Hi everyone! Today I'm featuring one of my most anticipated reads for 2016 - although it is already out, I have yet to spot a copy locally. I am really into fantasy and lately, into steampunk, especially after reading Revenge and the Wild. So I was very excited to interview Evangeline Denmark about her debut, Curio.
What is your world building process/writing style?
I’m an inside out writer, meaning I like to get into a story and then build outward in terms of story world and setting. Most of the time I get an idea and run with it, but then have to stop along the way for research and to hash out details. For instance, the Curio prequel, Mark of Blood and Alchemy, came about because I jotted down the outline of the story in the Notes document I kept for Curio. It was fun to get to flesh that out into a novella.
Do you have a writing ritual?
I get email and social media interaction out of the way and then commit to ignoring those tempting distractions for a certain amount of time. I usually listen to soundtracks I’ve put together for the novel I’m working on, and I keep nuts and trail mix at my desk so I have brain food on hand.
What kind of research did you do in order to complete Curio as a whole?
I researched alchemy, mining, and Colorado’s early days as a territory. Even though Curio is set in an alternate history I wanted to keep some of those details that make a setting feel real.
Could you tell us a bit about Grey's background and how you molded her as a character?
I wanted Grey to feel like she stuck out, because that is an experience we’ve all had. We’ve seen a lot of YA heroines of smaller stature lately, and that is fantastic. That serves a purpose, especially when used to heighten the concept of one person going up against powerful opposition. But I wanted Grey to have this strong, large-framed body, but feel powerless because of society’s restrictions.
She was raised not knowing her capabilities for her own protection and because of the delicate political climate in Mercury City. Her family had the best intentions, as families often do, but Curio is the story of Grey learning to embrace her strength. She comes to reject Mercury’s oppressive rules and the ridiculous beauty-worshipping culture in Curio City and grabs hold of what matters to her, which is justice.
I am interested with Grey's ties to Whitland. Could you tell us a bit about their background?
Grey and Whit grew up together, and they are each other’s first crush. A few readers have said they were surprised that Grey and Whit’s relationship didn’t go as they expected, and as far as I’m concerned that’s a good thing. This isn’t a love triangle book. This is a coming of age book that explores the discovery of oneself and with that a fuller understanding of love, friendship, and sacrifice.
Grey loves Whit and would do anything for him, but that is part of the true identity she uncovers. Whit is practically part of the family, and although their connection changes, it certainly doesn’t diminish.
How different was the original version of Curio from the final version? What changed?
Mercury City and the outside world changed a lot. Originally Grey’s home town had a more futuristic feel, but in order to bring out more of the Steampunk flavor, I moved the time period to the turn-of-the-century, so early 1900s. That allowed for a stronger western mining town setting and fit perfectly with my deranged alchemists turned Chemists who are mining both the hillside and the veins of their citizens.
Thank you, Evangeline!
Evangeline Denmark’s debut novel Curio was an RT Reviews Top Pick for February 2016, and USA Today’s HEA blog called the world-building “two levels of genius.” A Young Adult Steampunk Fantasy with shades of The Wild, Wild West and The Wizard of Oz, Curio sets coming of age and first love against a backdrop of steam-propelled greed and societal repression.
Evangeline lives in Colorado in a house stuffed full of animals and creative people that would surely go to ruin were it not for the watchful eye of a cattle dog named Willie.
Find Evangeline: Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter |
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published January 5th 2016 by Blink
Grey Haward has always detested the Chemists, the magicians-come-scientists who rule her small western town. But she has always followed the rules, taking the potion the Chemists ration out that helps the town’s people survive. A potion that Grey suspects she—like her grandfather and father—may not actually need.
By working at her grandfather’s repair shop, sorting the small gears and dusting the curio cabinet inside, Grey has tried to stay unnoticed—or as unnoticed as a tall, strong girl can in a town of diminutive, underdeveloped citizens. Then her best friend, Whit, is caught by the Chemists’ enforcers after trying to protect Grey one night, and after seeing the extent of his punishment, suddenly taking risks seems the only decision she can make.
But with the risk comes the reality that the Chemists know her family’s secret, and the Chemists soon decide to use her for their own purposes. Panicked, Grey retreats to the only safe place she knows—her grandfather’s shop. There, however, a larger secret confronts her when her touch unlocks the old curio cabinet in the corner and reveals a world where porcelain and clockwork people are real. There, she could find the key that may save Whit’s life and also end the Chemists’ dark rule forever.
Thank you to Evangeline and her publisher for this giveaway!
What's up for grabs: Finished Copy of Curio
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Treat yourself to a complete #CelebratingDebutantes2016 experience. Click the image below for the full schedule and links to the posts!