If you haven’t had a chance to meet Kiersten White you’re seriously missing out! She is so witty and fun to listen to. She’s so passionate about writing and has great insight for aspiring writers. I was so excited to hear she would be making a stop here while on vacation visiting family. I first met her last year for the release of And I Darken so I was even more ecstatic to get my copy of Now I Rise signed! This series is a dark gender swap YA Historical Fiction about Vlad the Impaler, or the real Dracula!
First, if you ever get a chance to attend one of Kiersten’s events make sure you’re ready to laugh so hard your cheeks hurt! She is so hilarious in her banter. I enjoy listening to her speak.
One of her favorite historical figures she came across in her research for this book is Theodora, Empress of the Byzantine Empire. Her intelligent and keen political sense made her Justinian’s most trusted adviser and that is why he made her his equal, empress to his empire. Having a powerful, intelligent, and fierce woman in a state of power makes her story important to the history of women in society.
When asked if it was difficult to write a gender swapped story about an unconventional female main character Kiersten responded with, “It was freeing to write a woman who does what she wants to get what she wants despite societies norms”. I loved this answer because Lada is not a likable character and we don’t always see that. She defies what how a woman should act in a society filled, and run, by men.
She was also asked about her experience in writing an LGBT character in a book with this particular content and her answer, like above, was perfect. Kiersten felt that it was “important to bring in characters that readers can see themselves in.” This answer didn’t just apply to Radu’s sexual orientation but also the religious aspects of this book. I think Kiersten did a great job of portraying these two themes in a book with respect.
Kiersten works in concentrated bursts and with having three projects coming out next year time management is key.
She only works on one project at a time and although she tends to be more of a pancer, she was definitely a plotter when it came to The Conqueror’s Saga.
The advice she has for other writers is to not forget to give yourself creative downtime. To avoid getting burnt out it is important to take time for yourself, your family, or hobbies that help relieve the stresses of writing full-time.
She wrote her first middle grade novel Beanstalker and Other Hilarious Scarytales in between writing this series because she needed a way to break away from the dark tones of these books. She enjoyed taking the time to explore another genre she’d not written before and tries to do that when it comes to writing.
She also reads mostly adult horror.
Have you read The Conqueror’s Saga yet? What other books by Kiersten White have you read? Will you be adding this YA Historical Fictions to your TBR?