Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Authors ARE Rockstars: Rae Carson (plus a fabulous giveaway!)


Rae Carson IS a rockstar--and here's why:
  • While I absolutely adored THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS, I loved it even more after reading her fantastic post, "Weighing in on weight"
  • Even though she's clumsy and unathletic (or so she claims), she jumped into cheerleading as an awkward adolescent and flag football as an adult with a vengeance, striking a blow for clumsy chicks everywhere
  • She writes beautifully imperfect characters, characters in terrible positions with few options, and characters readers can really get behind
  • I really enjoy her sense of humor, which shows through in her writing, and her overuse of the word "dude"
  • Geek allusions FTW
  • She's writing a magical romantic fantasy set during the Gold Rush
About Rae Carson in her own words (short version): "I’m a nerd. I write young adult novels full-time. I live in Columbus, Ohio with my husband and two stepsons." (From her website)

How Star Wars influenced The Girl of Fire and Thorns
By Rae Carson, rockstar author

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away (well, okay it was a sunny Sunday afternoon in 1977 in Hayward, California), something amazing and magical happened to me:

I saw Star Wars.

My review HERE
Never had a story enraptured me so completely. From the moment the Imperial Star Destroyer cruised inexorably and gloriously across the screen, to the final celebratory hero’s welcome (the whole audience cheered!), my eyes were as big as saucers and my four-year-old heart full to overflowing.

As we left the theater that day, I knew three very important things: 1) The Force was strong with me. 2) Luke Skywalker and I were meant to be together forever. 3) I wanted more, more, more stories about magic and mages, princesses who lead rebellions, and farm boys with epic destinies.

Over the next decade or so, I sought to fill the Star Wars-shaped hole in my heart and found great success, first through extensive make-believe. I dressed up as Princess Leia for Halloween two years running. I made lightsabers out of sticks and aluminum foil. I tried to make my little brother do my chores through the power of the Force.

As reading supplanted make-believe, I found wonderful Star Wars read-alikes with Lloyd Alexander, George MacDonald, and J.R.R. Tolkien (I read Lord of the Rings four times), and later with Terry Goodkind, David Eddings, and Robert Jordan. But my appetite was too ravenous for the pace of publishing, so I did what every geeky teenager in my situation does: I drew a map, sketched the faces of my merry band of quirky but lovable characters, and sat down to write the Best Novel Ever.

The Best Novel Ever featured a beautiful space princess with shiny hair buns, a handsome and morally ambiguous space pirate with a heart of gold, and an ingénue with boy-next-door good looks who was destined to become a mighty warrior.

Comes out Sept. 18th--and it's fabulous!
I was only a few (handwritten) chapters in when I realized with a sinking heart that the Best Novel Ever was thinly disguised Star Wars fan fiction. So I started over with Even Better Novel, which featured a wise and generously bearded wizard, an elven prince, a handful of grouchy-but-loveable dwarves, a ring of great power…

What followed was an adolescence of working through my angst by writing an interminable series of unoriginal knockoffs. I couldn’t maintain interest in any of them. I gave up writing.

In the interim, I kept reading, and I grew up a lot. The wish fulfillment aspect of fantasy fiction ceased to appeal to me, but I remained fascinated from a sociological perspective. I loved how the tropes of fantasy fiction such as the "hero’s journey" and the "chosen one" and the "amulet of power" could all be used to say important things about our society and how their perpetual appearance in fiction reveals so much about the psychology of humanity. And when I decided to try writing again, I discovered that I no longer wanted to extend and preserve that magical Star Wars experience so much as I wanted to be in a conversation with it.

In short, I had something to say about fantasy fiction, and the best way to do that was to write a book.

So that’s what I did. The Girl of Fire and Thorns is about an amulet of power, a magical force, and a rebel princess. And even though (confession!) I still try to use the Force on a regular basis, it's nothing like Star Wars. It is, I hope, a response to it. And it was written with the hope that someday, someone would read it with the same wide-eyed sense of wonder that started me on my own epic journey.

And now for the GIVEAWAY OF AWESOME (be sure to thank Rae!)

Rae Carson says, "I'm offering a paperback of THE GIRL OF FIRE and THORNS and an ARC of THE CROWN OF EMBERS for a giveaway, signed and/or personalized per winner request. Open to U.S., Canada, U.K., Australia, and New Zealand. (If someone from the UK or Commonwealth wins, I'll send the UK version.)" How's that for fabulosity?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

81 comments:

  1. This is a girl after my own heart! Star Wars? I love love love Star Wars , one of my all time favorite movies. And yes I was in love with Luke Skywalker too *sigh*

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  2. Great post! Shamefully, I have never seen Star Wars, but I definitely have to now. :D

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  3. Oh I agree, Rae Carson IS a rockstar! And wow that Star Wars was so inspiring! A magical romantic fantasy set during the Gold Rush is in the works?!!! I canNOT WAIT!

