Hi! It's Amira and today I have the amazing author Amanda Foody, who wrote the mind blowing book, Ace of Shades! The book is addicting and really pulls you in! Ace of Shades is already in bookstores, and you should definitely get your hands on a copy. If you want to find out more, check out my interview with Amanda below.
Amira: Hey Amanda! So excited to chat with you today! I loved Ace Of Shades and can't wait for the rest of the series. Can you tell our readers a little bit about what they'll find in your book?
Amanda: I'm so glad you enjoyed Ace of Shades! The book follows two different characters set in a so-called "City of Sin." The first is Enne Salta, who has left her finishing school aspirations behind to find her missing mother in this city, and Levi Glaisyer, the famous card dealer and con man who is her only lead. I wrote this book for several reasons. I was a huge fan of Harry Potter growing up, and I continuously reached for grand, fantastical books as I aged. But the older I got, the more I realized those books were mostly about men, by men. I love Hogwarts because it's a setting I can escape into--that I can imagine myself in! I couldn't imagine myself in these stories because I wasn't seeing myself in these stories. Ace of Shades blends the intellectually immersive and complex fantasy worlds that you might find in adult fantasy series with the fun, multi-POV but female-centered stories you'd see from authors like Cassandra Clare. Basically, I want to make you think, but I really want to make you laugh, and swoon, and cry!
Amira: Where did you draw your inspiration for the City of Sin?
Amanda: I would say it's a mix between Atlantic City and Paris. A lot of people point to Las Vegas, being a casino city, but I've never actually been to Las Vegas, and, being a Philadelphia native, I've visited Atlantic City all my childhood. The City of Sin has the boardwalk, the flat Jersey land, and the saltwater taffy.
The history of the city blends early 20th century gangster history of New York/Chicago/Atlantic City with post-revolutionary Paris. When I wrote Ace of Shades, a lot of the YA being published was dystopian. They were all about young people overthrowing corrupt governments, and they got me thinking...what happens after the revolution? Because the City of Sin is also a major capital, I did some research into the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror and used those events, combined with classical gangster history, to create the political and cultural landscape of the city.
Amira: Enne and I have a lot in common, not least of all our love of cookies. Which character do you relate to most?
Amanda: Oh, definitely Levi. Levi and I share pretty similar mental wavelengths. Like Levi, I grew up relentlessly focused and ambitious. We have the same sense of humor and admiration for cleverness and boldness.
Enne is far more emotionally mature than I was at her age. She feels things much more personally and acutely than I do, and I admire her a lot more.
Amira: Card games are very important in this story. They can literally mean life or death. What's your favorite card game?
Amanda: Hearts! I actually based the Shadow Game itself around hearts.
Amira: Not gonna lie, the Doves sound cool, but if I had to be in one of the gangs, I'd be an Iron. I just couldn't part with Levi. What about you?
Amanda: I'd be a Scarhand. The Scarhands have much broader specialties--from counterfeiting, to identity theft, to weapons dealing. They are the ultimate businessmen, and of all the gangs, the least centrally organized. I think I'd do better there than the Irons, who are a little bit too flashy for my taste.
Amira: Throughout the book, Enne can't decide whether she's more of a Pearl or a Bullet. Do you have any advice for girls who are still trying to find themselves?
Amanda: One of the reasons I have always been really passionate about Enne's character is that she encompasses a lot of traits girls are typically shamed for. She's feminine and emotionally vulnerable. The Pearl side, you could say. But the thing is, Enne could just as easily be cold-hearted and closed off, without changing anything about her background. And either way, pearl or bullet, Enne would still be shamed for who she is. I used to get easily discouraged growing up because it seemed like everything I liked was just over-hyped and bubblegum popular or really out there and questionable. My advice is to stop trying to please everyone because, at the end of the day, it doesn't matter who you are or what you like--people will have a problem with anything! Girls should allowed to be any type of girl without worrying what the world thinks of them. Stop calling your pleasures guilty! No more shame.
Amira: Can you give us any hints about what to expect in Book 2?
Amanda: A lot of drama--oh, so much drama. Also girl gangs!
That’s it for today’s interview with Amanda, but be sure to come back again next week, when Amira will be joining us again to chat with Kevin Hearne and Delilah Dawson, co-authors of the hilarious new book Kill The Farm Boy. See you then!