I can’t tell you how mega excited I am to have best selling author Claire Legrand in my hot seat today!
Claire Legrand’s Empirium series is an epic, fiercely feminist fantasy trilogy which is rewriting the tropes of traditional fantasy novels. Kingsbane (the second story) publishes today in digital and audiobook formats. I can’t wait to get started on Furyborn (the first in the series)!
On tour today, Claire is chatting to us about her trilogy, sharing her favourite book and more. If you’re a new writer, don’t miss her useful tip. Enjoy!
When assassins ambush her best friend, Rielle Dardenne risks everything to save him, exposing herself as one of a pair of prophesied queens: a queen of light, and a queen of blood. To prove she is the Sun Queen, Rielle must endure seven elemental magic trials. If she fails, she will be executed…unless the trials kill her first.
One thousand years later, the legend of Queen Rielle is a fairy tale to Eliana Ferracora. A bounty hunter for the Undying Empire, Eliana believes herself untouchable—until her mother vanishes. To find her, Eliana joins a rebel captain and discovers that the evil at the empire’s heart is more terrible than she ever imagined.
As Rielle and Eliana fight in a cosmic war that spans millennia, their stories intersect, and the shocking connections between them ultimately determine the fate of their world—and of each other.
Furyborn by Claire Legrand is published by Sourcebooks and is available to purchase in digital, audiobook, hardcover and paperback formats.
Two queens, separated by thousands of years, connected by secrets and lies, must continue their fight amid deadly plots and unthinkable betrayals that will test their strength–and their hearts.
Rielle Dardenne has been anointed Sun Queen, but her trials are far from over. The Gate keeping the angels at bay is falling. To repair it, Rielle must collect the seven hidden castings of the saints. Meanwhile, to help her prince and love Audric protect Celdaria, Rielle must spy on the angel Corien–but his promises of freedom and power may prove too tempting to resist.
Centuries later, Eliana Ferracora grapples with her new reality: She is the Sun Queen, humanity’s long-awaited savior. But fear of corruption–fear of becoming another Rielle–keeps Eliana’s power dangerous and unpredictable. Hunted by all, racing against time to save her dying friend Navi, Eliana must decide how to wear a crown she never wanted–by embracing her mother’s power, or rejecting it forever.
Hi Claire, welcome to Jera’s Jamboree.
Please summarise Kingsbane in 20 words or less.
Like Furyborn, Kingsbane is Avatar: The Last Airbender meets Game of Thrones—now with even more magic, danger, and romance.
What was the idea/inspiration for your trilogy?
The inspiration for this trilogy was a daydream that came to my eighteen-year-old self while I was listening to Howard Shore’s score for Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. The daydream intrigued me, and as I explored and developed it, the story of the Empirium Trilogy was born.
Please tell us about the characters.
The Empirium Trilogy has two eighteen-year-old protagonists—Rielle Dardenne and Eliana Ferracora, separated by one thousand years. The most succinct way I can describe them is that one is a Gryffindor trying to be a Slytherin, and one is a Slytherin trying to be a Gryffindor. I’ll leave it up to you to figure out which one is which.
What scene was the hardest to write?
Every action scene I wrote was incredibly challenging. Action scenes in general—chase scenes, fight scenes, etc—are tough. It’s such a tricky thing, to balance giving your reader enough information so they can understand the logic of what’s happening, but not overloading them with too much play-by-play information that will both overwhelm the reader and drag down the pacing. When I know an action scene is coming, I’m filled with this awful, nerve-wracking dread—and unfortunately, the Empirium Trilogy is packed with such scenes! I’m always so thankful when they’re over and I can move on to quieter, character-focused moments.
Are you a panster or a plotter?
I’m mostly a plotter. I like to have a pretty solid outline in place before I begin writing a first draft, and putting together that outline can take a really long time—months, or even years. That being said, I often veer from the outline while actually drafting the book, so there’s a bit of “pantsing” involved in the process as well.
Do you have a favourite book Claire?
My favorite book is Fire by Kristin Cashore. It’s such a quiet, emotionally devastating book, full of color and wonder and magic, but so focused on its characters that you close the book upon finishing and feel like you’ve been welcomed into a strange, brave little family.
My favorite series is His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman. The protagonist, Lyra Belacqua, is one of my favorite literary characters ever. She’s such a ferociously brave character. She’s cunning and brave and rash and bursting with love. Her complexity is endlessly fascinating to me, and she so deeply imprinted upon me that I feel like you can see shades of Lyra in every protagonist I write.
Finally, are there any tips you could share with new writers?
One of the most important things I’ve learned is how important it is to take your time. Before I sold my first book, I was desperate to get published—and terrified that I never would. My mental health took a major nosedive during those frantic years spent sending query letters to agents, because I viewed every day that passed without some sort of publishing success as an utter failure. Looking back, I wish I had taken better care of myself. I was always so afraid that if I didn’t write quickly enough, someone else would write my book first, and better, and get published while I was still struggling to find an agent. Now I know that the important thing is not speed, but rather allowing yourself the time to develop your own unique voice. Once that’s in place, other people will have no choice but to pay attention.
Thank you for being my guest today Claire. Wishing you success with all your writing projects.
Claire Legrand is a librarian and the author of several novels for children and teens, including the Edgar Award–nominated Some Kind of Happiness and The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls. Claire lives in New Jersey with her partner, her dog, and two cats. Visit claire-legrand.com, Twitter @clairelegrand, Instagram clairelegrand
To find out more about The Empirium series head over to http://empiriumtrilogy.com/ .