The Bone Witch (#1)
by Rin Chupeco
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: March 7, 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal
The beast raged; it punctured the air with its spite. But the girl was fiercer.
Tea is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy makes her a bone witch, who are feared and ostracized in the kingdom. For theirs is a powerful, elemental magic that can reach beyond the boundaries of the living—and of the human.
Great power comes at a price, forcing Tea to leave her homeland to train under the guidance of an older, wiser bone witch. There, Tea puts all of her energy into becoming an asha, learning to control her elemental magic and those beasts who will submit by no other force. And Tea must be strong—stronger than she even believes possible. Because war is brewing in the eight kingdoms, war that will threaten the sovereignty of her homeland…and threaten the very survival of those she loves.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
1. Favorite Book?
Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas
2. Favorite TV show?
Star Trek (the Original series, Next Generation, Deep Space 9, Voyager, etc. - yes, I am a Trekkie), and also Boston Legal for some reason.
3. Favorite movie?
4. Your Favorite Song?
Drops of Jupiter by Train
5. Favorite Food?
A tossup between salmon sushi and ramen, but I suspect my real answer is “buffets”.
6. Name 3 fictional places you would move to in a heartbeat.
1.) Hogwarts. I swear House Slytherin isn't as bad as they make it out to be!
2.) Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters (I would probably have the most useless superpower though, like maybe the ability to transfer my cholesterol onto someone else)
3.) Not exactly a place per se, but I wouldn't mind living on the U.S.S. Enterprise despite my Romulan nature
7. Who is your perfect fictional boyfriend?
Namor / The Sub-Mariner. I have a weakness for antiheroes with unrelenting honor, who appears boorish but is chivalrous and devoted to his love interest. All the other Marvel characters have movies by now, make one for him already!
8. Favorite Quote?
“It's not worth doing something unless you were doing something that someone, somewhere, would much rather you weren't doing.” - Terry Practchett
9. What do you find yourself “Fangirling” over?
How long do you want this interview to be? If it's a fandom I like, I'm probably already fangirling – Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, Star Trek, Marvel, D.C., Psycho Pass, Agatha Christie, Discworld, Sandman, Lucifer – the list goes on.
10. If you could meet one author, dead or alive, who would it be?
Terry Pratchett, hands down. I would also say Neil Gaiman, but I've met him like three times (a brief conversation I had with him was the reason I started taking writing seriously)
11. Something to say to our Book Addicts?
I am a very weird person, which I think is a great strength as a writer. Be as weird as you want, as many times as you can be, and whenever you deem it necessary, which should be often. Celebrate the fact that you are the only person in the world that can be you, and the world will be all the better for it.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Could you tell our Book Addicts a little bit about The Bone Witch?
The Bone Witch is about an exiled asha – girls capable of runic magic - who encounters a bard. At his urging, she recounts her life as an asha, a powerful spellcaster who discovers the rare power of necromancy when she raises her brother from the dead. Her ability makes her reviled by most of society, despite relying on her to protect them from undead beasts roaming the land, and alludes to this as the reason she was banished. But as she recounts her tale, the bard slowly begins to suspect that she may not be as innocent as she appears to be.
How did you come up with the story? Did you find inspiration in any other story/movie/show and how has this affected your writing?
This was inspired by all the Asian fantasies I've read growing up. I was born in Asia (and still live here!) and I've been reading Chinese and Japanese fantasy / historical epics long before I'd started reading any Western counterparts. The Bone Witch is a magical fantasy homage to them, the kingdom of Kion in particular. I wanted a melting pot of traditions and cultures too, and researched a lot about Middle Eastern culture as my basis for the kingdom of Odalia. I also wanted to explore relationships between siblings as a focal point of the story – my family lost a son before I was born, and I'd always wondered what it would be like, if I could literally bring him back from the dead.
Which kind of asha would you like to be?
I would rather be one of those asha who putters around libraries and functions as an official historian instead of fighting people or dancing. But I would also be one of those people who'd devote their lives to studying rune magic just because it would make for fascinating study, and I'd like to think I'd be somewhat competent in it. Please no one ask me to sing, though. I can curdle milk that way.
Tell us your favorite quote from The Bone Witch.
The very first two lines actually, which I think sets the (dark) tone for the rest of the book, and sums up what I believe should be everyone's first impression of Tea: “The beast raged; it punctured the air with its spite. But the girl was fiercer.”
Is there a specific scene that you had the most fun to write? Or which one was the most difficult to write?
Rahim Arrakan is one of my favorite characters to write in the book. He's basically a gay icon who's escaped the prejudice of his nation to start the most popular haute couture fashion house in the kingdom. He's also a very unique figure, being masculine in appearance but unrepentantly open about his sexuality, and speaks with an obvious Tresean (nearest similarity would be East Slavic) accent. Tea's first meeting with him is hilarious, and I'm surprised at how easily I was able to delve into his personality while writing that scene, and how much I enjoyed it.
If you had to pick one song to be the Theme Song for The Bone Witch – Which one would you pick?
Like Real People Do, by Hozier. It's about the death of a relationship but described the way one might describe digging up a grave, and I found it a really apt analogy.
Imagine that we get to see your book on the big screen (how awesome would that be?). Who would you pick to play your characters? (It can be anyone – famous or not)
I haven't actually thought much about casting. I don't know a lot of teen Middle Eastern celebrities, and should any screen adaptations happen I'd always hoped unknown Middle Eastern actors and actresses would make up most of the cast. But I remember coming across a picture of Hasti Mahdavifar before and thinking she would look amazing as Tea Pahlavi. I also think the actor who was once kicked out of Saudi Arabia for “being too handsome”, Omar Borkan al Gala, would make a great older Prince Kance. And as for Fox – maybe a much younger Sam Asghari with long hair?
Is there any recommendations you could give your readers to be in the “perfect mood” to read The Bone Witch (specific music, snacks…)?
I wrote The Bone Witch for the most part with my mouth full of food (mostly ramen), but if they are so inclined, red wine goes very well with reading sessions. Persian cuisine makes up a lot of the food in The Bone Witch, and while it might be hard to find in your area, you can never go wrong with lamb or beef kebab. Or hummus! I love hummus. I wrote a lot of The Bone Witch on a Hozier playlist – I like Take Me to Church, but he has so many other profound songs I'm surprised he's only known for that - so I'd recommend listening to his music, too!
What’s next for you?
The next two books of The Bone Witch series, where the wars of both past and present truly begins! I also work on a lot of WIPs at once, but I'm concentrating on one that has both an ensemble cast (with a Filipino girl MC) and a modern fairytale spin to it. It's the kind of book that's easier to explain by reading it. My initial premise was: how would a modern world where fairytales form a part of actual history, and where magic exists side by side with technology, react when a long-forgotten prophecy is suddenly fulfilled by a refugee of a destroyed nation, with a long-forgotten villain returning to make sure this will not come to pass? (Yes, it sounds confusing. My apologies.)
Thank you so much for everything, Rin!
Thanks for having me! :)
Rin Chupeco wrote obscure manuals for complicated computer programs, talked people out of their money at event shows, and did many other terrible things. She now writes about ghosts and fairy tales but is still sometimes mistaken for a revenant. She wrote The Girl from the Well, its sequel, The Suffering, and The Bone Witch, the first book of a new YA Fantasy trilogy. Find her at rinchupeco.com.
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