Rebecca Ross is one of my favorite authors to interview, and I was honored to feature her here and here. Her newest YA Fantasy is a standalone that will come out on June 23, entitled SISTERS OF SWORD & SONG:
After eight long years, Evadne will finally be reunited with her older sister, Halcyon, who has been proudly serving in the queen’s army. But when Halcyon appears earlier than expected, Eva knows something has gone terribly wrong. Halcyon is on the run, hunted by her commander and charged with murder.
Though Halcyon’s life is spared during her trial, the punishment is heavy. And when Eva volunteers to serve part of Halcyon’s sentence, she’s determined to find out exactly what happened. But as Eva begins her sentence, she quickly learns that there are fates much worse than death.
In our last interview, you said, “Breathe and write again for the love of it, not for a contract.” How do you keep your love of the story going, even when it is under contract?
This can be so hard to do, because some days are better writing days than others. But I think the key is to make a commitment to always write what you love, from the very beginning. Even when you’re under contract. If that foundation is there, you are going to be able to sit down and get the work done, even when you feel drained or stressed. Because you love the characters, the plot, the setting. And on days when it feels like the magic is completely gone, go back and reread certain scenes that you love, scenes that you know that you executed perfectly. They’ll remind you and reassure you that what you’re doing is good, and to keep going.
That’s a beautiful way to look at it. In SISTERS OF SWORD & SONG, Evadne and Halcyon seem to have an interesting sisterly dynamic. Without giving away spoilers, in what ways did their interplay grow as you wrote it?
It’s interesting, but the first draft of this book was actually Evadne’s POV only, written in first person. My editor was the one who threw the thought out there for me to include Halcyon’s POV. As soon as I brought Halcyon’s POV into the story, it elevated it to a whole new level, and suddenly I could see each sister’s similarities and differences, and how the two of them sharpen each other over the course of the novel. They deeply love each other and go to great lengths to protect the other, and yet both sisters have faced times of jealousy.
Something I’m sure most sisters can relate to! What kinds of marketing strategies are you implementing in this time of social distancing?
I’m relying a lot on social media. I’ve moved my launch party to a virtual platform, and I’m planning to have an Instagram Live event for it. I’m doing a Virtual Signing through Good Choice Reading, so I still have the chance to sign reader’s books. I’m also hosting a Street Team, and most of the challenges involve my team sharing graphics and quotes from the book on their social media. It’s definitely been sad to see bookstores temporarily closing and events canceling, but I’m hoping that things will improve soon.
I’m hoping so too. If you could tell your younger writer self one thing, what would it be and why?
Don’t feel discouraged when an idea doesn’t work out, or when you feel as if you’re never going to finish a book. Keep going, one word at a time. And don’t compare yourself to other writers. You have your own unique voice and perspective.