Debut '19 Interview: Nina Varela & Crier's War

In 2019 our goal is to work with as many debut authors as possible and spread the word about their debut novels. Follow us this year as we pick the mind of the 2019 debuts and chat with them. Also stay tuned for news of giveaways, twitter chats and more! 

Amber had the opportunity to read CRIER'S WAR and I adored it. I can't wait for book 2! Today we are super excited to have Nina on the blog today to answer some of our questions! 

An #Ownvoices story by debut author Nina Valera, has been pitched to fans of Game of Thrones and Westworld and is a beautifully written novel about the love between two girls can fuel a revolution. 

About Nina!
Nina Varela is a nationally awarded writer of screenplays and short fiction. She was born in New Orleans and raised on a hippie commune in Durham, North Carolina, where she spent most of her childhood playing in the Eno River, building faerie houses from moss and bark, and running barefoot through the woods. These days, Nina lives in Los Angeles with her writing partner and their tiny, ill-behaved dog. She tends to write stories about hard-won love and young people toppling the monarchy/patriarchy/whatever-archy. On a related note, she’s queer. On a less related note, she has strong feelings about hushpuppies and loves a good jambalaya. CRIER’S WAR is her first novel. 
Keep up with Nina


The Book Bratz: How does it feel that CRIER'S WAR is debuting this year?
Nina: To be perfectly honest I don’t think it’s sunk in yet, even now that we’re so close to October and the ARCs are circulating and people are reading and reviewing it. I don’t think it will feel real until I hold the finished book. Maybe not even until I see it in a bookstore. So much of this process has been intensely private and intimate—just me sitting alone in various coffee shops or my dark bedroom, headphones on, writing. For so long, the world of CRIER’S WAR existed only between me and my editor, and I think some part of me internalized that—part of me thought it would be like that forever, that no one else would actually read this book. But now the doors are open, people are reading, and it’s surreal. It’s stunning. I’m grateful to anyone and everyone who picks up this book, now and on release day and after, always. Whether you finish or not, whether it speaks to you or not. I just like knowing it’s real and it’s out there to be picked up.

The Book Bratz: In the length of a tweet (280 characters!) can you give us an overall summary of CRIER'S WAR?
Nina: CRIER’S WAR is set in a world ruled by an android monarchy. After Ayla’s family is killed by the android king, she vows to get revenge by killing the king’s daughter, Crier. But the more time she spends with Crier, the more Ayla begins to question everything—starting with what she wants most.

The Book Bratz: Where did your inspiration for CRIER'S WAR come from?
NinaA recurring theme in everything I’ve ever done is: “What does it mean to be human? What does it mean to be a person? How do you define that?” I’ve always loved characters who struggle with the concept of humanity—a good example being one my favorite characters of all time, Finn from STAR WARS, who was supposed to be an emotionless killing machine and instead became the kindest gentlest boy in the universe. It’s fascinating to me: how people defy their circumstances. The characters I like best are the ones who were planted in barren soil and still bloom. I wanted to explore that—a person who was supposed to be inhuman, becoming “human”—which is how I arrived at androids, but I didn’t want to do the typical futuristic Year 3000 androids. I wanted the story to feel lush and a little timeless, like a fairy tale. So with CRIER’S, I’m kind of playing around with this world in which alchemists really were able to create life from the earthly elements, to transmute lead into gold, so to speak. 

The Book Bratz: Is there anything from your personal life that you used as inspiration in CRIER'S WAR?
NinaI guess the obvious answer is the queerness. Homophobia doesn’t exist in the world of CRIER’S WAR; Crier and Ayla never experience any suffering or oppression because of their sexualities; but I am queer and I live on Earth and some of my world bled through. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I think there’s a certain part of Crier’s story—separate from the romance—that will resonate with queer people. I didn’t realize it could be interpreted as a metaphor until I finished the book and read the whole thing from beginning to end, and I was just like, Oh. Well then. Other than that, many of the background characters are named after my friends. 

The Book Bratz: If you had to create Twitter or Instagram handles for your characters, what would they be?
NinaOh my god. Yes. I love modern day AUs, I think it’s so cool when readers make social media profiles for their favorite characters. (Not that I’m hint-hinting.) (Maybe I’m hint-hinting.) 
My interpretation: Ayla’s twitter & instagram handles would be @AYYYYLMAO. Her twitter would be 90% angry social justice-related RTs, 5% Vines and TikToks, 5% personal content. Her pinned tweet is a selfie from that one time she and Benjy got arrested at a protest. Her instagram is mostly public bathroom mirror selfies and blurry pictures of her friends. 
I don’t think Crier would have twitter, but she would have a semi-popular very aesthetic bookstagram. Her handle would be @sapphictears. She’s one of those people with an incredibly detailed, beautiful bullet journal, so she also posts photos of that. What else... she is totally on Pinterest. 

The Book Bratz: Do you have any ideas you plan to visit after the CRIER'S WAR world?
Nina: Yes! Now that IRON HEART (CRIER’S WAR #2) is in edits, I’m working on the third book in my contract, a stand-alone F/F YA fantasy. I can’t say anything else other than: girls girls girls girls girls. As always. Also, my agent (Patrice Caldwell, rockstar angel) and I are preparing to (hopefully!) put my fourth book out on sub this fall. It’s a middle grade fantasy inspired by Appalachian granny-witches. On the surface it’s about kids solving a supernatural mystery; beneath that, it’s about queerness and mental illness and memory and the importance of caring for the natural world. After THAT, I’m not sure, but I can guarantee it’ll be queer and magical and probably very soft.

The Book Bratz: Can you share a secret about CRIER'S WAR that not many people know yet?
Nina: Oh boy. Unfortunately all the secrets I know have to stay secret for the time being. But I can tell you that October will be an awesome month for book lovers. Also, CRIER’S WAR has bed-sharing.

Title: Crier's War
Author: Nina Varela
Genre: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Romance 
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: October 1st 2019
Summary:  After the War of Kinds ravaged the kingdom of Rabu, the Automae, designed to be the playthings of royals, usurped their owners’ estates and bent the human race to their will. Now Ayla, a human servant rising in the ranks at the House of the Sovereign, dreams of avenging her family’s death…by killing the sovereign’s daughter, Lady Crier. Crier was Made to be beautiful, flawless, and to carry on her father’s legacy. But that was before her betrothal to the enigmatic Scyre Kinok, before she discovered her father isn’t the benevolent king she once admired, and most importantly, before she met Ayla. Now, with growing human unrest across the land, pressures from a foreign queen, and an evil new leader on the rise, Crier and Ayla find there may be only one path to love: war.

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