If you love fantasy books then definitely check out The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green! It released on May 1. The story has a lot of POVs and the scope of the plot is pretty grand, so I thought it felt a lot like Game of Thrones. Here’s my Q&A with the author:
A shrewd princess whose father is plotting against her. A loyal servant on a quest to avenge his family. A streetwise demon smoke hunter in desperate need of money. A charming thief whom everyone is hunting. They are four teenagers whose lives would never intersect, until a war between kingdoms bubbles up, and the dangerous truth about demon smoke intertwines all their fates. It’s a tangled web of political intrigue, shifting alliances, and forbidden love, in a world where sometimes no amount of magic can keep you safe.
Sally Green lives in northwest England. She has had various jobs and even a profession, but in 2010 she discovered a love of writing and now just can’t stop. She used to keep chickens, makes decent jam, doesn’t mind ironing, loves to walk in Wales even when it’s raining, and will probably never jog again. She really ought to drink less coffee. She is the author of the Half Bad trilogy. Follow her @Sa11eGreen.
1) Which scene in The Smoke Thieves was the most fun to write?
All the lighthearted scenes with Edyon and Tash were brilliant fun to write, because they are such open and lovely people.
Edyon is the student who has a bad habit of stealing things on impulse. He’s wonderful as a character because he’s basically a nice, harmless guy who wouldn’t hurt a fly, but who makes a series of wrong choices that get him into progressively more serious and dangerous situations. The challenge for me is to think of increasingly awful things to happen to him! Tash is the lively, confident teenage partner of the demon hunter, Gravell, and they have great and silly conversations, where Tash can seem more adult than Gravell.
My favourite scene is in the bath house and involves both Edyon and Tash. I can’t say too much for spoiler reasons, but there’s an argument over money between Tash and Gravell which grows to an all out chase, whilst Edyon soaks in the bath and tells himself that he’ll never ever steal again, but of course his self control runs out before the bathwater goes cold.
2) Where’s your favorite place to write?
It would be anywhere warm and quiet with a great view of nature, and the nearest and easiest option that ticks those boxes is my office at home which has a view of my back garden (not exactly nature but there are a few trees, birds and squirrels and even the sun from time to time).
3) If you could hang out with any one of your characters for a day, who would you pick and what would you do?
Such a hard choice but I’d go for Prince Tzsayn (this may be a little bit of a spoiler, but I think he’s rather sexy). We’d definitely go for a walk in the garden of a large country house (as he and Princess Catherine do) and then sip elderflower water and have a picnic. In the evening we’d go to a wild party and I’d dress as outrageously as possible but still be dowdy in comparison to Tzsayn.
4) What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I’m into running at the moment. I started again about 18 months ago and discovered that instead of it feeling like a chore I genuinely loved it. It’s an easy way of getting exercise, being outside and it’s free! I’m gradually increasing my distance – I recently trained for a 10km race and I may build up to a half marathon by autumn. Best of all I feel fitter than I’ve ever been. It’s also a great way to take a break from writing and think about something else – even if that something is how hard it is to breathe!
5) What’s your last 5-star read?
I read Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie a few months ago and I’m still in shock over it.
6) Any advice to beginning authors?
Be brave. Write from your heart and soul. Write about things that are important to you that convey your passion. I wrote The Smoke Thieves not because I’m passionate about demons or thieves but because I wanted to write about young woman, Princess Catherine, who gradually realises that she has as much intelligence as the men around her and that she could rule better than them. I wanted to follow her path as she decides to take power for herself, and see if and how she’d do it.
You have to use your brain as well as your heart and soul. Writing is hard! Your characters have to act as real people do even in a fantasy world. Think of your characters as real people and spend time working out what they’d do in a situation and why they’d do it – even characters as silly and impulsive as Edyon do things for a reason. Don’t be afraid to give your characters hard choices where they’re not sure what to do, or they make the wrong choice and regret it, or they could dither for ages and miss an opportunity. These are all things that happen in the real world and your readers will identify with these situations.
Thanks so much for sharing & congratulations on The Smoke Thieves!