I first featured Rebecca Ross here, and when I found out that the sequel to The Queen’s Rising, THE QUEEN’S RESISTANCE would be coming out in March, I knew another feature was in order:

Finally, Brienna is a mistress of knowledge and is settling into her role as the daughter of Davin MacQuinn, a disgraced lord who returned to Maevana to reclaim his house. Though she’d just survived a revolution, one that will finally return a queen to the throne, she faces another difficult challenge. She must prove herself trustworthy to the MacQuinns. But as Queen Isolde Kavanagh’s closest confidant, she’ll have to balance serving her father’s house as well as her country. And then there’s Cartier, a wholly separate but desirable factor in her new life.

Aodhan Morgane, formerly known as Cartier Évariste, is adjusting to the stark contrast between his pre-rebellion life in Valenia as a master of knowledge and his current one as the lord of a fallen house. During his castle’s restoration, he discovers a ten-year-old boy named Tomas, whose past and parentage are a complete mystery. So when Cartier’s former pupil Brienna is as taken with Tomas as he is, he lets his mind wander—what if he doesn’t have to raise him or his house alone?

As the Lannon trial rapidly approaches, Brienna and Cartier must put their feelings aside to concentrate on forging alliances, executing justice, and ensuring that no one interferes with the queen’s coronation. But resistance is rumbling among the old regime’s supporters, who are desperate to find a weakness in the rebels’ forces. And nothing makes a person more vulnerable than deep-seated love.


When her seventeenth summer solstice arrives, Brienna desires only two things: to master her passion and to be chosen by a patron.

Growing up in the southern Kingdom of Valenia at the renowned Magnalia House should have prepared her for such a life. While some are born with an innate talent for one of the five passions—art, music, dramatics, wit, and knowledge—Brienna struggled to find hers until she belatedly chose to study knowledge. However, despite all her preparations, Brienna’s greatest fear comes true—the solstice does not go according to plan and she is left without a patron.

Months later, her life takes an unexpected turn when a disgraced lord offers her patronage. Suspicious of his intent, and with no other choices, she accepts. But there is much more to his story, and Brienna soon discovers that he has sought her out for his own vengeful gain. For there is a dangerous plot being planned to overthrow the king of Maevana—the archrival kingdom of Valenia—and restore the rightful queen, and her magic, to the northern throne. And others are involved—some closer to Brienna than she realizes.

With war brewing between the two lands, Brienna must choose whose side she will remain loyal to—passion or blood. Because a queen is destined to rise and lead the battle to reclaim the crown. The ultimate decision Brienna must determine is: Who will be that queen?

In our last interview, you said, “I feel like my mind is always working, bouncing from current projects to future projects.” How do you know where to best direct your focus when juggling multiple projects?

Ah, it’s been hard. Haha. This year I’ve honed my focus by planning ahead and then following my calendar to stay on track. If I am on deadline, then all of my attention and energy needs to go into that. Even if a new shiny idea emerges. I just wrapped up my first round of edits for my third book, which required an extensive rewrite. But even as I was devoted to my revisions, I had a little hum in the back of my mind about The Queen’s Resistance, whose release is right around the corner so I knew it was time for me to begin promoting it. I think it truly comes down to how well I can plan and manage my time. My daily planner and monthly calendar save me, or else I’m sure I wouldn’t be able to remember and keep up with all the hats I’m currently juggling.

Juggling multiple hats is certainly daunting. And I love how THE QUEEN’S RESISTANCE deals with vulnerability. What do you hope readers take away from these new developments in Brienna’s story?

I hope readers enjoy Brienna’s journey and that it resonates with them in some measure. In The Queen’s Rising, we see her struggling to find out which path she wants to take in her life. In The Queen’s Resistance, she has chosen her path but she still aches to find where we she belongs. She is also rising in power, which is accompanied by challenges, and her relationships are deepening and growing. But I think most of all, to love is to be vulnerable. Even in the face of justice and hard truths and uncertainty. There are a lot of painful revelations that come to light in this book, and yet despite it all, we must remember our humanity. Brienna discovers that she can be soft and strong in the same breath.

Beautiful. I’ve heard that it can be challenging to write a sequel. Did you experience any “Book 2 Blues”? If so, how did you deal with them?

Yes. Second books can be very difficult creatures. A lot of authors struggle with writing their sophomore novels. I think it’s a combination of writing under a contract for the first time + a wave of “wait…how did I write the first book? I have no idea what I’m doing.” 🙂 The Queen’s Resistance had a very unusual origin. I wrote The Queen’s Rising to be a standalone, and so I pitched the other two books in my contract as companion novels, so the same world but different heroines. Well, I wrote a companion book. I came to strongly dislike it after it was drafted, so I scrapped it. I wrote another companion book. This one was slightly better, but it was still missing something. Something felt off about it. It was nearly time for me to send a manuscript to my editor, so I was beginning to panic, because I had no idea what to do. That was when Brienna came to me again and quietly said, “Continue my story.”

I had never allowed myself to imagine her story continuing, but I picked up right where The Queen’s Rising left off. And before I knew it, I had drafted a chapter, and then another chapter, and then another. The words poured out, just as they had in The Queen’s Rising. I had a spark, which is what I had been looking for and couldn’t find in the companion novels.

I’m very happy my agent and editor were 100% on board with me writing a sequel. And I’m glad that I didn’t settle with the companion novels. I had to do a lot of digging and had a lot of sleepless nights trying to figure out what my second book needed to be. But I wouldn’t change the journey that led to its creation. For authors who may be experiencing second book blues, I just want to encourage you. You got this. Breathe and write again for the love of it, not for a contract. If you have to scrap an entire manuscript, do it. Trust your gut. The right story will emerge, it just might be in a different way than your debut did.

Wise words. What do you feel are the necessary elements of a good story?

For me, I want a story to make me feel something. I want it to emotionally manipulate me, to stir something in me. I love to be surprised by plot, but I think the most important thing is to have characters who feel real, characters who I would follow to the ends of the earth.

Buy: Book Passage ~ Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Indiebound


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