Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

  • Caroline Trussell Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 5/20/2024
  • Jenna Satterthwaite Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 6/10/2024
  • Bethany Weaver Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 6/26/2024

Agent Spotlight & Agent Spotlight Updates

  • Agent Spotlights & Interviews have been updated through the letter "K" as of 3/28/2024 and many have been reviewed by the agents. Look for more information as I find the time to update more agent spotlights.

Debut Author Interview: Emily Victoria and This Golden Flame Giveaway

Happy Monday Everyone! Today I’m excited to have debut author Emily Victoria here to share about her YA fantasy This Golden Flame. It sounds like a real page turner with fantastic world building that makes me excited to read it.

Here’s a blurb from Goodreads:

Orphaned and forced to serve her country’s ruling group of scribes, Karis wants nothing more than to find her brother, long ago shipped away. But family bonds don’t matter to the Scriptorium, whose sole focus is unlocking the magic of an ancient automaton army.

In her search for her brother, Karis does the seemingly impossible—she awakens a hidden automaton. Intelligent, with a conscience of his own, Alix has no idea why he was made. Or why his father—their nation’s greatest traitor—once tried to destroy the automatons.

Suddenly, the Scriptorium isn’t just trying to control Karis; it’s hunting her. Together with Alix, Karis must find her brother…and the secret that’s held her country in its power for centuries.

Hi Emily! Thanks so much for joining us.

Thank you for having me!

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

I’m one of those people who has been writing for as long as I can remember. That being said, I seriously started thinking about pursuing writing as a career during university. Though I didn’t take writing as a degree, that was when I really started trying to write more diligently and to understand the industry.

2. It’s great that you’ve written for so long. Where did you get the idea for This Golden Flame?

I knew I wanted to write a book roughly based in Ancient Greece and then I had the idea for these two characters, one human and one not, who had to work together to escape and who had to learn to trust each other despite their differences. That was really when This Golden Flame was born. Even after many edits it’s still those two characters, Karis and Alix, who form the heart of the story.

3. Readers have said that your story is a real page turner that they couldn’t put down. Tell us about your plotting process and how you added tension to your story.

I’m definitely a plotter all the way, from the very first draft. Typically, I first brainstorm the big moments that my plot will turn around. These are moments like the inciting incident, the midpoint, and the climax, for example. I like deciding these moments first to make sure that I have something to drive my writing and plot and character development towards. After that I’ll grab a stack of cue cards and fill in the holes, making sure that all of the scenes are working towards those big moments.

4. It also sounds like your world building was really fantastic. How did you develop the world that Karis lives in?

Worldbuilding is one of my favorite elements of writing (if not my favorite element). With this world in particular I did a lot of research on Ancient Greece, and then I added my fantastical elements on top of that. When planning a new world, I tend to do a lot of freestyle brainstorming where I just take a notebook and write down all of the cool things that I could put in my world. Once I think I have enough to work with I’ll start refining until I have a world that I feel really breathes on the page.

5. That’s a great idea to brainstorm idea. It’s interesting that you did not create a love triangle (like other readers, I’m glad of this), or much romance at all in your story. Instead, your focus was on family. It’s uncommon to not have a big romance between the main character and another character in YA fantasies. What made you change the focus in your story? Did it make it harder to get an agent or a publishing contract?

Karis is aroace, just like me. So from the very inception of this story, I knew that there wouldn’t be a

central romance to this story. Instead, I chose to focus on friendship and family, because those relationships fit the character and fit me.

I will admit that at first I was worried that a young adult fantasy that didn’t center a romance wouldn’t find a home. I was so glad that didn’t turn out to be true. I would love to see even more of this in YA fantasy, because family and friendships are so central to teens.

6. I’m glad that it didn’t turn out to be true too. How long did it take you to write your first draft and then the revisions you felt your story needed before you started querying? What did you learn from the process?

This Golden Flame actually wasn’t the book I queried with. I wrote it while I was already agented. And it was definitely the fastest I had ever written a book. I don’t remember the exact timeline, but I think I took around 4-5 months to plan and write the first draft, and around the same to do revisions before it went on submission. Through that process I learned how important it was to take the chance and write the story you love.

7. Your agent is Rebecca Strauss. How did she become your agent and what was your road to publication like?

Rebecca became my agent through querying. After reading my query, she requested to see the book and then she asked if she could set up a call with me. She is honestly just so amazing and it’s been wonderful working with her. We didn’t end up selling the original novel that I queried with, but that allowed me to write This Golden Flame, which is truly the story of my heart, and it found its home at Inkyard.

8. I saw that you did a preorder campaign where readers could enter by preordering your book or asking their local library to order it. I’ve seen other debut authors do a similar preorder campaign. It sounds brilliant to me with the two ways to enter. How has your preorder campaign gone?

I’ve been really happy with it so far. It was wonderful being able to return to the world of This Golden Flame for a short story, especially since it’s from the point of view of a side character. And it’s just been so heartwarming seeing all of the submissions from people who have bought or requested my book. I hope that they all enjoy the story.

