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A blog about books and other things speculative

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Interview with Callie Bates


Please welcome Callie Bates to The Qwillery. Callie is the author of The Waking Land series - The Waking Land (2017) and The Memory of Fire which was published on June 5th by Del Rey.



Interview with Callie Bates




TQWelcome back to The Qwillery. Your new novel, The Memory of Fire (The Waking Land 2), was published on June 5th. Has your writing process changed (or not) from when you wrote The Waking Land (2017) to The Memory of Fire?

Callie:  My writing process remained much the same from The Waking Land to The Memory of Fire—I still handwrote the first draft, then transferred to the computer for revisions and edits. (Having said that, I made significant changes in how I drafted the third book in the series—I learned how to revise much more effectively!)



TQWhat do you wish that you knew about book publishing when The Waking Land came out that you know now?

Callie:  I wish I had been able to take the advice to chill out and not worry so much about everything! Perhaps inevitably, everything seems much more fraught and urgent when your first novel comes out—and like most things in life, in hindsight, it wasn’t quite as monumental as it seemed.



TQWhich method or methods do you use to keep track of your characters' traits, eye color, etc. and events in the novels?

Callie:  A lot of those traits are ingrained in my mind at this point (or so I claim), but I have also found Scrivener’s Characters/Places/Research templates quite handy, especially early in the drafting process when it feels like my brain is imploding.



TQHow soon after the events in The Waking Land do the events in The Memory of Fire take place?

Callie:  There’s a gap of about two months from the epilogue in The Waking Land to Chapter 1 in The Memory of Fire. Enough time for political tensions to have escalated!



TQPlease tell us a bit about how the magic system in The Waking Land series works.

Callie:  Magic in this world is highly individualized; there is as much variation in people’s abilities as there is in their personalities. Especially since magic hasn’t been taught or widely practiced in a long time, the characters are still discovering all that is possible with sorcery. At one point in The Memory of Fire, Jahan explains that magic is the fulfillment of the potential in anything—for example, it’s possible to light a candle with his mind because the potential for fire exists in the candle.



TQHow difficult or easy was it for you to change your 1st person point of view character for The Memory of Fire?

Callie:  It actually turned out to be much more difficult than I thought it would! I ended up rewriting the book quite thoroughly because I didn’t get Jahan’s voice right on the first go-round. But maybe this is, in part, a typical challenge for a second novel—I think we authors tend to put a lot of pressure on ourselves with the next book.



TQWhich character in the The Waking Land series (so far) surprised you the most?

Callie:  I would say, as a pair, Sophy and Alistar have been the most unexpected! While I intended for years to write about Elanna and Jahan, Sophy and Alistar both individually just showed up as I was writing The Waking Land—Sophy demanding in her diffident way to be seen, and Alistar bounding onto the page. And now Sophy’s getting her own book, the third in the trilogy, which I would not have foreseen before writing TWL.



TQPlease give us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from The Memory of Fire.

Callie:  “I look into her eyes. I need to remember them as long as I can, but I already know how the memories will slip and fade. I know what it’s like to wake up on that stone table, with nothing but the certainty of loss.”



TQWhat's next?

Callie:  I’m finishing up the third book in The Waking Land series, which as I said is about Sophy, who’s trying to figure out how to rule a kingdom, and her heart. I can’t wait to share it with the world!



TQThank you for joining us again at The Qwillery.

Callie:  Thanks for having me!





The Memory of Fire
The Waking Land 2
Del Rey, June 5, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 448 pages

Interview with Callie Bates
Callie Bates’s debut novel, The Waking Land, announced the arrival of a brilliant new talent in epic fantasy. Now, with The Memory of Fire, Bates expertly deepens her tale, spinning glittering threads of magic and intrigue into a vibrant tapestry of adventure, betrayal, and romance.

Thanks to the magic of Elanna Valtai and the Paladisan noble Jahan Korakide, he lands once controlled by the empire of Paladis have won their independence. But as Elanna exhausts her powers restoring the ravaged land, news that the emperor is readying an invasion spurs Jahan on a desperate mission to establish peace.

