Book Name: The Violet Fox
Author: Clare C. Marshall
Publisher: Faery Ink Press
Release date: October 13, 2012
Genre: YA Fantasy
Formats: Paperback, eBook
Violet Fox Goodreads Page: Goodread
Social Networks: Twitter & Facebook
Other Novels: Within
That’s what instinct told me.
But in order to save the secrets of my people
and to protect my brother
I have to become the enemy.
There are two kinds of people in the land of Marlenia.
The Marlenians, who live on the surface,
and the Freetors, who are forced to live underground.
The war between them ended two hundred years ago, but the Freetors still fight for the right to live under the sun. Fifteen-year-old Kiera Driscoll embodies the Freetors’ hopes as the Violet Fox. In a violet cape and mask, she sneaks around Marlenia City stealing food and freeing her people from slavery.
Then the Elders task her with a secret mission: retrieve a stolen tome that contains the secrets of Freetor magic, something the Marlenians both fear and covet. Kiera must disguise herself as a noblewoman and infiltrate the Marlenian castle.
Before the Freetor-hating Advisor finds out her real identity.
Before her brother is imprisoned because of the secrets he hides.
And before she falls any more in love with the prince she’s supposed to hate.
More is happening in the castle than she realizes, and Kiera is faced with a difficult choice. Will she be loyal to her people and their fight for freedom, or will she be loyal to her heart?
Clare Marshall has always been one of those people you can’t help but like right away. She’s incredibly nice and her stories always have a sort of seductive pull to them that make you want to pick them up (I won’t even mention their beautiful covers). So, naturally, when Ms. Marshall mentioned a new book, I had to jump on that and am now so honored to present her debut novel The Violet Fox.
A while back, I was honored with a moment of Ms. Marshall’s time and she sat down with me (metaphorically speaking) and answered a few questions for us.
Other interesting little facts about Ms. Marshall:
-As always, my covers are designed by my boyfriend, Dave.
-The runes along the outside are made from scratch. There are 26 of them. One for each letter of the alphabet. They represent a secret code that the protagonist, Kiera, and her people can read.
-The working title for the book was FREETOR, a combination of “freedom” and “fighter”.
-This is the first book in a series, but it was originally intended to be a one-off book. The world and the characters kind of ran away with me. However, this book can be read as a stand alone.
What is your book about?
The Violet Fox is set in a fantasy land where there are two groups of people: those that live on the surface (the Marlenians) and those that are forced to live underground (the Freetors). Kiera Driscoll is a Freetor. The Marlenians call her The Violet Fox, as she is a masked & caped crusader who spends most of her time stealing from merchants on the surface, and freeing her people from slavery. She is a symbol of hope to her people.
The Freetor Elders entrust Kiera with a special mission: retrieve a stolen tome from the Marlenian castle. The tome contains the secrets of Freetor magic–the only advantage the Freetors have over the Marlenians. Kiera must disguise herself as a Marlenian princess and infiltrate the castle during a week of festivities for Prince Keegan to retrieve what rightfully belongs to her people.
Kiera must deal with attention from Prince Keegan, castle politics & gossip, and the mysterious and cruel Advisor, who seems to have an agenda of his own. She must decide what is more important: the needs of her people, or her own needs and feelings.
Has any other author(s) inspired your writing?
Right now, my two biggest influences are Maggie Stiefvater, and George R. R. Martin. I really like Stiefvater’s poetic descriptions; I’d like to be as good as her someday. George R. R. Martin is an expert world-builder and made me pay attention to the details while I was writing The Violet Fox.
What do you think your writing style is?
I think I have a mature YA-style that is easy to read. My journalism training contributes a lot to this. Sometimes I get a little flowery with descriptions, but I think my strength is in dialogue. Descriptions take longer for me to write and take lots of thinking/rearranging on my part.
Do you have any suggestions for beginning writers?
Write. And get your stuff out there. Buy your own domain name & hosting–domain names are cheap ($10-$15 a year) and they make you look more professional. Try to update your site as often as possible with your newest work. Connect with book lovers and other writers on Twitter or Facebook. Participate in writing contests/events like the 3 Day Novel Contest. You will have to learn to wear two hats–the writing hat, and the marketing hat. Finding the balance between the two will be your biggest challenge.
And set aside time to write. Easier said than done sometimes, but if you average 1,000 words an hour (or more once you get going!) you’ll be doing well. Don’t wait for the muse. She will come if you call her.
When did you decide you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always wanted to be a writer, so I decided very young, and I was always encouraged by friends, family and teachers. When I grew up and found out that writers (journalists or fiction writers both) don’t make a lot of money and are pretty much doomed to starvation unless they have a second job, well, that just made me more resilient in my decision!
Why should readers consider your novel?
Because my plots will hold your interest (I hope!) and I’m not afraid to take characters to unexpected places to make them grow.
Were any of your characters a reflection of you?
I like to think that the female protagonists are like my daughters. They might have a piece of me in them, but they are not me. Kiera is definitely more fiery and more stubborn than I am. I wish I could be as brave as her!
What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
1. I have two webbed toes on my left foot.
2. I don’t like cheese! Except on pizza, and sometimes lasagna. My favourite desert, however, is cheesecake.
3. I used to work for Alexander Keith’s brewery as a musical tour guide–they have a tour through the old Victorian brewery in Halifax where different characters “take you back in time” and interact with you as people from 1863. I played many of these characters for a season and sang, told jokes, played my fiddle & danced, and taught people about the beer. It was fun! Exhausting sometimes, because you were never allowed to break character (“Oh, you’re from Ontario? Must have taken you some long time to get here to Halifax in your horse and carriage!”), but definitely an experience I’m glad I had.
What is your favorite part of the book?
The whole book was fun to write because I have been in love with this story for a long time, but right now my favourite part is when she attends the masquerade. She is wrestling with her feelings for the prince, and her duty to her people.
How did you start your writing career?
I learned everything I possibly could about publishing. Every decision I’ve made, education-wise, prepared me for a life of being an author-publisher. I took journalism in school, which broadened my writing ability and made me hyper-conscious of deadlines. It also gave me the confidence to reach out to people I didn’t know and ask questions (an important skill for indie authors who have to do a lot of things themselves!). I took a post-grad publishing course to fill in the gaps in my publishing knowledge, which put me in touch with a lot of great people in the industry.
And of course, I wrote, and I set aside time to write.
Thank you so much, Ms. Marshall, for taking time out of your busy schedule to join us. I have already added The Violet Fox to my To-Be-Read list and can’t wait to get my hands on it!
A word from the lovely author herself:
I will be giving away 2 e-ARCs of THE VIOLET FOX to 2 lucky winners. The following code is a shared rafflecopter code, so your readers can enter easily, and it will be compiled all into one place. You don’t have to paste this on your site if you don’t want to. If you’d like me to add something to the giveaway options in exchange for posting it on your website, just let me know! I’d be more than happy to oblige.
Starts: July 3, 2012 EST
Ends: July 31, 2012 EST