(Website, Twitter, Goodreads)Also by this author: The Star-Touched Queen
Published by St. Martin's Press on April 26th 2016
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, General, Legends, Myths, Fables, Young Adult
Cursed with a horoscope that promises a marriage of Death and Destruction, sixteen-year-old Maya has only earned the scorn and fear of her father's kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her world is upheaved when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. But when her wedding takes a fatal turn, Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Yet neither roles are what she expected. As Akaran's queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar's wife, she finds friendship and warmth.But Akaran has its own secrets - thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Beneath Akaran's magic, Maya begins to suspect her life is in danger. When she ignores Amar's plea for patience, her discoveries put more than new love at risk - it threatens the balance of all realms, human and Otherworldly.Now, Maya must confront a secret that spans reincarnated lives and fight her way through the dangerous underbelly of the Otherworld if she wants to protect the people she loves.THE STAR TOUCHED QUEEN is a lush, beautifully written and vividly imagined fantasy inspired by Indian mythology.
On Crafting First Kisses and The Apex of Grinchery
That moment when you find your fictional OTP (One True Pairing) is intoxicating. Your fingers tremble, lips part, breath shudders as one thought eclipses your entire mind:
OH MY GOD, JUST KISS ALREADY.
And then…after pages of tense but witty banter that make you start daydreaming about tumblr graphics and fan casts of your favorite duo…it happens. The kiss. If you’re like me, your facial expressions devolve into Grinchery. You may look a bit sinister because you knew it was coming and now you are anticipating much anguish to balance out the happy and you’re an awful person because you can’t wait for the pain. (hooray! my heart is broken!)
I love writing romance.
One of the things I look forward to the most is the first kiss. For me, it’s all about balancing atmosphere, what-just-happened-right-before-then, and playing Faith Hill’s “This Kiss” the right amount of times to maximize heart-happy without losing my mind.
The goal? To achieve the Apex of Grinchery.
Is the reader happy? Does s/he suspect what terrors I shall now plunge happy couple into? Does s/he just not care and ready to go down with this ship no matter what??? For me, these are the goals of a first kiss.
To achieve Roshani’s Apex of Grinchery, consider these three guidelines:
1. Atmosphere! I think removing characters from the setting where we first get to know them is important for a first kiss scene. One of my favorite first kiss scenes happens in Renee Ahdieh’s THE WRATH AND THE DAWN. (Stop now to avoid spoilers!) Shazi and Khalid roam the souks under different guises. That atmosphere — of some place different from where the characters normally interact — is, I think, excruciatingly romantic. Where are some new places they would meet? Dark corners? Darker bedrooms? Riding on a sphinx? Who knows.
2. Lights! I love that moment between characters where they see one another differently. The change is so quick and subtle, as if it’s sprouted up in the space between breaths. But the feeling is nothing short of incandescent. It’s like the sun has hopped out of its trajectory to illuminate a new place. I love those illuminating scenes regardless of whether or not they’re a prelude to a kiss. It shows what the character is drawn to, distracted by or plain ol’ enchanted with. One of my favorite “lights!” scene is in Leigh Bardugo’s SIX OF CROWS:
“The sun was out for once, and Inez had turned her face to it. Her eyes were shut, her oil-black lashes fanned over her cheeks. The harbor wind had lifted her dark hair, and for a moment Kaz was a boy again, sure that there was magic in this world.”
3. Action! I mean. There’s only so many ways you can say: lips touched, lips parted, (repeat). ’twas great. But push it farther. What does the kiss *do* to the character? I like to think about what it teases out of a person, how it changes things — not just pulse and heartbeats — but thoughts. Even colors. This scene from Rainbow Rowell’s FANGIRL is a great example of this:
“Levi’s kisses were all taking. Like he was drawing something out of her with soft little jabs of his chin. She brought her fingers up to his hair, and she couldn’t open her eyes.”
Voila! These are things I think about when trying to achieve the Apex of Grinchery. May all your readers’ hearts seize and crumple in delight and terror and anguish. May all your characters’ kisses be free of halitosis.
Happy Valentine’s Day, y’all. (Also: it’s my birthday on Feb. 14th. If you want to send me a magical hedgehog, or just a hedgehog, feel free)
Thank you again Roshani for joining us for this fun and Happy early Birthday! I hope you get your hedgehog! LOL
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