Sunday, June 12, 2016

Meet the Newbies (& Giveaway): Audrey Coulthurst


Welcome to Meet the Newbies! Meet the Newbies is a blog event dedicated to introducing you to the “newbie” published debut authors. In this event, expect to learn more about the authors, their books, and silly fun facts!

Today, I'm featuring Audrey Coulthurst, author of Of Fire and Stars!


Author Most Likely to Smile Suspiciously

Nickname: The Barkeep
First Day of School: November 22, 2016
Homeroom: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins
Grade: High Fantasy
Extracurricular Activities: Choir, horseback riding, eating, cocktailing
Favorite Class: Homo Economics
Favorite Quote/Motto: "You're a wanker, number nine!"

The Interview:

Alyssa: Hi, Audrey! Thank you so much for joining me today on my blog. And an early congratulations on your upcoming debut!

Audrey: Thank you! The support and enthusiasm of the blogging community has been astonishing. I’m excited to be here to talk a little bit about Of Fire and Stars and am very grateful to both you and Rachel for the opportunity.

Alyssa: My first question - what was the inspiration(s) behind Of Fire and Stars?

Audrey: My inspiration for Of Fire and Stars came from writing the book I had always wanted to read. I was a big fantasy reader as a teen, but never came across a fantasy book with a female protagonist who fell in love with another girl. So I wrote a story in which that happens, and threw in some of my other favorite things, like horses, music, forbidden magic, and the occasional assassination.

Alyssa: How about the title? Was it always of the form Of __ and __?

Audrey: Funny you should ask, because no, that wasn’t the case at all. The book has had several titles along my journey to publication, but the original working title was Gay Princess Pony Palooza. Some of my friends still refer to the book by that name. :)

Alyssa: To what audience do you recommend Of Fire and Stars - YA fantasy fans, YA romance fans, etc.?

Audrey: Of Fire and Stars should appeal to anyone interested in a slow burning friends-to-more love story with a traditional secondary-world fantasy setting. Politics, magic, and religion are all closely tied in the book, and because much of the plot hinges on court intrigue it reads almost as much like historical as fantasy. The kingdom of Mynaria is known for its warhorses, so people who love horses will also find a lot to like in the book—many aspects of Mynarian life are centered around horses.

Alyssa: What's another YA book that you think readers would like, if they're interested in Of Fire and Stars (and/or vice versa)?

Audrey: What a fun question! For readers interested in stories featuring other LGBTQIA+ identities, I highly recommend checking out the website lbgtqreads.com. It’s a great resource to find books with protagonists that represent all the colors of the LGBTQIA+ rainbow across lots of genres. Because Of Fire and Stars has the feel of a historical fantasy, I’d recommend readers who enjoyed it check out A Shadow Bright and Burning (September 2016), which is like Harry Potter set in Victorian London with monsters. A historical fantasy book I haven’t read yet but am very excited for is Timekeeper by Tara Sim, which has a m/m relationship. For other secondary world fantasies that also have a somewhat historical feel, I recommend An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir or Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton. Those are just a few of my recent favorites.

Alyssa: Can you share anything from the book? A teaser, a line, a tiny spoiler? ;D

Audrey: Both of the protagonists in Of Fire and Stars are very passionate—Denna about her duty to the crown and Mare about avoiding hers. Early in the book when Denna says she hopes one day love will grow between her and the prince, Mare has this to say in reply: 

“Partnerships can be built, but love can’t be coaxed. Love should feel like the first time you gallop a horse flat out. It should make your blood sing. It should terrify you. And some part of you should recognize it from the first time you meet the other person’s eyes.”

Alyssa: Very cool! Thanks for joining me, Audrey. :)

Audrey: Thank you so much for hosting me today!


The Author:

Audrey Coulthurst writes YA books that tend to involve magic, horses, and kissing the wrong people. Her debut novel, Of Fire and Stars, will be published on November 22, 2016 by Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins. When she’s not dreaming up new stories, she can usually be found painting, singing, or on the back of a horse.

Audrey has a Master’s in Writing from Portland State University, is a member of SCBWI, and studied with Malinda Lo as a 2013 Lambda Literary Foundation Fellow. She lives in Santa Monica, California.



The Book:


Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: November 22, 2016

Summary (from Goodreads):

Betrothed since childhood to the prince of Mynaria, Princess Dennaleia has always known what her future holds. Her marriage will seal the alliance between Mynaria and her homeland, protecting her people from other hostile lands. But Denna has a secret. She possesses an Affinity for fire—a dangerous gift for the future queen of a kingdom where magic is forbidden.

Now, Denna must learn the ways of her new home while trying to hide her growing magic. To make matters worse, she must learn to ride Mynaria’s formidable warhorses before her coronation—and her teacher is the person who intimidates her most, the prickly and unconventional Princess Amaranthine (called Mare), sister of her betrothed.

When a shocking assassination leaves the kingdom reeling, Mare and Denna reluctantly join forces to search for the culprit. As the two work together, each discovers there’s more to the other than she thought. Mare is surprised by Denna’s intelligence and bravery, while Denna is drawn to Mare’s independent streak. Soon their friendship is threatening to blossom into something more.

