Curbing curiosities, or an interview with Rebecca Ross author of The Queen’s Rising (and a giveaway)


the queen's rising

The Queen’s Rising (The Queen’s Rising #1)

By:  Rebecca Ross

Publisher: HarperTeen

Publication Date: February 6th, 2018

When her seventeenth summer solstice arrives, Brienna desires only two things: to master her passion and to be chosen by a patron.

Growing up in the southern Kingdom of Valenia at the renowned Magnalia House should have prepared her for such a life. While some are born with an innate talent for one of the five passions—art, music, dramatics, wit, and knowledge—Brienna struggled to find hers until she belatedly chose to study knowledge. However, despite all her preparations, Brienna’s greatest fear comes true—the solstice does not go according to plan and she is left without a patron.

Months later, her life takes an unexpected turn when a disgraced lord offers her patronage. Suspicious of his intent, and with no other choices, she accepts. But there is much more to his story, and Brienna soon discovers that he has sought her out for his own vengeful gain. For there is a dangerous plot being planned to overthrow the king of Maevana—the archrival kingdom of Valenia—and restore the rightful queen, and her magic, to the northern throne. And others are involved—some closer to Brienna than she realizes.

With war brewing between the two lands, Brienna must choose whose side she will remain loyal to—passion or blood. Because a queen is destined to rise and lead the battle to reclaim the crown. The ultimate decision Brienna must determine is: Who will be that queen?

1) A book goes through a lot of different versions and rounds of editing before it’s complete. What are some “fun facts” or behind the scenes info 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?

The first draft was very long! It clocked in around 128,000 words, which I knew was way too long for a debut. So I began trimming it as much as I could when I was preparing to send queries to literary agents. The early drafts had more scenes at Magnalia House with Brienna and her passion sisters. There was one scene and overall relationship I was really sad to cut; Brienna was close to the Mistress of Art at the school, and had a very touching conversation with her in the gardens. But it had to go because it wasn’t furthering the plot. I also had a scene where all the girls attend an opera in the city, which I ended up cutting.

2) Do you have a special story, a discovery you made while doing research, or an innocuous thought that grew into something bigger that is behind your inspiration for THE QUEEN’S RISING?

Back in January of 2015, I was working on another fantasy idea when out of the blue, I envisioned Brienna sitting at a table in a beautiful library. Across from her sat Cartier, and he was looking at her, as if he had just asked her something and was waiting for her to reply. And instead of answering him, Brienna spoke to me instead and said, “The summer solstice is in eight days, and I have yet to master my passion.” And I was like, “WAIT! Who are you and what are you talking about!?”

I quickly wrote that line of hers down before I forgot it, and then I had to ask her, “What is this passion you’re talking about?” I began to think of things in life that require a lot time, devotion, instruction, and one’s whole heart to master. The first thing I wrote down was art, then music. Then I wrote down theater, which I later called dramatics. And then wit and knowledge. And the longer I studied that list, the more I began to see of the world. I knew it was set in a Renaissance era, and Brienna was in a school for the passions. And then I had to ask her why she was worried she wouldn’t “passion in time.” As I wrote that scene out, part of which still remains in the chapter 1 today, I began to figure out Brienna’s past. I knew right then that she was going to go through a failure, but from that failure another opportunity was going to rise, and that was the revolution to put a queen back on the throne.

3) Who was your favorite character to write and who gave you the most trouble? If you could ask a character of your choice from THE QUEEN’S RISING one question what would it be?

Brienna was my favorite to write. I was right there with her through all the highs and lows, and I loved to see how she grew from an uncertain girl to a fierce woman. I think Jourdain gave me the most trouble. It took me a few drafts to really understand his character and to draw it out on the page. He started out as a very prickly sort of character, and then I realized I needed to soften him up a bit.

4) What is your favorite part of the world you created for THE QUEEN’S RISING? Was there an aspect that you struggled with but still felt compelled to include?

There are two aspects of the world that I really love. The first is the passions in Valenia. I wanted to create a world where the arts and the humanities were respected and celebrated.  And I seriously love the cloaks. They were so much fun to design! The second aspect is how Maevana is a queen’s realm. Again, I wanted to make a realm where women and daughters are the ones to inherit the crown and who hold the power. And I want to see more of this in Fantasy!

5)  What is next for you? What are your currently working on?

I’m about to go through my third round of edits for my second book, THE QUEEN’S RESISTANCE. I love this book so much and I honestly cannot wait to share more details about it in the coming months! But as of right now, most of my focus and time is going into drafting my third book. I can’t say anything about this one yet, but I’m very excited about it.


Rebecca Ross was born and raised in Georgia, where she continues to reside with her husband, her lively Australian Shepherd, and her endless piles of books. She loves coffee, the night sky, chalk art, maps, the mountains, and growing wildflowers in her yard. And a good story, of course.
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Disclaimer: The synopsis and cover picture were pulled from the book’s Goodreads page. Neither belong to us. The author info, image, giveaway, and more were provided by Jean Book Nerd Tours.

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