Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Quintana of Charyn Preview

Quintana of Charyn will be released March 12, 2013 in North America. Candlewick, the North American publisher, has posted a preview of Quintana of Charyn on Scribd! It's the first two chapters, which you can read below. Or you can access it through the direct link, if the file isn't showing up. And don't forget that you can read the prologue HERE. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Shelf Envy with Melina Marchetta

This is the final post for the Quintana of Charyn blog tour! If you missed the other dates, you can find the entire schedule here.

First and foremost, I'd like to thank Melina for the intrusion. I'm sure she's wondering why in the heck I've asked her to show us her bookshelves. Well, my primary reason is that I'm nosy and I've always wanted to know the type of books she reads or have read. It wasn't easy; but asking her to do this post took a few self-inflicted slaps in the face as I psyched myself out. I'm just glad I didn't have to resort to liquid courage.

1.    What was the last book you purchase?

Damien Echols’ Life After Death. It’s an autobiography written by one of three men wrongly accused of the murder of three little boys in West Memphis Arkansas almost twenty years ago when they were teenagers. It’s an amazing read about injustice and faith and growing up different.

2.    Which literary characters (other than yours) would you like to hang out with?

Too hard a question, but apart from Sydney, I love New York so I wouldn’t mind spending a night listening to Mia and Adam (from Gayle Forman’s Where She Went) play music.

3.    Name your ultimate top 5 books.

I’m very fickle about this so if someone is to ask me in a year’s time I’d probably have another list of five and if someone is to ask me about my most influential novels, I’d have a different list and so on and so forth, but for now my five are: The Yiddish Policeman’s Union by Michael Chabon; The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner; The Broken Shore by Peter Temple; Persuasion by Jane Austen; and Hills End by Ivan Southall.

4.    What is the most random item (knick knacks or book) in your bookshelf?

 Holy water (from my mum, who wants me to bless my house with it.

5.   Do you have a go-to book when you hit a wall in your writing? 

No, I think the worst thing I could do to myself is read someone else’s work when I’ve hit a wall with my writing.  But for solace, I find myself re-reading fantasy novels. My last re-reads were two of Anne Bishop’s books from the Ephemera Series. 

Huge thank you to Melina Marchetta for taking the time to answer our questions and to the bloggers who participated in the blog tour! This tour wouldn't have been successful without you all. It was our first time hosting a blog tour, so it was definitely a big learning experience for us. We hope everyone enjoyed following the tour and reading the posts for the past 9 10 days. :)

The giveaway is still up and will be running until the end of November. Please don't forget to enter for a chance to win the entire Lumatere Trilogy!

- Joy & Alexa

Friday, November 9, 2012

Melina Marchetta on the Secondary Women

You can find the entire schedule for the Quintana of Charyn blog tour here. For this guest post, we asked Melina Marchetta about the secondary female characters and how they find strength in hopeless situations.

I just wanted to start by saying a big thank you to Joy and Alexa and all those who have written such kind words about Quintana of Charyn.  I came back from being away and read all the posts and the art work this week and loved them all.

Joy and Alexa asked me to write a post and we settled on a question about the secondary characters of women.

What you do when you need characters to find the strength to keep going, even when everything seems hopeless, is you give them a role model. That’s why Quintana gets the title of the novel.  Because through watching her and understanding her past, the women of the valley begin to understand the complexity of Quintana.  Apart from Froi and Lirah, they are the only people who grow to love Quintana for herself, rather than because she’s the mother of the future King. She may not always be nice, but she earns that love by hunting for them, arming them, and being the leader her father never was.

When I was working on Froi of the Exiles, I knew that the women of the valley would be important to Quintana’s journey.  By the time I started the last novel, I had changed my mind and felt that Tesadora and Japhra and the Mont girls better assisted her journey.  And then I changed my mind again.  If I had just relied on Tesadora and the Mont girls, I think I would have gone over old ground and missed out on finding out more about the women of Charyn.  In one of the most crucial scenes in Quintana, Phaedra begs for their lives and Cora refuses to kneel at the feet of any man, and I loved them both for it.   That’s what I wanted to explore.  What would I do? Who knows, but I think I’d like to refuse to beg like Cora, yet I’d do anything to live much like Phaedra.

I loved writing those powerful prickly moments between Quintana and the women in her life because I got to discover more about her. Things I didn’t know. Her words to Florenza about the filth of memories are one of my favourite lines. It breaks my heart that I can’t remember this moment, but years ago, the real Jimmy Hailler (from Saving Francesca) told me that a defining moment for him was when we were sitting on the front steps of the school where I taught him and I told him something along the same lines. Something about not letting our past write the story of our future lives.  So I used that sentiment in this novel.  That’s how strange writing is.  You can have a conversation with a teenage boy about life, and ten years later it can end up a conversation between women in a fantasy novel.

