I am so super excited to kick off a series of posts that will happen over the next few months. Back in September I was contacted by a group called Class of 2k19 Books. They wanted to see if I was interested in working with any of the debut authors on their list. I was immediately taken with quite a few and wrote back, maybe scream shouted, that I would love to be a part of it and so began my journey.
I won’t lie, I was in a blogging slump and having this new blood reach out helped a lot. It added a spark to my blogging life that was missing and I can’t wait to share my thoughts and some guest posts from these fabulous ladies that I have been working with for the past few months.
For my third debut author I have Victoria Lee (who I’m happy to say I got to meet at ALA at her very first signing!!!!), the author of The Fever King, with us today answering some of my questions.
1) First off, congratulations on your debut! It truly was fantastic. Where did the idea for The Fever King come from? Was it something you have been thinking about for a long time?
It took me a really long to figure out what story I was actually trying to tell with The Fever King. I wrote several versions of this book trying to figure it out! Parts of the book were originally ideas for other books that ended up getting cobbled together Frankenstein’s-monster style for TFK.
Primarily, I wanted to write about the intersection of intergenerational and personal trauma—about what it means to face our trauma, and the way the world can demand that we “have” to confront our abusers in order for trauma to be viewed as legitimate. I also wanted to write about the experience of feeling like an outsider in your own country. For me, I wrote this through the lens of being Jewish American (for Noam: Atlantian-Carolinian), but so many different groups have experienced this historically and today in different ways.
2) I loved how politics and economic status played a huge role in this story. Why was that so important for you to share and write about?
A lot of Noam’s experiences as a refugee were broadly drawn from the Jewish experience. Noam is the child of refugees and has spent his whole life fighting for immigrant rights—but gaining magic powers elevates to a position of privilege in his society. Now he has to reconcile the intersection of that new identity as a Level IV witching with his other lived experiences as an Atlantian. I think all of the Jewish diaspora is familiar with the sense of being an outsider in one’s own country of birth, and Jewish people still struggle to reconcile the impact of pogroms and the Holocaust as they reverberate down through the generations. Many other groups have experienced and are experiencing similar things now. Although I can’t speak to their experiences, I hope I was able to capture at least a tiny facet of one person’s experience feeling like an outsider in their own country.
3) Noam and Dara are complete opposites yet there is something about their slow bond and relationship that just clicked for me. What was the driving force between these two amazing characters?
The best romances have some kind of conflict or obstacle keeping the characters apart, right? And I really wanted to write a romance where the obstacle was something ideological—not a misunderstanding, or some kind of external force keeping them apart…but something where a fundamental part of each character’s identity is at odds with the other’s. And they have to overcome that division—or at least learn how to understand and respect the other person’s position—in order to be together. I also wanted to write about how difficult it is to trust someone when you’ve experienced trauma (which both characters have, in one way or another), and how sometimes learning how to love again after trauma is one of the bravest and most difficult things you can do.
4) What do you hope people take away from The Fever King?
I hope readers start thinking more about how intergenerational and personal trauma intersect to impact lives, as well as how different ways of being privileged and marginalized interact and work to shape a person’s lived experience. And—importantly—I hope readers walk away about the nature of who we view as abusers vs victims, and how we might start to challenge those perceptions and biases.
5) Can you tell us anything about the second book in the series? I am DYING to know what is in store for all of these characters.
WELL. I don’t know how much I’m contractually allowed to say in public, so let me just say…Noam and Dara are both coming back in book two, and Dara will be back as a point-of-view character. Which means we’ll get chapters written from Dara’s perspective, inside Dara’s head.
And if you thought Noam and Dara had issues in book 1, that’s nothing compared to what’s coming.
6) Lastly I always ask this question. What is the one item of clothing or accessory that you could never live without? Basics aside of course.
Oh wow this one is hard. Um. Probably my favorite oversized wool sweater. I like feeling cozy, plus it’s a convenient tent when I’m writing an angsty scene and need to hide from my own feelings.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The Fever King by Victoria Lee
Published by Skyscape
Published: March 1, 2019
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In the former United States, sixteen-year-old Noam Álvaro wakes up in a hospital bed, the sole survivor of the viral magic that killed his family and made him a technopath. His ability to control technology attracts the attention of the minister of defense and thrusts him into the magical elite of the nation of Carolinia.
The son of undocumented immigrants, Noam has spent his life fighting for the rights of refugees fleeing magical outbreaks—refugees Carolinia routinely deports with vicious efficiency. Sensing a way to make change, Noam accepts the minister’s offer to teach him the science behind his magic, secretly planning to use it against the government. But then he meets the minister’s son—cruel, dangerous, and achingly beautiful—and the way forward becomes less clear.
Caught between his purpose and his heart, Noam must decide who he can trust and how far he’s willing to go in pursuit of the greater good.
Thank you so much, Victoria, for taking the time and answering these questions.
Make sure you go out and buy The Fever King on 3/1/19!