Monday, October 20, 2014

My Favourite Authors (1): Jodi Meadows

Hi, guys!

Today is a pretty exciting day on the blog! I'm launching my new feature called "My Favourite Authors." Every other Monday, I'll be featuring an author here that I LOVE and that I think you guys should all read! Sometimes it will just be my fan-girling, sometimes there will be author interviews, and maybe sometimes a giveaway! I get to recommend books to people a lot, either through blogging or being a bookseller. What I don't always get to do is recommend an author. There are some authors out there whose books I will buy without even reading the description because I KNOW it will be great. This feature is dedicated to those incredible talents.

And, first up, we have the spectacular Jodi Meadows author of the New Soul trilogy (Incarnate, Asunder, and Infinite) and the upcoming duology, The Orphan Queen! Here are some of the reason she is one of my favourite authors!

Jodi Meadows is, simply, a phenomenal writer. Her talent is incredible. When I was reading the New Soul trilogy, I wanted to soak up every single word on the page. They were elegant and powerful, heartbreaking and gut wrenching and they came together to make such a beautiful story. I found myself sitting back in awe at points cause, seriously, the writing was Just That Good. It brought the already incredible story to a whole other level. Jodi Meadows is, in my opinion, one of the best YA writers out there, and you need to read her books if you haven't already.

The story in the New Soul trilogy (and I'm sure the same goes for The Orphan Queen) is so well-crafted. I could imagine the world perfectly because the writing, and it was so unique. Her world-building was just spectacular. There were slyphs and dragons and souls and all kinds of other magical elements! Jodi created a world both familiar and so completely different that I was captivated by. I was terrified and horrified at parts of it, but also stunned at how beautiful it all was. Meadows is CRAFTY and TALENTED and knows how to create one heck of a story!

This is where I get to tell you a personal, non-bookish reason why Jodi Meadows is a great author. I run a teen book club at work. I love hosting it, I love the girls that attend, and I love how many authors have expressed their happiness about being featured. But, no one has done as much as Jodi has. When I tweeted about our club reading Incarnate, Jodi immediately asked if I wanted her to Skype into the meeting. I was overjoyed, and so were the girls. (Seriously, they talked about how cool it was for ages afterward). Jodi even sent bookmarks for the group! I mean, how amazing is that? We decided to read Infinite for our one-year anniversary meeting, threw a masquerade party and, again, Jodi offered to Skype in. I am so utterly grateful for the time she took to chat with us, and for being so responsive to us.

Okay, let's be real here, Jodi Meadows seriously won the cover lottery. Her books are GORGEOUS. Even her e-novella's are GORGEOUS! I mean, just take a peak at those bright, vibrant, striking covers! They enchant me every time I look at them. I usually don't like covers that have faces on them, it's actually one of my pet peeves (I like to picture the characters myself, without an image already in my head). But, these are covers perfect. The girls on the cover don't make me picture Ana a certain way, but rather feel the atmosphere of the book. Those colors are vivid and captivating and I love love love that each cover features elements of the story. The cover for The Orphan Queen is stunning as well! Another time I don't mind the face on the cover! I love how detailed and dark it is, and the font is STUNNING. I can't wait to get a finished copy on my shelf so I can stare at them all in awe.

And another reason she's awesome (seriously, though, I could name SO MANY OTHER REASONS)? She agreed to do a Q&A with me! Check it out!

Lost at Midnight Reviews:  We saw the New Soul trilogy come to an end with Infinite earlier this year. I know it was difficult for me to let go (there was a boat load of tears involved!), how did you handle finishing up your first series?

Jodi Meadows: Overall, I think I handled it pretty well. I was a mess when I finished the second first draft of INFINITE, because that felt pretty final, even though I would do a lot of revising and editing on it later. But for me, writing the first draft is usually the most emotional part, so that was the bit that really got me. After that, I still got pretty sniffly as I edited the book, but mostly I was fine. By the time I'd gone through all the editing and the book came out, I was well into writing and editing THE ORPHAN QUEEN, so I felt pretty distanced from it. Not in a bad way, but in a healthy moving-on-with-my-life way. 

LM: Your next series is a duology (the first book, The Orphan Queen is out March 10th, 2015!) How different was writing a duology instead of a trilogy? Did you have a different kind of world-building techniques?

