

Even with my very high expectations I was surprised by The Kiss of Deception. It was beautifully done and not only had heart but action and romance. I will be rereading and preordering this one and I can’t wait until the next book, as cliché as that is. As often times when a book is very well done the review is near impossible to write.

View Spoiler »

Final Thoughts:
Nothing I can say would allow you to experience this book in the way Pearson’s own writing would. If you like high fantasy, character growth sprinkled in with romance then you’ll enjoy this. Everyone should read these books. The End.

Are you reading along with us for The Remnant Chronicle Read Along to help prepare us for the final book’s release in August? If not you really should be. Check out my intro post here to find out more details.

The Remnant Chronicles Readalong+ Giveaway

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This is my very first read along I’ve participated in and hosted! I’m honored to be hosting with some amazing bloggers: Bridget from Dark Faerie Tales, Christina from The Book Hook Up, Stacee from Adventures of a Book Junkie, and Jamie from Two Chicks on Books. I had to join in because I’m in love with The Remnant Chronicles by Mary Pearson. This series is sooo good and I can’t wait to help spread the love.

Have you read these yet? If so, you should reread with us and if not you must give these a go! They are so well written and I love all the characters.

We’ll be reading The Kiss of Deception this month, The Heart of Betrayal in July and The Beauty of Darkness in August. Want to join in? Use the hashtag #TRCReadAlong and sign up here.

Schedule

The Kiss of Deception

June 1st: Start The Kiss of Deception
June 5th-11th: KOD Instagram Challenge/Giveaway
June 20th-24th: Special Blog Posts
June 29th: Twitter Chat at 9 EST where we will discuss The Kiss of Deception and have a fun trivia game with prizes

The Heart of Betrayal

July 1st: Start The Heart of Betrayal
July 3rd-9th: HOB Instagram Challenge/Giveaway
July 18th-22nd: Special Blog Posts
July 27th: Twitter Chat at 9 EST where we will discuss the Heart of Betrayal and have a fun trivia game with prizes

The Beauty of Darkness

August 2nd: Start The Beauty of Darkness
August 11th: Special Facebook Chat with Mary E. Pearson (More details to come)
August 7th-13th: BOD Instagram Challenge/Giveaway
August 22nd-26th: Special Blog Posts
August 31st: Twitter Chat at 9 EST where we will discuss the Beauty of Darkness and have a fun trivia game with prizes

Giveaway

There will be two grand prizes up for grabs!

The first prize is a $25 Amazon/Barnes & Noble/Book Depository Gift Card!
This is international as long as you can accept an e-gift card from one of these vendors!

TRC grand prize image

The second prize is an amazing Remnant Chronicles Prize pack (US ONLY) that will include:

  • Signed hardcover copies of all 3 books in the Remnant Chronicle Series
  • One item up to $20 from Bookish Beauty’s Society 6 or Redbubble shop (the beautiful Some Stories pillow is from this shop!)
  • Two gorgeous Deception Candles from Novelly Yours (These were made special for this read along and you guys them smell amazing! Because they turned out so awesome the lovely Brittany now has them for sale in her shop!)
  • (not pictured) A special bracelet featuring beautiful charms made by Celeste Pewter (Check out her awesome etsy shop here!)
  • A hand lettered journal made by Bridget with one of her favorite quotes from the series.
  • Tons of great Remnant Chronicles swag
  • Possibly a few surprises as well!

A huge thank you to Macmillan/Mary for providing the signed hardcover copies! Thank you to everyone involved in putting these prizes together!

To enter to win these two prizes you just need to join the read along and fill out the rafflecopter from below! (FYI, these won’t be the only prizes we’ll be giving away. There will be great prizes up for grabs during the twitter chats and for the Instagram challenges, so make sure to participate in those to get a chance to win some other goodies!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Stacking the Shelves

It’s OCTOBER!! I love the fall season…all the warm colors, cooler weather and pumpkin everything. I decorated some and generally started to try to get into the festive mood. The temperatures around here have lowered a bit but I’m eager for some chillier temps.


