Friday, November 25, 2016

2017 Most Anticipated - Roar

The next book on my 2017 Most Anticipated list is a bit of a departure from what this author is usually known for. Her romance and new adult novels are well known but this book had me excited because it is a fantasy novel! Not only is it a fantasy novel but it's one that involves storms and people who can control them! Amazing, right?

Cora Carmack's newest is the start of a young adult series that hopefully contains a romance just as steamy as the ones found in her romance novels, and a wonderfully created magical world. I am a huge fantasy fan and I have high hopes for this one.

Here is the  Goodreads synopsis so that you can join me in needing to read this immediately.
In a land ruled and shaped by violent magical storms, power lies with those who control them.

Aurora Pavan comes from one of the oldest Stormling families in existence. Long ago, the ungifted pledged fealty and service to her family in exchange for safe haven, and a kingdom was carved out from the wildlands and sustained by magic capable of repelling the world’s deadliest foes. As the sole heir of Pavan, Aurora’s been groomed to be the perfect queen. She’s intelligent and brave and honorable. But she’s yet to show any trace of the magic she’ll need to protect her people.

To keep her secret and save her crown, Aurora’s mother arranges for her to marry a dark and brooding Stormling prince from another kingdom. At first, the prince seems like the perfect solution to all her problems. He’ll guarantee her spot as the next queen and be the champion her people need to remain safe. But the more secrets Aurora uncovers about him, the more a future with him frightens her. When she dons a disguise and sneaks out of the palace one night to spy on him, she stumbles upon a black market dealing in the very thing she lacks—storm magic. And the people selling it? They’re not Stormlings. They’re storm hunters.

Legend says that her ancestors first gained their magic by facing a storm and stealing part of its essence. And when a handsome young storm hunter reveals he was born without magic, but possesses it now, Aurora realizes there’s a third option for her future besides ruin or marriage.

She might not have magic now, but she can steal it if she’s brave enough.

Challenge a tempest. Survive it. And you become its master.
Cora and I did a fun Q and A and I got her to spill a few secrets about Roar, and if it was hard going from romance to fantasy.

 1 Twitter pitch Roar (140 characters or less)

In a land plagued by violent magical storms, a princess with no magic must face a tempest and steal its heart to protect her crown.

2 If someone were to make a signature ice cream in honour of your book, what might be included?

Oooh. It would probably be a dairy queen blizzard because storm puns, FTW. With lots of goodies all swirled around inside it like a tornado. :) There would definitely be lots of chocolate to add sweetness because this book is unapologetically a romance. When I set out to write this book, my main goal was to write a book with a compelling world and plot, but also just a really amazing romance. I’m a huge fantasy reader, and I find that often books tip one way or the other— a fantastic premise, but a lackluster romance (or none at all) or an amazing romance with a humdrum plot. All my favorite fantasy novels are ones that manage to do both. To that end, I think my ROAR ice cream would definitely be a mix of two flavors— one sweet, one a little bit funky (perhaps…. chunky monkey?).

3 This is your first fantasy novel. What were the challenges or differences from writing the contemporary/romance you're typically known for?

It is my first fantasy, yes. All of my currently published books are romance— either contemporary, new adult, or paranormal. But I honestly just kind of felling into writing romance on accident. My first love was YA. And I wrote and pursued publication in YA for about five years before on a whim I wrote a romance just for fun. That book ended up hitting the New York Times list and launching a romance career I never expected. I was really excited to get back to YA and to try my hand at high fantasy (something I read insatiably, but had never done more than dabble in writing wise). I was very lucky in that my editor at Tor Teen, who has followed my career since my first book, was willing to take a chance on a YA fantasy from me, essentially sight unseen. She and Tor Teen bought a three book series from me based on twenty pages of a fantasy I’d written for a workshop while in a master’s program. Those twenty pages were not from Roar. In fact, I didn’t have the idea for Roar until after we’d already agreed to the deal, but I went to my editor and told her how excited I was about this idea with magical storms and storm hunters and black markets, and she told me to run with it. Fast forward a few months to when I was drafting the book, and I found myself freaking out to an author friend wondering why in the world Tor Teen let me do this. I had never written a full fantasy world from scratch, and when I got to the middle of the book, I felt like I was drowning in all the world building and magic. I was never much of a planner for my romance books. I usually had a premise and the characters, and then I just sort of went wherever the characters took me. But with fantasy, I couldn’t just go with my gut. The rules of the world and the magic had to line up, I had to establish a solid foundation for future books. Suddenly I found myself spending days drawing up my own world maps, including one color-coded according to biomes (and their common storms) that my high school biology teacher would have been so proud of. It took me much longer to write than any of my previous books, and even editing the book took much longer than I was used to. Between the first round of edits and the last, I added and cut so much that I had a word document of cuts that was nearly novel length by itself. There were definitely times that I doubted myself and my ability, but a dear friend reminded me that the thing I love more than anything else is characters— building them and letting them take on a life of their own. So while I might have been lost in worlds of my own creation, my character was not. So I opened my laptop, put my head down, and did my best to follow her until the story was done.

4 Tell us something that inspired the world or characters found in Roar.

Oh so many things. I first had the idea for the book while I was doing a phone interview for one of my adult romances. The interviewer asked if there was any story idea I wanted to write, but hadn’t yet for whatever reason. I said that I’d always wanted to write a book about storm chasers, but was on too quick a writing schedule to fit in all the research that would be required to do it effectively. Then I thought in my head, I suppose I could write a fantasy book about magic storms, and then I wouldn’t need to know all the science of it. Immediately, my brain started filling with ideas and images, and I couldn’t wait for the interview to be over so I could write it all down. Of course, I would soon find that magic storms required just as a much research and far more world-building. But it was worth it. I also spent some time in Australia while I was drafting the book. I loved the deep red sand of the outback and borrowed it for the Sangsorra desert in the book. And for the Hamilton fans out there, a line from the song Hurricane became central to development of one character. I won’t tell you which character, but the line was: “I couldn’t seem to die.”

5 If you could travel to anywhere, in any time period, when and where would you want travel?

Before I was a book nerd, I was a theatre nerd. So I had an early fascination with time periods that were instrumental in theatre’s history. So I’d say either the Greek Golden Age or Elizabethan England. Though both would certainly have their drawbacks. I would not enjoy the smell of Elizabethan England— what with the open sewers and their paranoid fear of baths.

6 What 2017 release are you most anticipating?

Ah. I can’t choose just one. Let’s say Caraval by Stephanie Garber. All the new Sarah J. Maas books. The Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh. And so many more.

7 If not too spoilery, can you share the first line of Roar.

Absolutely. The first line is…

You are lightning made flesh.

Anyone else super excited that it sounds like some badass ladies might be in this book? The girl on the cover also reminds me a little of Daenerys Targaryen.  I am very excited to meet her.

Roar releases June 13, 2017 so the wait is going to be excruciating. However, in the meantime, you can preorder from the retailer of your choice.

You can also follow Cora on Twitter, visit her website, and visit the publisher website for more details about Roar as the release date approaches.

Do you devour fantasy novels like I do? Are you as excited as I am for one that sounds like it'll be a perfect mix of romance, and fantasy elements? Let me know in the comments. 

Be sure to stop by Monday to find out the next book that made this year's list!

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