And of course I didn’t want to forget about Tesadora.  Apart from the Queen of Lumatere, she’s one of my favourite characters and her story line and that of the generation of Charyn women who missed out on having children was the most heart breaking to write. Cora and Tesadora, and the women of Charyn who missed out on having children because of the curse, were very real to me. What I loved about Tesadora is that she didn’t give in and take a woe-is-me attitude. Nor did Cora.  Cora is the planter of the hope seeds. Japhra is a healer. I’d like to think there’s more to women than being defined by society’s expectations. I really wanted these women to be more than the sum of their experiences.

Don't you just love anything Melina Marchetta writes? It's always great reading what she thinks about her characters and this post was insightful. Thank you, Melina, for writing out this wonderful post for the tour! :D

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Lit Chat: Joy and Alexa on Quintana (and Giveaway)

See the full schedule for the Quintana of Charyn blog tour HERE.

So. Alexa and I spent an hour or two one Sunday afternoon fangirling chatting about Quintana. Please bear with us because we were all over the place. We wanted it to be as spontaneous as possible so we didn't really have any prepared topics or questions. We flew by the seats of our pants and if you can bear with our ramblings, I'm sure we've made a bit of sense...somehow.

Please note: We had to block out a couple of spoilery things below. We could tell you what they were...but then we'd have to kill you...just kidding!  

