February 7, 2016

Spotlight + Author Interview: Curio by Evangeline Denmark

Hey everyone! Today I'll be hosting a spotlight on Curio by Evangeline Denmark - along with a great author Q&A! Read on for more info on the book and the interview!

Curio (Curio #1)
Author: Evangeline Denmark

Genre: YA Science Fiction/Fantasy/Steampunk
Release Date: January 5, 2016
Publisher: Blink


Grey Haward has always detested the Chemists, the magicians-come-scientists who rule her small western town. But she has always followed the rules, taking the potion the Chemists ration out that helps the town’s people survive. A potion that Grey suspects she—like her grandfather and father—may not actually need.

By working at her grandfather’s repair shop, sorting the small gears and dusting the curio cabinet inside, Grey has tried to stay unnoticed—or as unnoticed as a tall, strong girl can in a town of diminutive, underdeveloped citizens. Then her best friend, Whit, is caught by the Chemists’ enforcers after trying to protect Grey one night, and after seeing the extent of his punishment, suddenly taking risks seems the only decision she can make.

But with the risk comes the reality that the Chemists know her family’s secret, and the Chemists soon decide to use her for their own purposes. Panicked, Grey retreats to the only safe place she knows—her grandfather’s shop. There, however, a larger secret confronts her when her touch unlocks the old curio cabinet in the corner and reveals a world where porcelain and clockwork people are real. There, she could find the key that may save Whit’s life and also end the Chemists’ dark rule forever.

1. What was your biggest inspiration while writing your book?
The word curio, actually. I fell in love with it while driving home one day and everything grew out of that focus on the knickknacks and treasures inside a curio cabinet.

2. What is usually on your nightstand?
My phone, glasses, water, odds and ends, a precariously high stack of books, and several pairs of gloves because my hands get cold when I read at night.

3. Which character in your book is most like yourself?
Grey. She is bothered by the same things I’m bothered by and at times uncomfortable in her own skin, but she chooses to embrace her strength. Ironically, red is my favorite color and Grey, of course, hates it.

4. Which authors have most influenced your writing?
Charlotte Bronte, C.S. Lewis, Anne Rice, Gail Carriger, Cassandra Clare, A.G. Howard

5. What is your favorite scene in your novel?
I love the balcony and flight scene. Grey and Blaise are still at odds and not sure if they can trust one another. Grey needs an escape and Blaise needs a bargaining chip, but as they strap themselves together into Blaise’s steam pack harness, those reasons slip away and attraction blooms. In a few minutes they are floating above Curio City together, and Grey realizes that she’s not alone in this crazy world of porcelain and clockwork people. Team Grey and Blaise begins in that moment.

6. What do you think is your lead character’s best trait?
Her compassion for others and the dignity she gives to others, even strange, sometimes silly Porcies and Tocks.

7. Are any characters in your book based on a real person?
No, but considering Marina bounced into my head fully formed and swearing like a miner, she might argue that she IS a real person.

8. What something your readers would be surprised to know about you?
I’ve never been out of the U.S. I hope to change that soon!

9. Where is your favorite place to write?
At home by a window where I can see the Rockies.

10. What did you want to be when you grew up?
A singer. I can’t sing.

11. What is your favorite book of all time?
Jane Eyre

12. When is your birthday?
November 7th

13. What is your dream vacation?
It varies depending on the project I’m working on. When I wrote Mark of Blood and Alchemy, the Curio prequel, I was dying to visit the Italian Alps because the story takes place there.

14. Describe your writing style in three words.
Vivid, layered, imaginative

15. When naming your characters, do you give any thought to the actual meaning?
Yes, for instance Grey’s last name Haward comes from the Old Norse Havardr, which means guardian or defender.

16. What is your main character's favorite song?
Either a lullaby her grandfather sang her when she was little or a tune Whit whistled on the way home from school.

17. Any recent works that you admire?
I just finished Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton and I predict it will be a movie. Loved it!

18. If you could co-write a book with any author, who would it be?
Tahereh Mafi. I would take care of conjunctions and articles and let her supply all the other words.

19. How have your personal experiences affected your writing?
As a young woman I was equally bothered by messages of repression aimed toward women from certain conservative communities and the messages that a woman’s value lay in her physical appeal that came from our culture at large. Those tensions helped to shape the worlds within Curio. Grey is subjected to harmful laws and actions that stem from these flawed viewpoints, but she is able to overcome and embrace a stronger, truer version of herself. I think that’s something most women are trying to do every day and I applaud those efforts.

20. What is your writing process?
I write during the day while my kids are at school. Depending on where I am in a project, I usually will do a stretch of time, thirty minutes to an hour and a half, and then get up, move around, check social media, change laundry, etc., and then sit down for another stint. When I’m on deadline or a project is in high gear, I sit for hours and forget things like showering. I usually listen to playlists that I compile for each novel. You’d think I’d get tired of hearing the same songs, but I kind of tune out and tune in depending on what my focus/distraction needs are at the moment.
Evangeline Denmark cannot sing. The tragic discovery of this unavoidable truth led to bouts of angst-ridden poetry writing in her teens, several ill-advised relationships with literary characters, and the compulsive creation of her own fictional worlds. Having found her true voice, Evangeline now writes fiction with hints of whimsy, glimmers of fantasy, and strokes of the supernatural. Her Young Adult novel Curio releases January 2016 from the HarperCollins Blink line. She has also co-authored two children’s books, The Dragon and the Turtle and The Dragon and the Turtle Go on Safari (Waterbrook Press.)

Evangeline lives in Colorado with her husband, an engineer with a sense of humor and an artistic streak, two ravenous sons who steal her laptop and demand dinner, a cat, two turtles, and a cattle dog who runs the house.

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