Many thanks to Caroline and Penny at Angry Robot Books for including me in this tour, and of course to Danielle for taking the time to answer these questions!
The short answer is that I didn’t! Stolen Songbird was sold under a different title with the caveat that the title be changed ☺ Lists of suggestions circulated between me, my agent, my editor, and the sales reps, and my agent came up with Stolen Songbird by combining two suggestions. She also came up with Hidden Huntress and the title for the third book, which we will call WW for now! The title of the series, The Malediction Trilogy, came from one of my suggestions.
1. How did you come up with the titles for your books "Stolen Songbird" and "Hidden Huntress"? Was it a process to find the title that fit the best?
I don’t enjoy outlining. I like to figure out plot and character voice as I write, but I do have certain scenes in my head, which I call milestones, that I write towards. The bonding scene, the lake scene, and the beach scene were significant milestones in Stolen Songbird. And I always know how a book will end quite early on. That said, part of selling a series to a publisher is that you must provide a synopsis of the unwritten books, so I had to outline Hidden Huntress and WW.
2. How much of the series was planned out from the beginning?
The biggest challenge was my anxiety over my ability to write something that would live up to the expectations of fans of the first book. As a reader, I know I have REALLY high expectations for the sequels of books that I love, and as a writer, that makes me really nervous. It’s such a great feeling when someone tells you that you wrote the sequel they were hoping for, but really heartbreaking when you miss the mark for them.
3. What were the challenges of writing the sequel to "Stolen Songbird"?
The other big challenge was the closure of Strange Chemistry. I was only about 2/3 through writing Hidden Huntress when I found out I no longer had a publisher, and trying to write through those uncertain times was really tough. Thankfully, Angry Robot decided to keep my contract, and knowing my book would end up in the hands of readers really helped motivate me to finish.
Some of the rules I set for magic caused me some frustration, but after many hours of staring at my computer screen, I figured things out. That would be one of the downsides to not being a detailed planner/outliner.
4. Is there something you wish you could change about "Stolen Songbird" to make something about the rest of the series easier?
I like to write emotionally charged scenes, especially those of the romantic variety. The lake scene in Stolen Songbird is one of my favourites.
5. What is your favorite type of scene to write?
In Hidden Huntress, my favourite character to write was Tristan’s father, King Thibault. Readers will learn a lot more about who he is and what his motivations are, and the relationship between the two of them really develops over the course of the book.
6. Which character was the most fun for you to write?
Not really. I give my characters personality traits, both positive and negative, that I find compelling. So my characters are reflections of the sorts of people I find interesting, which to a certain extent reflects on my personality and values.
7. Is there a character in the series you feel is most like you? In what way?
After writing that answer, I polled my family, and they all say Anaïs is most like me. So there you go.
I often choose meaningful names for characters. There is a witch Cécile meets called La Voisin, who was named for Catherine Monvoisin, who was a fortune teller and alleged sorceress in the court of Louis XIV. There are quite a few parallels between the two for those who care to look. The troll queen from Anushka’s era in Trollus also has a significant name, but I can’t tell you what, because it would be a major spoiler! Look it up after you read the book ☺
8. Can you share an interesting or fun fact about "Hidden Huntress"?
Hidden Huntress is out June 2nd!
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