JM: The biggest difference between writing a trilogy and duology was the structure. In a trilogy, each book has a beginning, middle, and end, and the entire story has a very clear beginning, middle, and end -- a book for each. Which does lead to some brain loops, like "I'm writing the end of the middle but it still has to feel like the end of this book." Or "I'm writing the beginning of the end but it still has to be the beginning of a book but also the ending of the entire series." It's a mess in my brain.

Writing a duology presents a trickier look at structure, at least for me. Each book, again, has to have a beginning, middle, and end. Each must have its own resolution. But the end of THE ORPHAN QUEEN (the first book) is the very middle of the story. (Presumably. Wordcount wise, not really, but let's not talk about that.) And if the middle of the story is where things start getting really bad, then the middle of the duology -- the end of the first book -- is where poo really hits the fan. 

And then the beginning of the second book must also be the middle of the story but the beginning of its own book. So really bad and tense, but not so much that it doesn't also look like the beginning of another book-length arc that needs to be resolved. 

Wow, that was a long, twisty answer. And I'm not done yet.

I didn't really have any different worldbuilding techniques for a duology. In fact, the worldbuilding in THE ORPHAN QUEEN might be more complex than the worldbuilding in INCARNATE. I know the plot and cast are definitely bigger. It was just the story structure that screamed to be a duology. The rest has no bearing on the size of the story. 

LM: We all know about the calligraphy research you did for The Orphan Queen (and if you don’t, get yourself over to Jodi’s Instagram page STAT. Her calligraphy artwork is gorgeous!) Was there any other type of research involved?

JM: Of course there was! I learned a ton about paper making, fighting, and even scorpion anatomy. I did lots of detailed research on the region where the story takes place, how long it takes to travel from one place to another, flora and fauna, and even looked at geology. 

LM: One thing I loved about the New Soul triogy was all the different themes expertly woven into the story and how much growth Ana experiences from start to finish. Can we expect the same thing in The Orphan Queen? Will we being seeing a lot of growth and self-discovery?

JM: Absolutely. Wilhelmina has a lot of growing up to do. She starts off as a very strong person, I think, but that's certainly not all there is in life. She has a lot to learn about becoming a good leader, as well as finding her own identity. (That seems to be a theme for me. Yum, books about identity.) 

LM: We all got to know Ana and her generous heart in the New Soul trilogy. What would you say is your favourite quality of hers? And Wil?

JM: I think my favorite aspect of Ana is her heart, definitely, and her optimism. After everything she's been through, she still expects the best from people. She still sees ways to survive and succeed after everyone else has given up. I think that's one of the things that makes her special.

As for Wil, I really admire her drive to be a strong leader, and do whatever it takes to make sure her people are safe. Plus, she's pretty handy with a dagger. I'd like to be that handy with a dagger. 

LM: Now for some fun final questions: what are the top three songs you just can’t get out of your head right now?
At this moment?? 

JM: Well, Hubs and I just watched SLEEPY HOLLOW, so I have the theme song stuck on repeat in my head. That makes it hard to sleep at night.

Some 80s hair band song my husband was listening to earlier. 

A pop song I heard on the radio last week. I don't even know what it is. 

Do I want any of these songs stuck in my head? No. Can I stop this weird loopy mix from happening? No. The only thing that might change the channel in my head is if I think of "Eye of the Tiger" because that is the ear-wormiest song that was ever written. 


Now I have "Eye of the Tiger" in my head. 


LM: And, since we’re talking about awesome authors, can you name a couple of your favourites?

Oh I have a lot of favorites. Do I have to limit myself? Really? 

JM: Okay, C.J. Redwine and her DEFIANCE series. Rae Carson and her GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS series. I'm also a huge fan of Sherry Thomas and THE BURNING SKY, and Robin LaFevers and her GRAVE MERCY series. And I'd be a fool not to mention Robin McKinley. Enormous fan of her books.
Thanks for stopping by, Jodi!
So, what about you guys? Do you love Jodi's books? Never read them? Let me know in the comments (and if you need even more convincing, check out my reviews of Incarnate and Asunder! And we sure to check back in two weeks for more author love!
- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)

P. S. Shout out to Emilie for making the graphics! YOU DA BEST.

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