The Lady Is a Champ- In Conversation with Marie Lu, Catherine Egan, Morgan Rhodes & Kiersten White

Today was a special day! It’s not often that we get some awesome authors in at Brampton Ontario, let alone FOUR of them. It was a funny, enlightening, glorious time had by all of us! I’ll start off by showcasing their latest books (all summaries are from Goodreads) and then move on to the fantastic panel! Scroll down for the panel and my thoughts if you’d rather skip the summaries.

 

/// THE SUMMARIES ///

 

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The Young Elites trilogy by Marie Lu ! Summary is from book 1 (no spoilers)!

I am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside. Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites. Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all. Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen. Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.
It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt.

 

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Julia Vanishes by Catherine Egan !

Julia has the unusual ability to be . . . unseen. Not invisible, exactly. Just beyond most people’s senses. It’s a dangerous trait in a city that has banned all forms of magic and drowns witches in public Cleansings. But it’s a useful trait for a thief and a spy. And Julia has learned–crime pays. Her latest job is paying very well indeed. Julia is posing as a housemaid in the grand house of Mrs. Och, where an odd assortment of characters live and work: A disgraced professor who sends her to fetch parcels containing bullets, spiders, and poison. An aristocratic houseguest who is locked in the basement each night. And a mysterious young woman who is clearly in hiding–though from what or whom? Worse, Julia suspects that there’s a connection between these people and the killer leaving a trail of bodies across the frozen city. The more she learns, the more she wants to be done with this unnatural job. To go back to the safety of her friends and fellow thieves. But Julia is entangled in a struggle between forces more powerful than she’d ever imagined. Escape will come at a terrible price.

 

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The Falling Kingdoms series by Morgan Rhodes ! Summary is from book 1 (no spoilers)!

In the three kingdoms of Mytica, magic has long been forgotten. And while hard-won peace has reigned for centuries, a deadly unrest now simmers below the surface. As the rulers of each kingdom grapple for power, the lives of their subjects are brutally transformed… and four key players, royals and rebels alike, find their fates forever intertwined. Cleo, Jonas, Lucia, and Magnus are caught in a dizzying world of treacherous betrayals, shocking murders, secret alliances, and even unforeseen love. The only outcome that’s certain is that kingdoms will fall. Who will emerge triumphant when all they know has collapsed? It’s the eve of war…. Choose your side.
Princess: Raised in pampered luxury, Cleo must now embark on a rough and treacherous journey into enemy territory in search of magic long thought extinct.
Rebel: Jonas, enraged at injustice, lashes out against the forces of oppression that have kept his country cruelly impoverished. To his shock, he finds himself the leader of a people’s revolution centuries in the making.
Sorceress: Lucia, adopted at birth into the royal family, discovers the truth about her past—and the supernatural legacy she is destined to wield.
Heir: Bred for aggression and trained to conquer, firstborn son Magnus begins to realize that the heart can be more lethal than the sword….

 

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And I Darken series by Kiersten White !

No one expects a princess to be brutal. And Lada Dragwlya likes it that way. Ever since she and her gentle younger brother, Radu, were wrenched from their homeland of Wallachia and abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman courts, Lada has known that being ruthless is the key to survival. She and Radu are doomed to act as pawns in a vicious game, an unseen sword hovering over their every move. For the lineage that makes them special also makes them targets. Lada despises the Ottomans and bides her time, planning her vengeance for the day when she can return to Wallachia and claim her birthright. Radu longs only for a place where he feels safe. And when they meet Mehmed, the defiant and lonely son of the sultan, Radu feels that he’s made a true friend—and Lada wonders if she’s finally found someone worthy of her passion. But Mehmed is heir to the very empire that Lada has sworn to fight against—and that Radu now considers home. Together, Lada, Radu, and Mehmed form a toxic triangle that strains the bonds of love and loyalty to the breaking point.

 

/// MY THOUGHTS ///

All 4 ladies SLAYED. I mean 5 stars all around my friends! This was such a fantastic panel! I was standing the whole time and I didn’t even notice an hour fly by. Each author was engaging and just awesome. They made me want to read more of their art! I was super impressed with their answers and how funny they were. Without further ado here they are!