Going back to Paladis proves to be anything but peaceful. As magic is a crime in the empire, punishable by death, Jahan must hide his abilities. Nonetheless, the grand inquisitor’s hunters suspect him of sorcery, and mysterious, urgent messages from the witch who secretly trained Jahan only increase his danger of being exposed. Worst of all, the crown prince has turned his back on Jahan, robbing him of the royal protection he once enjoyed.

As word of Jahan’s return spreads, long-sheathed knives, sharp and deadly, are drawn again. And when Elanna, stripped of her magic, is brought to the capital in chains, Jahan must face down the traumas of his past to defeat the shadowy enemies threatening his true love’s life, and the future of the revolution itself.





Previously

The Waking Land
The Waking Land 1
Del Rey, January 2, 2018
Trade Paperback, 432 pages
Hardcover and eBook, June 27, 2017

Interview with Callie Bates
In the lush and magical tradition of Naomi Novik’s award-winning Uprooted comes this riveting debut from brilliant young writer Callie Bates—whose boundless imagination places her among the finest authors of fantasy fiction, including Sarah J. Maas and Sabaa Tahir.

Lady Elanna is fiercely devoted to the king who raised her like a daughter. But when he dies under mysterious circumstances, Elanna is accused of his murder—and must flee for her life.

Returning to the homeland of magical legends she has forsaken, Elanna is forced to reckon with her despised, estranged father, branded a traitor long ago. Feeling a strange, deep connection to the natural world, she also must face the truth about the forces she has always denied or disdained as superstition—powers that suddenly stir within her.

But an all-too-human threat is drawing near, determined to exact vengeance. Now Elanna has no choice but to lead a rebellion against the kingdom to which she once gave her allegiance. Trapped between divided loyalties, she must summon the courage to confront a destiny that could tear her apart.





About Callie

Interview with Callie Bates
Photo © Jim Schumaker
Callie Bates is a writer, harpist and certified harp therapist, sometime artist, and nature nerd. When she’s not creating, she’s hitting the trails or streets and exploring new places. She lives in the Upper Midwest. She is also the author of The Waking Land.










Website  ~  Facebook

Twitter @calliebywords


Interview with Callie Bates, author of The Waking Land


Please welcome Callie Bates to The Qwillery as part of the of the 2017 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Waking Land was published on June 27th by Del Rey.



Interview with Callie Bates, author of The Waking Land




TQWelcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

Callie:  Thanks so much for having me! I started writing when I was about 10 or 11. I was a voracious reader—and also a voracious dress-up-player—and I realized that I could write down the stories I was always inventing in dress-up. Both my parents are writers, and sitting down to concoct a book myself didn’t seem outside the realm of possibility.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Callie:  I’ve evolved into a hybrid. I used to firmly be a pantser, but I discovered I need some plan to get to the end of a book (or, in fact, the middle). So now I outline enough to know where I’m going, but not so much that I lose the thrill of discovery.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Callie:  I think stamina challenges me the most—to state the obvious, writing a novel takes a long time, and much of it is done in isolation. There are first drafts, rewrites, revisions, edits. Writing a novel isn’t really like running a marathon—it’s like several marathons, a couple of sprints, and some periods sitting in the grass wondering where exactly you’re trying to get to.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Callie:  Many wonderful books have inspired me over the years, from reading Robin McKinley, Tamora Pierce, and Diana Wynne Jones as a kid, to discovering Dorothy Dunnett and Homer in my teens, to all the incredible books being published now by Naomi Novik, Leigh Bardugo, and so many more. My list could be so much longer! I’m also strongly influenced by place and history—I’m intrigued by finding a real place or historical person or event, and twisting them into fiction.



TQDescribe The Waking Land in 140 characters or less.

Callie:  When she’s framed for poisoning the king, a young woman’s repressed nature magic drags her into her despised, estranged father’s political machinations.



TQ:   Tell us something about The Waking Land that is not found in the book description.

Callie:  Elanna, the main character, is taken hostage as a child for her father’s failed revolution, and raised like a daughter by the king. I was interested in exploring the tension of someone who grows up within a sheltered world, yet apart from it by dint of her birth—and who also struggles with Stockholm Syndrome.



TQWhat inspired you to write The Waking Land? What appeals to you about writing Fantasy?

