Dark Faerie Tales wants to wish everyone a wonderful Happy New Year! To celebrate the new year we have an amazing interview and giveaway! Please welcome author Sara B. Larson. Her debut young adult novel Defy will be released in a few days on January 7, 2014 from Scholastic Press. Want to know our thoughts on Defy? Read Bridget’s review here. Bridget was able to interview Defy’s Alexa Hollen. For more please read the interview below.
The contest is provided by Rockstar Book Tours! Five lucky readers will win a copy of Defy! This contest is U.S. only. Three audio book downloads of Defy will also be given away! This contest is open to U.S./Canada only.
Sara loves writing, reading, and dessert–but the order varies by the day. She wrote her first book in second grade about a woman who had a premature baby, complete with a “to scale” drawing of the baby’s size–while her mom was pregnant. To say she was a bit precocious is putting it lightly. Now that she’s an adult, she writes books for teens that have magic and romance and kick-butt girls (and very few premature babies). She lives in Utah with her husband, two young sons and baby girl. She writes during naptime and the hours when most people are sleeping. Her husband claims that she should have a degree in “the art of multitasking.” On occasion you will find her hiding in a bubble bath with a book and some Swedish Fish. she is represented by Josh Adams of Adams Literary and her YA debut DEFY is coming January ’14 from Scholastic!
Want to read more from Sara B. Larson?
I am so excited to be a part of the Defy blog tour. I was lucky enough to get an early copy of this book and it quickly became one of my most anticipated release’s for 2014. It is a high fantasy with a beautiful world, fantastic characters, and sweet romance. To read my full 5 star raving review click here. For our stop on the tour I had the privilege of interviewing Alexa, the wonderful heroine in Defy. I absolutely adore her and was so excited when I found out that I was going to be able to find out a few more things about her. So without further ado I give you Alexa Hollen:
DFT: Since most people have not had the pleasure of meeting you why don’t you start off by telling us a little bit about yourself and what you think are your best attributes?
Alexa Hollen: I am seventeen years old, and a member of Prince Damian’s elite personal guard in the jungle kingdom of Antion. Papa taught me how to swordfight and how to shoot a bow and arrow when I was very young. At first, he thought it was just for fun—an amusing diversion—that I wanted to learn how to fight alongside my twin brother. But he soon realized I was deadly serious about practicing and training. In fact, I’d stay out for hours after Marcel, my twin brother, had quit. I guess one of my best attributes is how determined I am, my “stubbornness” as some would call it. It saved me from a horrific fate when our parents were killed and Marcel and I were left orphans. And I have a feeling it will continue to serve me well for all of the challenges that are still ahead of me. It’s getting harder and harder to keep up the pretense of being a boy the older I get.
(DFT: I loved your stubbornness as well. I can see how it could come in handy in your situation.)
DFT: For the last three years you have been disguised as a boy and been a member of the king’s military. What had been the best perk about pretending to be a boy all these years?
Alexa Hollen: How did you find out? Does anyone else know? I’ll only answer your questions if you promise not to tell anyone the truth about me.
The biggest benefit to not being discovered yet (except, apparently, by you) is having avoided being entrapped in the king’s breeding house, where other orphan girls are forced to go. But second to that, is that once I spar with someone and they realize my skill, they never question my ability to fight again. I imagine if they’d known I was a girl they wouldn’t have respected me, despite my skill. In fact, they probably wouldn’t have let me spar at all.
(DFT: I promise my lips are sealed!)
DFT: What is the thing you miss most about being a girl?
Alexa Hollen: I miss my hair. I know that makes me sound incredibly vain, but it was my one beautiful feature. I had thick, long hair, and I mourned its loss for a long time. I had a very hard time getting used to my short hair, even though it made me look almost identical to Marcel which helped ensure everyone believed I was a boy, too.
(DFT: I don’t think you are vain at all, every girl deserves to feel beautiful, and believe when I say that you are a beautiful girl even without your long hair.)
DFT: What has been your most uncomfortable/embarrassing moment in the time that you have been pretending to be a boy?
