Is THE LAST NAMSARA the first in a series?
It’s the first book of a trilogy. But while all three books build towards an epic conclusion, they each technically stand alone (so you can read them out of order if you want to). Each book is told from the perspective of a different character, but they happen chronologically, and all the major characters show up in all three books.
Why did you write THE LAST NAMSARA?
Like Asha (the main character) I’ve spent most of my life being ashamed of the things I love most, namely: creativity, imagination, and stories. So I wanted to explore a world where those things really ARE shameful. I wanted to write a book where stories are inherently dangerous things that, when used, get people hurt. And I wanted my main character to a) be particularly good at wielding these dangerous stories, and b) be deeply ashamed of herself as a result.
It seems like all the girls in your books are badasses. Isn’t that a little unrealistic?
To be honest, most of the women in my life are badasses. So it never really occurred to me to write any other kind of girl. I know some people think that girls being strong or girls hunting dragons or girls marching armies across a desert are improbable, but I have to disagree. If you take even a cursory look at history, you find women like Yaa Asantewaa. Or Tomoe Gozen and the rest of the onna-bugeisha. Or Ching Shih. Or Joan of Arc. Or Æthelflæd, Lady of the Mercians. Or Teuta of Illyria. Or Sayyida al-Hurra. Or Qutulun. Or any of the daughters of Genghis Khan. And that’s just skimming the surface.
So no, I don’t think my badass girls are unrealistic. Not in the least.
When does the first book come out?
When do Book 2 and 3 come out?
In Fall 2018 and 2019 respectively.
Will your book(s) come out in [language/country]?
Here are the countries THE LAST NAMSARA will be published in:
Brazil: Companhia Das Letras
Czech Republic: Alpress
The Netherlands: Blossom Books
New Zealand: Hachette
Turkey: Dogan Egmont
For inquiries about foreign rights, please contact heatherflaherty[at]thebentagency[dot]com.
Where can I get an advanced review copy of your book?
Sadly, I receive far more requests for review copies than my publisher gives me! (Authors receive very few review copies of their books.) If you’re interested in reviewing my book, trying requesting it on NetGalley or Edelweiss, add it to your Goodreads so you can be alerted to giveaways, or email my publisher.
Where can I get a signed copy of your book(s)?
You can preorder signed copies of The Last Namsara from my local indie bookstore, Words Worth Books. Occasionally I will do giveaways of signed books, so follow me on Instagram or sign up for my newsletter to stay informed of those. Otherwise, I’m happy to sign books at in-person events.
Will you look at my manuscript?
Hope Cook and I have a joint venture offering critique and mentoring services to writers. I won’t be open to bookings until 2018, but Hope is open now. If you’re serious about improving your craft, she would LOVE to work with you. A great free way to get feedback is via online writing forums like Wattpad, or entering contests like Pitch Wars, or checking out Maggie Stiefvater’s Critique Partner Matchup.
What did you do before you were an author?
I was a barista, then a baker, then a bookseller, then a ceramic artist, and I also worked for a nonprofit organization with roots in the Catholic Worker movement.
Do you have a favourite place to write?
My bed. No, seriously. It’s my favourite place to write (and read!). Maybe because it’s so cozy and safe? And writing is an inherently vulnerable act? Or possibly I’m just lazy. ;)
What are some of your favourite books?
The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman
Sabriel by Garth Nix
The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley
The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia McKillip
Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
The Raging Quiet by Sherryl Jordan
Keturah and Lord Death by Martine Leavitt
Chime by Franny Billingsley
Uprooted by Naomi Novik
Do you have any writing advice?
Gosh, yes! Read a LOT and write a LOT. Don’t be discouraged if your writing isn’t where you want it to be. Keep writing until it is where you want it to be. It takes a while, just like everything else. Reread and study your favourite books. Pick them apart. Figure out why they work so well. Do the same to books that just don’t work for you. Figure out what doesn’t work so you can find it and fix it in your own writing. Join a writer’s group. Give your work to people to read. Get comfortable with feedback. Listen to feedback so you can make your book better. Find mentors. (My mentorships were the best thing to ever happen to my writing.) Write, write, write. Read, read, read.
Do you have any publishing advice?
Get really comfortable with rejection (because it’s coming, and it doesn’t stop coming) and don’t let it stop you. Keep up with the current trends in your field. If you write YA fantasy, be well read in that genre. Otherwise how will you know if what you’ve written hasn’t already been done? Put your work out there. Enter contests. Make sure you have a stellar query letter. Make sure you have a stellar book. Don’t think of agents and editors as the enemy. Agents and editors are book nerds—just like you. Book nerds who happen to be overworked and underpaid and don’t have time to tell you why they didn’t connect with your work. Respect the work they do and maybe one day they’ll be doing that work for you. Most of all, though, if you believe in the thing you’ve written, don’t give up on it. Don’t give up, period. Also, listen to Neil Gaiman:
“It does help, to be a writer, to have the sort of crazed ego that doesn’t allow for failure. The best reaction to a rejection slip is a sort of wild-eyed madness, an evil grin, and sitting yourself in front of the keyboard muttering “Okay, you bastards. Try rejecting this!” and then writing something so unbelievably brilliant that all other writers will disembowel themselves with their pens upon reading it, because there’s nothing left to write. Because the rejection slips will arrive. And, if the books are published, then you can pretty much guarantee that bad reviews will be as well. And you’ll need to learn how to shrug and keep going. Or you stop, and get a real job.”