Hey everyone! It’s Daniela! Today we have the amazing Makiia Lucier joining us! She writes fantasy and historical fiction, and her favorite movies include The Lord of the Rings Trilogy and Anne of Green Gables. If you love adventure and solving riddles, I guarantee you’ll love her newest novel, Isle of Blood and Stone. Don’t miss out once it hits bookstores this Tuesday! You may have already heard of Makiia before, as she is also the author of A Death-Struck Year which was named an ABC Best Books for Children Selection by the American Booksellers Association and a finalist for the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis. Alright, I know you’re probably excited too so let’s get to it!
Daniela: Hi Makiia! Welcome to #BeyondTheBio. I’m so glad you are joining us today to talk about your new book, Isle of Blood And Stone. Can you tell our readers a bit about what they can expect? Makiia: Thank you for having me! I’m very excited to introduce Isle of Blood and Stone to the world. It’s a story about a young man, a royal mapmaker named Elias, who tries to solve a mystery surrounding the disappearance of two boy princes. Daniela: How did you decide you wanted to write a fantasy? Makiia: I didn’t start out wanting to write a fantasy at all. I wanted to write a story about a mapmaker and a map and a riddle. Everything else, including the fantastical elements and the secondary characters, grew from there. Daniela: If I’m being honest, this book kept me up at night because I could not stop wondering what would happen next! Adventure, betrayal, secrets, revenge! I just didn't know what to expect with each new chapter! What was your writing process like? Did any of the plot twists take you by surprise while you were writing? Makiia: I’m sorry (not sorry!) you had trouble sleeping. My writing routine for Isle of Blood and Stone is the same as it was for A Death-Struck Year. At 9am, I park myself in an old blue chair and write with pencil and paper. Sometimes I have an idea of what needs to happen in a scene, but that changes often and I find myself just as surprised as the reader by both my characters and my plot. Daniela: How did you come up with the names of characters and places? Makiia: I’ve loved the name ‘Mercedes’ ever since I first read The Count of Monte Cristo. So I started with Mercedes, which is Spanish in origin, and other names, like Elias, Lord Silva, and Ulises, came afterward. Some were more personal in nature. Marine Drive (or Marinus Road) is one of the main streets back home on Guam. Reyna is my favorite cousin’s name. The village of Esperanca is named after my grandmother. And the Sea of Magdalen…well, Maggie was my mother’s name. Daniela: Were there any particular islands that inspired the kingdom of del Mar? Makiia: Oh absolutely. I grew up on Guam, a tiny island in the Pacific, and if you were to compare a map of Guam to the one of del Mar (available in the hardcover edition and on my web site), you’d see how closely they resemble one another. Other aspects of del Mar-the flora, the fauna, the food-were inspired by the medieval Mediterranean. Daniela: My favorite characters were Reyna and Mercedes because they were both intelligent, fierce, and fearless women. I especially loved the way that Reyna disrupted the notion that girls were not strong enough to become Navigators. Do you have a favorite character? Makiia: No, I can’t decide which character I love the most! I have a daughter; writing strong female characters is important to me. But there’s also Elias. I love how particular he is about his maps and mapmaking. I love how he carries a compass divider around in his pocket. And leading stones. And a tin of sheep’s fat. You never know when they will come in handy. So I really don’t have a favorite character. There are too many to choose from.
Daniela: If you could visit del Mar, what part of the Kingdom would you go to first? Makiia: I’d head to the forest of Javelin (and make very sure I didn’t go empty-handed). Daniela: What are some other YA books you'd recommend to readers who enjoyed Isle of Blood And Stone? Makiia: Juliet Marillier writes fantastic historical fantasy. I highly recommend Shadowfell, Cybele’s Secret, and Daughter of the Forest. Daniela: What’s next for you, Makiia? Any hints you can give us about the sequel? Makiia: I’m very glad Reyna is one of your favorite characters because her story is coming up next! I’m currently working on revisions and publication is set for Spring 2019.
That’s it for today’s interview with Makiia, but be sure to come back next week when James will be chatting with bestselling author Marieke Nijkamp about her new book Before I Let Go.