Since I took off a week from blogging this will be for what I’ve gotten in the last two weeks so it’s a bit more than normal. I’m very excited about them all. And look at that The Kiss of Deception map.

Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga’s Reviews is a weekly meme where you show what books you’ve purchased, gotten from the library, received from giveaway, as gifts or for review.

For Review:

 DreamALittleDream

GhostsofHeaven

 BlackIceTheFall

 TheLodger

Yay to getting Macmillan ARCs. Now if The Winner’s Crime could show up… I love these Harper hardcovers and can’t wait to read The Fall. I started it and I can already tell it’s going to creep me out. I’ve heard mixed things about Black Ice but I’m eager to see for myself. I was asked if I’d like to review The Lodger and couldn’t turn it down. It’s an adult historical fiction and it looks wonderful. And that cover is lovely.

Gift (for being on the blog tour):

 TKoD

Once Mary Pearson shared pictures of this map I was wanting it oh so badly. I was THRILLED when I got one in the mail for being on the tour. Such a beauty!

 TheWhisperingSkull

I’m on the Thrills and Chills tour that The Midnight Garden is hosting so I was gifted this beautiful book. I had The Screaming Staircase already but hadn’t read it yet. This gave me the push I needed and I ended up loving it. One of my faves of the year for sure. I can’t wait to read TWS.

Purchased:

 Sanctum

I won Chaos on Goodreads so I had to catch up on the series. I’ve heard nothing but praise and already read Sanctum and really enjoyed it. I feel so lucky that I’m getting to read them all one after another. I don’t think I would have enjoyed the wait between novels.

Last Week’s Posts:

I didn’t post all that much last week since my blogging break went until October 1st. I’ve got to say, taking the little break was amazing for me. I feel a lot more motivated and I had time to read, catch up (some) on comments and draft a few posts.

What you might have missed prior to my blogging break:

How have you been these last two weeks? What new books have you added to your collection?

The Kiss of Deception Blog Tour- Interview with Mary Pearson + Giveaway (US/Canada)

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If you’ve followed me you’ve seen me singing the praises of Mary E. Pearson’s latest book, The Kiss of Deception. Beyond the incredibly gorgeous cover, Pearson has created a rich fantasy world populated with memorable and engaging characters-including a princess, prince and an assassin. I easily fell in love with the entire cast and Pearson’s writing. You might have read some of her previous work and if not you should get her on your to read lists now.

I am honored and thrilled to have her visiting My Friends Are Fiction today and answering my questions.

Your main character, Lia, is headstrong and instead of accepting her fate she decides to go against all odds to change her future and live the life she has dreamed of. Could you tell us about your inspirations behind her character?
I love reading and writing about strong women, because well, I know so many.  Lia knows what she wants.  Why shouldn’t she be able to go after it with the same gusto as a man pursuing his goals?  She wants a life that she alone controls, and she wants to speak out without being shushed.  I can get behind that.

I am always interested in the research that goes into writing a novel. What type of things did you research for TKoD? Anything exceptionally odd you learned?
With my Jenna Fox books I did a lot of research at the library, reading books and journals because of the technology I was researching, but with The Kiss of Deception, many of the things I was looking for were obscure details, so very often I had to look on the web. I searched for things like endurance riding, tactics for tracking people, the history of harvesting ice and transporting it; and the mechanics of knife throwing–there were tutorials on youtube which were very helpful! I also read books on medieval, colonial, and country life. I even researched how to fix a dislocated shoulder if there is no doctor available (awful and painful!) but that, like a lot of the research, didn’t end up in the final book, because I never know for sure what I’ll need until I’m actually writing a scene.

The Kiss of Deception is the first of The Remnant Chronicles. Looking up ‘remnant’ it has a religious connotation or means, “a small remaining quantity of something” Can you give us any details to how the series title came about?
In the ancient history of the people of this world, there was a great “devastation” where only a very few of these people survived.  The few who did make it, called themselves the remnant—the people who were left. It’s not unlike the many flood stories found in history and across cultures.

