I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the blog tour for A SHADOW BRIGHT AND BURNING by Jessica Cluess! I freaking adore this book! It will easily make my top 10 of 2016 list! I have an interview with Jess to share with you today! And make sure to enter the awesome giveaway for a finished copy of the book!!
Haven't heard of A SHADOW BRIGHT AND BURNING? Check it out!
I am Henrietta Howel.The first female sorcerer in hundreds of years.The prophesied one.Or am I?
Henrietta Howel can burst into flames.Forced to reveal her power to save a friend, she's shocked when instead of being executed, she's invited to train as one of Her Majesty's royal sorcerers.Thrust into the glamour of Victorian London, Henrietta is declared the chosen one, the girl who will defeat the Ancients, bloodthirsty demons terrorizing humanity. She also meets her fellow sorcerer trainees, handsome young men eager to test her power and her heart. One will challenge her. One will fight for her. One will betray her.But Henrietta Howel is not the chosen one.As she plays a dangerous game of deception, she discovers that the sorcerers have their own secrets to protect. With battle looming, what does it mean to not be the one? And how much will she risk to save the city—and the one she loves?
Exhilarating and gripping, Jessica Cluess's spellbinding fantasy introduces a powerful, unforgettably heroine, and a world filled with magic, romance, and betrayal. Hand to fans of Libba Bray, Sarah J. Maas, and Cassandra Clare.
Now on to the interview!
Hi Jess! First I want to say welcome to Two Chicks on Books! A SHADOW BRIGHT AND BURNING was absolutely fantastic and I can’t wait for everyone to read it! And am so happy that you could stop by for a visit!
Thank you! I’m so excited to be here. :)
For the readers: can you tell us a little bit about A SHADOW BRIGHT AND BURNING and the characters?
A Shadow Bright and Burning is my Jane Eyre battles Cthulu story. It’s about Henrietta Howel, a young girl in Victorian England who is discovered to have magical abilities. She’s brought to London to train as one of Queen Victoria’s royal sorcerers. Henrietta’s supposed to be the chosen one in a long-standing war against a tribe of monsters. But she discovers a big secret: she’s not the chosen one at all. While the war heats up, Henrietta has to find a way to keep her status a secret. And there are a few attractive men in the picture as well.
The main character is Henrietta, a strong-willed, essentially kind, deeply flawed girl who can set herself on fire. As you do. There are many (many) more characters, but the main supporting men—Blackwood, Magnus, and Rook—all challenge and support her in different ways.
So what about the sequel? Do you have a title you can share?
I’m working on the sequel right now! There is a title, though I can’t share it yet. However, if you have a sharp eye while reading ASBAB, you might figure it out…
Were any of the characters in the book inspired by people from your real life?
Not directly, no. I always say that because terrible things happen in my books, I don’t want to imagine my friends in danger. However, certain turns of phrase or quirks or phobias in my characters come from observing the people around me.
Who was your favorite character to write? What about your least favorite?
My favorite is a tie between Henrietta and the magician Hargrove. Henrietta’s obvious, because she’s my lead, but Hargrove is a very wily, sarcastic man, and that’s always fun. I don’t think I have a least favorite. The two hardest characters to write were Blackwood and Rook, Blackwood because he’s so repressed and closed off, and Rook because he just makes me so sad. In a good way.
What is your favorite passage/scene in A SHADOW BRIGHT AND BURNING?
There’s a chapter where most of the characters go to the theatre to watch A Midsummer Night’s Dream with actual faeries in the cast. It was fun to imagine that entire scene, because I love theatre, and faeries would probably be a nightmare to deal with.
What kind of research did you have to do for the story?
I did some reading on the early Victorian era. When most people think Victorian England, they tend to think 1870s-1890s, but the early period is so vastly different in terms of culture and clothing. The best book I read was How To Be A Victorian: A Dawn-to-Dusk Guide to Victorian Life by Ruth Goodman. She’s actually lived as a Victorian woman from every walk of life, and her knowledge is incredible. For instance, people used to brush their teeth with coal dust. You can’t make this up.
Who is your ultimate book boyfriend?
Gansey from the Raven Cycle. I’m actually not a huge fan of the brooding bad boy. Give me the chipper, confident guy any day.
What inspired you to write YA?
I actually started off wanting to write adult fantasy. I queried one manuscript, but the market was all dried up. I saw that one booming genre was YA fantasy. I hadn’t read YA since I was a teen, and in 2012 the category had really changed since I was in high school. I picked up a few books to see if it was something I’d like to try, and I fell in love. Great YA fantasy—and there’s a lot of it right now—transports you not just to another world, but to another emotional state. This genre is all about emotion and catharsis, and I knew instantly that I wanted to be part of it.
Lightening Round Questions
What are you reading right now? Or what do you have on your TBR that you’re dying to read?
A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir is about to come out, so of course I’m anxiously waiting for it. I have a stack of Sweet Sixteens debut books that I wanted to read, but missed on the ARC tours. So I’m about to dive in, as soon as my deadline’s past.
What Hogwarts House would the Sorting Hat place you in?
It’s already sorted me. Gryffindor! I know that’s not really the fashionable thing anymore, but eh. I’m still proud.
Twitter or Facebook?
Twitter. The conversation is more fast paced.
Deadpool. I’m sort of new to him, but he’s pretty tough to beat. When I was a kid, I’d have said Batman.
Favorite TV show?
Game of Thrones. Whenever I hear the theme music, I start singing ‘Dinklage, Peter Dinklage’ along with it. I may have a favorite character.
Sweet or Salty?
Both. It depends. Don’t make me choose.
I have vertigo. If I’m too high up, everything starts to spin.
Song you can’t get enough of right now?
This is going to be the most unbearably pretentious thing you’ve ever heard, but I swear it’s true. “The Window of Appearances” from Philip Glass’s Akhnaten. There’s something about it that’s so haunting, I have to listen to it again and again. Countertenors, man. Their voices weird me out.
Fall Movie you’re most looking forward to?
Fantastic Beasts. Harry Potter world + historical costuming = my heaven
Thanks so much Jess for answering my questions! I can’t wait for everyone to read A SHADOW BRIGHT AND BURNING!
Thank you for having me! This was a blast.
Jessica Cluess is a writer, a graduate of Northwestern University, and an unapologetic nerd. After college, she moved to Los Angeles, where she served coffee to the rich and famous while working on her first novel. When she’s not writing books, she’s an instructor at Writopia Lab, helping kids and teens tell their own stories.
3 winners will receive a signed copy of A SHADOW BRIGHT AND BURNING, US Only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
9/12/2016- Adventures of a Book Junkie- Interview
9/13/2016- Emily Reads Everything- Review
9/14/2016- Two Chicks on Books- Interview
9/15/2016- Ohana Reads- Review
9/16/2016- Once Upon a Twilight- Interview
9/19/2016- Princessica of Books- Review
9/20/2016- Brittany's Book Rambles- Guest Post
9/21/2016- All Things Urban Fantasy- Review
9/22/2016- Owl Always Be Reading- Excerpt
9/23/2016- Seeing Double In Neverland- Review