Guest Post: Interview with Rae Carson

Today we've got an extra special post for you, a bit of a bonus track to the Crown of Embers blog tour.  Keep reading for an awesome interview with Rae Carson!  

Hi everyone! My name is Amanda, formerly of Hippies, Beauty, and Books Oh My! which was a young adult book blog that I ran with my husband. Unfortunately, we had to close up shop due to some personal reasons before we were able to post our interview with Rae Carson. However, my blogging buddy here agreed to share the interview with y'all. It was such a fun interview that we didn't want it to go to waste. Rae did an awesome job answering our questions, so we hope that you will enjoy it! And definitely check out her books, The Girl of Fire and Thorns and The Crown of Embers. Both books are incredibly well-done and I personally cannot wait until the 3rd book in the series arrives. Guys will like them, too! My hubby actually stole them from me before I could even read them and he isn't a big reader. That makes me happy!

I have to ask the basic question first of course.  What made you start writing?  You mentioned that you gave up “a very high paying job in a very toxic atmosphere” to start.  But what was that specific moment that made you say, “Screw this, I’m writing a book!”

It was exactly that job you mentioned. I was sooooo burned out on doing jobs I disliked. Writing was the thing I always came back to, no matter what, and I decided that I would finish a novel or DIE TRYING, because it was my one shot at someday having a job I loved.

1.) My life is constantly busy, yet I try to study for school in the strangest places, like at work with a loud and busy lobby.  I’m not going to say you have a hard time finding peace and quiet in Ohio, but where do you like to sit down and get to work?

Solitude is so important for my writing process. For a while, I carved out a corner of my bedroom to write in. I had to be all, "If you come in and bother me I will CUT YOU." Recently, though, my dream came true and I got an office of my very own. It's wacky. It has bright orange chairs and string lights and a gazillion book shelves, and I love it with all my heart and soul. Here is a pic:

2.) What was your inspiration for The Fire and Thorns series?  What started the idea for these amazing books?

I was lying back in this creepy dentist-type chair in a tattoo parlor, getting my belly button pierced, and I thought, "You know what would be the Worst Idea Ever? MAGIC NAVEL BLING." So of course I decided to write a whole trilogy about it.

3.) What did you do to celebrate when you found out your books were set for publication? We’ve had some crazy answers in the past including air guitar riffs, drunken celebrations, ice cream forays, and more.  How did you let loose? 

I don't remember much beyond the shaking and the crying. And even though I knew I had sold my trilogy, the actual check didn't come for a long time, so I had to grit my teeth and play it safe for a while. BUT! I eventually treated myself to a writing retreat in the Mayan Riviera. This is the beach I swam at every day: 

4.) I'm curious to know if you based Elisa off of anyone that you know?  Elisa starts off as a very nervous young girl and grows to be a strong leader through both books so far.  I want to know if there was someone special in your life that deserved such a wonderful characterization in your books.

I'm so glad she worked for you! Elisa is an amalgam of a lot of teenaged girls I've known. I've met so many amazing young women whose incredible smarts and beauty and personal potential got lost in self doubt and poor body image. According to this study by Glamor Magazine, the average woman has 13 brutally negative thoughts about herself per day. So I wanted to write a story about triumphing over that kind of thinking. It's such a huge issue, and I found myself frustrated because I just can't do it justice with one book. I could only write one girl's story. But I hope young women can see enough of themselves in Elisa to relate, even if her circumstances don't exactly mirror their own.

5.) The Girl of Fire and Thorns series has a lot of religious undertones throughout the two books so far.  The first book sways heavily to the prudent belief in this religion.  In The Crown of Embers, I got the sense that Elisa starts to second guess her beliefs a bit and grows to accept her enemies.  Are we going to see Elisa question and challenge those beliefs even more in the third book?

Yes, Elisa will continue to examine her beliefs. I think that's a natural and normal part of growing up—deciding for yourself what you believe in the face of so many contradicting messages. I have a lot of respect for any teenager who must navigate the maze of religion in today's world.

6.) I have to ask about Ximena.  She comes across as a little hand maid to Elisa.  Although we get a better taste of whom this character is when she kills a man with a pin in the first book.  What is her background?  What caused her to become the capable, deadly woman that she is?

Thanks for asking that! I hope to someday write a short story about her early background. Ximena was trained by the Monastery-at-Amalur to be the official guardian to the next bearer. She is smart and lethal. She is also a true believer—devoutly faithful to her god. How she beat out several other candidates to be chosen for this position would be the subject of my story!

7.) Are you willing to drop any hints about what happens with Hector in the next book? Please!?

I will be a bit cryptic and say that Hector is a survivor, and he's desperate to see Elisa again. And you can bet that even when they are separated, they manage to work together.

8.) We tend to ask as a standard question what your advice for aspiring authors would be.   Instead, I want to know what your quirkiest habit as a writer is?  You know, so aspiring authors can mimic that.

I'm a pacer! And a talk-out-loud-to-myself-er! I pace and mumble whenever I'm stuck on a tricky point. I will probably wear a path down the middle of my office floor within the next year.

9.) Say you had to describe The Crown of Embers in a Tweet using only 160 characters.  How would you describe it?

Well, how about I give you the whole trilogy? Book 1: Elisa grows up. Book 2: Elisa grows up more & finds true love. Book 3: TO HECK WITH GROWTH ELISA SMASH.

While you're here, don't forget to check out this hilarious guest post from Rae, involving kangaroos and online dating.  And then go read Coranne's review of Crown of Embers, and enter to win your own copy of the book!

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