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Monday, March 21, 2016

Blog Tour- REBEL OF THE SANDS by Alwyn Hamilton

I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on blog tour for REBEL OF THE SANDS by Alwyn Hamilton! I LOVED this book! I have a guest post to share with you today! 

Haven't heard of REBEL OF THE SANDS? Check it out!

Author: Alwyn Hamilton
Release Date: March 8, 2016
Publisher: Penguin
Pages: 400
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Find it: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | iBooks
She’s more gunpowder than girl—and the fate of the desert lies in her hands.

Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mystical beasts still roam the wild and barren wastes, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinni still practice their magic. But there's nothing mystical or magical about Dustwalk, the dead-end town that Amani can't wait to escape from. 

Destined to wind up "wed or dead," Amani’s counting on her sharpshooting skills to get her out of Dustwalk. When she meets Jin, a mysterious and devastatingly handsome foreigner, in a shooting contest, she figures he’s the perfect escape route. But in all her years spent dreaming of leaving home, she never imagined she'd gallop away on a mythical horse, fleeing the murderous Sultan's army, with a fugitive who's wanted for treason. And she'd never have predicted she'd fall in love with him...or that he'd help her unlock the powerful truth of who she really is. 
Now on to the guest posst!

Please describe your 1-2 biggest inspirations as a writer and how this contributed to the book.

I have a very long convoluted answer to the very simple question “where are you from?” that I can give when people really want it. It explains my passports, my accent, my name, and my current expat living situation. But I don’t usually give it unless people continue to push after I give my short answer is “I was born in Toronto, but I grew up in France.”

The thing you need to know is that I was born speaking English and wen to School in French. Growing up bilingual can mean a lot of things for a lot of people. For me it meant that I never had to read a book I didn’t chose myself in English. All my assigned reading growing up was done in French. All my English reading I chose for myself. 

I chose fantasy for myself and by myself.  I didn’t have any English speaking peers to influence me. All my friends were reading Tintin in French, and Le Petit Nicholas. I never knew what was popular in English so never cared. A few nannies tried to pass on their love of Sweet Valley High and Babysitter’s Club and Ramona Quimby. But I just didn’t get it. These were North American School Experiences that meant nothing to me. And I figured if I was going to be reading about a totally foreign world it might as well have swords.

So I chose Tamora Pierce’s Alanna. I chose Robin McKinley’s The Blue Sword. I chose Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar Series. I chose Patricia C. Wrede’s Enchanted Forrest Chronicles. I read and I read and I read. And when I was done I had absolutely no one to talk to about the books I was reading. 

None of my friends had any clue what I was talking about and a lot of my favourites weren’t translated. Now, if I’m loving a book I bleed my feelings all over Twitter and I even have a pretty easy time finding someone IRL who will listen to me theorize in detail about a character. But the Internet wouldn’t really become a thing until I was well into High School. And then it was mostly MSN Messenger with my friends instead of doing homework. Which meant that, when I was a kid, reading became such an intensely private internal thing for me that I distinctly remember getting upset to the point of tears when my little brother read one of my books and gave our parents with the plot as he went, chapter by chapter, showing his progress. Books were private I tried to explain to him, he was breaking some kind of nebulous pact with the book by talking about them.

He looked at me like I was crazy. This was fair. Especially since I clearly I needed an outlet. I have always been like that. I’m that person who actually liked tests because I needed somewhere to put all the information I’d been taking down and to make it useful.

So I started writing.

Looking back, those early stories straddle the line between fanfiction with different character names and just, outright, plagiarism. I read Alanna and then wrote a story about a girl at a training school for knights. Fiction was the only communication I was getting in my first language outside of my family. Sometimes I think of it like I was writing back to these books who were talking to me.

Things changed. Eventually my reading got more international. Harry Potter and Game of Thrones came to France and I was finally able to talk about books with my friends as we read the same thing. And I’ve also, obviously, learned how not to copy since those early days. But I’d be lying if I said that Rebel of the Sands doesn’t have lots of little bits of those books I tore through in the dark ages when I couldn’t talk to anyone about them. Alanna’s Crossdressing. The Blue Sword’s Desert. Valdemar’s oppressive sexism. The Enchanted Forrest’s re-examined magic system. They’re all in there. All little snippets of the conversations we had when I had no one else to talk to in my first language, built up into my own long letter back to them.

About Alwyn:
Alwyn Hamilton was born in Toronto and spent her childhood bouncing between Europe and Canada until her parents settled in France. She grew up in a small town there, which might have compelled her to burst randomly into the opening song from Beauty and the Beast were it not for her total tone-deafness. She instead attempted to read and write her way to new places and developed a weakness for fantasy and cross-dressing heroines. She left France for Cambridge University to study History of Art at King’s College, and then to London where she became indentured to an auction house. She has a bad habit of acquiring more hardcovers than is smart for someone who moves house quite so often.

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