Recently I was fortunate enough to receive the opportunity to interview Erin Summerill. I was instantly won over with her debut YA fantasy Ever the Hunted. You can read my thoughts here. In anticipation of the upcoming release of the sequel, Ever the Brave, I am excited to share my Q & A with Erin today.
1.Britta is such a beautifully complex character. I was instantly drawn to her journey of self discovery and how well she overcame so many adversities. Was there a personal inspiration behind her character?
There is someone in my life who is a survivor. She has been through some of life’s most difficult challenges, and yet, she lives life to the fullest. When Britta’s character came to me, I wanted to work with someone that had this same strength. I think we don’t realize what we’re capable of until we must overcome adversity. I wanted to explore the idea that how we face adversity can vary by individuals. While no one is perfect, we have the ability to change our perspective about the world around us. My friend who was key in creating Britta’s character taught me that we can see light in the darkest times…if we choose to.
2.There is a lot happening within Ever the Hunted. You deliver a tremendous amount of character development and world building that feels so complete and natural. What type of research or information did you gather while writing this series?
Because there was so much random information I needed to find, I’ll tell you one specific thing. I had to learn about HUNTING! Honestly, I’m not much of a meat eater. I’ve never hunted an animal. This part of the writing process was difficult. It made me squeamish at times. The big world of game hunters was mind boggling. Learning the terminology was like learning a new language.
3.Your writing reads with incredible ease. What have been some of the biggest challenges you have encountered as a writer?
Thank you, that is kind of you to say. I love fantasy, but when I was growing up, many of the fantasy worlds I encountered were hard to take in. Sometimes my dyslexia made the strange words jump around on the pages, and sometimes the formal writing style made me sleepy. I wanted to create a fantasy that had more of a modern, informal storytelling vibe.
The biggest challenge with this is there are many fantasy readers that crave more formalized text. Sometimes their responses can be harsh. But it comes with the territory, and I’m just grateful for anyone who reads my books!
4.Do you have a favorite secondary character in Ever the Hunted and if so, why? Yes! I love Enat. She is gruff and plucky just like my grandmother. I was close with my grandmother when I was growing up. After she passed away, I wanted to write a character like her. In a way, she came to life through Enat.
5.Has Clash of Kingdoms been something you have known you would write for a while? Where did the idea stem from?
I wrote a book that I LOVED. I loved it so much I revised it for 2 years. But it still had problems. I had a genius critique partner that suggested I set the book aside and write something new. After a conversation with a co-worker, this idea about a hunter in the woods came to me. I am so glad I went with this idea.
6.I cannot wait to continue with this series. Will you possibly have future projects that explore genres outside of fantasy?
Yes!!! I love writing in different genres. I am hoping to delve into sci-fi and contemporary.
7.Reading and writing seem to be such an individualized process. Do you have any habits or rituals that are a part of your normal writing routine?
I drink a lot of Coke Zero and eat a lot of hot tamales. I wear stretchy pants and lounge around my house for days and days. And sometimes, I’m not great at getting into the shower…uh, maybe I shouldn’t share that bit.
8.Which authors or books have influenced you the greatest as a person and a writer?
There are so many! I love Sarah Maas, CJ Redwine, VE Schwab, Pierce Brown, Megan Whalen Turner, Kristen Cashore…I love the books they write and could live in their worlds forever.
9.I read that you also happen to be a professional photographer! Was photography something that captured your interest at an early age?
Yes! Actually, I started in high school, but not because I was interested in photography. I was mostly interested in this good-looking guy on the basketball team. I didn’t want to be obviously gawking at him, so I joined yearbook and volunteered to be the photographer. That way, I could go and take pictures of him.
Now that I retell the story, it seems a bit creepy.
But there you have it, that is where my photography career started.
10.Last but never least; do you drink tea and if so, what if your favorite blend?
Ah, I do! I love fruity herbal teas. I like meyer lemon herbal tea, or mango/passionfruit!
Ever the Brave (Clash of Kingdoms #2)
Release Date: 12/5/17
By Erin Summerill
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
The second in the duology, EVER THE BRAVE is another romantic, page-turning fantasy in the vein of Sarah Maas and Susan Dennard.
In the wake of saving King Aodren, and consequently creating a strong connection with Malam’s leader, Britta finds herself in the middle of noble circles and on the King’s arm as he fights to take back control of his country. But the uneasy alliance between the kingdoms of Malam and Shaerdan is questioned when Channeler girls start disappearing from their homes. Meanwhile, Cohen is determined to find the Spiriter Channeler responsible for almost killing the King even when Britta begs him to remain in Brentyn. After Cohen’s abrupt and heart-breaking departure, Britta and King Aodren are shocked when invaders storm the castle and seize Brentyn. With the war going on, troops have left the country’s stronghold weak, giving the invaders a chance to take over the castle. The enemy leader is someone from Britta’s past who has the same powers as her and who is out to use Britta’s power for evil designs.
With a B.A. in English, Erin Summerill aspired to be a writer, but first she grabbed a Nikon and became a professional wedding photographer. When she isn’t writing, she’s chasing her four kids, two dogs, one cat, and five chickens. Erin and her family live in Utah.
*I want to extend a special thank you to Erin for this wonderful interview and sharing so much about herself today. It has been a fantastic experience.