Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Interview with Addie Thorley for Night Spinner

Night Spinner (Night Spinner #1)

by Addie Thorley
Publisher: Page Street Kids
Release Date: February 11th 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retellings
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A must-read for fans of Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse, transforming The Hunchback of Notre Dame into a powerful tundra-inspired epic.

Before the massacre at Nariin, Enebish was one of the greatest warriors in the Sky King’s Imperial Army: a rare and dangerous Night Spinner, blessed with the ability to control the threads of darkness. Now, she is known as Enebish the Destroyer―a monster and murderer, banished to a monastery for losing control of her power and annihilating a merchant caravan.

Guilt stricken and scarred, Enebish tries to be grateful for her sanctuary, until her adoptive sister, Imperial Army commander Ghoa, returns from the war front with a tantalizing offer. If Enebish can capture the notorious criminal, Temujin, whose band of rebels has been seizing army supply wagons, not only will her crimes be pardoned, she will be reinstated as a warrior.

Enebish eagerly accepts. But as she hunts Temujin across the tundra, she discovers the tides of war have shifted, and the supplies he’s stealing are the only thing keeping thousands of shepherds from starving. Torn between duty and conscience, Enebish must decide whether to put her trust in the charismatic rebel or her beloved sister. No matter who she chooses, an even greater enemy is advancing, ready to bring the empire to its knees.

Can you briefly describe NIGHT SPINNER and its characters? 

Night Spinner is a gender-swapped reimagining of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, set in the Arctic tundra. It centers on Enebish, a former warrior who committed an atrocious war crime and was banished to a monastery. When her sister Ghoa, the commander of the Imperial Army, offers Enebish a chance at freedom and reinstatement in exchange for capturing a notorious rebel, she jumps at the chance. But as Enebish hunts the rebels across the tundra, she begins to question her beloved sister and the nation she vowed to serve. 

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

Serik (Enebish’s best friend and the world’s most irreverent monk) is hands down my favorite character in this book. And across every book I’ve ever written! He is blunt and stubborn and unapologetically himself. He was like a firecracker in my mind. I always knew exactly what he would do or say in any situation. It was like he was sitting on my shoulder dictating his scenes to me. 

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

Night Spinner came to me like a bolt of lightning. Usually, my stories take a while to develop and marinate, but not this one. I’d had the song “Out There” from Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame randomly stuck in my head for an entire week (which was SO WEIRD, since I hadn’t seen or thought of that movie in ages). Then one day while I was cooking, and singing this song yet again, I had a very clear image pop into my mind of a scarred girl sitting on a temple rooftop in the howling wind and snow, fiddling with black threads that could only be darkness. I ran upstairs so fast I face-planted and furiously began typing. Ten minutes later, I’d written an outline for Night Spinner. Which was a big deal for a pantser like me, who never outlines or has the slightest idea where my stories will go. 

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

My previous answer totally gave this one away, but I have to choose “Out There” from The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Quasimodo’s longing is so acute and his desire is so simple—just one day of freedom—but it’s also completely impossible. I wanted to write about a character with this bone-deep longing. A character who wore their heart on their sleeve and was achingly relatable, despite the mistakes they’d made in their past. 

What drink and place do you think will go with your book to have a perfect book date?

I think for the ultimate effect, Night Spinner should be read in a cabin, high up in the snowy mountains, in the dark (of course!), curled up next to a crackling fire. Or, even better, up on the cabin rooftop if you’re not afraid of heights and don’t mind the bitter cold. A delicious spiced cider would be the perfect complement—it’s sweet and warm but packs a little punch, like Enebish 

Can you recommend your readers any other books in case they are left hungry for more once they finish NIGHT SPINNER? 

Yes! Recommending books is one of my favorite things to do! If you’re looking for books with a similar feel, I highly recommend The Last Namsara series by Kristin Ciccarelli, Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young, and Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim

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

Drafting! I’m a very messy pantser, so the process of putting those initial words down on the page is so hard for me. I end up tossing tens of thousands of words (which is so inefficient!) and means I usually have to write at least double my target word count in order to end up with a workable story. I’d rather revise any day. 

What’s next for you?

Right now, I’m hard at work editing the sequel to Night Spinner (which is currently untitled, so if you have any ideas, send them my way! Lol) As I mentioned above, my process is MESSY. I had to write over 250k words in order to get 100k good ones. But now the fun begins, when I get to heighten the tension, tighten the plot, and make everything shine.

Addie Thorley is the author of An Affair of Poisons, a YA historical fantasy, which was chosen as a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers selection and is a YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults nominee. Her forthcoming novel, Night Spinner, will be released on February 11, 2020.

She spent her childhood playing soccer, riding horses, and scribbling stories. After graduating from the University of Utah with a degree in journalism, Addie decided “hard news” didn’t contain enough magic and kissing, so she flung herself into the land of fiction and never looked back. She now lives in Princeton, New Jersey with her husband, daughter, and wolf dog. When she’s not writing she can be found gallivanting in the woods or galloping around the barn where she works as a horse trainer and exercise rider.


  1. I haven't read any of the Grishaverse, but this sounds like an interesting re-working!

  2. This book sounds so unique and so much fun to read. I am blown away by the author's description of her book.