I heard about The Burning Sky for a while now, and I’m so happy that I got my hands on it. It is now one my new obsession, so of course I had to find everything out about who created my obsession! So I sent the amazing Sherry Thomas an email and I got an interview. So here’s the inner workings of Sherry Thomas! Btw if you want five reasons why The Burning Sky will forever be burned into your soul here’s the link.
Sherry Thomas Interview:
What inspired you to write The Burning Sky?
I was asked by a childrens’ editor who had read my historical romances whether I would be interested in writing YA fantasy. I didn’t really have any concrete plans, but after I was told of this editor’s interest a couple of times, one day, as I was walking across the parking lot of Costco, this line dropped into my head: On the night I was born, stars fell.
Since I’d been asked about writing YA fantasy, I thought, oh, is that going to be my story? Thus began the exploration of the idea. Stars falling? Meteor shower. When was the last time there was a really tremendous meteor shower? 1866. Did I mind writing a book set in the 1880s? No, I did not, since I was used to the late 1800s from my romances.
And that was more or less how it started. (That line–or a variation of it, On the night you were born, stars fell–doesn’t make it into the book until The Perilous Sea.)
How did you come up with character names?
For my male protagonist, I wanted a name that was the last thing from approachable. I kept thinking of the title of that Shakespearean play, Titus Andronicus. And since I did want a classical name, Titus fits perfectly, so angular and uncompromising. Iolanthe I pretty much picked up out of a baby name book. It’s pseudo-Greek, which works fine, cuz I like to think in their world people make up new names too, names that are more modern than their appearance would suggest. And sometimes you just know, as soon as you see a name, that it’s right.
What was your writing process when writing The Burning Sky?
Wonderful and terrible. I loved the story so much but it went through six drafts! I thought my agent would never send it out to editors. But the end result is worth it.
What was your favorite part of writing the book?
Probably the Crucible. Mage virtual reality at its best. 🙂
Why did you add the sleeping beauty story into the book?
Once I have the Crucible, a magical book in which you can actually experience fairy tales as if they are real, then I needed to populate it with stories. Of course in such a book you must have castles. And since I like to be a little tongue-in-cheek, I decided to use Sleeping Beauty’s castle, arguably the most famous fictional castle in our world, right there in Walt Disney World and on Disney’s logo, not to mention the Disney version is based on probably the most fantastical real castle in our world, Neuschwanstein Castle. Which made it a lot of fun to then describe Titus’ castle as something “far grander and more beautiful than anything Sleeping Beauty ever occupied.” 🙂
What made you add the notes in the back of the book?
They started as snippets in front of each chapter. I read Dune when I was an impressionable teenager and I loved how every chapter began with an excerpt from a history written about the events of the book. It really added to the authenticity of the world building.
In the end my editor decided to make them endnotes, instead, so to be there to enrich the world, but not slow readers down during the middle of action.
How did you come up with such a magical setting?
I love the idea of there being mage realms on this earth, hidden from the view of us nonmages. And I love bringing the two together in a school that actually exist to this day, to have mages and normal kids interact.
Besides writing awesome books, what do you do in your free time?
Sometimes I feel like I haven’t had any free time for a while–it’s been one deadline after another since 2010, it seems. But now that I finished working on The Immortal Heights, book 3 in the Elemental Series, I can breathe a little. I love reading–of course. I enjoy playing games on my iPad. I adore a good action movie–already have my ticket for Avengers 2 in my wallet. And I simply must sit down and have a good long talk with my friends once in a while!
Is there any other YA series that you are working on?
I haven’t written a proposal for my next YA book yet. So I don’t really know. It could be a series next, or it could be a standalone too.
Here’s the book that started it all for me!
Title: The Burning Sky
Series: The Burning Sky #1
Publication Date: September 17th 2013
It all began with a ruined elixir and a bolt of lightning.
Iolanthe Seabourne is the greatest elemental mage of her generation—or so she’s been told. The one prophesied for years to be the savior of The Realm. It is her duty and destiny to face and defeat the Bane, the most powerful tyrant and mage the world has ever known. This would be a suicide task for anyone, let alone a reluctant sixteen-year-old girl with no training.
Guided by his mother’s visions and committed to avenging his family, Prince Titus has sworn to protect Iolanthe even as he prepares her for their battle with the Bane. But he makes the terrifying mistake of falling in love with the girl who should have been only a means to an end. Now, with the servants of the tyrant closing in, Titus must choose between his mission—and her life.
The Burning Sky—the first book in the Elemental Trilogy—is an electrifying and unforgettable novel of intrigue and adventure.
Buy The Burning Sky here: