Risingshadow has had the honour of interviewing Lauren Roy.

Lauren M. Roy spends her days selling books to bookstores, and her nights scratching out stories of her own. She is also a freelance writer for tabletop roleplaying games. Lauren lives in southeastern Massachusetts with her husband, their cats, and the ghosts of houseplants she forgets to water. Her first novel, Night Owls, was published by Ace in February 2014.

The Fire Children was published by Ravenstone Press in June 2015.

Click here to visit the author's official website.

Blurb for The Fire Children

The Fire Children is a stunning new YA fantasy from upcoming author Lauren Roy. With sublime world-building, this story of bravery, tradition and magic is a beautiful, original new tale with the spirit of Ursula K le Guin’s Earthsea series.

Fifteen years have passed since Mother Sun last sent her children to walk the world. When the eclipse comes, the people retreat to the caverns beneath Kaladim, passing the days in total darkness while the Fire Children explore their world. It’s death to even look upon them, the stories say.

Despite the warnings, Yulla gives in to her curiosity and ventures to the surface. There she witnesses the Witch Women - who rumors say worship dead Father Sea, rather than Mother Sun - capturing one of the Children and hauling her away. Yulla isn’t the only one who saw the kidnapping; Ember, the last of the Fire Children, reveals himself to Yulla and implores her to help.

Trapped up above and hunted by the witches and the desert wind, Yulla and Ember must find a way free his siblings and put a stop to the Witch Womens’ plans, before they can use the Fire Children to bind Mother Sun herself.

AN INTERVIEW WITH LAUREN ROY

- Could you tell us something about yourself in your own words?

When I’m not scratching out books of my own, my day job is selling books to bookstores. I’m a sales rep for a publisher, so I see a lot of different sides of the book business. Most of my customers are independent bookstores, which feels a lot like home to me – my first job was in a small indie bookstore. I’m also a gamer (video and tabletop), and have done some freelance writing for RPGs. Oh, and I’m learning to play guitar. I am at least at the point where the cats have stopped yowling when I’m plucking away.

- How did you become a fantasy author?

That’s a tough one! I’m not sure it was ever a conscious decision. I like writing in different genres, so whatever the story calls for is where I go. But I did notice very early on in my writing that I’m terrible at making up stories without some kind of speculative element. I’ve tried, and the results were awful. Which is funny, because I do enjoy reading books set in the real world. I just can’t write ‘em.

- Who or what has been the biggest influence on your writing?

My aunt made me a really neat shadow-box with books from some of the writers who influenced me in it, all surrounding a copy of Night Owls. It’s got Stephen King (The Stand), Robert R. McCammon (Boy’s Life), Christopher Moore (Lamb), Neil Gaiman (American Gods), and, hilariously, one of The Baby-Sitters Club titles from Ann M. Martin – she must have bought me half of the run when I was growing up. I realized that aside from that last one, that, my god, it’s full of dudes. I’m tempted to crack it open and add Madeleine L’Engle’s A Swiftly Tilting Planet,  Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising, and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.

- You've written two urban fantasy novels (Night Owls, Ace Books/2014 and Grave Matters, Ace Books/2015) for adults, but your latest novel, The Fire Children (Ravenstone/June 2015), is a young adult fantasy novel. How did you come up with the idea of writing a young adult fantasy novel? Do you read young adult fantasy novels?

I love reading YA fantasy! There are so many excellent books out there right now, I need more hours in the day to read all the ones that have caught my eye.

In the same way that I don’t lock myself into any particular genre, I also don’t mind moving between age ranges. The Fire Children originally started out as a short story, which I probably would have geared towared the adult market, but the more time I spent with Yulla, the more I realized that a) oh hey, I’m writing a novel, and b) as Yulla’s voice became more clear, it was a YA novel.

- Could you tell us something about The Fire Children? What kind of a fantasy novel is it?

Every few years, Sister Moon visits Mother Sun, and during the solar eclipse that occurs, Mother Sun sends her children down to the city of Kaladim. The residents of Kaladim retreat to the caves below the city, where they live in total darkness while the Fire Children explore up above. Curiosity gets the better of a girl named Yulla, and she finds herself trapped aboveground with with the last of the Fire Children.

I would consider it an adventure-fantasy. Yulla and Ember have to outrun and outsmart the Witch Women, who have captured the rest of the Fire Children.

- Does The Fire Children have magic in it?

There is magic in the book, but Yulla, the main character, doesn’t wield any. I liked the idea of her being surrounded by it and having to figure out a way to work around it.

- Is The Fire Children a standalone novel or part of a bigger series? Will there be any sequels?

At the moment it’s a standalone. I’ve toyed with the idea of a prequel telling the story of Mother Sun and Sister Moon, or seeing what Ember and Yulla might get up to someday in the future, but there aren’t any plans just yet.

- How would you advertise The Fire Children to readers who are thinking of reading it?

I’d say it’s a fantasy adventure, featuring a resourceful heroine and a boy literally made out of fire. How cool is that? (Or maybe I should say “how hot?”)

- What are you currently working on?

Right now I’m working on a YA science fiction book about a group of kids on a transport ship. Sometimes the goods they transport are legal. Sometimes, not so much.

- Is there anything you'd like to add?

Thank you for hosting me! I will be at GenCon in Indianapolis, IN, July 30th-August 2nd and WorldCon in Spokane, WA, August 19th-23rd. For anyone attending, come stop by my panels and say hello!

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