Sunday, November 4, 2012

Interview with Clare Marshall, author of The Violet Fox and International Giveaway

The Violet Fox (The Violet Fox #1)
Welcome back, everyone! As usual, I'm posting my Monday post a little early. Clare Marshall, the author of the fun Violet Fox was kind enough to offer an interview and an e-copy of her book to one lucky winner!

Goodreads book description:
That’s what instinct told me.
But in order to save the secrets of my people
and to protect my brother
I have to become the enemy.

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: 
The Violet Fox is a fun filled adventure about Kiera, a young spunky girl, who is the masked "Violet Fox" who basically steals from the rich Marlenians in order to feed her people, the poor Freetors. The Elders tell her it is time to infiltrate the castle and get information about hidden magic that may destroy them, so Kiera is sent to the castle in disguise as a beautiful princess from the North. She catches the Prince's eye... and he catches hers. Kiera once thought her life was black and white, but she soon learns that things are not what they seem.

There is a lot to like about the Violet Fox. There were a lot of unexpected twists and fun characters. I liked the Prince a lot, as well as the creepy Ambassador. I also enjoyed that the back story ended up being more complex instead of one set of people being evil and the other good. 

I had a couple of issues with the book. One is that Kiera is almost too arrogant. I cringed a couple of times when she puffed out her chest and talked about how much better she was than anyone else as the "Violet Fox." I know that some of this is probably intentional, to show how much she evolves over the book. I guess I was a bit disappointed that there wasn't more internal dialogue about how her opinions were changing. Instead, it just felt that a man was the reason for her change in heart, not because she was growing herself. 

That said, this was a fast paced adventure and fun to read.

Blurb about our author: Clare Marshall grew up in rural Nova Scotia with very little television and dial up internet, and yet, she turned out okay. She has a combined honours degree in journalism and psychology from the University of King’s College, and is a graduate from Humber College’s Creative Book Publishing Program. She founded Woulds & Shoulds Editing and Design in 2010 for self-published authors and businesses looking for quality editing and design services. She enjoys publishing books through her publishing imprint, Faery Ink Press, and released her first novella, Within in 2011. When she’s not writing, she enjoys playing the fiddle and making silly noises at cats.

Author Interview:
1. World building becomes more and more important as the YA world is bursting at the seams. How did you come up with your world for The Violet Fox?

Great question! The world building began with Kiera’s and Keegan’s names. I really liked those names, and as the first draft became more and more complete, I realized that in order to keep those names, I’d have to infuse the world (specifically the Western province) with Irish, Scottish, and some English influences. The title of “Holy One”--given to the ruler when I outlined this when I was young--also sparked my imagination, and led me to create the lapsed theocracy.

As I went through the second and third drafts, I began to define the other three provinces: South, North and East, and decided that because they each had their own monarchy (governed by the fading theocracy in the West), that they should have unique cultures as well. So, I gave the East Germanic influences. The North has a lot of Latin influences with a feral-mountain-people twist, and the South is African/Indian with a “let’s party all the time!” flair.

Aided by many, many energy drinks, I have a word document that details a history of the realm, its religion, and some of the important heroes. It’s because of this detailed world that I decided to write more books about Kiera and Keegan, because I realized there’s really more going on that was worth writing about.

2. I really enjoyed getting to know your characters, in particular, Kiera, the main character, and the Prince. Do you start off with your characters or do you fill them in once you get an idea for a book? Did any of the characters surprise you? If so, which one?

The Violet Fox started out with the idea of Kiera venturing undercover into the castle to retrieve stolen magical documents. So the story and the character(s) came at the same time. Otherwise, most of my stories come from “what if” questions. With my previous book, Within, the idea came first, as I asked myself: what would happen if either me or my sister became mentally handicapped in some way? The characters came later.

Probably Lady Dominique surprised me the most. For those of you who haven’t read the book, she’s a lady from another province, and the protagonist Kiera assumes her identity to go undercover at the castle. Originally she didn’t have much of a role or many lines in the story, but as her scenes developed, so did she, and there’s a lot more to her under the surface that has yet to come out.

3. I loved many of the plot twists in your book. How do you go about working on the pacing of your novel to make sure that the reader's interest stays with you?

With The Violet Fox, everything seemed to fall into place. The first five chapters I had roughly written when I was younger (maybe grade 5?) and I used those and a few other sentences from later scenes as a basis for the novel. Once I had fleshed out the scenes I knew for sure were going to be in the story, it was a matter of connecting them with more interesting scenes. So it wasn’t really a conscious effort, all I asked myself as I was writing and editing was: what is the purpose of this scene? This sentence? What do we learn here? What feels “right” and what feels out of place?

4. For our aspiring writers: what was the hardest and/or the most rewarding thing about writing a book?

Setting aside time to write is the hardest thing about writing. It’s easy to say you don’t have time when you’re busy watching TV or playing video games. But once you sit down, and give yourself an evening, it’s easier to be productive. After the first 500 to 1,000 words in that sitting, suddenly the words are flowing, and it can be hard to stop.

The most rewarding thing about writing is finishing a manuscript, leaving it alone, and then going back and re-reading it. Finding great sentences and saying, “Wow, did I write this? This is awesome!” is especially rewarding.

5. What do you have on the horizon? Is there a sequel planned for the Violet Fox? If so, can you tell us a little bit about it without giving too much away?

Yes, there is a sequel! The Silver Spear. Because of the events in The Violet Fox, tension is strained between the four provinces of Marlenia. A war is going to break out at any moment. When Kiera learns of an ancient artefact that could help her people---and perhaps, the Marlenians that support her---she sets out on a quest to find it. We explore Kiera and Keegan’s relationship as it deepens, as they have very different upbringings and that gets in the way of seeing eye to eye. We’ll also glimpse a bit of culture from the South from a new character that plays a pivotal role in setting some good and some not-so-good events in motion. Also: ninjas. It will be out some time next year, 2013.

Congratulations! You've spotted The Violet Fox. Report her to the authorities for a chance to win!


1. Copy the URL of this blog post
2. Paste it in the appropriate CATCH THE VIOLET FOX Rafflecopter entry option (Catch Me #1 for CATCH THE VIOLET FOX #1, Catch Me #2 for CATCH THE VIOLET FOX #2, etc).
3. Spot the Violet Fox 5 times for more entries into the grand giveaway!

Stay tuned. Those who are vigilant with their spotting of The Violet Fox may be eligible for extra prizes ;)

Don't forget to enter to win an e-copy of this great book!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Thanks for having me on your blog! ^^

  2. I enjoyed this book as well..I am looking forward to the sequel and to see how the main character evolves!

  3. when you asked that, i immediately thought of the lone ranger and then zorro. lol thanks for the giveaway

  4. Hey! I'm just doing some blog hopping because I am snowed in today. I'm a new follower! I have a couple giveaways going on right now if you'd like to enter, one only has about 10 hours left! Just click on the giveaways tab to check them out. Either way, I'd love it if you would stop by for a visit! Here's the link if you would like to follow back: MaMa's Book Corner I hope you have a great weekend! :)

  5. Sailor V from *Codename wa Sailor V*.