Monday, March 9, 2015

An Author A (Mon)day: Jodi Meadows

I'm fairly certain that readers of this blog know how much I adore Jodi Meadows. Jodi, the author of the incredibly underrated and phenomenal Newsoul trilogy and the upcoming The Orphan Queen, is a wonderful person through and through. She's talented, kind, and smart; the queen of cookies and ferrets; a budding master calligrapher. It's always a pleasure to get the chance to chat with her, as I'll be doing today in honor of The Orphan Queen (which is amazing, by the way, and a 5 star recommendation from me!). Without further ado, let's welcome Jodi back to the blog!

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Alexa: Hi Jodi! As always, a pleasure to have you on the blog. So, let's get things started with an easy question - where did you first get the idea to write The Orphan Queen?

Jodi: The catalyst for the story was something Wilhelmina did as a child, and everything that happened after.  I had this image in my head -- that's a spoiler, so I'm not going to tell you -- and I let it sit there for months before it began forming the story that grew up to be The Orphan Queen. It's actually a scene in the book now (in the latter third, which begins, "I was there when the war began"). 

Alexa: Ah! I love that the first scene you came up with is still a part of the finished novel. Speaking of novels, was it difficult to transition from writing a book with mixed genres to a solid fantasy novel?

Jodi: Not at all! Fantasy is my first love. Most of my stories before Incarnate were straight fantasy, and in spite of the lasers pistols and cars in Incarnate I tend to think of it as a fantasy story, too. 

Alexa: I can totally see the fantasy parts of Incarnate, though I do feel it's a mix of sci-fi/fantasy. Okay, time to get down to the good stuff - who is your favorite character in The Orphan Queen (apart from Wil, obviously) and why?

Jodi: Ohh, this is asking for a rebellion in my head. I have a lot of favorites in this story! But probably Black Knife is the next favorite, after Wilhelmina. I just love a good vigilante. The snarkier the better. 

Alexa: I've got to say - Black Knife is certainly a character who is easy to fall in love with! And yes, snark is always fun... Ahem. Okay, so... What was your favorite thing you had to do for research? (I bet I can guess!)

Jodi: Calligraphy! I took this up to better get a feel for one of Wilhelmina's big talents. (I thought it was probably a better hobby for me than fighting with daggers, or pickpocketing.) I made a ton of beginner mistakes, but those mistakes taught me a lot about what Wil learned in her time doing forgery. 

Alexa: Fighting with daggers could have been interesting, really. A lot more dangerous though! Ok, one last question, and it's a serious one. It seems like both your series (the Newsoul trilogy, and now The Orphan Queen) tackle identity. Is this a deliberate choice on your part? How do you feel about it as a theme in your novels?

Jodi: I have a feeling that identity is actually just my story. When I look at the other stories I've written, they, too, seem to be about identity. It's not a deliberate choice -- it's just how they turn out. But you know, I like it. Teens particularly are in the middle of figuring out just who they are. Characters' searches for identity are familiar and relatable. 

Alexa: I have to say - I rather like it too. It makes for such interesting reflection when you read stories about characters struggling with identity! And with that, this interview comes to an end. Thank you so, so much for answering all my questions, Jodi!

If you want more of Jodi, check out her blog, Twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr.

The Orphan Queen book cover
The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows
Series: The Orphan Queen #1
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: March 10, 2015 (Grab a copy tomorrow!)

Wilhelmina has a hundred identities.

She is a princess. When the Indigo Kingdom conquered her homeland, Wilhelmina and other orphaned children of nobility were taken to Skyvale, the Indigo Kingdom’s capital. Ten years later, they are the Ospreys, experts at stealth and theft. With them, Wilhelmina means to take back her throne.

She is a spy. Wil and her best friend, Melanie, infiltrate Skyvale Palace to study their foes. They assume the identities of nobles from a wraith-fallen kingdom, but enemies fill the palace, and Melanie’s behavior grows suspicious. With Osprey missions becoming increasingly dangerous and their leader more unstable, Wil can’t trust anyone.

She is a threat. Wraith is the toxic by-product of magic, and for a century using magic has been forbidden. Still the wraith pours across the continent, reshaping the land and animals into fresh horrors. Soon it will reach the Indigo Kingdom. Wilhelmina’s magic might be the key to stopping the wraith, but if the vigilante Black Knife discovers Wil’s magic, she will vanish like all the others.

Why should you read this book? First of all, Jodi's writing is phenomenal. She has a style that's simple, yet eloquent, and every successive book I've read from her employs that style with such a deft hand. The plot is also really great, and well-executed. Plus, this story has a great main character in Wilhelmina, who is strong, capable and yet vulnerable, flawed. As a protagonist, she is certainly someone I admired and rooted for! And then, of course, there's the masked vigilante Black Knife - who can resist a masked vigilante? For more reasons to read this novel, check out my review.

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