I first heard about ALL THE STARS AND TEETH when Adalyn Grace had a signing pre-pandemic. I couldn’t go because of a conflict (not pandemic related), but I was so intrigued by the plot and premise that I knew a feature was in order. The conclusion to the duology, ALL THE TIDES OF FATE, is due out next year:
She will reign.
As princess of the island kingdom Visidia, Amora Montara has spent her entire life training to be High Animancer — the master of souls. The rest of the realm can choose their magic, but for Amora, it’s never been a choice. To secure her place as heir to the throne, she must prove her mastery of the monarchy’s dangerous soul magic.
When her demonstration goes awry, Amora is forced to flee. She strikes a deal with Bastian, a mysterious pirate: he’ll help her prove she’s fit to rule, if she’ll help him reclaim his stolen magic.
But sailing the kingdom holds more wonder — and more peril — than Amora anticipated. A destructive new magic is on the rise, and if Amora is to conquer it, she’ll need to face legendary monsters, cross paths with vengeful mermaids, and deal with a stow-away she never expected… or risk the fate of Visidia and lose the crown forever.
Through blood and sacrifice, Amora Montara has conquered a rebellion and taken her rightful place as queen of Visidia. Now, with the islands in turmoil and the people questioning her authority, Amora cannot allow anyone to see her weaknesses.
No one can know about the curse in her bloodline. No one can know that she’s lost her magic. No one can know the truth about the boy who holds the missing half of her soul.
To save herself and Visidia, Amora embarks on a desperate quest for a mythical artifact that could fix everything―but it comes at a terrible cost. As she tries to balance her loyalty to her people, her crew, and the desires of her heart, Amora will soon discover that the power to rule might destroy her.
What is your favorite anime series and why?
What a great first question, I love it! I’m totally going to cheat though by saying that I have two—Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood, and My Hero Academia. I love stories with a big ensemble cast, and ones that have a lot of action and fight scenes (which are my favorite to write, especially when there are cool powers involved). Full Metal has so many fascinating antagonists, and is just a really dark and gritty story that still manages to be fun and refreshing. I love that the story is built off of a relationship between two brothers who deeply love and respect each other, and it has an amazing cast of side characters.
For My Hero Academia, I am so in love with All Might that it’s ridiculous. I adore the dynamics between him and Midoriya, the main character of the show, and how Midoriya is literally having to step into the shoes of someone he’s idolized forever, and who has such a huge impact on the world. I also love how nerdy they get with their quirks, and think that it’s just so fun and clever. The only thing I’d change about the story is getting rid of Grape Juice forever.
I’ve seen some of Full Metal Alchemist, but I haven’t seen Brotherhood yet, and I’ll definitely have to check out My Hero Academia too! ALL THE TIDES OF FATE, the second in the All the Stars and Teeth series, is due out next year. Without giving away spoilers, what was the most challenging part of this book to write?
All of it! The sequel is a much more introspective and emotional journey than All the Stars and Teeth, which was more about discovery. Amora’s learned the information she’s wanted, and now she has to decide in this book what she’s going to do with it. Without getting into spoilers, she’s dealing with a lot of turmoil from the events of the first book, and I didn’t want to gloss over that. I wanted her to struggle. I wanted her to be in pain, and to feel her loss and her mourning over people that she lost in Book 1. Because of that, it definitely felt like a darker book to write, and a more challenging one to write, because Amora’s in a very bleak mental space.
Makes sense. What do you feel are the necessary parts of a good story?
A main character with a clear want. While I like big fantasy worlds, interesting villains, tropes, etc, I feel like it’s most necessary for a reader to know what a character wants. That steers us so we can know how to root for them, it steers that character forward, and ultimately it progresses the plot and makes us turn the page.
Definitely! If you could tell your younger writer self one thing, what would it be and why?
Probably to chill out, hahah. But I know I wouldn’t have listened, because I still have a hard time listening to that advice even now! I always want to be moving and pushing toward the next thing. But that’s not sustainable, and you can never predict what is going to happen. I spent 13+ years writing and dreaming about getting my book published, only to debut in a pandemic where bookstores are closed (though I was one of the lucky ones who got to see their book in the store and attend some events before things shut down fully)! It humbles you pretty quickly, and makes you realize just how much is out of your control. It was a good reminder that life is about way more than constantly working, and I’ve been a lot better about setting hours, taking breaks, and taking care of myself. You can hustle, but sometimes you have to take naps, too.