I have THE BEST job today, y’all, because I get to share an exclusive interview with Megan Bannen! If you weren’t aware, Megan is the debut author of The Bird and the Blade, a YA fantasy that is sure to wreck your heart in all the best ways.
But seriously. It’s amazing. Please buy it so we can fangirl together!
Without further ado, allow me to introduce Megan (and make sure to keep reading for more about The Bird and the Blade, the blog tour schedule, and a giveaway!!!)
All About Megan
You wrote a book! That’s pretty awesome. Why don’t you tell us a bit about what inspired The Bird and the Blade?
I wrote a book! Isn’t that nutty?? In 2008, I was listening to the opera Turandot when it occurred to me that 1.) I didn’t like the ending, and 2.) hey, this would make a great YA novel! I’m not sure what on earth possessed me to think an opera would make a great novel for teens, but there you have it. Anyway, as I started researching the story, I discovered earlier versions of the tale that give the slave girl character a meatier backstory and more agency, which is why, in the end, the book is really a retelling of François Pétis de la Croix’s “Prince Khalaf and the Princess of China” from the book A Thousand and One Days.
Introduce us to your main character!
Jinghua became a slave when the Song Empire was defeated by the Mongols. She’s whip-smart and resourceful, but she’s the poster child for imposter syndrome. That self doubt winds up being her tragic flaw. One thing I love about Jinghua is that the face she gives the world is very different from her internal sense of self. She may sound meek and respectful on the outside, but she’s snarky and funny and self-deprecating on the inside.
Walk us through a day in the life of Megan Bannen.
Sadly, Megan Bannen is a super-boring suburban soccer mom. I get up at the crack of dawn to write before heading off to my day job as a children’s librarian. At work, I play a pink ukulele during story time and marvel at the fact that I get paid for it. In the evenings, Mission Impossible music is playing in the background as I get kids to music lessons or sportsing practices. By the time I get the little people bathed and off to bed, I manage to read for about 10-15 minutes before I crash. Rinse, lather, repeat. This is why I do most of my writing on the weekends when my husband lets me escape for a few hours so I can crank out some words at a cafe.
Lots of aspiring authors out there. Any advice for them?
A writer is someone who writes. Are you writing? Congratulations! You are a writer! Whether or not you are published doesn’t change that essential fact. Writing and publishing are two completely different things, and I think it’s helpful to separate them in your mind. Writing is worth it for writing’s sake. Even if THE BIRD AND THE BLADE bombs and I never publish again, I will always write, because writing brings me joy. Write for yourself and yourself alone. If you get published, great. But if you don’t, that’s okay, You’re still a writer.
I know asking someone’s all-time favorite book is a loaded question so what’s your current favorite read?
Well, I love THE QUEEN’S THIEF series by Megan Whalen Turner, especially THE KING OF ATTOLIA. It’s been so much fun to watch Eugenides grow and mature over the years. He’s my favorite book boyfriend.
Alright, the ultimate question: why should we read your book?
That is a remarkably difficult question to answer. How about this?: THE FEELS. ALL THE FEELS.
(I can attest to THE FEELS with this book, y’all. IT WILL BREAK YOUR HEART. . . in a good way. . . if that’s possible)
Describe yourself in 3 words.
Goofy, shameless, and jazz-hands
What is your Hogwarts house?
I know it’s super uncool to be Gryffindor, but I’m quite Gryffindor.
Your characters are sent into the Hunger Games. Who wins?
Oh, Timur Khan. Hands down. He’s endearingly ruthless.
A famous movie producer wants to make your books into movies and they want you to cast your characters. Which actors/actresses make the cut?
I’d do an open call and cast actors from the appropriate cultural backgrounds. But since I can’t name anyone specific here, how about I mention my ideal cast for any movie?: Aidan Turner in full Poldark regalia and Ranveer Singh. It could be a film adaptation of my book or Anne of Green Gables or the phone book. Aidan Turner. Ranveer Singh. Because reasons.
This morning you woke up with the ability to time travel to only one time period. Where (or more accurately “when”) would you go?
Regency England! I geek Georgette Heyer novels so hard. I’m going to enjoy all the pithy drawing room banter.
Coffee or tea?
Coffee flows through my veins, and I do not function without it.
Your theme song/personal anthem?
“Raise Hell” by Brandi Carlile. My favorite line:
“You’ve got a mind to keep me quiet, and although you can try
Better men have hit their knees, and bigger men have died.
I’m gonna raise hell.”
I’m seriously considering writing an entire novel based on that one sentiment.
That line captures motherhood better than anything else I’ve ever read, and the fact that a man wrote it gives me hope for the future of the world.
What is one piece of advice you would tell everyone?
Narcissists suck. Don’t be one.
About the Book
The Bird and the Bladeby Megan Bannen
Published on June 5, 2018 by Balzer + Bray
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
As a slave in the Kipchak Khanate, Jinghua has lost everything: her home, her family, her freedom … until she finds herself an unlikely conspirator in the escape of Prince Khalaf and his irascible father as they flee from their enemies across the vast Mongol Empire. On the run, with adversaries on all sides and an endless journey ahead, Jinghua hatches a scheme to use the Kipchaks’ exile to return home, a plan that becomes increasingly fraught as her feelings for Khalaf evolve into a hopeless love.
Jinghua’s already dicey prospects take a downward turn when Khalaf seeks to restore his kingdom by forging a marriage alliance with Turandokht, the daughter of the Great Khan. As beautiful as she is cunning, Turandokht requires all potential suitors to solve three impossible riddles to win her hand—and if they fail, they die.
Jinghua has kept her own counsel well, but with Khalaf’s kingdom—and his very life—on the line, she must reconcile the hard truth of her past with her love for a boy who has no idea what she’s capable of ... even if it means losing him to the girl who’d sooner take his life than his heart.
THE BIRD AND THE BLADE is a lush, powerful story of life and death, battles and riddles, lies and secrets from debut author Megan Bannen.
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Pink Polka Dot Books– Welcome Post
Wasn’t that interview AWESOME?! And now you have the chance to win a copy of The Bird and the Blade to add to your shelves!
Enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter below. One winner will receive a copy of The Bird and the Blade by Megan Banne. Open to US residents only. Giveaway ends June 12, 2018.
This giveaway is sponsored and hosted by a third party. NovelKnight is not responsible for winner selection or supplying and mailing prizes.