Saturday, March 28, 2020

Blog Tour + Interview + Giveaway - Thorn by Intisar Khanani

Find the tour schedule here.

 Thorn by Intisar Khanani
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Release Date: March 24th 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retellings, Romance, Fairy Tales


A princess with two futures. A destiny all her own.

Between her cruel family and the contempt she faces at court, Princess Alyrra has always longed to escape the confines of her royal life. But when she’s betrothed to the powerful prince Kestrin, Alyrra embarks on a journey to his land with little hope for a better future.

When a mysterious and terrifying sorceress robs Alyrra of both her identity and her role as princess, Alyrra seizes the opportunity to start a new life for herself as a goose girl.

But Alyrra soon finds that Kestrin is not what she expected. The more Alyrra learns of this new kingdom, the pain and suffering its people endure, as well as the danger facing Kestrin from the sorceress herself, the more she knows she can’t remain the goose girl forever.

With the fate of the kingdom at stake, Alyrra is caught between two worlds and ultimately must decide who she is, and what she stands for.

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How did you come up with the idea for Thorn?

I wrote the first draft of Thorn my senior year of university, in large part just to see if I could. I had always wanted to write a novel, so I set myself the challenge to write a chapter a week, and chose a fairytale I loved as the bases. As such, Thorn is a retelling of the Grimm’s tale, “The Goose Girl.” It’s both dark and whimsical, packed with sorrow and hope. It’s a tale of betrayal, and injustice, and sorcery, and learning to be strong in who you are and fight for what you understand to be right.

Did you do any research for Thorn?

Definitely! Thorn went through around 16 or 17 drafts, over about 18 years. Yeah, my mind is blown too. But, over all that time, I’ve forgotten a lot of what I researched. I worked into the story, and then lost track of what I always knew and what I learned on the job, so to speak. I do remember having to research horse expressions, and how horses show emotions. After all, there’s a talking horse in Thorn (as in the original fairytale), as well as a rather ornery regular horse. I wanted to get them right. I also researched different types of architecture, and what sorts of plants grow where (this story takes place on the plains) and in what season. 

Do you have a favourite character in Thorn?

I love Princess Alyrra (aka Thorn) deeply, and she is by far the character I have wept with and laughed with the most. I mean, she’s also the point of view character! But my favorite character is actually a rather ill-mannered, unfriendly horse named Moonflower who only shows up in the second half of the book or so. Moonflower has her own history, and I love how her response is to bite at people, and glower, and only slowly trust them. I love that she is passionately protective as a horse even if she won’t quite admit it to your face. As ridiculous as this might sound, I intend to keep writing companion novels until I manage to give Moonflower a happy fate. ;)

Do you have any advice for new writers?

Set yourself reasonable goals; work as consistently as you’re able (figure out what works for you!); and finish your projects. No matter whether you do anything or not with a particular story, learning to finish what you start will make a major difference in your ability to keep developing and writing new stories. (That said, if you can’t stomach working on something, it’s also okay to change gears – just make sure you are finishing something.)

What's your favourite book/series?

It’s impossible to pick a favorite! So instead, I’m going to rec two authors who have also written fairytale type adaptations that I’ve absolutely loved. W.R. Gingell’s Two Monarchies sequence begins with Masque (hookline: Beauty met the Beast and there was . . . Bloody murder?) and is so much fun! And Kate Stradling’s The Legendary Inge takes a seemingly throw-away moment from Beowulf, genderswaps the main character (yay girl power!), and builds a fabulous story from there. Definitely an original fairy tale, and one of the few reads I’ve enjoyed so much I flipped back to start over again the moment I finished. 

Thanks so much for having me on the blog!

About the Author

 Intisar Khanani grew up a nomad and world traveler. Born in Wisconsin, she has lived in five different states as well as in Jeddah on the coast of the Red Sea. She first remembers seeing snow on a wintry street in Zurich, Switzerland, and vaguely recollects having breakfast with the orangutans at the Singapore Zoo when she was five. She currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio, with her husband and two young daughters.

Until recently, Intisar wrote grants and developed projects to address community health with the Cincinnati Health Department, which was as close as she could get to saving the world. Now she focuses her time on her two passions: raising her family and writing fantasy. Intisar’s debut novel, Thorn, was picked up by HarperTeen and will be re-releasedin Winter 2020. In the meantime, she’s hard at work on the remaining books of The Sunbolt Chronicles.

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  1. Thanks so much for hosting me on your blog, and helping to celebrate Thorn's release! <3