Callie:  I wanted to explore the symbiotic relationship between humans and the natural world through Elanna’s magic—something that can’t really be done outside the fantasy genre! I also wanted to take her on a journey of identity, where she truly transforms her understanding of herself and her world. Though of course I also wanted to write about poisonous fungi, daring escapes and romance!



TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Waking Land?

Callie:  I did some research into the history of Scotland and Ireland, particularly the Jacobite rebellion of 1745—which is probably obvious to anyone who knows much about Bonnie Prince Charlie! The stone circles are inspired by a trip I took to Ireland in 2012, though my love affair with Neolithic monuments dates back much earlier. Specific details of 18th century life also had to be researched, to give the book the right flavor. And, since the main character is a botanist, I had to study up on my plants!



TQPlease tell us about the cover for The Waking Land?

Callie:  The U.S. cover was designed by Kathleen Lynch and illustrated by Ben Perini, and I absolutely love it. I am in awe of their attention to detail—each small feature on the cover ties directly into the book, from the accurate amanita virosa mushrooms to the stone circle, the pistol to the raven, the stately home to the horse riders… It’s pretty much an author’s dream!



TQIn The Waking Land who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Callie:  Hmm… Alistar has to be the easiest! He literally bounded onto the page, completely unexpected, and wrote himself into the story. The Butcher was, hands down, the hardest; I was still tinkering with his arc in late edits. Though I can’t explain why without spoilers!



TQWhy have you chosen to include or not chosen to include social issues in The Waking Land?

Callie:  To me, though I think The Waking Land addresses various social issues, climate change sits at the core of the book. This isn’t a novel about climate change, but in the era of global warming, I think reflecting on the power of the earth—and our connection to it—is essential. If Elanna’s story inspires people to do that, I’ll be very happy!



TQWhich question about The Waking Land do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Callie:  Why did you make Elanna a botanist?

There’s an obvious parallel between El’s interest in botany and her magic. But I also wanted to depict a woman with a scientific bent. And I wanted to show that, like many 19-year-olds, she has hopes and dreams that are already in place, and that matter to her very much. She doesn’t take kindly to having her future plans shattered—which I imagine most of us wouldn’t, either!



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from The Waking Land.

Callie:  From the prologue: “I was made to walk across the streets to the palace, a barefoot girl in a soiled nightdress, the cold cobblestones burning my feet.”

And this poem: “Wildegarde came, bearing a flame in her heart and her hair crowned with the pale light of stars. Where she placed her foot, the earth trembled; when she raised her hand, mountains moved.”



TQWhat's next?

Callie:  The sequel! The Memory of Fire picks up where The Waking Land leaves off—but this time, the story is Jahan’s. All his secrets will be revealed!



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Callie:  Thanks for having me!





The Waking Land
Del Rey, June 27, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 400 pages

Interview with Callie Bates, author of The Waking Land
In the lush and magical tradition of Naomi Novik’s award-winning Uprooted comes this riveting debut from brilliant young writer Callie Bates—whose boundless imagination places her among the finest authors of fantasy fiction, including Sarah J. Maas and Sabaa Tahir.

Lady Elanna is fiercely devoted to the king who raised her like a daughter. But when he dies under mysterious circumstances, Elanna is accused of his murder—and must flee for her life.

Returning to the homeland of magical legends she has forsaken, Elanna is forced to reckon with her despised, estranged father, branded a traitor long ago. Feeling a strange, deep connection to the natural world, she also must face the truth about the forces she has always denied or disdained as superstition—powers that suddenly stir within her.

But an all-too-human threat is drawing near, determined to exact vengeance. Now Elanna has no choice but to lead a rebellion against the kingdom to which she once gave her allegiance. Trapped between divided loyalties, she must summon the courage to confront a destiny that could tear her apart.





About Callie

Interview with Callie Bates, author of The Waking Land
Photo © Jim Schumaker
Callie Bates is a writer, harpist and certified harp therapist, sometime artist, and nature nerd. When she’s not creating, she’s hitting the trails or streets and exploring new places. She lives in the Upper Midwest. The Waking Land is her debut fantasy novel.









Website  ~  Facebook

Twitter @calliebywords



Interview with Callie BatesInterview with Callie Bates, author of The Waking Land

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