Saturday 14 October 2017

The Last Namsara Blog Tour: Q&A With Kristen Ciccarelli!

I am so very excited to be taking part in the blog tour for the wonderful The Last Namsara! I adored this book and I was so excited when I got the chance to pick Kristen Ciccarelli's brain for more information about her book! If you haven't read The Last Namsara, I really can't recommend it enough! There be dragons in it! Dragons!!!
But first, here is my interview with the lovely Kristen Ciccarelli! 

Hi Kristen!  Thank you so much for answering all my fangirly questions!  It’s a real pleasure to have you here today!

Thank you for asking them! It’s a pleasure. :)

For those who haven’t read The Last Namsara, can you tell us a little about your wonderful book?   

The Last Namsara is about a dragon slayer who must hunt down the deadliest dragon of all and bring her father its head, or she’ll be forced into a political marriage!

The Last Namsara has the most amazing setting - I adore your world building!  Especially the fact that, in this world, certain stories are dangerous and can get you killed.  Where did the idea for the world and story come from?

Thank you so much! I essentially stole the story from my own life. I’ve spent a lot of my life being ashamed of the things I love most: creativity, imagination, and storytelling. So when I started writing The Last Namsara, I wanted to explore a world where these things actually were shameful. So I made them dangerous things that get people hurt. That way I could write a protagonist who was a) good at wielding these stories and b) ashamed of herself as a result—like I was. That was how it started. And then I built the world around that character and concept.

Ok, so anyone who knows me is aware of my dragon obsession (it’s alarming, honestly).  Where did you get the inspiration for the dragons in your story?!  

I was completely dragon-obsessed growing up. So obsessed, in fact, that my art teacher actually banned me from drawing them for all of high school (I kept sneaking them into my projects). I first fell in love with Smaug, then Draco (from Dragonheart—I can still recite the old code off by heart, lol) and Toothless. So in lots of ways, my dragons were influenced by the dragons I grew up loving. Where my dragons differ, though, is in the fact that they’re lured by stories. They covet stories the way traditional dragons covet treasure.

The Last Namsara has a cast of amazingly badass girls!  Are they inspired by yourself, anyone you know or a kick-arse girl of YA? 

All of the above, but most especially: I wanted to write the kinds of girls I needed growing up. I will never forget the day I read the chapter in LotR when Eowyn defeats the Witch King. Eowyn gets hardly any page time in that series, and yet there she was, a girl doing what no one else could do. Vanquishing a monster. It felt like Tolkien was throwing me a bone, you know? I clung to that bone. I clung to all the girls wielding weapons and going up against monsters and tyrants (Eowyn, Sabriel, Lyra—to name just a few). These girls were my mirrors. They showed me what I was capable of.

I know it’s like making you choose between your babies, but do you have a favourite character in The Last Namsara?  

Definitely Asha. She’s so strong and fierce and ambitious, yet so wounded and vulnerable. I feel a bit protective of her. Torwin is a close second, though. :)

You are an amazing writer - do you have a favourite thing about being an author?  

You are very kind! And this is a really good question. I think my favourite thing about being an author is hearing from readers—especially young adult readers. It’s amazing to me knowing there are people out there (sometimes on the other side of the world!) reading my story and getting what they need from it.

What advice would you give to all the aspiring fantasy writers out there?

Don’t be afraid of failure. (All the best things come out of failure.) And definitely don’t let it stop you. If you write because you love it, if you truly deeply believe in your stories, if you stay hungry & improve your craft, then you’ll make it. It might take a while, but you’ll get there.

While we’re on the topic of authors and writing, what has been your top read of 2017 so far?  The Last Namsara is one of my favourites! 

Oh gosh. This is such a tough question! Most of my favourite reads this year are actually books coming out in 2018, so it doesn’t feel fair to list them here. I think my top read of 2017 is FIRE BLOOD by Elly Blake. If you like Kristin Cashore’s books, chances are high that you’ll like this book too.

A suitably fantastical penultimate question: If you could have any mythical creature as a pet, which would you have?  And, to the surprise of no one, I would have a dragon.

Definitely a dragon! I mean, it could a) protect me, b) fly me places, and c) keep me warm by making fires. ;)

Finally... what can we expect from book two of the trilogy?  Any chance we could get a little spoiler?

Book two, The Caged Queen, picks up right where The Last Namsara leaves off, only its told from Roa’s point of view. You get more of Asha and the dragons, but you also get to learn who the mysterious Roa is, why she makes a certain deal with Asha’s brother in book one, and what the consequences of that deal are.


Ah, I can't wait for
The Caged Queen! Thank you so much for letting me pick your brain, Kristen! And everyone, go read The Last Namsara! I know I've already said this, but it bears repeating: There are dragons!
Everyone, definitely check out Kristen's website, follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, and add The Last Namsara to your Goodreads TBR ASAP list! 
Oh, and check out the awesome The Last Namsara official book trailer too!  God, I love this book!

Happy Reading Everyone!

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