Today we welcome Charlotte McConaghy, Aussie author of Avery to Booklover Book Reviews.
Avery is a sweeping, romantic fantasy novel about finding the courage to love against all odds.
The people of Kaya die in pairs. When one lover dies, the other does too. So it has been for thousands of years – until Ava.
For although her bondmate, Avery, has been murdered and Ava’s soul has been torn in two, she is the only one who has ever been strong enough to cling to life. Vowing revenge upon the barbarian queen of Pirenti, Ava’s plan is interrupted when she is captured by the deadly prince of her enemies.
Prince Ambrose has been brought up to kill and hate. But when he takes charge of a strangely captivating Kayan prisoner and is forced to survive with her on a dangerous island, he must reconsider all he holds true . . .
In a violent country like Pirenti, where emotion is scorned as a weakness, can he find the strength to fight for the person he loves . . . even when she’s his vengeful enemy?
(Random House Australia, Book 1 of the The Chronicles of Kaya, available in ebook and paperback, 2 February 2015)
What inspired you to write Avery?
The prologue of Avery was a really vivid dream I had, and when I woke up I knew I had to write it down. The rest of the novel came easily after that, and I had a draft finished within a couple of months. I think the idea of people dying in pairs came from the stories I’d heard of people who live their whole lives partnered to someone and then inevitably die very close together – as though they’re so deeply connected that it’s natural for them to go together. It seemed sad and beautiful to me, so I started thinking about how wild it would be if that happened at any age, to everyone.
Would you say this novel is plot or character driven?
Avery is very character driven, as are all my books. I believe a strong plot is important – it’s the bones of the story, and will support the character arcs, motivations and conflicts – but I’m always going to be most interested in my characters and how they navigate the storyworld. Essentially it’s character that needs to drive plot, through the choices they make under pressure and the transformations they undergo.
Tell us a little bit about your main character.
Ava is the first woman to ever survive the death of her bond-mate, which is unheard of because in this world people die in pairs. Grief-stricken, she decides to seek revenge for his death, and so must disguise herself as a young man to gain access to enemy territory. She’s very driven, incredibly determined. She’s sort of trapped in this existence where she feels like she now has nothing left to live for except her anger, but throughout the story she’s confronted by the fact that there is still passion and love left in her future – if she can be strong enough to choose it.
What type of reader do you think would most enjoy Avery?
Any reader of love stories, or fantasy novels. Mostly women. It’s classified as adult, but has a strong YA or NA crossover element – any age, really. Books like Graceling and Fire come to mind – adventure tales with a strong love story at their heart.
How does this title compare to others you have written?
Avery was my first high fantasy novel, but I’ve since written a dystopian sci-fi series, the first book of which is called Fury. They’re very different novels – the settings demand a slightly different style of writing in each, so it’s always interesting navigating those differences. For example, Avery is set in a world based on Viking mythology, whereas Fury is set in a future society much more like the one we live in now, meaning of course the language used in each can be quite different. They are both, however, character driven and very romantic.
Can you tell us a bit about your writing process?
I’m a night owl. I like to stay up late writing, which I do most nights. I work on my computer because my thoughts come out way too fast to ever be able to jot them down by hand. My research process differs for each project, but there’s always a fair bit of it involved – often it comes during or after the writing of a first draft, because when I start a project I like to write from a character/story perspective, and worry about the authenticity of the world after. It’s a bit different when you’re working on a historical project – you need a good understanding of the world before you begin.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
I do a lot of freelance writing outside of my novel writing – screenwriting and copywriting – and when I’m not doing any of that I’m saturating myself in stories: reading, watching TV or films – and making sure I also spend lots of time with friends, because even though it’s a bit seductive sometimes, locking yourself in and becoming a hermit is a quick way to make you lose perspective on your work.
Do you have any other titles in the pipeline?
As I mentioned, I have another series called ‘The Cure’, book one of which is called Fury. Plus the sequel to Avery will be out this year – Thorne – as well as the third book in the series.
Do you have any tips or advice for aspiring writers?
I think the main thing for aspiring writers is to make sure you’re writing all the time, as much as you possibly can, because it’s through this practice that you’ll establish your own style and talent. Read and read, because this will help develop your taste. And don’t be afraid of learning the craft of writing – structure is not a dirty word. Story craft is really important. Most of all be true to your passions, and to what you love writing about. Don’t write for the market – write what you would want to read, because chances are there are a lot of people out there who want the same. Not to mention the fact that your passion will come through the page, and readers will find a deeper connection to the material.
Once your work is developed and polished, look into getting an agent – they can really help in the difficult publishing world. Or else find publishers to whom you can submit unsolicited work. And most of all don’t give up – persist, persist, persist.
Avery is available from:
Booktopia | Bookworld | Book Depository | Kobobooks | Amazon
Charlotte grew up with her nose in a book and her head in the clouds. At fourteen, her English teacher told her that the short story she’d submitted was wildly romantic but somewhat clichéd, so she decided to prove him wrong – and write a novel. Thus began her foray into epic fantasy, with sweeping romances and heroic adventures, and as much juicy drama as she could possibly squeeze in.
Her first novel, Arrival, was published at age seventeen, followed by Descent when she was twenty, launching The Strangers of Paragor series, which is adventure fantasy for teenagers.
Soon she started her first adult fantasy novel, Avery, the prologue of which came to her in a very vivid dream. This novel didn’t come together fully until she had finished a degree in screenwriting at the Australian Film, Television & Radio School in Sydney, and then all at once it seemed to fall into place.
Charlotte currently lives in Sydney, studying a Masters in Screenwriting, which allows her to explore different aspects of her writing and indulge in her passion for film and television. She will, however, always be a novelist at heart, still unable to get her nose out of the books.
To celebrate the release of Avery in February 2015, Random House Australia has offered 2 signed paperback copies for giveaway:
- Australia/New Zealand mailing address only
- extra entries for spreading the word via Twitter [+2] and Facebook/Google+/Webpage [+4]
- extra entries for registered participants of the Aussie Author Challenge 2015 [+1 for challenge commitment and +1 for each review link submitted to date as part of the challenge] – there’s still plenty of time to sign-up!
- entries close midnight 19 February 2015
- the winners will be randomly selected and must respond to my email requesting their mailing address within 5 days otherwise their prize will be forfeited and another winner selected
SORRY, ENTRIES CLOSED – Winners announced HERE