Hi friends! Very excited to be back with my feature, A Talk With and to talk with an author whose book I am very very eagerly anticipating!
In case you missed it, “A Talk With” is a brand new feature here on Drizzle & Hurricane Books, where I will invite young adult book authors to chat with me about their upcoming books, share their writing tips and tricks and more!
Today, I am welcoming the lovely Anna Bright, debuting this year with an incredible looking book, The Beholder! In this interview, we will chat about debuting, writing stories and Anna gives us a ton of incredible book recommendations as well, so keep on reading!!
1. From a bookseller to a writer… Have you always had this close relationship to books and writing? What made you want to take the plunge, from being a reader to writing your own stories as well?
I’ve always, always been a reader. Books have always been my vacations and my secrets and my best education in empathy. But I wasn’t always a writer! I always wanted to write–I just never had “an idea for a story.” I don’t think I realized ideas were a dime a dozen–that whole literal sites existed to prompt you–that execution was the real thing. But once I got my first idea, it was like someone lit a fire under me. I mulled the idea for months and then took the plunge during NaNoWriMo.
2. Your debut, The Beholder, has been pitched as Cinderella meets The Odyssey and The Selection. Were these your inspirations when you first started drafting this story? What were the roots of this story?
Absolutely. I knew Selah was going to be a Cinderella figure, and that she was going to go on a there-and-back-again adventure, re-enacting fairy tales in the places of their origin. The Odyssey provided inspiration not so much in the specific details of the epic, but in the sense of the story–the hero forced from home by duty, playing for time like Penelope, dying to get back but meeting all kinds of obstacles at every stage.
3. What was your favorite thing about writing The Beholder? Any favorite moments you wrote, passages or crafting some particular characters or settings?
I think it was just the sheer wonder of watching something take shape in my hands. I’ve tried so many artistic media, and I was absolute crap at painting and pottery and other visual stuff. But building out a world and creating characters… it just feels like magic.
4. What are some of your tips and tricks to get into the mood to write? Do you listen to music, have specific playlists, lock yourself in a room with a “do not disturb sign” or can write anywhere, anytime? 🙂
MUSIC! I can pretty much write anywhere–I’ve drafted rough scenes on my phone on the metro!–but picking a single song for a scene and letting it roll over and over in my mind is the best way for me to get the words flowing.
1. Can you share with us some books you’ve read recently that you adored? Any #novel19s recommendations?
YOU’D BE MINE by Erin Hahn (#novel19s forever!!): If you love Johnny and June stories, or if A Star is Born totally wrecked you, you should read this one.
THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT SWEETIE by Sandhya Menon: Ashish and Sweetie are ADORABLE in this one.
WE REGRET TO INFORM YOU by A.E. Kaplan: This is a college acceptance nightmare book and it made my head explode.
THE ART OF LOSING by Lizzy Mason: About addiction and recovery and forgiveness. It’s so moving and beautiful.
IF YOU’RE OUT THERE by Katy Loutzenhiser: A girl’s best friend ghosts her. Twistiness ensues.
ECHO NORTH by Joanna Ruth Meyer: This is one of the most delicate and magical novels I’ve ever read and I can’t recommend it more highly. It also recently got a YALSA nomination!!
A TREASON OF THORNS by Laura Weymouth: Laura is stupidly talented. I read this book in bits and pieces when she was first drafting it and just reveled in how marvelous it is.
WE HUNT THE FLAME by Hafsah Faizal: A lush world, glorious mythology, a gripping plot. I die.
THE LIGHT AT THE BOTTOM OF THE WORLD by London Shah: LONDON IS UNDERWATER AND A GIRL RACES SUBMERSIBLES. We all need this one.
Middle grade fantasy:
THE TRAGICAL TALE OF BIRDIE BLOOM by Temre Beltz was heartfelt and magical and just… perfect. I absolutely adored it.
LOVE SUGAR MAGIC #1&2 by Anna Meriano: These bruja bakery novels will make you super hungry and also warm your heart.
2. In The Beholder, the main character sails across the Atlantic… If you could sail, or travel anyplace in the world, where would you like to go?
I mean, on some level, I’m always just counting down to my next trip to the United Kingdom. And, real talk? I don’t turn down chances to travel ANYWHERE (within reason). But I also really would love to visit eastern Europe–Poland, the Czech Republic.
3. Can you share one line of The Beholder with us?
This is the first line of the book, and it is one of my favorites:
“Once upon a time always began on nights like tonight.”
Thank you so, SO much for taking the time to do this interview, Anna, it was a pleasure to have you! I hope this all made you want to pick up this book as soon as it releases, on June 4th! I know it did for me 😉
📖 More about The Beholder
Selah has waited her whole life for a happily ever after. As the only daughter of the leader of Potomac, she knows her duty is to find the perfect match, a partner who will help secure the future of her people. Now that day has finally come.
But after an excruciatingly public rejection from her closest childhood friend, Selah’s stepmother suggests an unthinkable solution: Selah must set sail across the Atlantic, where a series of potential suitors awaits—and if she doesn’t come home engaged, she shouldn’t come home at all.
From English castle gardens to the fjords of Norge, and under the eye of the dreaded Imperiya Yotne, Selah’s quest will be the journey of a lifetime. But her stepmother’s schemes aren’t the only secrets hiding belowdecks…and the stakes of her voyage may be higher than any happy ending.
📖 More about the author, Anna Bright
Anna Bright believes in woods, mountains, highways, cobblestones, roller coasters, dancing, concerts, cherry Pop Tarts, books, and magic.
When she’s not reading or writing on her couch, she’s dragging her husband off on an adventure, communing with Salem (her kitten/spiritual familiar), or causing trouble at One More Page Books, where she works.
Find Anna Bright on:
Do you want to read The Beholder? Did you read it already?
What are some of your favorite retellings? Let me know your thoughts and recommendations in comments!