Monday, March 18, 2019

Interview with Victoria Lee for The Fever King

The Fever King (Feverwake #1)

by Victoria Lee
Publisher: Skyscape
Release Date: March 1st 2019
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, LGBT
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In the former United States, sixteen-year-old Noam Álvaro wakes up in a hospital bed, the sole survivor of the viral magic that killed his family and made him a technopath. His ability to control technology attracts the attention of the minister of defense and thrusts him into the magical elite of the nation of Carolinia.

The son of undocumented immigrants, Noam has spent his life fighting for the rights of refugees fleeing magical outbreaks—refugees Carolinia routinely deports with vicious efficiency. Sensing a way to make change, Noam accepts the minister’s offer to teach him the science behind his magic, secretly planning to use it against the government. But then he meets the minister’s son—cruel, dangerous, and achingly beautiful—and the way forward becomes less clear.

Caught between his purpose and his heart, Noam must decide who he can trust and how far he’s willing to go in pursuit of the greater good.

Can you briefly describe the world in The Fever King and their main characters?

The book takes place in a speculative North Carolina, in a world where magic’s a lethal virus and the rare survivors are infected with the ability to use magic. 

The main character is antifascist activist kid Noam who’s always fought against the anti-immigrant government (his parents are undocumented immigrants from Atlantia, a neighboring country that’s dealing with a lot of magic outbreaks). But when he gets infected with magic, he’s recruited by the Minister of Defense to join a government-funded magical training program. He decides he’ll let the Minister teach him the science behind his magic…but secretly plans to use it against the government and bring them down from the inside. He’s pretty passionate and idealistic and just a little reckless.

Dara Shirazi is Noam’s academic rival in the magical training program. He’s the Minister of Defense’s adopted son and he’s incredibly powerful…and he can be a little mean, too. He grew up wealthy and privileged, so his political opinions butt heads with Noam’s pretty often.

Calix Lehrer is the Minister of Defense I’ve been mentioning. He’s a war hero and revolutionary who helped build Carolinia in the wake of a genocide against magic-users a hundred years ago. He used to be Carolinia’s king before he gave up power to form a democratic government. Now, he seems to sympathize with the plight of the refugees.

Carter Ames is Dara’s best friend, another one of the cadets in the training program. She’s snarky, heavily tattooed, and very protective of Dara. But she takes a shine to Noam, too.

Who would you say is your favourite character from the story and why?

This is a hard one! I love Noam, obviously—I mean, he’s the main character—but if I’m brutally honest, Dara is my favorite. He represents so much of what I was trying to say with this book. I relate a lot to his experiences, and honestly I just want him to be happy. 

How did the story occur to you? Did you find inspiration anywhere?

It took me a really long to figure out what story I was actually trying to tell with The Fever King. I wrote several versions of this book trying to figure it out! Some parts of the book were originally parts of other books I’d written that ended up getting coopted and ultimately becoming part of TFK. 

Most of all, I wanted to write about the intersection of intergenerational and personal trauma—about what it means to face our trauma, and the way the world can demand that we “have” to confront our abusers in order for trauma to be viewed as legitimate. I also wanted to write about the experience of feeling like an outsider in your own country. For me, I wrote this through the lens of being Jewish American (for Noam: Atlantian-Carolinian), but so many different groups have experienced this historically and today in different ways.

If you could choose one song to describe your book, which one would it be?

“War Sweater” by Wakey!Wakey!

Since it is still cold outside, what hot drink do you think will go with your book to have a perfect book date?

Spiced cider! Best consumed from a chipped handmade mug in an old bookstore.

Can you recommend your readers any other books in case they are left hungry for more once they finish The Fever King?

What’s next for you?

Well, first off…. Proposing my dissertation and finishing my Ph.D.! Writing-wise, though, I’m wrapping up the sequel to The Fever King. It’s called The Electric Heir, and it’ll release in March 2020. The book starts six months after The Fever King ends, and if you thought TFK was angsty and dark, well…I have news for you about book 2.

Other than that I have a few works in progress underway, but I can’t say too much about them just yet!

Victoria Lee grew up in Durham, North Carolina, where she spent twelve ascetic years as a vegetarian before discovering spicy chicken wings are, in fact, a delicacy. She’s been a state finalist competitive pianist, a hitchhiker, a pizza connoisseur, an EMT, an expat in China and Sweden, and a science doctoral student. She’s also a bit of a snob about fancy whisky.

Victoria writes early in the morning, then spends the rest of the day trying to impress her border collie puppy and make her experiments work.

She is represented by Holly Root and Taylor Haggerty at Root Literary.

1 comment:

  1. This book immediately went on my TBR when I first read about it. I love the premise and fantasy books are so much fun to read.