12:46 PM Joyousreads: Oh hey!
12:47 PM Alexa: I was looking everywhere and finally found the invite on this talk thing lol
 Joyousreads: Sweet. :)
12:48 PM You read Quintana pretty fast!
12:49 PM Alexa: I've realized I can read fast when it's a book I REALLYREALLY want to read. Other books just take me days. lol
 Joyousreads: I hear ya. I forced myself to slow down. I've read and re-read this book already.
12:51 PM Alexa: Ooh I want to reread it too along with Froi. Not sure when tho.
12:52 PM Joyousreads: I knowwwww. I had this plan to write a post on 132 about all the things I was looking forward to about Quintana before she comes but time ran out on me.
12:53 PM Anyway. I don't need to ask if you loved it because...that's just a stupid question. LOL. Of course, you did!
12:54 PM Alexa: That would have been an interesting post to compare to after reading.
  Yes, same for you!
 Joyousreads: Exactly. Rhetorical question. :)
12:57 PM Well what were you looking forward to the most about Quintana?
1:00 PM Alexa: In the summary it said that there was a showdown between Isaboe & Quintana in the valley and I couldn't wait to read that!
1:01 PM Who was going to gain power & who was going to go through heartbreak?
1:02 PM It made me really nervous. D:
1:03 PM Joyousreads: For me, I wanted to know if Froi would be forced to take sides. I knew his bond with Isaboe would make it difficult and it was interesting to see it all play out.
1:06 PM Alexa: Yes I wondered how that was going to work out. I know he cares so much for Isaboe, Finnikin, and Lumatere, but I wanted him to be with Quintana and his real parents.
  Everyone has just been through so much. I wanted everyone to be happy.
1:08 PM Joyousreads: They got there but it wasn't easy though, wasn't it? But I'm not complaining. I love that about MM's books. Her characters go through so much before she gives them their HEA. The books are always fraught with hardships and heartaches.
1:10 PM Alexa: So true. Wouldn't be an MM book without all that.
  Who did you think would get the power or the heartbreak?
1:15 PM I didn't want either Quintana or Isaboe to go through any sort of heartbreak. But I admit I did want Quintana to get the power...
 Joyousreads: I was more hedging on the fact that no matter what, both kingdoms would be united as one. Froi is the bridge that would link them to peace. As for heartbreak...well. It was across the board. Like you said, it wouldn't be an MM book without it.
1:16 PM And I agree. Charynites deserved peace after all the years of their struggle.
1:20 PM Alexa: They did deserve! Actually while I was reading, I remember finally deciding who I wanted to have the power. I was like, 'Okay, Isaboe, I'm sorry. It's Quintana's turn.' As soon as I thought I turned the page to the next chapter..
1:21 PM Spoiler: And I found out Isaboe and Finnikin had lost their baby!!
1:22 PM Joyousreads: Lol! We're going to have to block that one out!
  But yeah, that was...hard to read.
 Alexa: (lmao Okay!)
1:24 PM Yeah, it was. So sad. :'( I wanted to go in there and comfort them. I regretted thinking that one deserved more happiness than the other. Quin&Isa both deserved happiness.
1:28 PM Joyousreads: I love what Finnikin said when Isaboe asked him that question and his answer was that he'll shout out to the goddess in fury why he was given so much and other men so little. God. This is what I love about her writing. It doesn't take much for her to reduce me to tears.
1:36 PM Alexa: Aww Finnikin... While it all just broke my heart, I'm glad that MM still had Finnkin and Isaboe go through heart wrenching moments. They were going through things like everyone else.
1:37 PM Joyousreads: I must admit, I was a little irritated with him right from the get to. I mean, come on, Finch. You really think Isaboe is going around dreaming of another man while she's in bed with you? Duuuude.
1:44 PM Alexa: Oh I know! I wanted to punch him! His assumptions and some of things he said were funny to me because they were so ridiculous. :p
 Joyousreads: :)
1:45 PM Do you ever find yourself going to the map to track where everyone was? I did that a lot. Lol.
1:46 PM I think this is the only fantasy book where I'm completely vested in every facets of the novel.
1:47 PM Alexa: Heck yea! I would have been lost without those maps. This time I kept getting Sarnak and Sorel mixed up.
1:48 PM Same here. Usually I don't pay much attention to maps in other books, but I loved looking at the ones in this series.
 Joyousreads: I was more obsessed about how much traveling they had to do. Like that part where Grij had to take Phaedra back to the valley. Mind you, it probably was more because I was dying for a reunion with Luc-ien!
1:49 PM Alexa: Phaedra and Lucian!! <3 <3
1:50 PM I was definitely looking forward to scenes with them. I needed to know what would happen between them! :D
 Spoiler: Joyousreads: Yessss. God. I expected a lot more temper throwing from that Mont though. Especially when he found out his wife was alive the entire time.
1:51 PM Alexa: lol I wanted the opposite. I didn't want him to get angry at all!
1:52 PM Joyousreads: What?! Come on, Mont boys are hot when they lose their tempers! Actually, so do the boys from the Rock...and the Flatland...and the River. Well...I like them when they lose their tempers anyway. :)
1:55 PM Alexa: I know, you're right! But....I didn't want him to be angry at Phaedra. Because she's awesome, and I wanted him to be understanding.
1:56 PM Joyousreads: MM's books are littered with strong heroines...even secondary ones. A lot of writers could use a lesson or two from her.
1:58 PM Alexa: For real. And her secondary characters leave an impression. I actually care about them and want to know what happens to them as much as the main characters.
1:59 PM Joyousreads: Which brings me to this question: if MM would write a short story about a couple of her secondary characters, which two would you pick?
2:00 PM ...that is, if we were given the chance to choose. :)
2:01 PM Alexa: After finishing Quintana, I would definitely love to read more about Perri and Tesadora.
2:02 PM Joyousreads: God. Yes! It'd had to be R-rated. There's just no way those two wouldn't have fierce...er, relations. Lol.
2:03 PM Alexa: I loved those two before, but when I found out what happened to them all those years ago.. I need to know more!!
  YES! lol And Perri is just... faints
2:04 PM Joyousreads: Yes. That scar on his face. That fierce, dangerous aura? And Tesadora could give as much as she could take. They're perfect.
2:08 PM Alexa: They made me smile so much. X3 That reminds me, when Lucian tried to warn Perri about Tesadora's mood...that was hilarious! Oh Lucian. XD
2:09 PM Joyousreads: Tesadora is one scary witch.
2:10 PM Was it everything you hoped for?
2:13 PM Alexa: It was completely satisfying. I felt so relieved and happy when I was done. :) What about you?
2:16 PM Joyousreads: That and more. I can't pinpoint what I liked best about the book but I can say in all honesty that I didn't like the fact that this is the end for this series. I mean, don't get me wrong. It ended how it was meant to end but I just can't. I don't. You know the feeling you get when you've prepared and worked hard to achieve something for the longest time and instead of feeling relieved you're just kind left feeling empty? Like a deflated balloon? That's how I felt. Not because the book was unsatisfactory but it's like..."now what do I do?" yanno?
2:18 PM Alexa: It's weird; I did feel like that in a way as well. I didn't want it to ever end!
2:19 PM Joyousreads: Oh well. Anyway, the boy is screaming for his afternoon snack. I'll catch ya later on Twitter. Nice chatting with ya :)
2:21 PM Alexa: hehe Okay
  Enjoyed chatting about the book. :)
 Joyousreads: Same. We should do this often. :)