Happy book birthday to Before She Ignites by Jodi Meadows! One of my favorite parts of anything Jodi Meadows writes is hearing the amount of research she puts into everything. It’s amazing how committed she gets (to the point where she actually learns the calligraphy her character would need to do or something like that). I had so much fun getting to know this world and the characters that I had to create my own custom funko of Mira:
Thank you so much to Jodi for stopping by my blog to share her thoughts on this new book!!
Mira Minkoba is the Hopebearer. Since the day she was born, she’s been told she’s special. Important. Perfect. She’s known across the Fallen Isles not just for her beauty, but for the Mira Treaty named after her, a peace agreement which united the seven islands against their enemies on the mainland.
But Mira has never felt as perfect as everyone says. She counts compulsively. She struggles with crippling anxiety. And she’s far too interested in dragons for a girl of her station.
Then Mira discovers an explosive secret that challenges everything she and the Treaty stand for. Betrayed by the very people she spent her life serving, Mira is sentenced to the Pit–the deadliest prison in the Fallen Isles. There, a cruel guard would do anything to discover the secret she would die to protect.
No longer beholden to those who betrayed her, Mira must learn to survive on her own and unearth the dark truths about the Fallen Isles–and herself–before her very world begins to collapse.
Jodi Meadows wants to be a ferret when she grows up and she has no self-control when it comes to yarn, ink, or outer space. Still, she manages to write books. She is the author of the INCARNATE Trilogy, the ORPHAN QUEEN Duology, and the FALLEN ISLES Trilogy (HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen), and a coauthor of MY LADY JANE (HarperTeen). Visit her website here.
1) What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I currently have more hobbies than I have time for. Aside from my pathetic attempts to catch up on my TBR (which won’t happen unless I stop buying books and some things just aren’t possible), I knit (a lot of socks and hats, but lately sweaters and shawls have caught my attention) and spin (a new spinning wheel just came into my life and I’m obsessed with fixing it). For The Orphan Queen, I learned calligraphy, and that quickly became yet another hobby. And I’ve also been playing video games with my husband; right now, we’re taking over the galaxy.
2) Which scene in Before She Ignites was the most fun to write?
Second to last chapter.
There were a lot of fun parts to write in that book — even though it was all very difficult to write — but that chapter (which is really short) was an opportunity to just do something wild.
3) What was the most random thing you found yourself researching for this book?
This book required all sorts of research, but one of the more random pieces was the Chicxulub Impact. That was the time — millions of years ago — a huge meteor came crashing to the earth and killed the dinosaurs. The impact was so hot that trees spontaneously combusted for hundreds of miles around the impact. There were tsunamis all over the world. The sky glowed red because of the ionized gas.
Cool, right? I mean, not for the dinosaurs. But cool to learn about!
In Fallen Isles, the islands are the Fallen Gods — great beings who fell from the sky and became the islands where the people in this book now live. So I researched the Chicxulub Impact to get a sense of what that might have looked like, and how it might have affected the rest of the world.
4) Was the process of writing this story different from any of your previous books?
Oh definitely. All books are different, and need to be written differently, but in this case, I had a structure idea that didn’t pan out. Originally, I wanted to write three parallel storylines — two in the past, and one in the present (in the prison). One past storyline would be Mira’s, and the other would be Aaru’s. So the book was going to alternate between past and present every other chapter, and the two past storylines were going to alternate. So it would have gone like A, B, A, C, A, B, A, C and so on.
Well, I sent my agent the first several chapters like that and we had a moment of real honesty. It wasn’t working. (She is good about telling me the things my subconscious is telling me but I’m trying to ignore.) So I rethought that whole structure and went with smaller flashbacks, and only from Mira’s point of view.
5) What are some of your favorite books you’ve read so far this year?
I haven’t read nearly as much as I should this year, but I really enjoyed The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee as a funny historical, and Contagion by Erin Bowman as a sharp science fiction, and Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie Dao as a sweeping fantasy.
6) If you could have your own dragon what would you name it?
Oh man, I’m so bad at naming things. I guess I would just hope that the dragon shelter would have named the dragon in advance, and I could just keep calling it that.
7) Any advice to beginning authors?
My usual advice is to write a lot. Read a lot. And learn to accept and offer constructive criticism. But lately one of the things I’ve been thinking about is detachment. As in, you can only control the book for so long. Give it all you’ve got, but once it’s published, that’s it. Reactions — positive and negative — will come, and the only way to move on to writing the next book is to detach from the first one.
Thanks so much for sharing and congratulations on your new book!
You can order Before She Ignites here <3