I am thrilled to be hosting Evelyn Skye for the Meet The Newbies Event! THE CROWN'S GAME is one of my favorite books of 2016! I have a Q&A to share with you today! And make sure to enter the awesome giveaway below!
Haven't heard of THE CROWN'S GAME? Check it out!
Vika Andreyeva can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters—the only two in Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the Tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side.
And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test an enchanter will ever know. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the Tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.
Raised on tiny Ovchinin Island her whole life, Vika is eager for the chance to show off her talent in the grand capital of Saint Petersburg. But can she kill another enchanter—even when his magic calls to her like nothing else ever has?
For Nikolai, an orphan, the Crown’s Game is the chance of a lifetime. But his deadly opponent is a force to be reckoned with—beautiful, whip smart, imaginative—and he can’t stop thinking about her.
And when Pasha, Nikolai’s best friend and heir to the throne, also starts to fall for the mysterious enchantress, Nikolai must defeat the girl they both love . . . or be killed himself.
As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear . . . the Crown’s Game is not one to lose.
Now on to the interview!
Ahhhhhh. Okay. I’m going to cheat and give you the top three, without being spoilery:
Hi Evelyn! First I want to say welcome to Two Chicks on Books! I am so happy to be hosting you for A Perfection Called Books Meet The Newbies Event! I freaking LOVED THE CROWN’S GAME and I can’t wait for my readers to read it!
Thank you so much, Jaime! I am so happy to be here, and thank you for the enormously kind words about THE CROWN’S GAME!
For the readers: can you tell us a little bit about THE CROWN’S GAME and the characters?
THE CROWN’S GAME is a story of two enchanters, Vika and Nikolai, fighting a magical duel in lush, Imperial Russia. The book is full of surprising—and very dangerous—magic spectacles, as every move that Vika and Nikolai make pushes them one step closer to death.
New York Public Library called it “GAME OF THRONES for the younger set,” and others have said that fans of RED QUEEN, SHADOW AND BONE, and AN EMBER IN THE ASHES would really get into the book’s mix of magic, high-stakes action, and romance. Just being named with all those incredible series gives me goosebumps!
What about the sequel? Do we have a title for it yet?
It’s in the progress! There’s a working title, but nothing official yet. We’ll announce it when it’s ready!
Were any of the characters in the book inspired by people from your real life?
Hmm… yes and no. There’s a little part of me in each of the characters, but other than that, I didn’t model any of them on people I knew in real life. I tend to make up my characters from scratch—or sometimes, they just appear in my head—much like I make up the magic in my stories.
Who was your favorite character to write? What about your least favorite? I can say that I ADORED Nikolai ;)
You’re on Team Nikolai! It’s so interesting to me; I get a lot of tweets from readers who are in love with Nikolai or with Pasha. I didn’t mean to set it up like that, but people seem to feel passionately about which boy they love more.
I can’t choose a favorite character, though, are you crazy? I love them all! But how about we pretend you asked me which character was easiest to write and which was hardest? J
Nikolai came easily. Of all the characters, I am the most like him, so I understood his feelings—his wants and needs--from the start.
Vika was harder. She’s audacious and doesn’t follow the rules, and I’m not. I wrote her, in part, as an aspirational character for myself. Sometimes now when I’m in a situation where I don’t know what to do, I ask myself, “What would Vika do?” (It doesn’t always lead to the right choice for me, but it gives me an extra dose of pluck, which can come in handy.)
What is your favorite passage/scene in THE CROWN’S GAME?
Again, making me choose favorites! Jaime, you’re killing me.
Ahhhhhh. Okay. I’m going to cheat and give you the top three, without being spoilery:
3. Pasha and Nikolai’s “Romeo and Juliet” scene, which is the quintessence of their friendship.
2. The ball
1. The last chapter (and the last line of the book)
What kind of research did you have to do for the story?
As you know, THE CROWN’S GAME is set is an alternate (but largely historically-accurate) Imperial Russia. The settings are almost all real, and some of the characters and events are, too.
Luckily for me, I have a degree in Russian literature and history, so a lot of my research was actually done years ago during college, before I even knew that all that work would one day become a book. When it came to writing THE CROWN’S GAME, much of what I’d studied just came flowing back. I had to do some research to check up on facts here and there, and I did do additional research on the Kazakhs and their complicated relationship with the Russian Empire, because I hadn’t studied much about that subject in school, and I wanted to make sure I understood Nikolai’s past, as well as the political tensions in Russia, properly.
For the history buffs out there, I have an Author’s Note at the end of the book that goes into more detail about my research, and what is and isn’t real in the book.
What are you reading right now? Or what do you have on your TBR that you’re dying to read?
I actually run a big YA book club for writers (it’s a little different from a normal book club, because we analyze each book we read in terms of craft and try to improve our own writing based on what we’ve learned), which means I get to impose my TBR list on the members. J These are some of the books we have on slate for this year:
THE SACRED LIES OF MINNOW BLY by Stephanie Oakes
SYMPTOMS OF BEING HUMAN by Jeff Garvin
WINK POPPY MIDNIGHT by April Genevieve Tucholke
THE WINNER'S KISS by Marie Rutkoski
THE ROSE AND THE DAGGER by Renee Ahdieh
THE RAVEN KING by Maggie Stiefvater
Obviously there are lots of other books I want to read, too! But this was the easiest TBR to pull… my brain doesn’t work half the time these days, because I’ve got Book Launch Brain!
Who is your ultimate Book Boyfriend?
Gansey from The Raven Cycle series!! I lovvvvvvvvve Gansey…
What inspired you to write YA?
The teen years were some of my favorite years. I felt so alive, and everything was exciting (and terrifying, too). The truth is, who I was at 17 was closer to my real soul than who I became in my 20s, although I didn’t know it when I was 17.
I got a little lost in my 20s, trying so hard to be “an adult” and liking things I thought I was supposed to like, and striving for goals I thought I was supposed to strive for. And then I hit my early 30s and it was suddenly clear that I was unfulfilled, and that I needed to get back to the Evelyn-at-17. So I started reading a ton of YA, and also writing it, and that is how it all began. With the side benefit that I now feel more comfortable in my skin again.
Lightening Round Questions
If you were to be sorted by the Sorting Hat, which Hogwarts House would you be sorted into?
Pottermore put me in Slytherin, so…
Twitter or Facebook?
Favorite TV show?
So You Think You Can Dance
Sweet or Salty?
I am terrified of ghosts! Also, spiders. (Oh, god, spider ghosts…!!!!)
Song you can’t get enough of right now?
DNCE’s “Cake by the Ocean”
Upcoming Movie you’re most looking forward to?
“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”
Thanks so much Evelyn for answering my questions!
Author Most Likely to Have You Over to Her House for a Dessert-Filled Dinner Party Nickname: Harvard First Day of School: May 17, 2016 Homeroom: HarperCollins/Balzer+Bray Grade: YA Fantasy Extracurricular Activities: Champion Cookie Eater, Wannabe Hip Hop Dancer, Captain of the Tennis Team Favorite Class: 19th Century Russian Literature Favorite Quote/Motto: If at first you don't succeed, order pizza.
Evelyn Skye was once offered a job by the C.I.A., she not-so-secretly wishes she was on "So You Think You Can Dance," and if you challenge her to a pizza-eating contest, she guarantees she will win. When she isn't writing, Evelyn can be found chasing her daughter on the playground or sitting on the couch, immersed in a good book and eating way too many cookies. THE CROWN'S GAME is her first novel. Evelyn can be found online at www.evelynskye.com and on Twitter @EvelynSkyeYA.
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