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  4. Great post, I love Star Wars and have gotten all my boys into it to :) Thanks so much for the chance!!

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  5. Ha! I love that author Rae Carson was so influenced by Star Wars and apparently a story of hobbits and wizards and epic journeys.

    I totally thought her book The Girl of Fire and Thorns was gorgeous and epic! And I'm dying to read Crown of Embers. I've heard it's even more amazing than the first book!

    I love your bullet points on why you think this author is your rockstar. I had no idea she had such an affinity for the word "dude" - I think I'm going to have to stalk her tweets just a little bit. :)

    Thank you so much for being on this tour and hosting this wicked awesome author! While I may not have had quite the same love for Star Wars (I was more an Empire Strikes Back girl myself) I love that she moved from fan fiction into fantasy fiction all her very own.

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  6. Great post :-) I've heard such awesome things about The Girl of Fire and Thorns...I need to get my hands on it!

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  7. What a fun post!

    STAR WARS FTW! The Geek chic in me loves that answer.

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  8. Oh that's cool! I'm not HUGE on Star Wars but I do like them. My husband is a total Star Wars geek so if I tell him about this he'll make me read it asap haha. I actually have THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS at home and haven't gotten to it yet but the reviews are really great so I'm definitely going to. Great post!!

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  9. Rae Carson is a rockstar! I love Star Wars too! Geekery all the way!

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  10. So my parents were pretty big Star Wars fans when I was a kid, but I never really got into it. I watched all the movies a long time ago (all the original ones, at least). I think I need to re-watch them though because I don't remember that much.

    I loved The Girl of Fire and Thorns and am so excited to read The Crown of Embers!

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  11. Star Wars? lol. What a way to start a story! :D

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  12. I love this! I adored GoFaT, and to hear that it is largely Star Wars-inspired warms the cockles of my heart. Or something. Fantastic guest post and giveaway!

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  13. Loved going inside the mind of Rae Carson. Love her book!

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  14. I absolutely LOVED your book! It's so original and the influences you mentioned are some of my favorites!

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  15. Hahah! As a geek, I am totally LOVING the Star @Wars influence. I can't wait to read both books. :)

    Thanks for the giveaway!

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  16. Great post! I can totally relate to the love of fantasy, and Star Wars will always hold a place in my heart! Been dying to read this book and the sequel too! So exciting!!! :)

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  17. Thanks for a fun post and giveaway! I've had such book want for this title!!! And as one who grew up w/ Star Wars, I say rock on! :)

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  18. I can't comment on the awesomeness that is Star Wars because I have yet to see any of the movies. I hope I can set some time aside in the near future to start on them though (as soon as I'm finished with Dr. Who of course).

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  19. The giveaway is open ONLY to those countries? Not fair :/

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  20. I am so excited to read these books!! Thanks for the awesome giveaway!! julierupert@gmail.com

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  21. Hayward? What about the Vine? Congratulations, Rae, I can't wait to read the next book!

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  22. I absolutely cannot wait for Crown of Embers!!!

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  23. You had me at the first mention of Star Wars.

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  24. My niece and I just loved the first book. I can't wait to send her the second for her birthday this year!

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  25. Ah this is such an awesome giveaway! Thank you!

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  26. First of all, YAY COLUMBUS! *high fives Rae for living in an awesome city* O*H*I*O

    Second, this:

    "So I started over with Even Better Novel, which featured a wise and generously bearded wizard, an elven prince, a handful of grouchy-but-loveable dwarves, a ring of great power…"

    *dies* Her whole post made me snort, but I have to say I love the sound of the Even Better Novel ;-) I was lucky enough to get copy of Crown of Embers and I just finished it - SO GOOD! I adore Elisa:)

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  27. Rae! So proud of you and what you've accomplished since old Redwood days!

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  28. Thanks so much for the contest and participating in such a wicked awesome tour!

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  29. Yay, a fellow Ohioan! Also, a fellow Star Wars nerd! Looking back, I think SW inspired me, too. Great interview, and inspiring, too!

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  30. I just finished The Girl of Fire and Thorns and I was blown away! I'm reviewing it on my blog this week and the review is gushing! Thank you for such an amazing story!

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  31. Great post!! I. Must. Read. This. Book. I've a read a few awesome fantasy novels recently and am absolutely dying for more! This one sounds especially awesome. Think I could use the Force to help me win? *tries to use the force* ...I don't think it worked :( Oh well! I guess I'll leave it up to fate!

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  32. I am also quite clumsy...I stayed away from sports though!!

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  33. I love the series. Interesting to see the Star Wars influence come in play!

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  34. We <3 Rae and this post sooooo much. That is all. :)

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  35. Lol loved this post when I read it the first time! I had to take a peek before we sent it to you ;) Love Rae to pieces! Great post and thanks for being a tour stop!

