Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Interview with Julie Eshabugh for Crown Of Oblivion

Crown of Oblivion

by Julie Eshbaugh
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: November 12th 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
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Astrid is the surrogate for Princess Renya, which means she bears the physical punishment if Renya steps out of line. Astrid has no choice—she and her family are Outsiders, the lower class of people without magic and without citizenship.

But there is a way out of this life—competing in the deadly Race of Oblivion. To enter the race, an Outsider is administered the drug Oblivion, which wipes their memory clear of their past as they enter a new world with nothing to help them but a slip of paper bearing their name and the first clue. It’s not as simple as solving a puzzle, however—for a majority of the contestants, the race ends in death. But winning would mean not only freedom for Astrid, but citizenship and health care for her entire family. With a dying father to think of, Astrid is desperate to prevail.

From the beginning, the race is filled with twists and turns. One of them is Darius, a fellow racer Astrid meets but isn’t sure she can trust. Though they team up in the race, as Astrid’s memories begin to resurface, she remembers just who he was to her—a scorned foe who may want revenge. Astrid also starts to notice she has powers no Outsider should—which could help her win the race, but also make her a target if anyone finds out. With stakes that couldn’t be higher, Astrid must decide what is more important: risking her life to remember the mysteries of the past, or playing a cutthroat game in order to win her—and her family’s—freedom.

Can you briefly describe CROWN OF OBLIVION and its characters?

Crown of Oblivion is the story of Astrid, a girl who enters a dangerous race to win citizenship and free herself and her family from a life of servitude. Right before the race, all contestants are dosed with the drug Oblivion, which purges their personal memories, leaving them with no knowledge of who can be trusted, and no sense of self. The terrain is dangerous, and the pace gruelling. Astrid might not remember herself, but she knows she must have had a reason to enter this race and to believe she could win, and that’s what she intends to do. 

Along the way she crosses paths with people who claim to know her and want to help her, as well as Darius, another racer whom she is reluctant to trust. In a world where everyone’s a stranger, Astrid can only depend on herself. 

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

Astrid is definitely a favourite character of mine. She is fierce but still vulnerable, considering her circumstances. She’s the kind of girl who charges forward in the face of fear, if it means helping someone she loves. 

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

I’ve always been fascinated by memory and how it forms us. I started writing this book in late 2016, and a few months later, my step-mom, who was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, moved back to my local area with my father so I could help take care of her. Meanwhile, my mother-in-law was also suffering from dementia and could no longer recognize anyone in our family. It was heart breaking. They both passed away this year. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I know now that supporting and loving these two wonderful women as they coped with memory loss inspired a lot of this book. 

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

Heroes by David Bowie.

Winter is here, and we love to find our perfect cosy spot. What drink and place do you think will go with your book to have a perfect book date?

I think Crown of Oblivion is the kind of book you want to read by the window, watching the snow fall outside, drinking a cup of hot tea. 

Can you recommend your readers any other books in case they are left hungry for more once they finish CROWN OF OBLIVION?

I’m currently reading Star-Crossed by Pintip Dunn, and I am loving it! It’s got a completely unique, complex plot in a sci-fi world that reminds me of Beth Revis’s Across the Universe trilogy. I recommend it to readers who are interested in sibling rivalries, ethical dilemmas, and sci-fi mysteries. 

What would you say is the most difficult part of writing a book?

This is a great question, and I suspect every writer would have a different answer. For me, it’s getting the small moment-to-moment, scene-level story on the page, while staying on track with the big story of each of the characters’ individual arcs. Fortunately, I have worked with a wonderful editor who helps me stay on track.

What’s next for you?

I’m currently working on a book that’s got a mysterious, almost gothic vibe. I can’t say much more than that! It’s very early and I don’t want to say too much because so much could still change. Stay tuned!

Julie Eshbaugh is a YA writer and former filmmaker. She made two short films and then spent several years producing an online video series for teens which received several honors from the Webby Awards. Her new YA fantasy standalone, CROWN OF OBLIVION, is coming from HarperTeen November 2019. IVORY AND BONE (HarperTeen 2016) and OBSIDIAN AND STARS (HarperTeen 2017), her prehistoric fantasy duology, are out now. You can learn more about Julie’s writing escapades by visiting www.julieeshbaugh.com.


  1. This book is on my must read list! I've read the prologue and can't wait to read the entire book. I enjoyed the interview and how the author was supporting her step-mom and mother-in-law with the memory loss central to this book. I knew about their deaths already and it reminded me of how precious life is.

  2. Sounds like an interesting race to run!

  3. I am so sorry for Julie's loss. I can't imagine losing your step-mom and mother-in-law in the same year, and both suffering from diseases that affect memory. Thank you so much for sharing this story with us. Great interview, Patricia <3