Moonburner review 4/5
Kai was born a sorceress but has hidden her secret of being a moonburner by disguising herself as a boy to avoid being sentence to death by the sunburners. At the age of 17 she is discovered, narrowly escaping to the citadel.
War rages between moonburners and sunburners. Kai is torn between the loyalty of the people she was raised with against the politics of the lands and her calling as a sorceress.
A lively paced fantasy within the enticing world of moonburners. I loved this book and struggled to put it down. Claire‘s world building in this genre did not disappoint. Great and believable protagonist, I was with Kia every step of the way. I adored Kia’s friendship with Quitsu, it was warm and funny.
I found in the beginning of the book the authors character descriptions threatened to became overbearing. But as soon as I picked up on this, her writing evolved, growing from strength to strength. I found myself daydreaming about the this book, my mark of a great read. I cant wait to get my hands on the next book.
Welcome Claire, thank you for participating. I’m sure your fans will love delving into your world as much as I have.
You can find out about more of Claire Luana’s work here: http://www.claireluana.com
To begin, what drove you to write fantasy?
My first love has always been fantasy, and I’m fairly certain that’s always what I’ll want to write. My work life is pretty serious, and so reading is an escape and a retreat for me. I want to write the kinds of books I want to read: fun, adventurous, and full of magic.
Who are your favourite authors? And what genre do you enjoy reading the most?
My writing is definitely influenced by awesome fantasy writers before me, like Robert Jordan, Patrick Rothfuss, and Brandon Sanderson. I am so impressed by anyone who can write such epic works of fantasy, over hundreds of pages and multiple books. I hope to be that good someday! I also am really digging some of the awesome lady YA and fantasy writers, like Kristin Cashore, Laini Taylor, and Leigh Bardugo.
Why did you choose Moonburner as the title for your book?
The title, Moonburner, is derived from the magic system in the world. Female magicians pull their power from the light of the moon, “burning” it into heat. Hence they are called moonburners. Male magicians are sunburners, deriving their power from the light of the sun.
How did you come up with the idea to write Moonburner, a story of sorcery and harnessing the power of the moon?
My inspiration for Moonburner was loosely based on China’s One Child policy, which led to generations of Chinese families choosing to have boys over girls. It made me think: what would happen in a world where families didn’t want girls because those girls had some magical ability that was forbidden? This led to the premise of Moonburner, where Kai, the main character, is born into a land where magic is forbidden to women, and she is forced to masquerade as a boy to hide her powers. Somehow, the moon and sun dichotomy just seemed like the right approach in a book about the power of women versus men.
Is being a writer a gift or a curse?
Both! I have enjoyed every step of this journey to becoming a published author. It is so inspiring to create something out of nothing but your own imagination, and see it on the page. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. But it is a LOT OF WORK. I definitely have two jobs. It’s not all sitting in stylish coffee shops with sleek Moleskine notebooks penning effortless prose. A lot of the time it’s dragging yourself to the laptop after a long day of work while you’re longingly looking at your husband cuddling with the dogs on the couch. It IS worth it, but I have to constantly remind myself to take a long-term outlook.
Where do you write? Do you have any unique or quirky writing habits?
I actually write on the bus on the way to and from work! It’s a great use of my 45 minute commute and keeps me productive. It’s harder to find time to edit, because I don’t like to take my laptop with me every day. As for plotting, I write out scenes on post it notes and then move them around until I find the perfect order.
What would be Kai’s perfect date and more interestingly what would she dread on a date?
Kai’s perfect date would be outside in nature, like going for a hike or a horseback ride, or fishing on a river. Her most dreaded date would be a situation where she had to try to behave and impress more sophisticated people, like a royal dinner party!
Which character from your novel, do you most identify with?
I like to think that I am a bit like Emi, cynical and sarcastic at times but courageous and loyal to her friends.
Out of your characters, who would you most like to spend the day with and why?
Quitsu, because he is such a smart-ass. He’d be a blast to hang out with. Or Hiro, because I imagined him to look a bit like Chris Hemsworth from Thor, and I have a bit of a crush on Mr. Hemsworth.
Did you find any specific challenges in writing Moonburner and what would you do different next time.
I faced LOTS of challenges! This was my first attempt to write a novel, so I basically didn’t know how to do anything. I had to teach myself (or read books or go to classes) on basically every aspect of novel writing: plots and story arcs, characterization, dialogue, theme, pacing, word choice and sentence structure, etc. The hardest part was probably finding my groove. There was a lot of trial and error where I tried something that someone else recommended, and it just didn’t work for me, so I had to scrap it and try again. For instance, I tried to plot out a story in a detailed outline, and it just didn’t work.
The next time around I started from where I left off, and continued to hone my process and craft. If you’re curious about the things I changed the second time around, when writing Sunburner, I wrote this blog post with lots more details! http://claireluana.com/first-novel-roundup-lessons-learned/ http://www.claireluana.com
Quitsu and Kai have a unique bond and friendship. How did you evolve the idea.
I knew that Kai would have some sort of spirit guide or helper who would show up to assist her in surviving the desert. I wanted to do an animal because of the younger audience for the book (being YA), and because hey, talking animals are so fun! Quitsu just sort of evolved into Kai’s sassy conscience. His character was also helpful from a writing perspective, because Kai could hash out her feelings and plans through dialogue with Quitsu, rather than less exciting inner monologue.
Give us an interesting fun fact about Moonburner.
I chose Kai, the main character’s name, because I had realized that all my favorite YA heroines had names starting with the letter “K” (Katniss from The Hunger Games, Karou from Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Katsa from Graceling). Kai is a Japanese name that can be for a boy or a girl, and so it seemed perfect, since she has to hide as a boy at the beginning of the book!
Where there any scenes that you found particularly challenging to write and why?
I struggled with writing the scenes where Kai and Hiro fall in love. They really only had a span of about 3 days in which to get to know each other and become romantically interested. Love at first sight can only go so far, and I was intent on not relying on that old stand-by as the sole reason they were drawn together! But, it was a challenge to figure out how to make them fall for each other in a short time period, but in an authentic way.
What got left out of the final draft?
I was pretty worried about the middle of the novel sagging or being too slow, and didn’t want to lose the reader’s interest. So there were definitely a few scenes where Kai was learning about the citadel and making new friends that got cut. As for the rest, it morphed and changed considerably, but nothing got the axe too dramatically.
Where there alternative endings you considered?
I pretty much knew that the ending was going to be how it ended up. However, I did end up pumping up the drama in the final version with the “almost” death of a main character. (No spoilers here!)
What’s next for you? What are you working on now?
I recently published Burning Fate, which is a prequel novella to Moonburner. I am currently editing Sunburner, the sequel to Moonburner, and hope that will be ready to be published by spring 2017. After that, I have plans for a new trilogy in a totally different world. The first book will be called The Confectioner’s Guild. I’m so excited to write that one.
Please share with us; how to find you and where to learn more about your book?