Island of Exiles (The Ryogan Chronicles)
By: Erica Cameron
Publication Date: February 14th, 2017
In Khya’s world, every breath is a battle.
On the isolated desert island of Shiara, dying young is inevitable. The clan comes before self, and protecting her home means Khya is a warrior above all else.
But when following the clan and obeying their leaders could cost her brother his life, Khya’s home becomes a deadly trap. The only person who can help is Tessen, her lifelong rival and the boy who challenges her at every turn. The council she hoped to join has betrayed her, and their secrets, hundreds of years deep, reach around a world she’s never seen.
To save her brother’s life and her island home, her only choice is to trust Tessen, turn against her clan, and go on the run—a betrayal and a death sentence.
1) If you emptied out your purse, wallet, desk drawer, pockets, backpack, beach bag, saddle bag, or fanny pack, what would we find?
Nothing interesting! Keys and cards and things like that. The outside of my bag is much more interesting. It’s a ThinkGeek bag, and I sewed on a lot of patches onto the outside. The front is mostly Invader Zim, the back is a combination of Star Trek, Star Wars, and Firefly, and Harry Potter takes over one side. A Captain America themed Avengers A and a V for Vendetta patch occupy the opposite side. The strap is (for the moment) entirely Doctor Who. Eventually, I want to get some patches from The Expanse and Supernatural, but I’m kind of running out of room already!
2) What is your writing process? Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Slowly, and I mean VERY slowly, I am easing slightly more toward the plotter end of the spectrum. It’s not my natural state, and each inch I travel along that spectrum is hard, but I think it’ll save me a lot of editing time if I can manage it. Right now I discover plot and characters by letting them develop as I write. That involves a lot of wrong turns, though. And a lot of rewriting. When writing to deadlines and dealing with more than one series, that’s lost time I can’t really afford.
3) What is your number one writing tip?
You can’t fix what doesn’t exist.
4) Describe your book in 5 words or less
Deserts, magic, family, Immortals, secrets
5) What are some “fun facts” you can share about the characters from your book or the world you created for it that may or may not have made it to the final draft of the book?
- It’s not quite “fun,” but in the original concept of the novel, the herynshi—the trial everyone has to face the month they turn sixteen—was essentially a fight to the death.
- Originally, Khya and her brother were twins.
- There wasn’t a third sex in the first draft, just the male/female binary. I added ebets and a lot of the other social dynamics in later drafts.
6) Do you have a special story behind your inspiration for the book?
This series has changed more from the original concept than any other project I’ve written. It started out with a question about aggression, specifically, “What would make aggression the norm and mercy the outlier in a society? What would a landscape and culture have to look like for something like that to develop?” This inspired the desert setting, the dangerous animals, and the militaristic nature of Itagami (which includes the existence of the herynshi), but this theme fell away in bits and pieces as the book progressed. It’s hard to explain much more without spoilers. I’ll tell you this, though: despite the physical similarity of the setting and city, there is far more different than the same between the first draft of Khya’s story and the last.
7) Who was your favorite character to write and who gave you the most trouble?
Although I have definitely had some majorly troublesome characters before, there weren’t any in this book. The whole cast was fun to write, and they cooperated pretty well. Tessen, Rai, and Etaro were probably the ones I had the most fun with—but don’t tell the others. 😉
8) If you could ask a character of your choice from ISLAND OF EXILES one question what would it be?
I don’t know that I’d ask them anything. It’s far more likely I’d spend all my time apologizing for making their lives so difficult.
9) What scene from the book are you most proud of (because of how you handled the atmosphere, characters, dialogue, etc)?
There is a scene in the middle of the book that I adore, but I can’t tell you what it is because SPOILERS. Ask me this question when book two releases and maybe I’ll be able to share. 🙂
10) Is there a scene that you had difficulty with and just had to “power through” to finish the book?
Oddly—or maybe not so oddly—the same scene I’m talking about in the answer to number nine.
11) What is next for you? What are your currently working on?
In addition to books two and three of the Ryogan Chronicles, I’m revising the third Dream War Saga book and the third Laguna Tides story. After those are cleared off my to-do list, I get to go into space! My next series with Entangled Teen is going to be a sci-fi that I am extraordinarily fond of. Seriously. Concept, characters, world, scope, conflict—I am so excited about everything PAX NOVIS has to offer. I can’t wait to flesh the story out!
12) Are there any hints that you can give for what is next for Khya?
Trouble. Lots and lots of trouble. Also, decisions, change, travel, lessons, and subterfuge. Not necessarily in that order.
After a lifelong obsession with books, Erica Cameron spent her college years getting credit for reading and learning how to make stories of her own. Erica graduated with a double major in psychology and creative writing from Florida State University and began pursuing a career as an author.
Erica is many things but most notably the following: writer, reader, editor, asexual, dance fan, choreographer, singer, lover of musical theater, movie obsessed, sucker for romance, Florida resident, and quasi-recluse. She loves the beach but hates the heat, has equal passion for the art of Salvador Dali and Venetian Carnival masks, has a penchant for unique jewelry and sun/moon décor pieces, and a desire to travel the entire world on a cruise ship. Or a private yacht. You know, whatever works.
Her debut novel, Sing Sweet Nightingale, released March 2014 and it was the first volume of The Dream War Saga. In May 2015, Erica and her co-author Lani Woodland launched the Laguna Tides series with Taken by Chance. Riptide’s new YA imprint Triton Books will release both books in the Assassins series, Discord and Nemesis, in 2016. The Ryogan Chronicles, a fantasy trilogy set to launch through Entangled Teen, will launch in 2017 with Island of Exiles.
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