    <333
    Jaime

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  36. I loved this pots, Mary!
    And not just because I love everything that's even remotely Star Wars related.
    I do think Authors are rockstars! :D

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  37. I love this series...Elisa is fantastic and the cover are gorgeous!!

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  38. I love this post :) It's very inspiring, especially since I'm a teen, and sometimes I get frustrated because my story is so obviously influenced by whatever book I just read.

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  39. Thanks for the awesome giveaway!

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  40. Thank you for an amazing stop and giveaway. I really wnt to read this book as I have heard so many good things about it.

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  41. I absolutely adored the first book in the series and cannot wait until the next one comes out! I can't wait to see how Elise's and Hector's relationship will progress

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  42. wow the books seem rather interesting plus I love this post so much :) Star wars yay!

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  43. A geek girl after my own heart! This giveaway is so unbelievably AWESOME!! Thank you so much for the epic prize Rae! I am DYING to read The Crown of Embers!

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  44. Thanks so much for the amazing giveaway. This sounds like an awesome book and series. I enjoyed learning more about the author. I love Star Wars, too! Great post. :)

    ~Jess

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  45. I agree, this is a great giveaway. Star Wars is an unbeatable series but this one sounds like a good one, as well. I have read nothing but great reviews about The Girl of Fire and Thorns and it sounds like The Crown of Embers is also great. Thanks!

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  46. Love this! Star Wars is a super awesome inspiration. =)

    It's awesome how in fantasy (and other genres, really) authors can use the same tropes and create something so awesomely original.

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  47. This was such a funny post! I loved it!

    Thanks for the great giveaway!

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  48. These books sound great!

    Good luck!

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  49. I understand now why you yawned through Beatrix Potter. Great post.

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  50. I loved the facts and your books skins fabolous. I am dying to read them now :)

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  51. I've heard this book was great. I can't wait to read it :)

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  52. I loved The Girl of Fire and Thorns! And I love Star Wars! This was such a great post.

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  53. What a fun post! I was born and lived the first 10 years of my life in Ohio but on the other side in Cincinnati...it's still Ohio!

    Thanks so much!

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  54. WOW! Shame on me for not starting the series yet!

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  55. Eeeeeep! I wold absolutely Love to win this! Thanks for the opportunity!

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  56. Love the first book and cannot wait for the second!! Thanks for the great post and the awesome giveaway!!

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  57. I really enjoyed Girl of Fire and Thorns. Loved watching Elisa grow from sorta spoiled and clueless to true leader! Can't wait to see what's in store for her next :)

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  58. Love the post! Thanks for the awesome giveaway! =)

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  59. Thanks for the great post! I hope to get a chance to read these soon.

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  60. This is a fantastic post! I loved it so much that I read it out loud to my family.

    I totally adored TGoFaT and I can't wait to read Crown of Embers. The characters are so rich and full of life.

    Thank you so very much for being a part of this tour!!

    -Patricia

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  61. Thank you very much for the giveaway! I have been dying to read this book! I hope luck is on my side!

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  62. I've been hearing so many great things about TGoFaT. Thank you for the chance to win.

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  63. Aw, this is a great post! I love reading about how ideas for books are formed. :) Thanks for sharing this with us Mary & Rae! And for the awesome contest as well!

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  64. Magical romantic fantasy set during the gold rush, for the win! I love that Star Wars was such an inspiration for the book, it is such an epic movie :0)

    Thanks for the awesome giveaway!

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  65. I loved the first book! One of my fav books of the year. Am looking forward to Ember!

    lesly7ch(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  66. What a fantastic post & giveaway!xo

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  67. YAY RAE! I love your books already! Haha. I'm practically prancing to get my hands on your book Girl of Fire and Thorns and upcoming Crown of Embers! They sound positively enchanting! And Star Wars! YOU GO GIRL! Haha. Rock on.

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  68. Ms. Carson, you just became that much cooler. I watched Star Wars for the first time when I was six (we had it on VHS), so I know EXACTLY what you're talking about. They're just flat-out magical. Man, now I need to pop them in again... but only the original trilogy.

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  69. Okay, I have a confession. And it's so embarrassing!











    ... I haven't watched Star Wars. Any of them. >.<

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  70. LOL! So interesting ^.^
    Awesome post, and amazing giveaway!

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  71. Star wars... now its the next movie that i have to see

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  72. Fantastic post! I love Star Wars as well - although my first memories of seeing it was on the TV over bank holiday weekends in the 80s... I loved that the Princess is not a screaming waiting to bve rescued type girl! :-)
    Mel S

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  73. I'm so intrigue by these books I've heard so many good things about them.

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  74. I really enjoyed The Girl of Fire and Thorns and cannot wait for The Crown of Embers.

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  75. Nice covers. The books sound good.

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  76. absolutely gorgeous covers! :O

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