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Debut Author Interview: Rebecca Coffindaffer and Crownchasers Giveaway

Happy Monday Everyone! Today I’m excited to have debut author Rebecca Coffindaffer here to share about her YA space opera Crownchasers. It sounds like it’s got fantastic space world building and a compelling plot with high stakes. I’m looking forward to reading it.

Follower News

Before I get to my interview with Rebecca, I have Follower News.

Patricia Josephine recently released Influenced, a romance and fantasy short story collection. Here's a

Influencers are the voices that whisper in our ears. Tiny Angels and Devils sitting on our shoulders and guiding our choices. They are sworn to thwart the other. It is their duty.

Or so they thought…

And here are a few links:

Interview With Rebecca Coffindaffer

Here’s a blurb of Crownchasers from Goodreads:

A deadly competition for the throne will determine more than just the fate of the empire in this riveting duology opener, perfect for fans of The Hunger GamesAurora Rising, and Three Dark Crowns.

Alyssa Farshot has spent her whole life trying to outrun her family legacy. Her mother sacrificed everything to bring peace to the quadrant, and her uncle has successfully ruled as emperor for decades. But the last thing Alyssa wants is to follow in their footsteps as the next in line for the throne. Why would she choose to be trapped in a palace when she could be having wild adventures exploring a thousand-and-one planets in her own ship?

But when Alyssa’s uncle becomes gravely ill, his dying wish surprises the entire galaxy. Instead of naming her as his successor, he calls for a crownchase, the first in seven centuries. Representatives from each of the empire’s prime families—including Alyssa—are thrown into a race to find the royal seal, which has been hidden somewhere in the empire. The first to find the seal wins the throne.

Alyssa’s experience as an explorer makes her the favorite to win the crown she never wanted. And though she doesn’t want to be empress, her duty to her uncle compels her to participate in this one last epic adventure. But when the chase turns deadly, it’s clear that more than just the fate of the empire is at stake. Alyssa is on her most important quest yet—and only time will tell if she’ll survive it.

Hi Rebecca! Thanks so much for joining us.

1. Tell us about yourself and how you became a writer.

I started writing when I was pretty young — about seven or eight years old — and it was always just something that I did. I have notebooks full of all kinds of stories going back years, things I scribbled away at during school and summers, and I’m not quite sure when but somewhere along the way it just became the goal. To get published. To be an author.

 2. That's great that you've written since you were a kid. Where did you get the idea for Crownchasers? 

I tend to either build out a story main character first or world building first. Crownchasers was definitely the former, and it kind of all spiraled out of the idea of the character of Alyssa Farshot. I needed the challenge of doing something voice-driven, something in first person, and came around to this concept of a fast-talking, gender-flipped Han Solo or space Indiana Jones. And then it was just a matter of sitting down and brainstorming what world is this character in, what’s her place in it, what are the big problems she’s facing and what are her conflicts about it. So it all kind of came from there.

3. I’ve read that your story includes awesome alien worlds and cool technology. What was your world building process like and what advice do you have for others who write science fiction?

 Most of my world building is a brainstorming process, a lot like my plotting. I usually start with a single idea or visual to give me a jumping off point and then I just start writing out questions for myself — and answering them — as I go along. So I’ll take a planet concept and start asking myself: who lives there? What does the landscape look like? How do they live? What are their customs? And so on and so on. I think it’s important to have fun with it. I think it’s also important — and something I’m definitely working on — to push it farther than what we know here on our world. Get weird with it. And then, get even weirder.

4. That's a great way to develop a world. You decided to write a duology instead of a trilogy. Had you always planned it this way? How do you think the fact that Crownchasers was the first of two instead of three books affected your plotting process?

I think, initially, I thought it had the potential to be a trilogy, but it sold as a duology, and I honestly think that was the best thing. Because there’s a lot to explore in this world and a lot of moving pieces, but plotting it as a duology meant that I had to keep a strong focus on what was important, what was at the core of these two books. There’s not as much space for side quests, as much as I love a good side quest, so I trim it down to just the questions I wanted to tackle and the adventures that needed to happen in this specific frame of time.