Alexa Hollen: There have been plenty of uncomfortable moments over the last three years, but some of the most embarrassing times are probably when the other men on the guard try to egg me on and get me engage in flirtations with the servant girls like they often do. For obvious reasons, I always refuse. But their teasing can be very embarrassing sometimes.
(DFT: Yeah, I can see how that would be very awkward.)
DFT: You are quite the lucky lady to have two gorgeous men vying after your heart. What is the one thing you like best about Rylan and Damian?
Alexa Hollen: They are very, very different, that’s for sure. Rylan is so loyal—strong (and one of the only guards who has come close to beating me in a sparring match) but still gentle in his own way. He’s always been a good friend to both me and Marcel. Damian, on the other hand, is so much more confusing. I couldn’t stand him for a long time, but the more I get to know him, the more I realize how alike we truly are. I’m realizing that he isn’t exactly what he seems, and that I’m not the only one who’s had to pretend to be something I wasn’t in order to survive
(DFT: I really don’t envy you having to decide between these two wonderful men, I don’t know if I could do it personally.)
DFT: You, Rylan, and Damian were kidnapped and dragged through the treacherous jungle together. What was your biggest fear while on your journey?
Alexa Hollen: Well, besides having my secret discovered by anyone else? It’s pretty tricky to hide something like that as a captive in the jungle. Luckily I did have some help. Other than that, I am just plain scared of the jungle. I hate the huge snakes that hide there, and I’m always afraid one will try to make me its dinner if I’m not paying attention.
(DFT: I’m not really a fan of snakes either, or anything slimy and poisonous.)
DFT: The last few years have been full of hardships, but also lots of rewarding times as well. What has been your biggest regret and what was your happiest moment?
Alexa Hollen: My biggest regret currently is not doing more to try and save my parents. Papa made us promise to hide, and we kept our promises, and they both died because of it.
My happiest moments are when I’m sparring—that’s when I feel like myself. Holding that sword and doing what I know best, brings me a strange sort of peace…a feeling of control in a very desperate situation. That and when I’m alone with Marcel in our room and I can let the façade drop, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Those are my happiest moments.
Quick Fire Questions: (Which do you prefer?)
Weapon of choice? A sword.
Being a boy or girl? I don’t even know what it would be like to be myself anymore. It’s hard having to hide my identity, and I’d much rather be able to quit hiding but still keep my position. Unfortunately, that’s not possible. And honestly, I’m not even sure I’d know how to act like a girl anymore even if I could.
Regular solider or elite guard? Elite guard. I’ve worked hard to get to this position, and I’m grateful for the respect it garners.
Rylan or Damian? Nice try. You’ll just have to wait to find out.
DFT: I know that the secrets in your life are important to you, so I wanted to thank you for visiting the blog and being willing to share some of them with us!
Alexa Hollen: You’re welcome—just please, don’t tell anyone else, all right?
(DFT: Don’t worry, I promise me and my readers know how to keep a secret.)
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This contest is provided by Rockstar Book Tours!
Five lucky readers will win a copy of Defy! (U.S. only)
Three audio book downloads of Defy will also be given away! This contest is open to U.S./Canada only.
Available January 7, 2014 from Scholastic
About the Book:
A lush and gorgeously written debut, packed with action, intrigue, and a thrilling love triangle.
Alexa Hollen is a fighter. Forced to disguise herself as a boy and serve in the king’s army, Alex uses her quick wit and fierce sword-fighting skills to earn a spot on the elite prince’s guard. But when a powerful sorcerer sneaks into the palace in the dead of night, even Alex, who is virtually unbeatable, can’t prevent him from abducting her, her fellow guard and friend Rylan, and Prince Damian, taking them through the treacherous wilds of the jungle and deep into enemy territory.
The longer Alex is held captive with both Rylan and the prince, the more she realizes that she is not the only one who has been keeping dangerous secrets. And suddenly, after her own secret is revealed, Alex finds herself confronted with two men vying for her heart: the safe and steady Rylan, who has always cared for her, and the dark, intriguing Damian. With hidden foes lurking around every corner, is Alex strong enough to save herself and the kingdom she’s sworn to protect?
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