Once upon a time, not many weeks ago, an author was having a chat with one of her staunchest fans and dearest friends, and broached a topic which had been on her mind for, oh, hours at least.
“So, heeey,” she said. “Y’know that one blog post I did, a while back, where I interviewed a reader about their feelings re: ‘Inspired’? I was thinking about doing that again. But for ‘Sun’s Rival’. And possibly with you. I don’t suppose you’d be interested?”
And that author… *solemn nods* …was me.
And that fan/friend was the inimitable Chelsea de la Cruz, who declared herself “UBER HONORED” to take part in such a venture.
And just like that, I had a grand finale post for “Sun’s Rival” Launch Week. ^.^
Chelsea’s lifelong passion for reading prepared her well for this day. “I can’t remember not being addicted to stories and the printed page,” she reveals. “I blame my parents and the bookcase in my bedroom they kept stuffed with books from the time I was a baby until I was old enough to do it myself. The worst punishment I remember receiving growing up was one time when my mom grounded me from reading, and took my books away. One time. I made sure it never happened again.”
Of her favorite genres, authors, and titles, she declares herself, “…a Fantasy and Science Fiction junkie! My favorite story of all time is The Lord of the Rings and its companion volumes. Some other top favorites include The Belgariad and The Malloreon by David Eddings, the Dune Saga by Frank and Brian (mostly Brian) Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson, Watership Down by Richard Adams, The Princess Bride by William Goldman, and just about ANYthing by Brandon Sanderson! I also have a great fondness for children’s stories. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke, the Redwall Saga by Brian Jacques and The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster are just a few of my favorites.”
For years, Chelsea’s top fairytale pick was M.M. Kaye’s The Ordinary Princess. “My mom read it to me and it was our special story,” she recalls fondly. “I consider it the perfect fairytale. I learned much from Princess Amy and Perry.” The Wilderhark Tales debut had a lot to live up to, especially as its author had little to fall back on in the way of friendly bias. “Danielle is a dear friend of mine now, but we were newer Facebook friends back then, through a mutual friend. When she posted the first announcements for The Swan Prince, I knew I had to get my hands on it ASAP, and the rest is history! The characters, the setting, the sense of humor… What could keep me away? (*spoiler*: nothing, that’s what!)”
Chelsea’s superfandom over the course of the series has been a staggering joy to behold. Her reviews shine bright on Goodreads and Amazon, her Facebook timeline boasts photographic evidence of her Wilderhark-infested bookshelf, and, c’mon – she surprise-gifted me with custom clay figurines!
To offer her an e-ARC of Book Five was my great pleasure – and, happily, hers as well. “Several [favorite quotes/moments from the series] come from The Sun’s Rival,” she gushes. “One quote that really resonated with me is Lumónd’s ‘Thank you for seeing me.’ I always felt like a wallflower (especially where guys were concerned; I was always ‘just a friend’) in high school, and that first moment when you feel like someone really sees you as something special in and of yourself is deeply profound and kind of takes your breath away. My heart went out to Lumónd in that moment.”
Which isn’t to say Lumónd hadn’t already caught her inner eye. “Based purely on shallow physical appearance,” she said, when asked which of the Welken kings courting Laraspur’s hand she’d be likely to favor at first glance, “I’d have to say Lumónd. The whole dark, mysterious, edgy thing causes my head to spin and the rest of me to swoon. And I can’t resist a man wearing blue.” (A statement which incited starkly divergent reactions from minstrel in blue Gant-o’-the-Lute and outspokenly pro-red Will Scarlet.)
Chelsea’s Sun’s Rival praise continues, “I really enjoyed the highlighting of family and sibling relationships, both healthy and not healthy. It added depth to some characters I knew already and helped me get to know others better. Having two brothers, it made me laugh and think to see aspects of our relationship reflected in those of the characters.” Speaking of the story’s siblings, and looking forward to the series’ future volumes, she adds, “I’m definitely hoping to see more of the brother kings! … In fact, a spin-off Welken series would not go far amiss, in my opinion…”
While she was in an opinion-offering mood, I asked who she could see playing whom if The Wilderhark Tales were hypothetically adapted for the screen. Chelsea answered with enthusiasm. “Oooh! Head-casting is one of my favorite hobbies! I’ve actually put a lot of thought into this.”
Sula = Jennifer Lawrence / Villem Deere = Jude Law
Sigmund = Skandar Keynes
Rosalba = Lily Collins / Edgwyn Wyle = Sean Astin
Wilhelmina (at Edgwyn’s special request) = This horse
Gant-o’-the-Lute = Lee Pace
Viralei = Emmy Rossum
Benedeck = Sam Clafin / Emmelea = Lucy Griffiths
Laraspur = Eleanor Tomlinson / Ionquin Wyle = Logan Lerman
Raeóryn = Aaron Eckhart / Lumónd = Benedict Cumberbatch (“THIS PICTURE!!!” Chelsea specifically insists)
And on that note, it’s about time to call this Launch Week a wrap! Big thanks, of course, to Chelsea, and to the second batch of awesome bloggers who’ve hosted a stop on my tour: Laney McMann, Terri Rochenski, Tirzah Duncan, Mere Joyce, Rie Sheridan Rose, and Nicholas Boardman. (Also Mara Jacob and Tyler-Rose Counts ‘n’ Susan Francino, whose posts may or may not have gone live by this one has.) Rock on, you guys!
Everyone’s still got the rest of today to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway, so if you haven’t yet, now’s the time! As for the winners of Giveaway #2, let’s have a round of congratulatory cheers for:
Chelsea de la Cruz!
You guys have won a signed “Sun’s Rival” bookmark set, and your choice of one of the four Wilderhark Tales “READ” postcards seen here! (Let me know which one you want!) And the winner of all four postcards, the bookmarks, plus a print of the “Sun’s Rival” storyboard art featured here is…
Way to go, y’all! And gratitude-a-go-go to everyone who has in any way shown their support for my latest Wilderhark Tale.
I see you.