Welcome to YA Friday! Today I am interviewing the author of Shadowgirl, Kate Ristau.
(Blurb)- Áine lives in the light, but she is haunted by darkness, and when her fey powers blaze out of control, she escapes into the Shadowlands. But she cannot outrun her past. Fire fey and a rising darkness threaten the light, burning a path across the veil. Her fiery dreams come to life, and with the help of Hennessy, an uninhibited Irish girl, Áine dives into the flames to discover who she truly is. Her mother burned to keep her secret safe, and now Áine wields the deadly Eta. She must learn to fight in the shadows — or die in the flames. This is not a fairy tale.
1. Please tell me about your main character Aine.
It’s not a plot spoiler to tell you that Áine is one of the fey. She grew up in the Aetherlands — the world of the fey. But, in a world of light, she is surrounded by darkness. Shadows follow her through the forest. Darkness surrounds her, and her fiery powers rage out of control. Áine escapes into our world — the Shadowlands — to find out the secrets of her family and her past.
Áine is strong, but there is so much she doesn’t know. Her story, Shadowgirl, is a journey of discovery, steeped in Irish folklore and mythology.
2. What makes this novel stand out among the fantasy world of lit?
I have read so many folktales and young adult fantasy books about humans stepping into the world of the fey, or finding out they are fey (or sprouting gossamer wings). What makes my book different is I started with a different premise: what if one of the fey stepped into our world? Coming from a world of light, how would she deal with a world of shadows? How would she deal with a world of death? You know, sometimes we fear the fey and we fear what we don’t know, but my research made me believe that maybe they would fear us too. After all, we are creatures of light and darkness. We weave magic they could not possibly understand every time we flip a switch or turn on a car.
3. What influences brought you into the world of fantasy? Any special fantasy authors while you grew up?
Where should I even start? I love Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, but a lot of my fantasy education has been more recent. Robin Hobb has had a huge influence on my understanding of the possibilities in fantasy, and Lev Grossman has shown me the perils. Melissa Marr and Cassandra Clare have shown me how a young adult book should be written, while Erin Morgenstern showed me how it could be written. Of all of those authors (I’m stopping myself now — there are many more!), Robin Hobb is the author that I would recommend to fantasy readers. Her worlds are rich and original, and her characters are complex and well developed. Her books are epic — nothing like my fast-paced novels — but brilliant. If you haven’t read her books, you should.
4. Can you tell me about your road to publication?
My road to publication is constantly under construction. Shadowgirl was first published by Lycaon Press. But after 6 years in business, they folded after my first print run! Luckily, they granted me all of my rights back, and I have been able to republish the novel. I couldn’t be more happy; I worked on Shadowgirl while I was in graduate school getting my Masters in folklore. It is full of my research and years of hard work, along with a fair amount of magic. Every time I pick up the book, I am filled with a particular kind of happiness that people get to read Áine’s story. And I hope they enjoy it too!
5. Any advice to aspiring writers?
My advice to aspiring writers is simple: Just write.
Write when you’re happy. Write when you’re sad. Write when the muse is with you, and write when the muse is in the basement. Every time you sit down to write, you’re moving closer to your goal. Some days the words will come easy, and some days they won’t. Some days you’ll want to launch your pen across the room.
Do it. Throw the pen. Then get up, walk across the room, pick it up, and start writing again.
It’s not always easy, but it’s worth it.
6. Just for fun- favorite snack
Can I count coffee? Because my books are fueled by coffee, and I drink about half my calories. Coffee is liquid gold, running through my veins, making me a superhero. I’m not mixing metaphors here — coffee literally makes my blood gold.
Thank you Kate!
Here is the purchase link: