Today it is my turn on the blog tour for Sunbolt by Intisar Khanani. This tour is part of the Book Bloggers’ Novel of the Year Award (BBNYA). This year, the BBNYA is celebrating the 55 books that made it into Round Two with a mini spotlight blitz tour for each title. BBNYA is a yearly competition where book bloggers from all over the world read and score books written by indie authors, ending with 10 finalists and one overall winner.
If you want some more information about BBNYA, check out the BBNYA Website: https://www.bbnya.com/ or take a peek over on Twitter @BBNYA_Official. BBNYA is brought to you in association with the @Foliosociety (if you love beautiful books, you NEED to check out their website!) and the book blogger support group @The_WriteReads.
Sunbolt is a young adult fantasy about an orphan called Hitomi. The winding streets and narrow alleys of Karolene hide many secrets, and Hitomi is one of them. Orphaned at a young age, Hitomi has learned to hide her magical aptitude and who her parents really were. Most of all, she must conceal her role in the Shadow League, an underground movement working to undermine the powerful and corrupt Arch Mage Wilhelm Blackflame.
When the League gets word that Blackflame intends to detain—and execute—a leading political family, Hitomi volunteers to help the family escape. But there are more secrets at play than Hitomi’s, and much worse fates than execution. When Hitomi finds herself captured along with her charges, it will take everything she can summon to escape with her life. Sunbolt is publsihed by Purple Monkey Press.
The author, Intisar Khanani, grew up a nomad and world traveller. She has lived in five different states as well as in Jeddah, on the coast of the Red Sea. Intisar used to write grants and develop projects to address community health and infant mortality 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. She is the author of The Sunbolt Chronicles, and the Dauntless Path novels, beginning with Thorn.
My stop on the Sunbolt tour takes the form of an author interview.
Welcome to my blog. It is with great pleasure that I end your magnificent blog tour for Sunbolt with an author interview.
Tell us a little about your writing career and your latest novel, Sunbolt?
I’ve had a pretty varied writing career – I indie published my first novel, Thorn, back in 2012, and then jumped into writing The Sunbolt Chronicles. Then in 2017, HarperTeen picked up Thorn, along with a companion novel (that accidentally turned into a duology). I just put out the last book in the duology – A Darkness at the Door – last summer, and am cycling back around to this series. I’m re-releasing Sunbolt as well as Book 2 through a lovely little indie co-op called Snowy Wings Publishing (yay new cover!) in the lead-up to getting out Book 3. So I’ve done both indie, trad, and hybrid publishing (that last one was indie for North America, and trad through the UK!), and am excited to back in the indie sphere for this series!
What are the underlying themes of your novel, Sunbolt?
Sunbolt has a few different themes at play—from belonging and in-group/out-group relations, to colonization of the mind, to learning to make allies in the most unlikely places (by which I also mean, compassion). I’m sure some readers will also find other things that speak to them—for example, Hitomi deals with grief from both parent death and abandonment. While that’s a smaller thread, it’s definitely there.
What is your favourite thing about writing for young adults?
Young adults are questioning the underpinnings of their world, their looking sideways at authority and pushing back at injustice, and experiencing so many things for the first time. They also pack a lot of hope for the future—they’re not giving up, they haven’t hit some kind of overblown cynical middle-age where they just throw the towel in. Not at all. They’ve got their fire and their not afraid to use it. They’re an amazing group to write for, and having the chance to explore those realities through my writing is an absolute gift.
Is there an aspect of writing for young adults you wish someone had told you when you started out?
Not really. I’ve learned a lot as I’ve been writing, but I don’t have any major regrets as yet. I think just bearing in mind that writing is a journey, as is learning your craft, is a great help. None of us can get everything right the first time, or even the fifth. That’s okay! Just do your best, both in telling your story and making sure you do no harm in doing so.
What’s your favourite writing snack or drink?
I really love a flavored hot chocolate! I mix up my own varieties, as I tend to like less sweetener in my chocolate. Right now my two favorites are peppermint hot chocolate and a spicy blend that includes ginger, cinnamon, and red pepper (plus more!).
How did you celebrate when you finished Sunbolt?
I don’t tend to celebrate too much beyond grabbing a bowl of ice cream. XD For me, a lot of the satisfaction is in doing the work. But some of my happiest moments are getting tagged on reviews where the story meant something special to a reader. I always hope for that with my stories, and there have definitely been a couple of really special (to me) reviews that I think back to for Sunbolt.
What are your social media links where can people find out about you and your books?
I use the handle @booksbyintisar pretty much anywhere I go. Right now I’m most active on Instagram @booksbyintisar and Twitter @booksbyintisar … though really, I’ve been reducing my social media usage overall to help both my mental health and my writing time (talk about a time suck!). That said, I do have a monthly newsletter where I love to chat with readers and also share my news, and currently have a new story going out a chapter a month to subscribers. You can find out more at booksbyintisar.com/newsletter.
Thank you for agreeing to be interviewed on my blog for the last stop of your Sunbolt blog tour.
Thanks so much for having me!
You can find out more about Intisar Khanani and her books on her website: https://booksbyintisar.com/ and follow her on Twitter @BooksByIntisar and Instagram: @booksbyintisar.
You can buy a copy of Sunbolt by Intisar Khanani from Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35696827-sunbolt and Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sunbolt-Chronicles-Book-1-ebook/dp/B00DE2RXEM