Friday, June 5, 2020

Blog Tour + Guest Post + Giveaway - The Court of Miracles (A Court of Miracles, #1) by Kester Grant

Find the tour schedule here.

 The Court of Miracles (A Court of Miracles #1) by Kester Grant
Publisher: Knopf Children's
Release Date: June 2nd 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Retellings, Science Fiction


Les Misérables meets Six of Crows in this page-turning adventure as a young thief finds herself going head to head with leaders of Paris's criminal underground in the wake of the French Revolution.

In the violent urban jungle of an alternate 1828 Paris, the French Revolution has failed and the city is divided between merciless royalty and nine underworld criminal guilds, known as the Court of Miracles. Eponine (Nina) Thénardier is a talented cat burglar and member of the Thieves Guild. Nina's life is midnight robberies, avoiding her father's fists, and watching over her naïve adopted sister, Cosette (Ettie). When Ettie attracts theeye of the Tiger--the ruthless lord of the Guild of Flesh--Nina is caught in a desperate race to keep the younger girl safe. Her vow takes her from the city's dark underbelly to the glittering court of Louis XVII. And it also forces Nina to make a terrible choice--protect Ettie and set off a brutal war between the guilds, or forever lose her sister to the Tiger.

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Read an excerpt here.

Top Ten Tips for Becoming a Better Writer

I’m not going to give the usual advice about reading tons and getting critique partners because most writers have heard that a hundred times, and knowing that I’m an author at the very beginning of my publishing journey – so take whatever I say with a giant pinch of salt. Here’s some of the thoughts floating around my brain these days when it comes to what I want to create think of this more as a personal (to me, YMMV) manifesto being worked out…

Don’t be afraid to let a good idea go, the good aspects of it will return to you in much better skins.

My animal fantasy Goldenpaw is coming out early next year, and the story was originally completely different, with a human cast, for an older readership and in a completely different genre. I put it aside because I wasn’t happy with it. Not because it wasn’t good or fabulous, but rather because I didn’t like certain aspects of it. Yet it was a strong story that would have sat well on the shelves with its book peers. Many years later it returned to me, flashing through my mind – that I could strip the story of all the things I disliked, genre, etc, and be told completely differently whilst retaining the things I loved best about it – the tale of a brother and sister who are devoted to one another, but grow up in a society of freedom fighters and though they desire to protect one another, their destiny and duty is to bring freedom to their people even if it means their deaths. In its new form as an animal fantasy the premise was much newer and fresher than the original one. There was much more humour to the story. And the research and creation of this wild continent of animals rekindled my great passion for animals and the environment and brought me great joy and peace.

I’ve had other projects where I let go completely, promising myself I’d never write them, only to have the strongest parts of them return to me as I plan something completely different. And often the act of sacrificing them, entirely turning away from them, allows me to free myself from seeing them in their old skins, and when only the best parts to remain and return in a fresh form, they’re less precious and more flexible, I see that I could fold them into all sorts of far more original story genres and shapes, and create things that aren’t as common in the market today.

Write the book you want to read. 
I’ve looked at the writing and illustrated book industry a lot. I noticed that many of the authors and illustrators I admire the most were busy tinkering away, creating something that was not necessarily “hot” or “commercial” or even getting a ton of buzz, but they created worlds and projects out of their passion. A good example of this is Tove Jansson.
Or Terry Pratchett who created the humorous epic fantasy series Discworld whilst most other fantasy was very serious and in another mold entirely. I call this “dancing to the beat of their own drum” which doesn’t sound like anyone else’s drum.

I’m not advocating being entirely un-commercial, I’m too business minded for that. But sometimes the weird, niche, quirky, you-ness is a strong brand, that distinguishes your creative work from others and I always think that if this is the book I’d have loved to read at X age, then there are surely other people like me out there.

Let creating be joyful again!

This is a hard one as a debut, the urge to read every review good, and especially the bad ones, is strong, checking Amazon stats, wondering why my story isn’t doing as well as X’s book or anxiety over debuting during a pandemic! 


Find my heroes and emulate them as best I can.

I think it was Dame Barbara Cartland in an interview who admitted that even though she was a prolific international best seller and quite famous, her children had no idea till they got to university and realized their mom’s hobby had made her a household name. She wrote at night when they were asleep, didn’t really do the “celebrity” circuit, and spent her days being a single mother bringing them up. That interview really spoke to me on a deep level about priorities and what kind of career I wanted. 


Don’t be afraid to dream a little bigger darling. 
One of my biggest dreams is to be a picture book author-illustrator. I’ve had many book concept ideas, but kept putting them aside as though I might have the skill to illustrate them, they didn’t hold up to my author-illustrator heroes. I’ve also drawn comics for fun for years, I’m not amazing at this, but the comics I drew have a style and humor of their own. 


Don’t let it eat you.

IDK about you guys, but I’m very hide in the garret neither eating sleeping nor bathing whilst I create all day every day… type thing. My stories take up my mind and I often find myself feeling resentful of daily life and other things which stop me from being able to be the glorious creation-beast I could be if only I could lounge by the well of inspiration all the time.

But the thing is my creative tendencies are not always healthy, and I need routine, and exercise, and family.So, I try to remember to disconnect, and spend time where it should be spent, and focus on what is important.

About the Author

Kester Grant is a British-Mauritian writer of color. She was born in London, grew up between the UK, Democratic Republic of Congo, and the tropical island paradise of Mauritius. As a wanton nomadshe and her husband are unsure which country they currently reside in but they can generally be found surrounded by their fiendish pack of cats and dogs.

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