Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Guys, if you know anything about me, it should be that I adore fantasy stories full of adventure and magic...and anything that Cassandra Rose Clarke writes. ;) So, when I had the opportunity to host a tour stop for her newest book, complete with guest post, I couldn't resist. Here's a little bit more about CRC's new book, and then we'll get to the fun stuff:

Title: The Wizard's Promise
Author: Cassandra Rose Clarke
Series: The Hanna Duology, book #1
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Publication Date: May 6, 2014
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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All Hanna Euli wants is to become a proper witch – but unfortunately, she’s stuck as an apprentice to a grumpy fisherman. When their boat gets caught up in a mysterious storm and blown wildly off course, Hanna finds herself further away from home than she’s ever been before.

As she tries to get back, she learns there may be more to her apprentice master than she realized, especially when a mysterious, beautiful, and very non-human boy begins following her through the ocean, claiming that he needs Hanna’s help.

So, I asked Cassandra if she would mind comparing the two series (The Assassin's Curse duology & The Hanna duology) and elaborate on what it means to write about different characters in the same world and whether we can expect any cameos from Ananna and Naji. (Of course I had to ask. :D) Here's her response:
I wrote The Wizard’s Promise because of The Assassin’s Curse, and I wrote The Assassin’s Curse because I wanted to stretch myself as a writer, way back before I was ever even close to publication. The first duology received a much bigger reception than I could ever have imagined, and I realized that I had done so much to develop the world in which it took place that I didn’t want to leave all of that behind just yet.

This is actually the first time I’ve ever built a world and then let myself play around in it beyond the initial story. I tend to worldbuild while I’m writing the novel (I did this with The Assassin’s Curse, actually) so writing the Hanna duology has been an interesting experience. I’ve said this before, but it feels a lot like writing fanfiction—the framework is already there, so I’m just building around it and expanding on certain elements that were touched on or implied in the first duology but not explored completely.

When I think about the two duologies, I do so in terms of temperature. Weird, right? But it makes sense in my head: the Ananna duology takes place in a hot part of the world, and the Hanna duology takes place in a cold climate. I think this one little fact is actually the basis for what makes the two duologies feel distinct from one another. Hanna’s is a world of snow and ice, and Isolfr, the love interest, has a touch of iciness about him, with his distance and general otherworldliness—in contrast with Naji, whose burn scars and mercurial temperament associate him more strongly with fire. Which is interesting to me, because I didn’t do that on purpose. The only thing I did do on purpose was decide to set the Hanna duology in the far north. It seems the setting filtered down to the characters without my making it happen!

Another difference between the two duologies has to do with the use of magic. Ananna is a very action-oriented character: she doesn’t have a lot of magical ability, and her strength is in swordfighting and swashbuckling. She’s a pirate, so this makes sense. Hanna, on the other hand, is very magic-focused. She wants to be a witch, and she spends a lot of her time learning and practicing her spells. Although she admires Ananna a great deal, they do have somewhat different personalities, and again, I think this is a result of the choice I made to have Hanna focus on magic. She’s a bit more studious, a bit more low-key. Not too much, though.

All in all, I loved having the chance to explore a different part of the world I created for The Assassin’s Curse. I loved getting to delve more deeply into other cultures in the world, and I loved being able to think more about how magic (and the Mists!) work. Of course, I couldn’t bear to leave Ananna and Naji too far behind, and they found their way back into the story—although not until the second book in the duology, The Nobleman’s Revenge. They like to keep you waiting.
I love this insight into both series, especially viewing the two duologies in terms of temperature because now that I think about it, that really does make sense. Everything about The Wizard's Promise felt cold while I was reading it, and the opposite is definitely true for The Assassin's Curse and The Pirate's Wish. And I can't wait to revisit Ananna and Naji in The Nobleman's Revenge, though I'm definitely intrigued by Hanna's story, even without their presence. ;0)

The Witch's Betrayal (The Assassin's Curse, 0.5)The Assassin's Curse (The Assassin's Curse, #1)The Pirate's Wish (The Assassin's Curse, #2)The Automaton's TreasureThe Wizard’s Promise (The Hanna Duology, #1)

About the author:

Cassandra Rose Clarke grew up in south Texas and currently lives in a suburb of Houston, where she writes and teaches composition at a local college. She graduated in 2006 from The University of St. Thomas with a B.A. in English, and two years later she completed her master’s degree in creative writing at The University of Texas at Austin. In 2010 she attended the Clarion West Writer’s Workshop in Seattle, where she was a recipient of the Susan C. Petrey Clarion Scholarship Fund.

Cassandra’s first adult novel, The Mad Scientist’s Daughter, was a finalist for the 2013 Philip K. Dick Award, and her YA novel, The Assassin’s Curse, was nominated for YALSA’s 2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults. Her short fiction has appeared in Strange Horizons and Daily Science Fiction.

Find Cassandra:

Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Tumblr


  1. I haven't read any of Cassandra's books yet, though I do think I was recommended one (The Assassains Curse, I believe) and just from looking at the covers, not even going into the fact that I too love fantasy with lots of magic, I'm bound to pick up all of her books, though especially this new one, which has such an intriguing and exquisite cover! Definitely going to look into them more throughly, now!

  2. I love how she thought of them in terms of hot and cold and climates. I look forward to reading both duologies.


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