/// THE PANEL ///

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Q1: Who was your first favourite female character you read?

Kiersten: Anne of Green Gables, she is a part of my heart. What makes Anne human is that she’s smart, dreamy and forgetful.

*sidenote:  If anyone looked over at me at this point they would’ve seen me smiling like a fool! I was SO HAPPY she said Anne. I was always a huge fan of Anne and have read the book a few times now. The 1985 rendition with Megan Follows is my absolute favourite. I hope the new series will be great! Also, they have announced that they have cast a Irish-Canadian for the part of Anne! Woo!*

Marie: She loves Miyax from Julie of the Wolves, a 1972 children’s novel. Mostly because wolves (we know she loves wolves, hehe)!

Morgan: Loved reading adult books as a kid and loves reading YA books as an adult (don’t we all!?). Her favourite was Rose Hathaway from the Vampire Academy series. 

Catherine: Has always loved the “evil” characters (I HEAR YOU, I’M WITH YOU CATH), those who are powerful and would do anything to keep that power.

 

Q2: What do you love about villains?

Marie: It’s refreshing to write about villains, they have the freedom to do what they want and aren’t restricted by “doing the right thing” as the hero usually is. Adelina fought her every step of the way!

Catherine: Loves writing the relationship between the villain and the hero, showcases their differences and really focuses on the struggle. “Being able to write about the villain is feeing.”

Kiersten: Being able to play with the characters throws off the likeability of them forcing you to evaluate the character more. “Girls are told they have to be a certain way however their journey is really the more important focus.”

Morgan: Loves that villains think they are right, that they believe they know what way things should be. Finds those with a spark of good in them to be the most compelling.

 

Q3: What was the hardest decision you had to make as a writer?

Morgan: “Wine or chocolate.” (I laughed out loud, amen!) It’s easy for her to kill the characters off. No big deal! (I am scared for the future of her books now, lol!)

Marie: Struggles writing romance. “I always picture my mom looking over my shoulder saying ‘but how do you know about that’!” (That was my favourite part, so funny!) It takes her months to write a romance section. 

Kiersten: Finds it hard to write about how attractive someone is, it’s tricky to pinpoint their features.

Catherine: To continue with the draft or not? Is it good enough? When do I give up? When do I keep going?

Kiersten Morgan: Find it extremely hard to write contemporary. With fantasy you can just make things up!

 

Q4: Where does your inspiration come from?

Morgan: Magazines, new ideas from all over to “fill the well” in order to extract from when writing

Catherine: Anything that adds to her ideas further.

Marie: Writes into her notebook random things she sees or hears about everyday. Loves video games, TV, movies. The Young Elites was inspired by Assassin’s Creed (UM, she is so awesome)!

Kiersten: Travel, experiencing new places and landscapes helps.

Q5: Are you introverted or extroverted?

Marie: Shifts depending on where she is. Loves being at home and reading a book while it’s raining so she’s naturally introverted however she loves seeing fans! After panels she feels drained and needs to recharge (no wonder, they pulled a 3h singing)!

Morgan: Introverted. Loves panels and needs to also recover after because she hates public speaking.

Q6: Do the characters or the world come first?

Marie: Characters, always. “New stories come to mind as a character walks into her head.” (What a beautiful quote!)

 

Q7: Do characters become villains without you seeing it coming?

Morgan: Yes, with all magic comes a price.” (So in love with this saying!)

 

Q8: What did you always want to be before you became a writer?

Kiersten: A writer and a mom. Since both became true I should’ve aimed higher. I should’ve asked for mutant powers so I could be the newest member of XMEN. (I am so with you on this one!)

Catherine: A writer.

Marie: A fighter pilot when I was 9. But my mother pointed out my eyesight was terrible. (Omg, her mom sounds so funny!)

Morgan: A jewel thief (AMAZING), private eye, and a movie star. Now she can be all of them in her writing.

 

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