Falling for Autumn 2014 Read-a-Thon {Day 2 | Guest Author: Livia Blackburne}

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Day 2 – September 23rd

Welcome to the second day of Falling for Autumn Read-a-Thon!! I hope you had an amazing first day yesterday and that you have enjoyed reading Meagan Spooner’s Top 10 Characters in Science Fiction TV/Films. If you haven’t, you can read it here.

Today we have a special interview with Livia Blackburne, author of the fantasy novel Midnight Thief plus a swag giveaway provided by the author herself.

But before we move along to the interview, you should definitely check out Ula @Blog of Erised guest-post for Falling for Autumn Read-a-Thon!

Wait, what are you still doing here? Move on to her blog right this second…

Interview with Livia Blackburne:

Hello Livia, thank you so much for being part of Falling for Autumn Read-a-Thon. It’s a pleasure and an honour to have on A Cup of Coffee and a Book. Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Thank you so much for having me! I was born in Taiwan and moved to the United States when I was five (New Mexico). I loved reading and writing growing up, but once I went to college I focused on science, and pursued a PhD in neuroscience. But while I was in graduate school, I needed a way to procrastinate and started writing Midnight Thief. It turned out that writing was a much better fit for me then academic science, and now I write full-time.

Most book bloggers have already read and love Midnight Thief (including myself) which is a wonderfully written fantasy book. How did you come up with the idea for the book?

Aww, thanks. It actually started with a novel I wrote in high school about a young thief named Llana who discovers she has magical powers and becomes a sorcerer. That manuscript wasn’t very good, but one character, Llana’s best friend Kyra, who jumped off the page for me. So 10 years later, when I decided to write another YA novel, I started with Kyra and built a story around her.

Kyra’s character suffered quite a lot living in the streets and stealing in order to survive. Despite it all, she’s a very mature character and very independent. How was the process of creating such a human-like character?

Out of all point-of-view characters, Kyra was one of the easiest to write. When I imagine a character, I start out several core characteristics and build out from there. For Kyra, I knew I wanted someone with very good agility and physical skills. I also wanted someone with a lot of inner conflict. For Kyra, that was the conflict of what she was versus what she wanted to be. Kyra is very good at what she does, and that’s both a blessing and a curse. In some ways her incredible physical skills outstrip her ability to navigate the moral and ethical dilemmas that come with them. She is a 17-year-old girl with the ability to steal, kill, and in some ways, bring a city to its knees. At the same time, she’s undergoing the same teenager issues we all have to go through, trying to figure out what role we play in the world. But for Kyra, the stakes are so much higher.

You once told me that you have a soft-spot for James, the head of the Assassins’ Guild. I remembered that when I finished the book, I had mixed feelings about him. Can you give us an insight on his character and what to expect from him?

Ah James. 🙂 He’s the type of character that’s better to admire from afar. He’s very competent and can be a strong ally, but you don’t want to get on his bad side. We see James at two points in his life. In Poison Dance, he’s somewhat amoral, a thug and a sword for hire, but content mostly to mind his own business. By the end of Poison Dance, he’s taken on a cause and a great deal of power.

When you see James in Midnight Thief, he’s more focused and more jaded. He’s a bit of a mystery in Midnight Thief because we don’t see inside his head and he plays his cards very close to the chest. In the upcoming sequel to Midnight Thief, we’ll come to understand James and his motivations a bit better. Or I should say, Kyra does comes to understand James better. We also return to his point of view for a couple of scenes, and I think fans of Poison Dance will enjoy those. (Though book 2 will still undergo many more revisions, so nothing is final.)

How has your journey into the publication of Midnight Thief been, and seeing your book considered one of the most anticipated books of 2014 before its release on July 8th?

My Midnight Thief publication journey was pretty unique. I had actually intended to self publish the novel when I finished it. It was only on the advice of my writing friends that I queried some agents just to test the waters, and I ended up signing with an agent and selling my book to Disney. I won’t go into detail here, but if you’re interested more in my thoughts on self-publishing versus traditional, you can take a look at my blog entry here. http://blog.liviablackburne.com/2012/11/why-i-signed-with-traditional-publisher.html

And my publication journey has been awesome! I’ve grown tremendously as a storyteller with the help of my awesome editors. And I also really like hearing from readers and getting their reactions. I think reading is a two-way street. You can have two people read the same book and see two completely different things, and I find that fascinating.

What tips would you give to someone who wishes to write and publish a book?

Read a lot, and pay attention to what you like about the books that you read. Also, find critique partners that you trust. You can’t write in a vacuum.

And now, for the final question: can you give us a small idea of what we will be facing on Midnight Thief’s sequel?

I just turned in the first draft at the beginning of the month! There are several threads in the second book. Kyra investigates her family, and learns the identity of her parents. Kyra and Tristam also navigate their tricky romantic relationship and the many social barriers that stand between them. And Kyra is still torn between loyalties. Though she works with the Palace now, she’s not always convinced that she made the right choice, and circumstances arise to test her. Oh, and they’s still the problem of the Demon Riders hanging out in Forge’s forests.

Thank you once again for being part of this read-a-thon. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one excitedly waiting for more of your work in the future ^_^

***

Livia Blackburne was kind enough to contribute with a giveaway to accompany her interview in this post and the best part of all is that it’s International.

You can win a SINGED bookmark and a bookplate by entering the rafflecopter below. 

Rafflectoper Logo

Good luck everyone 🙂


Don’t forget to share your Day 1 progress here:

And tomorrow we’re going to have a special challenge by Celine @Irresponsible Cactus!

Happy Reading everyone ^_^

XX Ner

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2 thoughts on “Falling for Autumn 2014 Read-a-Thon {Day 2 | Guest Author: Livia Blackburne}

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