23 Sept 2016

We Can(ada) Read: Jesse from Books at Dawn discussing Morgan Rhodes!

We Can(ada) Read is by Canadianfor EVERYONE to learn more about some amazing Canadian authors! We have 16 Canadian bloggers highlighting 16 Canadian authors plus you can hear about what it's like to live in Canada and write CanLit from 8 Canadian authors, most of which are 2016 debuts! For a full schedule of events during We Can(ada) Read, please click HERE!

My name is Jesse Nicholas and I live in Toronto, Ontario. I am an aspiring writer and I'm currently working on my first story. Along with writing, I enjoy music (mostly KPOP), travel, trashy TV, and I'm an avid reader of anything in the Young Adult genre. I am currently posting reviews on the YA novels I read on my blog, and spend hours upon hours coming up with ideas for a future stories.

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Morgan Rhodes is a fantastic representation of Canadian YA literature for a couple reasons. She is one of the very few Canadian authors who have an EPIC fantasy series, Falling Kingdoms. Sure that may not be the most amazing reason, but there are so few Canadian authors with a YA fantasy series as expansive as hers. 

The second reason is she is putting Toronto and Canadian culture on the map for her spin-off series, A Book of Spirits and Thieves which is set in modern day Toronto. It's very seldom that we Canadian's get to read a book and know exactly where the story takes place, from the streets to the landmarks. I know I am not the only one who can relate to that.

As an added bonus Morgan Rhodes agreed to a Q&A with me. In it you can find out more about her two fantasy series, what it means to be Canadian to her, and what's coming next for her! Check it out:

Jesse: In 5 words describe the Falling Kingdoms series.

Morgan Rhodes: Royals. Rebels. Love. Death. Magic.

Jesse: What is the inspiration behind Falling Kingdoms?

Morgan Rhodes: It was a lot of little things, but mostly that I wanted to write something big with multiple characters on a big "game board" of a fantasy world. Luckily for me, my wonderful publisher Razorbill wanted the same thing, and so Falling Kingdoms was born.

Jesse: What makes you the most excited about CRYSTAL STORM? And what can we expect from the fifth installment?

Morgan Rhodes: To be super honest, the most exciting thing about Crystal Storm for me is that it's finally DONE! LOL! This was a challenging book and it took me far longer than I would have liked to pull it all together. As for what readers can expect: a tighter focus on the core four characters -- Magnus, Cleo, Jonas and Lucia, with the only other POV character being Amara. Readers can expect character interaction more tangled than any previous book. And, this may be my most cliffhangiest cliffhanger ever as some majorly epic things happen right at the end of the book -- which will lead directly into book six.

Jesse: "Falling Kingdoms" follows a huge cast of colourful characters. Who do you have the most fun writing, and who is your least favourite to write?

Morgan Rhodes: It's funny because in the main FK series, reader attachment to the main characters seems to line up with which I enjoy writing the most and which I like writing the least. This has helped me to take a step back and try to figure out why those characters aren't as much fun on the page for me and I've made a few tweaks along the way to help make those necessary characters, while I do stand by their story arcs to date, more interesting and tolerable to write and read about. *cough*LUCIA*cough* 

Jesse: Death plays a prominent role in "Falling Kingdoms." How do you come up with all those scenes, and are they easy to write?

Morgan Rhodes: Depends who dies. LOL. There was only one death that didn't feel right as I wrote it, so I eventually (SPOILER WARNING!!!!) resurrected that character. Otherwise, I'm well aware of who's getting axed (so to speak) since I outline the books before I write them. And I do feel there are good reasons for all the deaths...as far as taking the other characters in a different direction or adding an important emotional layer. Also, depending on the character, it can be kind of fun. ;)

Jesse: What would you say is your fondest memory from the whole "Falling Kingdoms" journey so far?

Morgan Rhodes: Probably watching it grow from the first book. While FK1 sold nicely, I didn't really experience really tangibly enthusiastic reader feedback online or in person until probably book 3. Now I'm extremely thrilled to see there is an ardent fandom (The Kindred) who support the series with fan art, fan fic, and speculation for the upcoming books. It's been the greatest joy to see my work connect with readers on this level.

Jesse: In a Book of Spirits and Thieves you meld together the fantastical world of Mytica with modern day Toronto. Was doing so a challenge? What were some crucial elements needed to make the story cohesive?

Morgan Rhodes: Weirdly enough, I thought adding the contemporary parts set in Toronto would be the easy part of writing this trilogy. But since I was so into the writing of the Falling Kingdoms, my brain was already fully in Mytica. And since I live outside of Toronto, I realized I wasn't THAT familiar with the city to write someone who actually lived there. I had to do some research and a field trip where I walked around the University of Toronto campus and Crys's neighborhood. 

Jesse: Now that there is only one book left in each of your current series', do you have another story in mind that you want to write? If so will it be in the YA category?

Morgan Rhodes: I have a few ideas, but nothing solid yet. I kind of wish vampires were still "in." I love me some vampires.

Jesse: What was your favorite book growing up? Any favourite authors?

Morgan Rhodes: Favorite book..... I really loved Judy Blume books, and Deenie comes to mind, although I completely forget it. I should read it again! And I have so many current favorite authors, but Stephen King and JK Rowling are still on the list after many, many years.

Jesse: Does being Canadian influence your writing at all?

Morgan Rhodes: I'm sure it does, but I can't think of any specific ways.... I know over the years I've trained myself to spell things the American way (like color rather than colour) and this makes me slightly sad, but not really.

Jesse: What does being Canadian mean to you?

Morgan Rhodes: It means that we have the coolest Prime Minister ever right now and that in a few months it's going to be really cold. :(


(Pick one answer for each pair)

Coffee or Tea -- Coffee

Cats or Dogs -- Cats

Candy or Chocolate -- Chocolate

Books or TV -- (N/A)

Fantasy or Contemporary -- Fantasy

Apples or Oranges -- Oranges

Rom Coms or Action -- Action

Winter or Summer -- Summer

Magnus or Jonas -- Magnus

Maddox or Farrell -- Farrell

So don't be shy and check out her fantastic fantasy series' and fall in love with them just as much as I did! You won't regret it, I promise!
Morgan Rhodes lives in Ontario, Canada. As a child, she always wanted to be a princess -- the kind that knows how to wield a sharp sword to help save both kingdoms and princes from fire-breathing dragons and dark wizards. Instead, she became a writer, which is just as good and much less dangerous. Along with writing, Morgan enjoys photography, travel, reality TV, and is an extremely picky, yet voracious reader of all kinds of books. Under another pen name, she’s a national bestselling author of many paranormal novels. Falling Kingdoms is her first high fantasy.

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