Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Interview with Kester Grant for The Court of Miracles



The Court of Miracles (A Court of Miracles #1)

by Kester Grant
Publisher: Knopf Children's
Release Date: June 2nd 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Retellings, Science Fiction
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Synopsis:

Les Misérables meets Six of Crows in this page-turning adventure as a young thief finds herself going head to head with leaders of Paris's criminal underground in the wake of the French Revolution.

In the violent urban jungle of an alternate 1828 Paris, the French Revolution has failed and the city is divided between merciless royalty and nine underworld criminal guilds, known as the Court of Miracles. Eponine (Nina) Thénardier is a talented cat burglar and member of the Thieves Guild. Nina's life is midnight robberies, avoiding her father's fists, and watching over her naïve adopted sister, Cosette (Ettie). When Ettie attracts the eye of the Tiger--the ruthless lord of the Guild of Flesh--Nina is caught in a desperate race to keep the younger girl safe. Her vow takes her from the city's dark underbelly to the glittering court of Louis XVII. And it also forces Nina to make a terrible choice--protect Ettie and set off a brutal war between the guilds, or forever lose her sister to the Tiger.


Can you briefly describe THE COURT OF MIRACLES and its characters?

THE COURT OF MIRACLES is a reimagining of Les Miserables meets Six of Crows. It’s the story of a young thief desperate to save her sister who takes on cruel royalty and the lords of the city’s underworld criminal guilds. 


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

Enjolras St Juste, he is just so delightful to write, because he’s so extreme in his obsessive regard for the revolution over anything else. TCOM being a Les Mis retelling, the first draft included the character of Marius Pontmercy. And every time I wrote a scene with him and Nina, I felt like pulling teeth. I kept saying to my husband “If only I could write this scene with Enjolras instead of Marius, it’d be 100% better and hilarious …” then one day it clicked. Why did I need Marius anyway? I booted him out of the book (he’s the worst in any case) and gave all his scenes to Enjolras, and now they are glorious. 


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

So many things combined, a lifelong obsession with Les Mis, seeing the latest Jungle Book movie, thinking of all my favourite stories…. It all melded together in one lightning strike moment.


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

Chiwetel Ejiofor as Valjean. Jessica Chastain as Javert. “The Tiger” was inspired in part by Michael Fassbender in 12 Years a Slave. Sam Clafin as Enjolras. Tom Holland as the Dauphin, Gillian Anderson in Bleak House or Eva Green or Kiersten Scott Thomas as Madame Corday. Meera Syal as Lady Komayd. Riz Ahmed as Montparnasse, Vincent Cassel as Thenardier, Charles Dance as Lord Orso, 



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

Some artisanal French bread – you’ll see why in the story. And any drink that hasn’t been poisoned. 


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

Here’s a list of read-a-likes to tide people over till TCOM’s sequel out next year –culled from reviews. 



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

The discipline of actually writing the thing. I plan and dream out the story a lot, write things in my head, but actually sitting down and either drafting or editing – forcing myself through the process is another thing. Oh and avoiding reading the reviews, when you’re so desperate to see what people are thinking of the book – but also can’t change anything because it’s too late – LE SIGH.


What’s next for you?

I have an epic animal fantasy called Goldenpaw coming out early 2021; for fans of Watership Down, Warriors, Redwall, Guardians of Ga’Hoole, and the Jungle Book. You can find out more here.






Kester Grant is a British-Mauritian writer of color. She was born in London, grew up between the UK, Democratic Republic of Congo, and the tropical island paradise of Mauritius. As a wanton nomad she and her husband are unsure which country they currently reside in but they can generally be found surrounded by their fiendish pack of cats and dogs.

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