by Claire Luana
Release Date: June 14, 2016
Publisher: Soul Fire Press
When 17-year old Kai is exposed as a female sorceress—a moonburner, she knows the punishment is death. Despite the odds against her, Kai escapes her fate and undertakes a harrowing journey to a land where moonburners are revered and trained as warriors.
But the moonburner citadel is not the place of refuge and learning that Kai imagined. The ongoing war against the male sorcerers, or sunburners, has led the citadel leadership down a dark path that could spell the end of all magic. Armed with a secret from her past and a handsome but dangerous ally in the sunburner prince, Kai may be the only one able to prevent the destruction of her people.
She started awake when the moon was at its height. She lay very still, listening. She heard movement, the slippery sound of sand shifting down the side of a dune.
Footsteps. Sniffing. An animal. She saw her stick close by and reached for it slowly. The animal was coming closer. Her heart hammered in her throat.
Kai leaped up, brandishing her stick with a shout. She promptly staggered to her knees again as her head rushed with blood and pain. She was so weak and thirsty. She could hardly stand, let alone fight. She looked up wearily at whatever had come to eat her.
Two black eyes like marbles stared back at her from a silvery white face topped with pricked ears. It was a fox! It was as large as a medium-sized dog, much bigger than any fox she had ever seen. It was covered in pure silvery white fur, the kind of fur that called out to be touched. Somehow she didn’t think the fox would appreciate that.
“Well, the battle cry was impressive, but I don’t know what you thought you were going to do with that stick.”
Kai slouched back on her heels, dumbfounded. She had gone mad. They said the desert could do it, and here was the proof. A talking silver fox.
laire Luana grew up in Edmonds, Washington, reading everything she could get her hands on and writing every chance she could get. Eventually, adulthood won out and she turned her writing talents to more scholarly pursuits, graduating from University of Washington School of Law and going to work as a commercial litigation attorney at a mid-sized law firm.
While continuing to practice law, Claire decided to return to her roots and try her hand once again at creative writing. Her first novel, Moonburner, will be published in 2016 with Soul Fire Press, an imprint of Christopher Matthews Publishing. She is currently working on the sequel, Sunburner. In her (little) remaining spare time, she loves to hike, travel, run, play with her two dogs, and of course, fall into a good book.
I thought I’d write on my top 10 favourite books (or series) and how they influenced the writing of Moonburner. These aren’t in order, because I don’t think I could pick an order. I love them all. These are those books that have stayed with me long after I turned the last page, and that I could read and reread over and over again.
Wheel of Time series, Robert Jordan
This is the series that kindled my love of fantasy. I still have all my paperbacks from when I was a teenager, so dog-eared that the covers have fallen off the first seven of them. They are sprawling, epic and complex. Even though the series sags a bit towards the middle, it is worth it to push through, and the end is SO satisfying.
Harry Potter series, JK Rowling
Well, obviously these are on the list. This is the series that kindled my love of YA. It taught me and the world that a story can be magical and silly but still be powerful and poignant. That a story about chocolate frogs and flying brooms can capture the hearts of adults everywhere. If I was trapped on a desert island and could only pick one series, it would be this one.
Daughter of Smoke & Bone series, Laini Taylor
This series taught me the importance of a good hook. As soon as I started reading the first book, I HAD to know what was up with the teeth. (If you’ve read it, you know what I’m talking about!). And her blue hair. And the wishbone. And her strange monstrous family. The mysteries in this book pulled you in and demanded to be solved. I tried to emulate this great hook with “The Gleaming” in the prologue of Moonburner.
Graceling, Kristin Cashore
This book showed me the importance of a kick-ass heroine. Katsa has such a tough exterior, but somehow maintains her innocence on the inside. Or longs to. I loved reading her story, and I tried to write my main character, Kai, with as much of a dichotomy.
First Law trilogy, Joe Abercrombie
Abercrombie’s books taught me the importance of a good anti-hero. His characters are pretty terrible human beings: torturers, mercenaries, cowardly soldiers. But you LOVE them despite all of this. These books are dark and messy, but so engrossing. I didn’t get to write in much of an anti-hero into Moonburner, but I am looking forward to tackling this trope in one of my future works.
The Magicians trilogy, Lev Grossman
These books illustrate the importance of fun and humor. These are hilarious and irreverent; I frequently found myself laughing out loud. They feel modern, like they are written to the millennial generation. It turns out fantasy doesn’t have to be old-timey and stuffy! I tried to incorporate humor into Moonburner, especially in the character of Quitsu, Kai’s fox companion. It’s important not to take yourself too seriously!
Ready Player One, Ernest Cline
This book is the least like the others on the list. But I loved it because of the incredible level of detail he reached in describing the world. I don’t really know anything about the 1980s or video games, but I felt like a pro after reading this book. It was such a fun romp through someone else’s passion; I strive to create a world of such detail in the books I write!
The Way of Kings, Brandon Sanderson
So, I am basically in awe of this series, and he’s only two books in! It is my aspirational series on the list. The creativity of this fantasy world and magic system, and the sheer number of plot lines, is astounding. I don’t think I could write 500 pages about men hauling a bridge and keep people engrossed, but Sanderson does. This series is going to be EPIC when it is done. So impressive.
Hunger Games series, Suzanne Collins
Of course I get warm fuzzies when I think of this one. This is a series that sucks you in and won’t let you put it down until its 3 in the morning and you’re finally done. I tried to make Moonburner a page turner like The Hunger Games: fast and furious but still with characters you adore.
Six of Crows, Leigh Bardugo
This is the newest addition to my list, I just read it a few months ago, after Moonburner was written. It’s not often that you find a book that is action-packed but ALSO has great character development, but this one does. This Ocean’s Eleven style heist tale had such a great world and a great crew. I hope to create such great depth of character and inter-character dynamics in all my books!