Thursday, January 21, 2016

Blog Tour Interview with Kathy MacMillan, Author of Sword and Verse (and GIVEAWAY!)

Welcome to the blog tour for Sword and Verse by Kathy MacMillan! Congratulations on the publication of your debut, Kathy! I'll be attending Kathy's launch party tonight, and I'm very excited! Sword and Verse was one of my favorite books of 2015. Read all about this magnificent book, and enter the giveaway!

Meet Kathy MacMillan!

Alyssa: Hi Kathy! Welcome to The Eater of Books! – and congratulations on your debut! How has the new year been for you so far, in terms of all things Sword and Verse?

Kathy: It’s been thrilling! This book has had such a long journey to publication – over ten years and many, many drafts – so it has been kind of bizarre in the last month to have so much happening so quickly!  We’ve sold Spanish and Turkish foreign language rights, and there will be an audiobook (also released January 19) narrated by the incredibly talented Emily Rankin. And I am very excited for the Sword and Verse Gala on January 22, which will benefit an organization I have been involved with for many years, Deaf Camps, Inc.

Alyssa: What’s the most challenging part of knowing that people are reading your book?

Kathy: Trying not to look at reviews.  I am both dying to know what people think and want to protect my fragile self-esteem – just like any author.  I know that it’s not going to be every single reader’s cup of tea, but I hope the right people find it!

Alyssa: To which character do you find yourself most similar?

Kathy: Definitely Raisa.  I have talked a lot in interviews about how Raisa is based on my mother’s quiet strength – and that is true – but the fact is that she is a lot like me too.  (Of course, I’m a lot like my mom, so that makes sense!)  In some ways, Raisa was a challenging character to write, because her default mode (understandably, considering what she has been through) is always self-protection.  I constantly had to put her in situations where she had no choice but to act.

Alyssa: Walk us through the evolution of the book’s title!

Kathy: This is unusual for me, but the original title, The Library of the Gods, came before I had even started writing the first line. (I usually struggle to come up with a title at all!) I always knew the story would center on a library full of letters to the gods, and that writing would play a vital role.  My editor came up with the title Sword and Verse, in an effort to convey the epic feel of the story along with the important role of writing.  I was fond of the original title, but I absolutely adore the final package, with that title and that beautiful cover art.

Alyssa: What’s the most common question that you get, when readers finish Sword and Verse?

Kathy: Even though it functions as a standalone, people want to know if there is a sequel.  And the answer is yes!

Alyssa: Can you tell us anything about what you’re currently writing? Since you said there will be a sequel...

Kathy: I am currently working on the sequel to Sword and Verse, which picks the story up from Soraya’s point of view.  There are still plenty of challenges left for the council to face, not least of which is learning to trust each other, and the consequences of decisions made in Sword and Verse come back to haunt them as well.

Alyssa: Oooooooooo. The wait for this sequel will be torture for sure! So that’s it from me - thank you so much for joining us today, Kathy. :)

Kathy: Thanks for having me!

About the Author:

Kathy MacMillan is a writer, American Sign Language interpreter, consultant, librarian, signing storyteller, and avowed Hufflepuff.  Her debut young adult novel, Sword and Verse, explores questions of power and prejudice in an epic fantasy setting, and has been called “fascinating and unique” by National Book Award finalist Franny Billingsley.  Kathy is the founder of The Sweet Sixteens ( debut group of 2016 middle grade and young adult authors, and serves as the Published and Listed Member Coordinator for the Maryland/Delaware/West Virginia Region of the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.  She is also the author of eight resource books for educators, librarians, and parents, including Little Hands and Big Hands: Children and Adults Signing Together (Huron Street Press, 2013). She lives near Baltimore, MD with her husband, son, and a cat named Pancake.  Find her online at or on Twitter at @kathys_quill.

About Sword and Verse:

Sword and Verse by Kathy MacMillan
Publisher: Harper Teen 
Publication Date: January 19, 2016

Official Summary:

Raisa was just a child when she was sold to work as a slave in the kingdom of Qilara. Despite her young age, her father was teaching her to read and write, grooming her to take his place as a Learned One. In Qilara, the Arnathim, like Raisa, are the lowest class, and literacy is a capital offense. What’s more, only the king, prince, tutor, and tutor-in-training are allowed to learn the very highest order language, the language of the gods. So when the tutor-in-training is executed for teaching slaves this sacred language, and Raisa is selected to replace her, Raisa knows any slipup on her part could mean death.

Keeping her secret is hard enough, but the romance that’s been growing between her and Prince Mati isn’t helping matters. Then Raisa is approached by the Resistance—an underground army of slave rebels—to help liberate Arnath slaves. She wants to free her people, but that would mean aiding a war against Mati. As Raisa struggles with what to do, she discovers a secret that the Qilarites have been hiding for centuries—one that, if uncovered, could bring the kingdom to its knees.

The Giveaway:

5 Winners will receive a finished copy of SWORD AND VERSE. US Only.

Follow the Tour:

Week One:
1/11/2016- Two Chicks on Books- Interview
1/12/2016- A Reader Under The Sea- Review
1/13/2016- Tales of Ravenous Reader- Guest Post
1/14/2016- Nerdophiles- Review
1/15/2016- Dark Faerie Tales- Interview

Week Two:
1/18/2016- Fiktshun- Review
1/19/2016- Once Upon a Twilight- Guest Post
1/21/2016- The Eater of Books!- Interview
1/22/2016- Good Choice Reading- Review


  1. This interview is so great. I love this book and I am so impatient to read the sequel.

  2. Yay :D I love this interview. <3 Hugs. Thank you so much for sharing Alyssa :D I just love that you love this book. <3 I'm not sure I will read it.. but I can't help but be curious about it :D

  3. This book sounds fantastic! I can't believe I never put much attention to the synopsis and now I'm dying to read it!
    Great interview, I love the old title!

  4. Great interview and I'm definitely entering in for this one. The book sounds so great!!! :D

  5. I'm reading this right now and it's awesome!! I'm excited to know there will be more!!

  6. This book sounds pretty good! I love fantasy!

    1. I clicked too quickly on the twitter entry! I follow via @LazyDayLit

  7. As soon as I read the summary, I knew that this a book that many of my students would devour!

  8. I am so impressed that the author is actively encouraging young middle school authors. I worked with this age group for many years and I was always amazed by their creativity.

  9. Great interview Alyssa! I'm really hoping I'll get to read this one soon, maybe by the end of this week because it sounds like such a ME book!! If nothing else I'll make it the Alyssa Recommends book for Feb!


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