Author Interview: Erika Johansen

We're excited to welcome the author of The Queen of the Tearling and The Invasion of the Tearling, Erika Johansen, to Reading Lark today. 

Andrea @ Reading Lark: Kelsea loves books. If she could meet any three authors, living or dead, who would they be? 

Erika: J.K. Rowling, Barbara W. Tuchman, and William Faulkner. 

Andrea @ Reading Lark: What is your process for world building? 

Erika: I don’t really have a process of any kind. I sit down at my laptop and just hope for ideas. The Tearling pretty much came into my head fully formed, and so the gaps just sort of fill themselves in as I write. 

Andrea @ Reading Lark: Which character was the most fun to write? 

Erika: Father Tyler. I’m an atheist and it was loads of fun, and often educational, to write from the point of view of a devout man. 

Andrea @ Reading Lark: What led you to combine archaic elements with dystopian elements? 

Erika: I wanted to write about the world we may find ourselves in someday, but I also wanted my fictional ruler to be able to look over the buffet table of humanity’s past mistakes. So many dystopian novels break all effective contact with history, and I often find that the break necessarily limits the scale. 

Andrea @ Reading Lark: It’s a tradition to ask: What is your favorite bird? 

Erika: The phoenix.

About the Author

Erika Johansen grew up and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. She went to Swarthmore College, earned an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and eventually became an attorney, but she never stopped writing.

Paperback Edition Released in April!

Magic, adventure, mystery, and romance combine in this epic debut in which a young princess must reclaim her dead mother's throne, learn to be a ruler--and defeat the Red Queen, a powerful and malevolent sorceress determined to destroy her.

On her nineteenth birthday, Princess Kelsea Raleigh Glynn, raised in exile, sets out on a perilous journey back to the castle of her birth to ascend her rightful throne. Plain and serious, a girl who loves books and learning, Kelsea bears little resemblance to her mother, the vain and frivolous Queen Elyssa. But though she may be inexperienced and sheltered, Kelsea is not defenseless: Around her neck hangs the Tearling sapphire, a jewel of immense magical power; and accompanying her is the Queen's Guard, a cadre of brave knights led by the enigmatic and dedicated Lazarus. Kelsea will need them all to survive a cabal of enemies who will use every weapon--from crimson-caped assassins to the darkest blood magic--to prevent her from wearing the crown.

Despite her royal blood, Kelsea feels like nothing so much as an insecure girl, a child called upon to lead a people and a kingdom about which she knows almost nothing. But what she discovers in the capital will change everything, confronting her with horrors she never imagined. An act of singular daring will throw Kelsea's kingdom into tumult, unleashing the vengeance of the tyrannical ruler of neighboring Mortmesne: the Red Queen, a sorceress possessed of the darkest magic. Now Kelsea will begin to discover whom among the servants, aristocracy, and her own guard she can trust.

But the quest to save her kingdom and meet her destiny has only just begun--a wondrous journey of self-discovery and a trial by fire that will make her a legend . . . if she can survive.

This book will be a beautifully designed package with illustrated endpapers, a map of the Tearling, and a ribbon marker.

Release Date: June 9, 2015

With each passing day, Kelsea Glynn is growing into her new responsibilities as Queen of the Tearling. By stopping the shipments of slaves to the neighboring kingdom of Mortmesne, she crossed the Red Queen, a brutal ruler whose power derives from dark magic, who is sending her fearsome army into the Tearling to take what is hers. And nothing can stop the invasion.

But as the Mort army draws ever closer, Kelsea develops a mysterious connection to a time before the Crossing, and she finds herself relying on a strange and possibly dangerous ally: a woman named Lily, fighting for her life in a world where being female can feel like a crime. The fate of the Tearling —and that of Kelsea’s own soul—may rest with Lily and her story, but Kelsea may not have enough time to find out.

Check back at the end of this month for Michele's review!