Hello. Oh, my gosh. I am so excited to be here and to be sharing an interview with Namina Forna, author of The Gilded Ones. I have no clue how I am so calm right now because I can promise you, I am freaking out a lot right now. I am so honored and excited to be sharing this on my little blog. Huge shoutout to Namina Forna and TBR and Beyond Tours for this amazing opportunity. Thank you so much.
There is a whole cool tour going on as well. Check out all the stops here.
The Gilded Ones (Deathless #1) by Namina Forna
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publishing Date: February 9, 2021
Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a member of her village. Already different from everyone else because of her unnatural intuition, Deka prays for red blood so she can finally feel like she belongs.
But on the day of the ceremony, her blood runs gold, the color of impurity–and Deka knows she will face a consequence worse than death.
Then a mysterious woman comes to her with a choice: stay in the village and submit to her fate, or leave to fight for the emperor in an army of girls just like her. They are called alaki–near-immortals with rare gifts. And they are the only ones who can stop the empire’s greatest threat.
Knowing the dangers that lie ahead yet yearning for acceptance, Deka decides to leave the only life she’s ever known. But as she journeys to the capital to train for the biggest battle of her life, she will discover that the great walled city holds many surprises. Nothing and no one are quite what they seem to be–not even Deka herself.
Interview with Namina Forna!!!!
How long have you been writing and what inspired you to begin writing a YA novel?
I’ve been writing all my life, but I formally began writing to be published when I was in undergrad. I loved YA novels, so I just went ahead and wrote one. It wasn’t a conscious decision, per se. I just always read MG and YA, so that’s what I wrote.
What was your inspiration behind this series?
When I was in undergrad at Spelman College, I kept having dreams of a girl in golden armor running into the battlefield. At the time, I had all these questions about what it meant to be a woman, and what part religion and culture had to play in the expectations of femininity. All these questions kept circling my mind—as did this image, so it eventually became The Gilded Ones.
Do you have a process when you start writing or do you just write when you feel like doing so?
I have the most awful process ever. First, I’m a very planned writer, so I make outlines for the book first. Then, once I’m satisfied with that, I begin writing. That’s where the awfulness of my process begins. It usually takes me twice as much time to write the first 50 pages of the book as it does the entire rest of the book. I could literally spend a month on the first three chapters, because it’s important for me to keep the tone and the emotions of the main characters right. Once I have that, everything flows.
Would you ever want to write something besides fantasy?
I would definitely like to write horror and I may have a romance novel in me somewhere, who knows.
What are some of your favorite books and authors to read?
My favorite author is John Mortimer, mainly because I love the Rumpole of the Bailey series. They always make me laugh. I also enjoy Neil Gaimon, particularly his younger books like Coraline or The Graveyard Book. The Infected series by Scott Sigler gives me the chills. You need to read The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed and This is My America by Kim Johnson. A Hunger Like No Other by Kresley Cole rocked my teenage world. Redwall by Brian Jacques was my everything growing up.
Do you have any tips for young BIPOC writers/writers in general?
Join Twitter and find your community. Follow the hashtags #amwriting #amediting #5amwritersclub and you’ll start finding the bookish people, making friends and learning the ins and outs of the industry. You’ll also become part of the grapevine and know what to watch out for. It really is the best way to get in—at least in my experience.
Also, if you have a completed manuscript, take part in #dvpit. That’s how I got my agent.
About the Author:
Namina Forna is a young adult novelist based in Los Angeles, and the author of the upcoming epic fantasy YA novel The Gilded Ones. Originally from Sierra Leone, West Africa, she moved to the US when she was nine and has been traveling back and forth ever since. Namina has an MFA in film and TV production from USC School of Cinematic Arts and a BA from Spelman College. She works as a screenwriter in LA and loves telling stories with fierce female leads.