“A combat warrior will risk everything to awaken the dragons and save her kingdom in Jillian Boehme’s epic YA Fantasy debut, Stormrise, inspired by Twelfth Night and perfect for fans of Tamora Pierce.
If Rain weren’t a girl, she would be respected as a Neshu combat master. Instead, her gender dooms her to a colorless future. When an army of nomads invades her kingdom, and a draft forces every household to send one man to fight, Rain takes her chance to seize the life she wants.
Knowing she’ll be killed if she’s discovered, Rain purchases powder made from dragon magic that enables her to disguise herself as a boy. Then she hurries to the war camps, where she excels in her training—and wrestles with the voice that has taken shape inside her head. The voice of a dragon she never truly believed existed.
As war looms and Rain is enlisted into an elite, secret unit tasked with rescuing the High King, she begins to realize this dragon tincture may hold the key to her kingdom’s victory. For the dragons that once guarded her land have slumbered for centuries . . . and someone must awaken them to fight once more.”
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So I’m here with Jillian Boehme, the Author of Stormrise, a new YA fantasy hitting shelves soon. Let’s start by having you tell us a little about your book.
Stormrise is the story of Rain, a girl who disguises herself as a boy and takes her twin brother’s place in the army—knowing that, if she gets caught, she will die. Magical dragon powder helps suppress her femininity, but it also awakens Nuaga, she-king of the dragons who have been asleep for centuries and who Rain must now awaken in order to save her kingdom.
What was your inspiration for this novel?
I’m drawn to stories with female leads who ultimately find their strength without denying their femininity—like Éowyn from Lord of the Rings, who in her greatest moment declares that she is not, in fact, male. I guess you could say my biggest inspiration is the girl-dressing-as-a-boy trope (e.g. Mulan, Arya, Lee Westfall in Rae Carson’s Walk the Earth a Stranger, which I happened to be reading while I was planning Stormrise). As for the dragons? I love them and simply wanted to tell a story about them. Caveat: I wanted my dragons to be different. So I created them without wings, and with furry manes.
Do you use music when you write?
Oh, definitely! I create a soundtrack for every novel I write; the music helps to pull me quickly into the world so I can begin working.
What’s a writing day look like for you?
I write 6 out of 7 days a week (unless I’m on deadline and need to write on Sunday, too). I’ll generally spend some time in the morning, which is my best time for writing. I homeschool my 12-year-old, and she does all her lesson work in the morning. She’s largely independent with her studies, which gives me more time to write (and to do other things, like laundry and throwing food into the crockpot).
If my morning ends up full of other obligations, I still have my main writing time in the afternoons. When it’s time to take my daughter to ballet (4 evenings a week), I simply pack up my laptop and bring my work with me. One of the wonderful things about being a writer is that you can work pretty much anywhere!
If you could speak to a writer just starting out, what would you tell them?
Oh, I love talking with writers just starting out! Dearest, just-starting-out-writers: Write that first novel no matter what. It’s going to end up on the rubbish heap (I know you don’t want to hear that), but it’s imperative that you finish it. Get feedback on it and be ready to rip into it to continue “practicing” how to write a novel. Then, when you’ve done all you can, start your second book. Read A LOT, and continue to get feedback A LOT. Make a commitment to learn your craft, and stay open to correction and instruction along the way. Even after you’ve been writing for years, you will continue to learn and to grow as a writer, which is part of the beauty of the calling. When things get tough, don’t quit! Give yourself grace and space when you need it, but keep pressing on. It’s an up-and-down journey, and you won’t have to take it alone. In the end, you’ll be so glad you stuck with it, regardless of where your own, personal journey takes you. I wish you all the best!
JILLIAN BOEHME is known to the online writing community as Authoress, hostess of Miss Snark’s First Victim, a blog for aspiring authors. In real life, she holds a degree in Music Education, sings with the Nashville Symphony Chorus, and homeschools her remaining youngster-at-home. She’s still crazy in love with her husband of more than thirty years and is happy to be surrounded by family and friends amid the rolling knolls of Middle Tennessee.
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