Release Date: April 25, 2017
Description from Goodreads: Nineteen-year-old Torien Risto has seen dissidents dealt with before. He knows the young local girl who just knifed him will hang for assaulting an Imperial officer, unless he can stop it.
Someone inside the provincial government is kidnapping Imperial citizens and selling them across the desert to the salt mines, silencing anyone who tries to intervene. The girl’s brother is one of those who has been taken. Rejected by the corrupt courts, she’s waging a personal war against the Empire.
Determined to save her life, Torien sets out in search of answers on the Salt Road, the ancient trade route running deep into the heart of a desert—territory claimed by the hostile Mayaso tribe.
Now, Torien is no longer sure where his own loyalty lies, or how far he will go to break the cycle of tyranny, political bullying, and social injustice in an empire that seals its borders in blood.
Let’s start with, how are you this fine day?
Doing well, thank you! (And thank you for having me.)
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
I can take inspiration from just about anywhere and anything, but usually what gets my imagination going is reading stories from history and trying to see through the eyes of the people involved.
When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I finished my first-ever novel manuscript for NaNoWriMo 2007, when I was 17.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I love biking, eating out, and going to hockey games.
What does your family think of your writing?
They’re very supportive (my mom and brothers are usually my first readers), but I’ve learned not to go to them if I’m just fishing for compliments.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
The Ancient Romans might not have had pasta, but they had pesto—or something very like it, called moretum!
This isn’t anything specific, but I found that whenever I would write a particularly harrowing plot twist or something else that seemed on the verge of unbelievable, inevitably there was a real-life example to prove it could actually happen. The truth really is stranger than fiction, sometimes.
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
Including BLOOD ROAD, I’ve completed eight manuscripts through at least rough-draft stage. (Very-rough-draft stage, some of them.) Each tends to be my favorite while I’m in the process of writing it, but I am particularly excited about my current project, a YA WWII story set in Poland/Western Ukraine. It’s the darkest and most difficult thing I’ve ever written, but also, I think, the most important.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I haven’t yet gotten much feedback from readers who weren’t beta readers or critique partners, with one notable exception: I’ve been told I need to include more (and longer) kissing scenes next time.
Have you ever been sent fan art?
What do you think makes a good story?
A well-done redemption arc always works for me, especially if it’s an enemies-to-friends story.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
Honestly, I’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember.
What is that one weird quirk about yourself that no one else knows?
I have to drink exactly ten sips of water when I first get up in the morning.
If you had your time back what would you tell yourself about writing?
I’d probably tell myself not to try to copy anybody else’s style. When I first started writing seriously, I tried really hard to sound like a mix of Hemingway and Cormac McCarthy. The result was a several-years-long stretch of just plain terrible writing.
Last but not least,
Do you believe in ghosts? Or have you ever had an encounter with the other kind?
I think ghosts probably exist, but I’ve never had any sort of paranormal encounter—though when I was working as a projectionist at a movie theater we used to joke that there was a ghost named Toby in the projection booth, and I almost believed it sometimes. Projection booths can be weird places late at night.
Thank you for answering my questions
About the Author
Amanda McCrina has studied in Italy, taught English in Japan, and currently tutors Latin in Atlanta, Georgia. She received her BA in History from the University of West Georgia, and is now pursuing her MA. She writes stories that incorporate her love of history, languages, and world travel. She drinks far too much coffee and dreams of one day having a winning fantasy-hockey season.
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