 5. Yes, I think the strong focus is a plus of a two-book series. Alyssa sounds like an adventurer who must make some really hard decisions about her life and her role in the kingdom. Did you understand all of her personal challenges when you started the book or did they develop as you wrote her story? And was it hard for you to weave in her internal character conflicts into a fast-paced story?

Once the idea of her being the niece of the emperor, of her coming from one of these imperial families

but not having ambition for the throne necessarily — once all that came about, I knew pretty early on I wanted to tackle this question of personal responsibility in a system of power. Because if she was just someone who didn’t want to be empress and didn’t care about imperial politics, then the choice is simple: she can just flunk herself out of the race and go about her life. I wanted her to be faced with this question of: what does someone in her position in the galaxy have a responsibility to do? What does she owe as part of this greater society she’s in? I think those are the questions of the whole duology, really.

It is definitely a fast-paced story, but luckily, space is big! So there are naturally occurring moments when she is traveling across multiple star systems where she’d have a moment to stop, to think, to process everything that’s happening and deal with these internal challenges to her old self.

6. Your agent is Lara Perkins. How did she become your agent and what was your road to publication like?

I signed with Lara in January 2016. I had a book I’d been querying to adult scifi and fantasy agents for several months, and I had an author friend — Tessa Gratton — read it for her input. She said, “You should try this as YA, and you should definitely send it to Lara Perkins.” And she gave me a recommendation because Lara was closed to queries at that time, and Lara and I just…hit it off. She has an incredible editorial eye and helped me make take that book to the next level. We didn’t end up selling it, but working with her has helped me hone my voice and pushed me to become an even better writer.

7. You were a Pitch Wars mentor in 2019. Share about your involvement in Pitch Wars and how it’s helped your own writing.

 I was actually a mentor in the very first PitchWars ever in 2012, and I was so excited to come back to it after years away and have a chance again to see all the amazing things being written right now. I paired up with Michelle Wong this year, who’s so freaking talented and imaginative, and I hope more people get to experience her stories very soon. I think mostly PitchWars has helped me in terms of building connections. Writing can be so lonely, and PitchWars, whether you’re a mentor or an applicant, is a chance to find a place in a larger community that can help you keep going when the grind of publishing gets you down.

 8. How are you marketing your book in light of the pandemic and stay at home orders? What advice do you have for other authors whose debut book is releasing in the next year?

 It is definitely a WEIRD year to try and carve out a debut platform. Honestly, I think it’s weird for every author to try and shout about an upcoming book when the world feels like such a hot mess. Back in the spring, I really scrambled to try to do EVERYTHING. Like, I was gonna launch a YouTube channel and a virtual bookfest and hustle to get involved with every possible thing ever in the world, and I quickly found out that that made me stressed and unhappy. So these days, I’m just doing the marketing stuff that makes me happy. Like this interview! J And I’m trash for swag, so I had a lot of fun putting together and launching a preorder campaign (LINK: https://rebeccacoffindaffer.com/crownchasers-preorder-campaign/). But beyond that, the best thing I can do both for my career and for my readers is to focus on making book two the best it can be and dreaming up whatever project is next for me after Crownchasers.

 9. I really like your attitude about marketing. I saw on your website that you are on Twitter and Instagram. Which is your favorite social media platform for connecting with other readers, librarians, and writers? Why?

 I think I’ve done most of my connecting on Twitter. Partly because I’ve just been on there for so much longer, and partly because I’m a little better at it! I can tweet all day, but I agonize over what/how to get a good post together on Instagram. But it’s such a great platform with amazing people — especially all the talented bookstagrammers — so I love to go on, to see all the incredible visuals. Basically, I’m an excellent Instagram lurker.

 10. What are you working on now?

 Right now the main focus is on revising and editing book 2 of the duology. It doesn’t have an official title yet, but it comes out in fall of 2021, so I’m working on perfecting it with my editors right now. I have some other project ideas on the backburner — more fast-paced science fantasy, more adventurous girls — but mostly I just want to make sure I get the ending of Alyssa’s story right.