But with dangerous conflict brewing that makes the alliance more important than ever, acting on their feelings could be deadly. Forced to choose between their duty and their hearts, Mare and Denna must find a way to save their kingdoms—and each other.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | The Book Depository


The Giveaway:

Giveaway #1:

Win a signed copy of Rebel of the Sands, and Of Fire and Stars swag! This giveaway is hosted by the author, and it's USA only (sorry, non-USA peeps!).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway #2:

1 Pre­Order or Finished Copy of Any Debut Novel Featured on Meet the Newbies
International (as long as The Book Depository ships to your country)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

46 comments:

  1. YA Fantasy is one of my favorite genres to get lost in! Each world is so unique, you just never know what your going to get!

    I recently read the third book in the Elementals series titled The Head of Medusa by Michelle Madow and thoroughly enjoyed it! I recommend it to anyone who has a interest in both YA and Greek Mythology!

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  2. I do consider myself a YA Fantasy fan, but then I started thinking...It's been a while since I picked one up as in Grave Mercy, LOL. But I did think of ones that might not get a lot of attention, how about JF Jenkins' The Dragons saga, Derroylyn Anderson's Marina's Tales or Karen Amanda Hooper's The Sea Monsters Memoirs?

    I have several of the more recent YA fantasies on my list and this looks like a good one to add. Enjoyed the interview!

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  3. I'm new to YA Fantasy but there are several I want to read!

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  4. Great interview! This book sounds so interesting. I love the unofficial title XD

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  5. OH DAMNNNN! I'm so trying to be good and not read this one yet, because I have a BEA ARC, but the more I read about the book the more excited I am to read it!
    Great interview, Alyssa!

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  6. Every time I read a fantasy book, I enjoy it so much, and chide myself for not reading more. My most recent fantasy read was Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake, and it was amazing.

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  7. I enjoy YA fantasy. Thanks for the chance to win.

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  8. I'm fairly new to YA Fantasy, but I like what I've read so far :)

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  9. I love YA fantasy; it's my favorite genre!

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  10. Thanks so much for this, it's awesome!

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  11. I love almost all genres in ya, especially with a little romance! ❤️❤️❤️

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  12. YA fantasy probably makes up most of my YA reading, so definitely a fan. ;) (Also, I recently read the first two books in Rachel Aaron's Heartstrikers series, which are probably A/YA fantasy, but I highly recommend them.)

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  13. YA fantasy is my favorite genre but I'm a fan of alot others too lolol

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  14. I love YA fantasy! Thanks for the giveaway :)

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  15. YA Fantasy is my favorite genre! And seeing it become even more open is amazing. Can't wait for this book! <3

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  16. YA fantasy is one of my fave genres! :-)

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  17. I love YA fantasy, and I think my finally reading of Daughter of Smoke and Bone has solidified my love for the genre.

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  18. I am super excited to read this book!! My sister just finished reading it, and can't stop raving about it :) (I also kind of knew that she was going to like anyway, but she says it has been one of her favorite books! YA fantasy is the best!!

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  19. I am absolutely a fan of YA fantasy! Right now I am reading The Keeper of the Mist by Rachel Neumeier and really enjoying it. A favorite author is Sarah J. Maas and my next read will be A Court of Mist and Fury.

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  20. I am a fan of YA Fantasy. I have both Six Of Crows and An Ember In The Ashes in line to read in the next few months.

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  21. I LOVE YA.The last book I read was A Court Of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas. The next book I plan on reading is Stalking Jack The Ripper

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  22. Yes, I love YA fantasy!! I really enjoyed The Map of Bones by Francesca Haig recently and The Snow globe by Jenna Nelson! And I am very interested in this book!

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  23. Yes I am a big fan of YA fantasy!! thanks for the giveaway!

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  24. I am a huge fan of YA fantasy. I am so excited to read this book!

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  25. I love to read YA fantasy! This book has been on my tbr list since I first heard about it!
    I do read most so other genres as well but there's just something about fantasy, I can escape to a place that's like no other!

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  26. I do enjoy reading YA Fantasy...sometimes they are a little broad in topic, but some authors do an amazing job creating a whole new world.

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  27. Gorgeous post Alyssa :D Thank you for sharing about this book and author. <3 Both seems awesome. I love the cover for this one. But, sadly, I don't think I would enjoy it. Sigh. But curious about it even so :)

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  28. This book sounds really good! I love fantasy, especially if there is magic. This story sounds so interesting! Can't wait to read it! Loved the quote! Great interview!

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  29. I love YA fantasy and I am very excited to read this one!!
    Thanks for the chance to win!

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  30. I'm a total fan of YA fantasy--I can't find magic in my own life, so I have to seek it out in books. ;P

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  31. Hi!! thank you so much for this great opportunity 😊😊 I'm really excited to this book 😊

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  32. Really need to read this book!

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  33. I didn't realize I was a fan of YA Fantasy until the past year or so. But since then I have loved all kinds of them. Such as A Court of Thorns and Roses.

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  34. Definitely YA fantasy/sci-fi is my jam. I have heard great things about Rebel of the Sands! Such an awesome giveaway!

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  35. YA Fantasy is by far my favorite genre of books!!

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  36. I love ALL fantasy!

    Thanks for the amazing giveaway!

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  37. I love YA fantasy, although I have only read a few series so far. My favorite is definitely the Throne of Glass series though.

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  38. I adore YA fantasy; it's my favorite genre!

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  39. I really like YA fantasy! It's so interesting & I'm a huge fan of YA in general. I'm so excited to read the book! - (Emily Ann)

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  40. I kind of strayed away from YA fantasy books until I read An Ember in the Ashes. That got me excited to explore more YA fantasy books

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  41. So many amazing sounding books coming out the second half of this year!

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