Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Interview with Anna Bright for The Boundless

The Boundless (The Beholder #2)

by Anna Bright
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: June 9th 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retellings
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This breathtaking sequel to The Beholder will take you on a journey into a darkly sparkling fairy tale, perfect for fans of The Selection and Caraval.

When Selah found true love with Prince Torden of Norway, she never imagined she’d have to leave him behind. All because the Beholder’s true mission was a secret Selah’s crew didn’t trust her to keep: transporting weapons to the rebels fighting against the brutal tsarytsya, whose shadow looms over their next port of Shvartsval’d. A place Selah hoped she’d never go.

But gone is the girl who departed Potomac filled with fear. With a stockpile of weapons belowdecks and her heart hanging in the balance, Selah is determined to see the Beholder’s quest to its end.

Can you briefly describe THE BEHOLDER series, its characters and what’s going to happen in THE BOUNDLESS?

THE BEHOLDER duology is a there-and-back-again fairy tale. (I literally thought about calling it “There and Back Again” and then remembered that title was taken.)

Main character Selah will be the leader of her country one day—except all the men running her life at the moment insist she can’t do it unless she’s married. And the guy she’s always had a crush on has turned her down. But—don’t worry!—her stepmother has set her up some options. Across the Atlantic Ocean. Essentially, she’s not supposed to come home until she’s got a ring on her finger.

As tends to happen on quests, she’s run into some obstacles. Guys who aren’t who they say they are. Guys with issues of their own. Guys she’s in love with and some she’s not sure about. Also, evil empresses. (Yeah, we meet one of those in this instalment.)

All told: Selah’s got to sort out her personal issues—while doing her duty by her home and doing what she thinks is right by others. It takes about 400 pages and I’m super proud of where she ends up.

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

I love writing Cobie. She’s much blunter than I’m brave enough to be and totally unconstrained by other people’s opinions.

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

I’d been doing a lot of writing and reading that felt like responsibility and practicality. And then one day I read a really, really fun sci-fi romance (The Host, by Stephenie Meyer) and some fairy tales, and it felt like coming back to life. The idea for THE BEHOLDER came out of nowhere—just the idea of retelling some fairy tales within a frame story. (And then I worked on it for 6 years.)

If you could choose one song to describe your books in the series, which ones would it be?

Run, by Delta Rae. The song feels like its name—it’s percussive and exciting and full of these wildly adventurous lyrics. I listened to it over and over again when I wrote the jump-in-the-lake scene in THE BEHOLDER.

If your book was going to be made into a movie, who would play your characters?

I’ve become (belatedly) obsessed with Florence Pugh—I would die for her to play Selah. I also think Maddie Baillio, who played Millie in the Dumplin’ adaptation, could convey Selah’s sweet naiveté really well (also I basically sobbed when she sang High and Mighty because I love pageants, hymns, and girls Being Cute and Doing Great). Also I think if we all try really hard, we could convince Prince Harry to play Torden because doesn’t he live in L.A. now?

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

Tea and a pile of baked goods. PG Tips and Millionaire shortbread and Jammy Dodgers. Although if we were sticking with the theme of what Selah eats and cooks in this book it might just be, like, a lot of potatoes.

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

Yes! Lately I’ve loved A TREASON OF THORNS by Laura Weymouth, which is this sweeping, timeless story about an alternate England whose well-being is governed by six magical houses, and THE FINAL SIX by Alexandra Monir, about a group of teenagers culled to compete to be Earth’s last hope—the six of them deemed strongest/smartest/etc will be sent to establish a colony out in the solar system. I finished it with my heart literally pounding and bought the sequel immediately.

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

The first couple big revisions. I love drafting—it’s exciting and adventurous—and I love being four or five revisions in, when I’m really fleshing out the details of a world and characters and honing language and adding icing all over the cake. But my first drafts are always really flabby and sometimes I take a lot of wrong turns, and turning all that into something whose structure and details even make sense can be really frustrating. That middle stage is frequently not a magical experience—and I have to continuously remind myself that just I don’t love that part doesn’t mean I don’t love writing.

What’s next for you?

I’m working on a fantasy that I’m….absolutely in love with. Good news though: as usual, I’ve bitten off more than I can chew!!!!! Stand by for more soon.

The author is giving away two BOUNDLESS-themed cross-stitches. 

Giveaway Ends June 24th. 

Read all the rules here and click on the image to see Anna's original post.

Anna Bright is an indie bookseller by day and an author by night who still gets in trouble for reading when she's supposed to be doing other things. When not hiding out among books, she loves concerts, roller coasters, and adventures at home and abroad. Anna lives with her husband and cat in a charming cobblestoned neighborhood in Washington, DC, but you can find her online at and on Twitter and Instagram at @brightlyanna.

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