You’ve mentioned that you have a background in art. Could you tell us some about that? (Perhaps we could see some examples?)
I have a BFA in illustration and worked for a time as a commercial artist and graphic designer back in the days when it was all hand done. There was no photoshop or computer art back then. I have a dusty portfolio somewhere in the storage area under my stairs that I haven’t seen in years, buried under who knows what. Someday I’ll find it.
You should find your old artwork! It’s always so much fun to look back at what was worked on long ago.

Since you are an artist do you ever illustrate your characters or settings?
Well, I’m no longer an artist, and in fact, I worked as one for a very short time so my skills are quite limited, but I do chicken scratch drawings of settings to help me understand the world of my characters.  I’m a very visual thinker, so I need to “see” where they move, live, and breathe.  I love Pinterest for that reason. I’ve collected a lot of images and I pin them to my bulletin board in my office to help me fall into my character’s world.

Speaking of artwork, recently we were able to see the beautiful map for TKoD. Did you have any input into how it was designed?
Yes.  I actually create maps for all my books too, both the macro and micro. Some chart vast continents, some the layout of a single room, but that way I have a reference that is consistent as I write the story.  What is ten miles away in chapter two, is ten miles away in chapter fifty–because it’s easy to forget these things! It also makes my character’s world more real for me.  The setting of TKOD is quite specific so when my publisher said they were going to create a map for it, they also asked for the maps I had drawn.  Mine were very basic, magic marker utilitarian maps for reference purposes only.  Keith Thompson, used my maps as a rough guide for the gorgeous one he created.

And yes, speaking of artwork, I simply adore the Lego cover that you made for The Kiss of Deception.  I hope one of these days that you’ll share how you create these Lego covers. (hint hint)
Thank you so much! I knew the moment I saw the cover that it would be something we’d want to work on for the Lego covers. Then after reading, I fell head over heels in love with the story. One day we’ll probably do a post where we talk about the process :-)

With all my favorite books I always hope that there will be a short story delving deeper into a character’s history or from a different point of view. Can we hope for anything from the Remnant world?
I do have a story in my head that I would love to write and I think it would be such a great compliment to the series, but whether that happens remains to be seen.  The Remnant books are not exactly short ones.  They take me a long time to write and the books always get priority, but if time avails itself for a shorter story in between, I have it in my head ready to go.

Thanks for hosting me on your blog today, Kris!

Fingers crossed we’ll see the short story at some point–now I’m so curious.
The Kiss of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles, #1)Summary:
In a society steeped in tradition, Princess Lia’s life follows a preordained course. As First Daughter, she is expected to have the revered gift of sight—but she doesn’t—and she knows her parents are perpetrating a sham when they arrange her marriage to secure an alliance with a neighboring kingdom—to a prince she has never met.

On the morning of her wedding, Lia flees to a distant village. She settles into a new life, hopeful when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deception abounds, and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—even as she finds herself falling in love.

Author Links/Info
-Follow Mary Pearson on Twitter!
-Check out her website!
-Read an excerpt of Kiss of Deception now!

Giveaway:
Macmillan has been generous enough to allow me to give one hardcover copy of The Kiss of Deception to one of you. This giveaway is US/Canada only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Kiss of Deception Blog Tour Schedule
Monday July 7
Icey Books (Review)
The Starry-Eyed Revue (Guest Post)

Tuesday July 8
Adventures of a Book Junkie (Review)
Cuddlebuggery (Guest Post)

Wednesday July 9
FicFare (Review)
Two Chicks on Books (Guest Post)

Thursday July 10
Winterhaven Books (Review)
Tales of a Ravenous Reader (Guest Post)

Friday July 11
MundieMoms (Review)
Alice Marvels (Guest Post)

Monday July 14
YA Bibliophile (Review)
Bewitched Bookworms (Guest Post)

Tuesday July 15
That Artsy Reader Girl (Review)
Jenna Does Books (Guest Post)

Wednesday July 16
ExLibris (Review)
My Friends are Fiction (Guest Post)

Thursday July 17
Birth of a New Witch (Review)
Good Books and Good Wine (Guest Post)

Friday, July 18
Google Hangout with Mary Pearson hosted by Belle of the Literati