 Thanks for sharing all your advice, Rebecca. You can find Rebecca at:


Giveaway Details

Rebecca has generously offered a hardback of Crownchasers for a giveaway. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower of my blog (via the follower gadget, email, or bloglovin’ on the right sidebar) and leave a comment by September 26th. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter the contest. Please be sure I have your email address.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog and/or follow me on Twitter, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry for each. You must be 13 years old or older to enter. This giveaway is International to wherever Book Depository ships for free.

Upcoming Interviews and Giveaways

Wednesday, September 16th I have an agent spotlight interview with Erin Casey and a query critique giveaway

Monday, September 21st I have an interview with debut author Laura Stegman and a giveaway of her MG fantasy Summer of Luck

Monday, September 28th I have an agent spotlight interview with Lauren Bieker and a query critique giveaway

Wednesday, October 7th I have an interview with Jennifer Nielsen and a giveaway of The Captive Kingdom and my IWSG post

Monday, October 12th I have an interview with Sherry Ellis as part of her MG adventure Squirt's Mayan Adventure blog tour

Monday, October 19 I have a guest post by debut author G.Z. Schmidt and her agent Adria Goetz and a query critique giveaway by Adria and a giveaway of No Ordinary Thing by Adria

Hope to see you on Monday!


Mason Canyon said...

It does sound like Rebecca has created a fascinating world with an intriguing story. Congrats to Rebecca and Patricia.

Jemi Fraser said...

Crowd Chasers sounds like a whole lot of fun!! Good luck with it!
Influenced is a fun read - I enjoyed it!!

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

World-building for science fiction would be fun! Congratulations, Rebecca and Patricia, too!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

A space Indiana Jones - how fun! And some stories don't need three books to be told well.

Joanne R. Fritz said...

Wonderful interview! I was most interested in Rebecca's answer to Question 8. This is such a difficult time to be launching a book.

I also love Instagram but hardly ever post. Like Rebecca, I'm mostly a lurker there. Lots of beautiful visuals!

Liz A. said...

It sounds like something I'd enjoy reading.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

You have to stick to what marketing both works and makes you happy or you'll be miserable.

nashvillecats2 said...

Lovely interview Natalie and congrats to Rebecca on her book.

Take care.

Danielle H. said...

I have this book on my wishlist already as it sounds so amazing with an excellent world. Congratulations! I shared about this on tumblr: https://yesreaderwriterpoetmusician.tumblr.com/post/629264124509077504/debut-author-interview-rebecca-coffindaffer-and

Sherry Ellis said...

I agree about it being a weird year to release a book. It is probably even harder when you're a debut author. Congratulations on the book!

Max @ Completely Full Bookshelf said...

I appreciate Coffindaffer's thoughts on publicizing a book during this debacle of a year—I don't know how anyone does it! Thanks for the awesome interview, as always!

Mary Preston said...

A great interview. This sounds exciting.


Megan said...

This book sounds incredible!!! Thank you for the chance ladies! :)
GFC: Megan S.
Email: megan(dot)clarsach(at)gmail(dot)com
Tweet: https://twitter.com/WordsThatStay1/status/1305825629665996800

Angie Quantrell said...

Wonderful! This sounds like a great read! Congrats!

I will Tweet this post. :)

tetewa said...

New author for me, this sounds like a great read! tWarner419(at)aol(dot)com

Sandra Cox said...

Both books sound wonderful. Thanks for sharing.

Rosi said...

It must be strange to be releasing a book in this of all years. Thanks for another interesting post. I will pass on the giveaway. Too many books. Too little time.

DMS said...

Congratulations to Rebecca! Sounds like an exciting book and the cover is a real eye catcher. Wishing her the best of luck! :)

Anonymous said...

Sounds awesome! I know sci-fi has had a hard time of it recently in YA lit, but I adore that genre, so I hope we see more success in the future.