9. How are you marketing This Golden Flame in light of the pandemic? What advice do you have for other aspiring writers and authors releasing books on promoting their books?

Marketing during a pandemic has certainly been interesting. But then again, as this is my debut novel, I don’t really have anything to compare it to. I do love that more events, book launches, etc have moved online. It means that I can participate in things that perhaps I wouldn’t have had the chance to during other times.

As for advice for other aspiring writers on promoting books, I would say to focus on those marketing initiatives that personally make you excited. There’s no guarantee of what will move the needle, so to speak, so do what makes you happy. For me, I really wanted to do a preorder campaign and get some book swag designed for example, so that’s what I focused on.

10. What are working on now?

My next book is titled Silver in the Mist (which is unrelated to my debut, despite the fact that they both have a metal in their name). It’s about a spy who lives on a divided continent with dying magic. She is sent to the neighboring country to capture a magical caster and bring her back, but things do not go as planned.

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Emily. You can find Emily at www.avictoriantale.com or at @avictoriantale on Instagram and Twitter.

Giveaway Details

Emily has generously offered a hardback of This Golden Flame 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 February 27th. 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 U.S. and Canada

Upcoming Interviews and Giveaways

Tuesday, February 16th I’m participating in the Wish Big Giveaway Hop

Wednesday, February 17th I have an agent spotlight interview with Pam Gruber and a query critique giveaway

Monday, February 22th I have a guest post by debut author Sam Taylor and her agent Allison Hellegers and a giveaway of Sam’s YA fantasy We Are the Fire and a query critique giveaway by Allison

Tuesday, March 2nd I’m participating in the Let’s Get Lucky Giveaway Hop

Wednesday, March 3rd I have an interview with debut author Tirzah Price here to share about her YA historical mystery Pride and Premeditation

Monday, March 8th I have an interview with author Donna Galanti and a giveaway of her MG fantasy Unicorn Island

Monday, March 15th I have a guest post by debut author Merriam Sarcia Saunders and her agent Caryn Wiseman with a query critique giveaway by Caryn and a giveaway of her MG contemporary Trouble with a Tiny t by Merriman

Tuesday, March 16th I'm participating in the Chasing Rainbows Giveaway Hop

Wednesday, March 17th I have an agent spotlight interview with Jennifer Herrington and a query critique giveaway

Hope to see you tomorrow!




nashvillecats2 said...

Wonderful interview Natalie, what a good book, good luck to Emily , sure to be a success.
Take care.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

That's neat that Emily plots out the turning points first instead of plotting straight through the book. Sounds like a great story!

Joanne R. Fritz said...

Yay for another of #The21ders! Emily's book sounds so wonderful! I've been trying to read as many of the MG debuts as I can, so I haven't yet had a chance to read any of the YA novels. I'll get there eventually. :)

Sandra Cox said...

This does sound like a page turner! Congrats to Emily!
Natalie, hope you have a productive pleasant week.
Stay safe. Be well.

Donna K. Weaver said...

Nice interview and congrats to Emily. The blurb reminded me a little of An Ember in the Ashes but with its own twist.

Megan said...

This book looks amazing!
(Not entering the giveaway :) )

Liz A. said...

Yay for no love triangle. While a romance subplot can be nice, it seems to be the end all and be all for YA, and that does get old.

ken ohl said...

This looks so intriguing

DonnaGalanti said...

Love the idea of this story--especially all the worldbuilding elements. Congrats on its release, Emily!

Tonja Drecker said...

Sounds interesting...and I love the cover. Congrats!

Jamie Krakover said...

This book sounds really interesting and different from a lot of other things I've read. Excited to check it out.

Debra Branigan said...

I enjoyed the interview and learning about your writing process. It sounds refreshing not to have a romance subplot. Best wishes on your new novel. I did share on twitter (@BraniganDebra)

Danielle H. said...

Great interview! After reading, I must read this book--I enjoy fantasy and finding one that centers on family and friendship is exciting. I always enjoy family as a big part in the books I read. Congrats on this beautiful book. I shared on tumblr: https://yesreaderwriterpoetmusician.tumblr.com/post/643300752750706688/debut-author-interview-emily-victoria-and-this

tetewa said...

I love hearing how debut others go about getting their book published and hearing how they come up with their concepts for writing it! Sounds like another good read, congrats on your release! tWarner419(at)aol(dot)com

Rosi said...

Another wonderful, informative interview. Thanks! I will pass on the giveaway. Buried in books.

Fundy Blue said...

I had to google "aroace." This sounds like a fascinating book. I'm buried in books, but I'll enter the giveaway. Good luck to Emily, and thanks for another great interview, Natalie!

LadyVampire2u said...

Congrats on this new release. And I loved the interview. I'm definitely interested to give this book a try. Thanks for the chance. LadyVampire2u AT gmail DOT com

Kasey @ The Story Sanctuary said...

Great interview! I loved hearing more about how the story developed. :D

Leela said...

I'm an email subscriber.

Angie Quantrell said...

Congrats, Emily! This sounds like a real page turner! I look forward to reading it.

I will tweet this, Natalie,and I follow you on Twitter. :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the giveaway!