Today I’m thrilled to have debut author Rosalyn Eves here to share about her YA fantasy BLOOD ROSE REBELLION. Rosalyn is a long-time follower so I’m super excited to help celebrate her success. And BLOOD ROSE REBELLION sounds like it has a fantastic plot, and I love the Hungarian setting.
Here’s a blurb from Goodreads:
Sixteen-year-old Anna Arden is barred from society by a defect of blood. Though her family is part of the Luminate, powerful users of magic, she is Barren, unable to perform the simplest spells. Anna would do anything to belong. But her fate takes another course when, after inadvertently breaking her sister’s debutante spell—an important chance for a highborn young woman to show her prowess with magic—Anna finds herself exiled to her family’s once powerful but now crumbling native Hungary.
Her life might well be over.
In Hungary, Anna discovers that nothing is quite as it seems. Not the people around her, from her aloof cousin Noémi to the fierce and handsome Romani Gábor. Not the society she’s known all her life, for discontent with the Luminate is sweeping the land. And not her lack of magic. Isolated from the only world she cares about, Anna still can’t seem to stop herself from breaking spells.
As rebellion spreads across the region, Anna’s unique ability becomes the catalyst everyone is seeking. In the company of nobles, revolutionaries, and Romanies, Anna must choose: deny her unique power and cling to the life she’s always wanted, or embrace her ability and change that world forever.
Hi Rosalyn! Thanks so much for joining us.
1. Tell us about yourself and how you became a writer.
Most of my childhood was spent just outside Bozeman, MT, and I still live in the Rocky Mountains, only now my family is in Southern Utah. When I was in fifth grade, my teacher praised my writing and I realized for the first time that a) I might be good at writing and b) writing was something that grown-up people did for a living.
But becoming a writer wasn’t straight forward. Even though I wrote a lot in junior high and high school, that writing never really went anywhere. In college, I majored in English (I even went to graduate school), and while I continued to write, it wasn’t creative writing. It wasn’t until my second child was born that I realized if I didn’t start writing again, that book that I wanted to publish someday was never going to happen. That was seven years ago.
2. Awesome you got an inkling in 5th grade, but no, it's not that easy, is it? Where did you get the idea for your book?
A lot of fantasy stories follow a chosen one narrative, and while I love many of those stories, I’ve always wondered what it would be like to *not* be chosen. To, in fact, lack the powers that your peers have. The experience of not fitting in is a very common teen experience (at least, it was for me!) and I wanted to see how that would play out if magic was the defining factor of in versus out. Also, I love the nineteenth century, and I lived for a while in Hungary, so when I was trying to decide where and when to set the story, it seemed like a natural fit.
3. I love the idea of the "not chosen" protagonist. I read that you lived in Hungary during your twenties. How did this help you in creating your setting? What research did you do?
I think having spent a lot of time in Hungary helped me when I visualized the world I was trying to
4. What was your world building like? What advice do you have for other writers building a new world that is also historical in their stories?
Because I wanted to create a world that felt authentic to 19th century Hungary, outside of the magic, I did a lot of research. Even for purely imaginary worlds, however, I think researching governments, history, political movements, etc., can give you a feel for the kind of details and messy contradictions that ground real life.
As far as layering magic into the world, Brandon Sanderson has some really helpful laws of magic on his website—the most helpful one for me was that magic has to have some cost. Thinking about magic in terms of access (who gets to use magic, why, how do they maintain control over magic as a resource) also helped me flesh out the magic system in my world. But probably the most helpful thing was having readers who poked holes in the magic system and asked lots of questions about how things work—my editor was especially good at this.
5. Yes, I've heard often the advice that magic must have a cost, and it makes perfect sense. I already feel empathy for and like Anna from reading the Goodreads blurb because she sounds like an underdog. Did she come easily to you or was her character development harder to get right? Why do you think this was?
Anna’s character was one of the first to really come to me—once I knew that she was an outsider and that she was driven and ambitious (she wants to be part of that world), the other aspects of her character came to me pretty easily. I see a lot of my teen self in her (though she is more decisive than I ever was, as well as more outgoing), which made it easier for me to understand her.
6. Your agent is Josh Adams, one of the top agents I’d love to have. Share how he became your agent and the role contests played in you receiving offers of representation.
