Series: Spindle Fire #1
Published by Harper Teen on April 11 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retelling
Buy on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, The Book Depository
Half sisters Isabelle and Aurora are polar opposites: Isabelle is the king's headstrong illegitimate daughter, whose sight was tithed by faeries; Aurora, beautiful and sheltered, was tithed her sense of touch and her voice on the same day. Despite their differences, the sisters have always been extremely close.
And then everything changes, with a single drop of Aurora's blood--and a sleep so deep it cannot be broken.
As the faerie queen and her army of Vultures prepare to march, Isabelle must race to find a prince who can awaken her sister with the kiss of true love and seal their two kingdoms in an alliance against the queen.
Isabelle crosses land and sea; unearthly, thorny vines rise up the palace walls; and whispers of revolt travel in the ashes on the wind. The kingdom falls to ruin under layers of snow. Meanwhile, Aurora wakes up in a strange and enchanted world, where a mysterious hunter may be the secret to her escape . . . or the reason for her to stay.
Spindle Fire is the first book in a duology.
I learned so many interesting things while researching for Spindle Fire! I based the world loosely on France in the early 1300’s, but layered in the rules and history of the faerie world. One of the things I had suspected was that in the early fourteenth century, western Europe did not have spinning wheels! They only used drop spindles (which—fun fact—I’ve actually used before. We had a class in middle school devoted to hand-spinning, dyeing and weaving wool! You have to spin this thing that looks like a top, while literally letting it drop to the floor, with chunks of wool wrapped around the base. The gravity and the spinning pull on the wool and stretch it into yarn, basically. My yarn was always terrible and chunky, though.) Anyway, there were spinning wheels in China for literally hundreds of years prior. The spinning wheel in my book is enchanted and it is something Malfleur and Belcoeur’s parents procured in their world travels. I also had to look up the names of all the different rooms and buildings in medieval convents and castles, and I constantly had blueprints up on my computer while trying to choreograph scenes. I discovered that whale hunting was a huge industry in that time, and also that narwhals in particular were coveted for their tusks, partly because so many people believed in the legends of the unicorns and could be suckered into purchasing the tusks thinking they were unicorn horns. For the sequel, I read about battle strategies, and medieval glass-making, and open-pit sapphire mines (even though the latter ended up getting cut from the draft!) I learned how to light a flint via a Youtube video. I also read about plague masks and hunting rituals and I read a number of essays on how to write action sequences featuring blind narrators—it was important to me to do justice to that and to make a distinction between Isabelle’s often stubborn desire to throw herself into dangerous situations and, on the other hand, the reasonable limitations she would experience. I never wanted her blindness to feel like a gimmick, but a trait that she lives with, sometimes grappling with it but mostly accepting it as part of the fabric of her existence and how she experiences the world. The Binks chapter was a lot of fun. I learned that gambling and card-playing were so rampant that a tax was placed on all card decks and you could be fined for using an illegal deck. I took some liberties with the idea of Romances—back then, the great works of “romance” were stories of heroism and war. The term didn’t really mean what it means today, but even still, there were tales of love woven through and I imagined that those are what Aurora latches onto when she teaches herself to read. That’s another thing I wanted to make very clear—how unusual it would have been for a woman (or anyone) to be able to read at all! They mostly didn’t have paper (that was just coming into circulation although like so many inventions, it had existed for hundreds of years already in the east). And of course they wrote with quills you had to dip into ink pots, so it’s not like writing was particularly convenient or common, either. Aurora’s life would have been a whole lot easier if she could have just jotted down notes for people to read!
About the Author
Lexa Hillyer is the co-founder of Paper Lantern Lit, former YA editor, and author of Proof of Forever. Lexa is also an award-winning poet: Her first collection, Acquainted with the Cold, won the Melissa Lanitis Gregory Poetry Prize as well as the 2012 Book of the Year Award from ForeWord Reviews. Her poetry has been anthologized in Best New Poets 2012, and has appeared in several journals. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and their daughter.
3 Finished Copies of SPINDLE FIRE (US Only)
a Rafflecopter giveaway
4/4: Ex Libris – Review
4/10: Book Scents – Review
4/11: The Fake Steph – Q&A