Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Interview with Natalie Mae for The Kinder Posion

The Kinder Poison (The Kinder Poison #1)

by Natalie Mae
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: June 16th 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
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Perfect for fans of Victoria Aveyard and Holly Black, this enthralling fantasy adventure follows a teenage girl chosen to be the human sacrifice in a deadly game between three heirs who will do anything for the crown.

Zahru has long dreamed of leaving the kingdom of Orkena and having the kinds of adventures she’s only ever heard about in stories. But as a lowly Whisperer, her power to commune with animals means that her place is serving in the royal stables until the day her magic runs dry.

All that changes when the ailing ruler invokes the Crossing: a death-defying race across the desert, in which the first of his heirs to finish—and take the life of a human sacrifice at the journey’s end—will ascend to the throne and be granted unparalleled abilities.

With all of the kingdom abuzz, Zahru leaps at the chance to change her fate if just for a night by sneaking into the palace for a taste of the revelry. But the minor indiscretion turns into a deadly mistake when she gets caught up in a feud between the heirs and is forced to become the Crossing’s human sacrifice. Zahru is left with only one hope for survival: somehow figuring out how to overcome the most dangerous people in the world.

Can you briefly describe THE KINDER POISON and its characters?

THE KINDER POISON is an enthralling fantasy adventure that follows Zahru, a sixteen-year-old girl who is chosen to be the human sacrifice in a deadly game between three heirs who will do anything for the crown. Zahru is a dreamer who often lets her mouth get ahead of her brain, and the heirs she has to contend with are Prince Kasta, a secretive boy with the power over death; Prince Jet, a charismatic swordsman who can bend and manipulate soundwaves, and Princess Sakira, a troublemaking party girl who can create almost any type of magic with a paintbrush. 

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

This is a hard choice! I put pieces of real people I know and love into each of my characters, so all of them are special to me. But I’d have to say my favorite to write is probably the villain. I’ve always had a soft spot for darker characters, and I especially love those who aren’t all the way gone, because there’s this delicious ongoing battle within them between the extremes they’re willing to go to and the fear that maybe they’ve gone too far. I think that makes them unpredictable and so very human, which always makes for a compelling story.

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

Initially, the inspiration for the book came from an article I read about archaeologists finding the bones of children who'd been sacrificed on an ancient mountain. The children didn't appear to have struggled or suffered, which made me wonder what it would be like to live in a time when human sacrifice was revered - and of course, what it might be like to be chosen for such a thing. But once I finished the first draft, I realized the book wasn't about that at all. It was about a girl who'd been told all her life that no matter how hard she worked or what good she tried to do, her worth was measured by something completely out of her control: the power she was (or in this case, wasn't) born with. It's the grounds for how she ends up as the sacrifice, and as soon as I drew that parallel to my own life, that was it. It became a story of defiance, of pressing back on a world that often favors wealth and physical strength over all.

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

My husband would say it’s Metallica’s “Creeping Death,” which to be clear was chosen 100% by the lyrics sung during the bridge, which are literally “DIE, BY MY HAND!” while someone chants “DIE” in the background. He also wanted me to walk out to that part at my launch party … it’s a whole thing, I don’t really talk about it. That’s a little extreme for me so I’m going to have to say “Wonderland” by Taylor Swift because it covers both the wild adventure part, and one of the more rollercoaster relationships she develops over the course of the series.

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

Okay, so here’s where I admit that it’s been approximately a thousand years since I was up to date on actors, so bear with me! But I think I’d have to choose India Eisley for Zahru, Odeya Rush for Sakira, Michael B. Jordan for Jet, and the only person I can find who fits my “look” for Kasta is teenage Jason Momoa, so that’s what I’m going with!

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

Take this book to Moab, Utah, grab yourself a box of chocolate truffles and a glass of sparkling water, and you’ll practically be living inside the book. 

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

Readers who like THE KINDER POISON should definitely check out SHADOW AND BONE if you somehow haven’t already, and also THE YOUNG ELITES by Marie Lu, FURYBORN by Claire Legrand, and THE WRATH AND THE DAWN by Renée Ahdieh

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

Omg … all of it? Haha. But I would have to say the toughest is finding the right path the characters need to take from start to end, both internally and plot-wise. There are SO MANY different twists and turns any story can take, and sometimes those endless possibilities can be paralyzing. I’m very lucky to have extremely smart (and patient) editors and critique partners who can help me out when I get stuck.

What’s next for you?

Right now I'm working on edits for THE KINDER POISON’s sequel, which will release in 2021, but I have a couple other books in progress I hope to be able to share more about soon ...

NaTaLiE MaE is an ex-programmer, dessert enthusiast, and author of young adult novels. She has also been a freelance editor and Pitch Wars mentor, and feels it notable to mention she once held a job where she had to feed spiders.

She now writes full-time at home with a bag of dark chocolates in one hand and a leopard cat on her lap. She is most definitely not checking Instagram right now.

1 comment:

  1. As soon as I found out about this book and read the first chapter, I knew I have to read this exciting book.