I actually met Josh at a writing conference before I ever queried him, in a critique workshop, and he requested to see the manuscript when I’d finished revising. Before I got to that point, however, I got into pitch wars and the amazing Virginia Boecker helped me trim my manuscript and improve the pacing. After the contest was over, I sent the manuscript to contest agents who had requested, as well as to Josh. Although Josh wasn’t one of the participating agents, I’m convinced that being in Pitch Wars helped me craft a manuscript he was willing to represent.
7. For people who don’t know much about the Pitch Wars and the Adventures in YA Publishing contests you entered, tell us about them and why you think they can be helpful to writers trying to find an agent.
I’m a big fan of online contests, even if you don’t win (or even get in). Most online contests have three parts to them: an initial vetting process where you compete to participate in the contest, a second portion where you get feedback from participating mentors and then revise your entry, and a final part where your entry is posted online for agents to read and request from.
When I first started querying (not Blood Rose Rebellion), I stalked online contests and was shocked by the quality of the work I read. Contests helped me recognize the caliber of other work out there, and made me set my own bar much higher, in terms of what was ready to query. I also met some of my favorite writing people by interacting with other potential entrants. Online contests can be a great way to meet other writers.
Of course, getting into contests like Pitch Wars and Adventures in YA Publishing was also helpful because of the feedback I got on my novel. The positive feedback on my opening chapter in Adventures in YA Publishing gave me confidence to query widely after the contest was done, and of course Pitch Wars gave me feedback on the entire book, which made for a much tighter story.
Online contests can also get you in front of agents who are closed to queries—or agents you might not have thought to query on your own (both of those things happened to me in Pitch Wars).
8. That's great that you got so much out of the contests you participated in. What was the submission process like?
Submission was surprisingly stressful! I thought querying was hard, with the constant threat of rejection, but with submission, you have that same threat of rejection and even less control over what’s happening (since your agent acts as an intermediary and sends out all the submissions). I broke out in stress hives while I was on sub. That said, I was pretty lucky: my book sold about a month after we went on submission. This is mostly due to Josh, who has great editorial contacts, and who also tends to set a deadline for editors when on submission.
9. What have you learned about marketing your book from watching other authors debut and how has it shaped your own marketing plans?
The main thing I’ve learned is that most of us don’t know what we’re doing, and I’m no exception! Okay, I’m kidding. (Sort of). I’m still figuring out marketing as I go, but seeing what other authors do has been tremendously helpful in terms of getting ideas and figuring out what I want to do. Essentially that boiled down to some basic swag (postcards, bookmarks, pins) and a preorder incentive (which you can see here: http://www.rosalyneves.com/blood-rose-rebellion-preorders/)
Author Beth Revis said something incredibly helpful to a group of debut authors that I try to keep in mind: it’s difficult for an author, especially a debut, to have the same marketing reach as the publisher, so it’s best to focus on the things you enjoy and work on writing the next book.
10. That's great advice from Beth. And you're making it sound easier by boiling it down to a few things. What are you working on now?
I’m finishing up edits on book two and drafting book three—both of which have been more daunting than I expected! But they’ve also been a lot of fun. I can’t wait to share book two with readers in a few more months, and I’m hoping that book three will come together as well.
Thanks for sharing all your advice, Rosalyn. You can find Rosalyn at:
Rosalyn is generously offering a copy of BLOOD ROSE REBELLION for a giveaway. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment through March 25th. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter either contest.
If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. You must be 13 years old or older to enter. This is an International giveaway.
Here's what's coming up:
Tuesday March 14th I'm participating in the Lucky Leprechaun Giveaway Hop
Monday March 20th I have a guest post by debut author Alyson Gerber and her agent Kate McKean with a giveaway of her MG contemporary BRACED and a query critique giveaway by Kate McKean
Wednesday March 22nd I have an agent spotlight with Kristy Hunter and a query critique giveaway
Monday, March 27th I have an interview with debut author Sally Pla and a giveaway of her MG contemporary THE SOMEDAY BIRDS
Monday, April 3rd I have an interview with debut author Patricia Bailey and a giveaway of her MG historical fiction THE TRAGICALLY TRUE ADVENTURE OF KIT DONOVAN
Wednesday, April 5th I have an IWSG post and a guest post by Christina Farley and giveaway of her new MG fantasy THE PRINCESS & THE PAGE
Hope to see you tomorrow!